Yesterday — Canada Day — was a pretty good day. The day started out with some indecision and uncertainty about our plans. Fooling around with our new above-ground pool to get it sitting and working right. We left late for an informal church-family gathering in Edmonton, which involved a bike-ride from the Alberta legislature to a park 10kms away. Some mild panic and anxiety and uncertainty ensued.
You see, we’ve experienced enough major non-successes — I say it that way because they weren’t failures as such, but maybe “disappointments” would be sufficient — to make us second-guess getting involved in big official public celebrations. There was the year in which after some effort to get to them, we missed two fireworks displays — one due to rain, one due to unanticipated poor positioning.
Then there was the year of Santa Claus parade in Winnipeg, which neither Dixie nor I have spoken of on our blogs. It was a dark day in the history of the Vanderfamily. We drove the hour or so into downtown Winnipeg and found a decent parking spot near Portage and Main, where the Santa Claus parade would be passing by. The parade, as I recall, was a disappointment (but maybe that’s just the adult in me speaking — I don’t remember what the kids thought), but we were all looking forward to the fireworks afterwards.
The mistake was not watching the fireworks from an area near where we had parked. We were near the river and the location where the fireworks were to be held, but for the sake of a better vantage point, a bite to eat, and a bathroom break we decided to give up our parking spot to try to make our way across the river and out of the downtown core.
The problem was that due to the Santa Claus parade traffic was heavy and many roads were blocked off from traffic. For people unfamiliar with Winnipeg’s downtown, in the dark, with a number of one-way streets, this is problematic. We ended up driving in circles for an hour or so, trying backstreets and parking-lot shortcuts, never actually leaving downtown or crossing the river. Tensions rose to a crescendo and burst forth into marriage-high moments of yelling and anger and frustration and steering-wheel pounding.
By this time the fireworks were well underway. Whenwe finally found a bridge to cross the river we looked to the east through a gap in the office towers — and in my memory’s vision this is all in slow motion — we looked to the east and saw one faint red firework burst in the distance, just above the horizon.
And that was it. We saw no more fireworks that night.
We look back now and laugh at our anger and that one, lone firework we saw, but with that memory bouncing around in our minds, you can understand our reluctance to commit to driving into Edmonton’s downtown core with an additional 80,000 people driving and walking about there.
But it turned into a very good day. Madeline and I enjoyed a nice bike ride through Edmonton with some of our church people. In parts of the trailwe could have been in the Rocky Mountains for all we knew. Then we gathered for a picnic and conversation, followed by some games with the kids and flag-football. And then we made it, right on time, to the Wetaskiwin fireworks.