07 October 2011

Who Am I - where did I come from?

In the morning I sit on my cushion and meditate. For months and months I have been contemplating the emptiness of such notions as 'self'. It is a very tricky thing to contemplate such a thing, and then to write about my supposed, unreal and empty self on this blog -well...dangerous.
I thought I might as well write about where I came from. Often, in this neck of the woods, that is how people relate to you - who's your mother? where'd ya spring from? It is hard, in small town Nova Scotia, to have an identity if you weren't born here, or really if your folks and your folks' folks weren't born here too. I came to Nova Scotia when I was in my mid-twenties. I moved here from Ottawa, Ontario - our nation's capital. Before Ottawa (I lived there two different times in my life), I lived in Oakville, Ontario, before that, Colorado Springs, before that Ottawa, Osgoode (both Ontario), Edmonton, Alberta, Rivers, Manitoba, and Medicine Hat, Alberta, where I was born. My dad was in the air force, so we lived a vagabond life. We used to go to Lake Metigoshe most summers, at our cottage 'Ups & Downs'. It was in southern Manitoba - both my parents were from small towns in Manitoba, so we had folks there. My Aunt Grace and Uncle Cliff's farm was a big deal for us kids too. We knew its every nook and cranny (every crook and nanny!).
Really, if you asked me to say what place felt most like home to me - where my mind wanders when I think of home - it would be our big old station-wagon, a box on the roof with camping supplies or moving stuff, the back (wagon part) covered in an old satin comforter - blue on one side and gold on the other - covered in a flower sprigged cotton cover. There would be a couple of dolls and a few matchbox cars, when I was younger, and as we grew older (my sis, bro and I) these morphed into comic books. In the front seat there would be a plaid cooler bag, full of sandwiches and cookies. Beside it would be a plaid thermos with coffee. My dad would usually drive and he would definitely be smoking, as would my mum. She'd have the maps out, telling him which route to take. We'd be piled into that car before we were awake in the morning - my dad standing by the station-wagon, going over every detail. It hadn't been that long since he'd made sure his bomber crew on the Lancaster he flew in the war, had its contents checked off - so he was very serious about  
checking that list. We'd sleep in the back for the first couple of hours, until the sun woke us up - all sticky in our pj's and hungry. My mum would make sure we found a good restaurant for breakfast - the only meal we'd eat in restaurants. At lunch, we'd have the sandwiches she'd prepared the night before, and at night, we'd either be camping or staying in cabins with tiny little kitchens. We'd drive for ever - sometimes five hundred miles in a day. And this was when the speed limit was much lower.
I loved that time - the songs we'd sing, the craziness we kids would get up to, reading love comics with my feet pressed against the warm glass of the back window.
That's where I sprung from.

1 comment:

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, this was fun to read, Jan. I loved the road trips of the old days. We never do them now--hubby doesn't travel well (son really, either) and there is money involved, which we don't have extra of... But I loved going with my grandparents who did a lot of this. I did some with my parents, but it wasn't quite the same.