Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Daddio's Birthday!

Today is my father's birthday and I'm reporting from his office in London, Ontario. The sun is shining on the three feet of snow that fell in the past couple of days. It was quite an adventure to get here - the town nearly declared a state of emergency the day I rolled in. I actually arrived here twice on Monday - but the first time the airplane wouldn't land so back we flew to Toronto. Grrrr...

I then took a mini-bus and am I glad I did. I got to meet a lovely woman from Birmingham, England named Olive and hear her compelling story. Narrative is the theme of the week for me. I heard lots of stories in the airports where I spent most of Monday - and of course developed one with my fellow travellers.  Ours was a story with a villain (wimpy Air Canada and its staff of defensive stooges),  and ourselves each firmly in the role of heroes, no doubt, but more on that at a later post.

Yesterday was Stella's birthday and I heard stories from her about her family. Her dad was a journalist in Scotland when he met a man on a train and spent the time talking with him. He didn't know who the man was until he got a letter from him two weeks later offering him a job in England. It was Lord Beaverbrook - a very famous Canadian indeed and the publisher of the Daily Express. He was called 'the beaver' in Stella's family and she talked to him often when he called up needing to speak to Willie.

Last evening I went with my dad and my step-ma, Stella, to a 'do' in their apartment building. I met a gang of their friends and heard the stories of their community which reminded me a great deal of Coronation Street if you want the truth! The stories were about many things, London's new mayor (first day on job - huge snowfall), the owners of the building, and the various shenanigans of the tenants - mostly retirees.

Today, Stella and I went to her aquafit in the building's pool. That was fun and I heard a few stories there too. These stories seem to be mainly about health and care and a desire to keep on keeping on which I found encouraging.

Then back to the apartment and coffee and my dad opened the presents from me. I've been dying to tell you all what I got him but I couldn't because he reads this blog! He likes large print books so my sister and I try and find him ones he will enjoy. That is much harder to do than might be realized. They just don't have a large selection at any bookstore. I got him a Alexander McCall-Smith that he hadn't read so that was good but it wasn't enough. Then I had this brilliant thought. I knew a book that he hadn't read, that could be found in large print with a little effort and was a mystery (his favourite). Yes, dear readers, I printed and bound a large-print edition of The Rock Walker!  I think he's pretty thrilled. I warned him that it hasn't been final edited yet but that will give him something to do - he's a dab hand with a red pencil.

Dad and Stella at Grand Bend on his 85th festivities last year...


This afternoon we'll sit around and yack some more - maybe  Stella and I will venture out to see if any of the stores are open - the schools, buses, university and most govt. places are closed but I think we'll find something. Tonight we're going out for dinner where I'm pretty sure we'll tell each other even more stories. Because that's the kind of people we are.

11 comments:

Mason Canyon said...

Oh, what a wonderful post. HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to your Dad. May he have many, many more. Sounds like your trip is fun and filled with wonderful stories. Enjoy and thanks for sharing.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

K.M. Weiland said...

Three feet of snow? Yipes! I'm hoping for a white Christmas, but I think I'd be happy with three inches, rather than three feet!

roxy said...

This was a great post, Jan. I love the way you tell a story. So fun and interesting, I wish I had been there. Another Happy Birthday to your Dad!

Ann said...

Sounds like a fun and interesting visit. Even with the trials and tribulations. Happy Birthday to your Dad. So many stories. What a joy!

Niamh said...

What a lovely gift! It must have taken a lot of work to bind and print, he's very lucky. Loved hearing about your trip and landing twice!

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I wish your Dad a wonderful birthday, but heavens Jan! You're there amidst the snow squalls? I've seen the pictures on the news - it looks beyond nasty. Stay warm!

Jude said...

Glad you got a chance to post, not glad that it took a whole day for you to get there, glad you got there!
Oh, I'm full of glad tidings. Please give the parental units some of them for me (in the form of hugs).
Sure hope you can get home without too much ado..ooo...ooo (how many O's in adoooooooooooooo?)
Keep the stories coming.
Love,
Your sis
Jude

Hart Johnson said...

Funny that there is so much snow there--you are only about 150 miles from me right now and we have less than an inch. I'm so glad you gave your dad your book! I bet he loves it! Enjoy your visit!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Have a happy visit--and hope your dad had a wonderful birthday. Stay warm!

Sophie said...

Yay happy birthday to your papa! I forgot you were gone on a field trip. safe travels. can't wait to see you next wednesday. xo

Donna B said...

Blessings to you! So glad you are spending time with your Daddio and Stella. We just celebrated my Dad's 90th birthday!