Wednesday, July 09, 2008

What I did on my summer vacation (all 4 days of it)

It was only a few days, but sometimes that's all you get. Sometimes, it's all you need. So, how did I spend my precious few?

I drove across the province in a blue minivan with my kids, over the spiny ridge that runs the length of the mainland, past the airport to the summit where suddenly you can see lush green farmland rolling away to the horizon. We came back down to water level at Truro, a town at the tip of the Bay of Fundy, which smells like a combination of manure and fast food. That's where you'll find the Acricultural College, but for the life of me I couldn't tell you what else is there - except every food franchise known to man, crammed cheek by jowl on a 1 km stretch of potholes.

Pebbles, sensibly, slept the whole way. BamBam and I sang along to such timeless classics as The Cat Came Back, and The Big Ship Sailed on the Alley Alley Ooh, Crocodile Rock, and the Hockey Song.

After Truro we turned to the north, and drove uphill and down through more beautiful country. A new vista opens at the crest of every hill as the highway rolls away from you toward the Northumberland Strait. This is Nova Scotia, Appalacia's last sleepy murmer before she lays herself down to sleep in the ocean.

And at last, Pictou. The place where the first Scottish settlers landed, giving Nova Scotia her name. It's a wonderful little town, where they've built a museum and a replica of the Ship Hector, the boat that brought those settlers. (I love the souvenir shop, we go every year. We also eat lunch in Thom's Pub.)

In Pictou my imagination bubbles, warmed by the local history. I can feel these people around me, wanting me to hear their stories. Some day when the kids are bigger I hope to go down there to research and write.

Once there...

I walked on the beach at low tide with my kids and mom and sister, looking at starfish and hermit crabs. I also went for a long walk on a dirt road with Mom and the kids - who missed not one single mud puddle the whole way. Pictou has red dirt, high in iron. It doesn't wash out easily, but it was worth it.

I played Scattergories and Boggle with my mom and sister. We also worked on a paint-by-number.

I biked 10K on a hot day in hilly country with my dad and DH. DH and I didn't exactly keep up with the "old feller", but Dad was kind enough to stop and wait for us from time to time. Come to think of it, it's possible that DH was just hanging back to keep me company. And maybe to make sure I didn't die in the ditch. (On getting back to the cottage, my concerned family parked me in a lawn chair with some ice water. I guess my face was a little red. (G) )

We had a water balloon fight. Mom made us a gourmet lunch of watermelon, pepperoni, cheese and crackers, but it got a little wet when Dad and DH attacked her with the hose and a bucket of water. (She still doesn't know exactly who did that, so don't tell!)

My dad made a bonfire on the beach at dusk, and we swatted bugs and roasted an entire bag of marshmallows.

Pebbles caught a surprise wave right in the chops - and she was fine. She shivered convulsively, and said "Oooh, cold." Then, smacking her lips, "tasty!"

Finished reading STRAY, by Rachel Vincent. (I highly recommend it.) Threw a football with BamBam, and ate a hotdog that fell on the ground.

I went for a ride on DH's motorbike - something I haven't done for years, what with pregnancy and smallish children. Also went to the grocery store dressed in black leather - and bought ground beef, potato chips and toaster strudel. Yep, we're hoodlums.

We drove home on the sunniest day of all four, tired and full of gratitude for the time with my family, followed by DH on his motorbike. I entertained myself by cleaning my windshield unnecessarily, and watching him in the rear view to see if I got him with the spray. (The very best part of this was that he had no idea I was doing it on purpose. (G)

So anyway, I'm back at work now, and have been for a week, but I just wanted to share with you (and remind myself) what a really good weekend it was, full of little-arm hugs and marshmallow kisses, sunscreen and laughter. I can't wait for the next one.

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