Street Tales: On the road again

Once again, we have the privilege of travelling to Vancouver Island to see the three most beautiful grandchildren in the world, (along with their parents of course). The greatest thing when you only see them once or twice a year is to witness their growth each time you visit. Although we had an inkling of their progress through the use of Skype and phone calls and such, nothing is the same as being able to see them in the flesh.

What can compare to the greeting you receive from three little ones as they come running to you to give you hugs of welcome; it does a heart good! It does not take too long to leave all the cares and worries of home behind as we spend time with family, swimming, playing in the yard, praising their art work, and joining in the work around the yard.

On this trip, I tried to pay more attention to the folks on the street in the different towns and cities we travelled through and to. I’ve mentioned before that without looking for them, I saw very few, but this time I’m seeing a lot more. The looks are very similar to Red Deer’s street crowd; the shopping cart travellers, the blanket wrapped addicts and the better dressed but obvious dwellers of the drug ridden corners. Whether it is because of enforcement or just more favorable venue options, it seems that the public trade in drugs definitely is less obvious here.

A city just a little smaller than Red Deer, Nanaimo, B.C., is a very beautiful part of Canada and we find it easy to be here. Vegetation is so much more prolific than home, but so is the gardening workload as our kids are finding out, while the ocean views and the walks along the shores finding shells and crabs scurrying along are gorgeous and relaxing.

One of the very first questions that we were asked when our children moved here a year ago was, “when are you moving”? But we have our home in Red Deer and we are still actively engaged here, as well as taking care of the kitchen, so the idea of moving at this time is not on our radar. The desire to be close to our family is, but practical concerns overrule any rash or unthought-out decisions.

Coastal waters have always been a part of my life and dreams, and one item on my bucket list has always been to spend a full year on the East Coast. I find the people and their centuries old welcoming social culture totally unique, and I would like to experience it through all four seasons. Now though, it looks as if coastal waters are to be part of our future, it will probably be the West Coast. It’s always something to look forward to and ponder.

As enjoyable as this time with family is, the kitchen and the folks associated with it are a part of my life and I cannot help but think of them while I’m here. You see, many of our clients have their own families but because of estrangements are not able to enjoy them. Often, they will express to me their sorrow and loneliness and desire to see them even just once. But for many reasons it is not to be and it saddens me to see them suffer like they do.

During the time that this dissertation was being prepared, our one-year-old grandson was helping me unload the dishwasher, handing me one item at a time. The two granddaughters came down from their room and walked over to give us a waking up hug.

Can life be sweeter than this?

Chris Salomons is the kitchen co-ordinator at Potter’s Hands in Red Deer.

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