The conversation at the breakfast table started off as a trip down memory Lane, and somehow drifted to trips we have taken and hotels we have stayed in during the years that Husband gave his time to volunteer work in the fields of Education and Agriculture.
And I, coming later to service in both fields, hit the years when a miniscule honorarium was the custom.
We mused about an occasion in the 1960's when we first started to travel in support of secondary education in the province, and were novices at traveling on an expense account. Last minute farm and family business had caused us to barely make the last ferry to Vancouver Island. We arrived at the Empress in Victoria to find our reservation time had run out, and all that was left in the way of accommodation was the Bridal Suite. As I recall it was located high up in the hotel, and for the few hours we slept there it was just splendid.
The huge marble bathroom, the luxurious spaciousness, the delicious bed and the elegant furnishings, - all a delight. But we were appalled at the price (which, incidentally, would be only an infinitesimal percentage of the cost of today's accommodation) and ever conscious that the public was paying for all this luxury. We rose early, breakfasted in the basement cafeteria, and made our way up Island to the new College Husband was going to visit.
We were not always this lucky, - there was the little hole-in-the-wall rabbit warren we overnighted in when we arrived in London ca 1985.
In 1995 we stayed a few days at Petwood House while at a Squadron Reunion, - an historic home that in the 1940's was requisitioned by the RAF, and in 1943 became the Officers' Mess for 617 Squadron, better known as 'The Dambusters'. That was a lovely contrast. The hydrangea there were spectacular.
As we lingered over coffee Husband and I recalled these many hotels, one by one. The Georgia the Devonshire, the Grosvenor and the Bayshore in Vancouver, along with the various airport hotels, the MacDonald in Edmonton, the Canadian Inn in Kamloops and in Victoria and Ottawa a plethora of hotels on the waterfront or side by each with the Parliament Buildings.
During the morning my thoughts wandered through memories of the times and events associated with all this travel, and I thought eventually of how life expands and contracts.
From sheltered childhood where we holidayed at nearby lakes or made summertime visits to relative our worlds suddenly opened to a great variety of new experiences. Husband's in particular, with his World War 2 experiences as a Lancaster Pilot at the tender age of 20.
The busy years when we were establishing the farm and family gradually blossomed out into the years of public service that brought their own rewards in friends and colleagues, some wisdom and maturity and a great deal of satisfaction that swallowed up the inevitable moments of bitterness and discouragement.
But now the years advance - we give up one activity, then another, and another, and another - so that gradually the calendars which were overwhelming in their record of meetings, travel times and social events, now are given over to reminders of family birthdays, doctor's appointments, ladies' luncheons, a date at the local Legion, a potluck, or a small party.
Our world is shrinking, and that is good in that Husband and I enjoy a nice balance in each other's company (well, mostly). We play cards at night, we work together, we talk and plan and we reminisce.
I have friends who are not this fortunate, - whose lives now are encompassed by the four walls of one room, a minimum of possession and the confines of a Care Facility. I am reminded that eventually there will be only the Spirit.
Which inspires me try hard to keep it polished and gleaming, and above all, - serene.