Saturday, July 28th, 2012
For many years their were six of us who went for lunch every Thursday. Everybody arrived under their own steam, and had anecdotes from a busy life stored away to show and tell.
Gwen was the first to leave. She had been our neighbour for forty years when we lived on the farm. The first family to move into their unfinished house on the Veterans' Land project, and before that she rode the school bus with Charles, - a neighbour of his on the benchlands of Penticton all during their growing up years.
Except for Joan we had all been participants in that great adventure on the Cawston Bench; wives of the Veterans; bringing up our children on the orchards and farms we had established after the sage brush had all been cleared from the land.
The years passed. Not so much was happening in our lives. Some lost husbands. Small strokes took their toll from vibrant lives. After awhile our lunches were not always weekly affairs, as it became more difficult to gather when some had lost driver's licenses.
Five years ago Alzheimers stole Joan from us, leaving us with only her sweet smile, but still we lunched at least once a month, until she left us for peaceful parts and heavenly places a few months ago.
Now there are only four of us. I am the only one who drives, and nobody gets out much, so after we have lunched (a pale echo of what past lunches were, but still blest with precious friendship) we go driving. And that's what we did this past Thursday.
We don't have to go far. Perhaps we visit Ginty's pond and the heritage park in Cawston, built in the days when we were young to honour B.C.'s Centenial Year. Or we go west, traveling the riverside road that goes towards the Ashnola, as we did on Thursday.
The day started of with blue skies, sunshine and cool breezes, and so I phoned around to see who would like to lunch, - oh, yes!! Everybody was eager. If you are more or less confined to the distance you can walk, then an invitation to go further afield is always welcome.
We took a turn around the Upper Bench to see all the news houses, and the new subdivisions, and all the old houses, and the places where familiar people live (or lived). Then we were off down the highway and across the red bridge........
The river was still high, and we didn't see any Inner Tubes on the water, but as we stopped to take a picture
we spotted kayakers on a far bend. They seemed to be all tied together, - a colourful sight with yellow safety gear and a variety of coloured boats. As they drew closer, led by a couple of guide canoes, the sounds of laughter and excitement floated upstream, as a stretch of rapids came into view.
As we headed back towards town thunderclouds were gathering in the west, although the sky was still blue, but down from the south we were being approached by dark clouds and the occasional rumble of thunder, the quick and distant flashes of lightning.
As I returned Margaret to her residential facility the first large drops of rain began to fall, and there was a great and mighty clap of thunder. Home was only two blocks away, but by the time I arrived we were in the midst of a cloud burst and Callie, wide eyed and frightened, had found a hiding place to wait out the storm.
I don't bemoan the frequent showers and storms or the lack of devastating heat - the roses have loved this cooler season, but Hazel's geraniums, which are usually spectacular, are really sad and pouting......