More Than Special

on Friday, February 6, 2009

 “We’ve never been in the position of having the best.  It was an absolute treat.  I felt like I had to remind them that it was only us, the Goodsell’s.” My heart was smiling as mum recalled my parents recent trip to Canada. I enjoyed her enjoying this memory. “Is that right Den?” she occasionally pressed. I was not quite sure if she was really clarifying the details or trying to include him in divulging their trips secrets. “And the scenery was absolutely spectacular!” she gushed. Even over the phone I could tell she was now drawing from her heart and not just her memory. This trip was somehow different. More than just a collection of sights, stunning as they were, they had returned with more than memories and physical souvenirs.  She had my attention now.  I was determined to discern what had rocked her world, worlds away.You know your father has wanted to go to Canada ever since he

 was a boy.  He saw the “Rocky Mountaineer” on his viewfinder.  You remember those?” My memory stretched just enough to my red toy with a wheel of slides. “We were gold class on the train.  Followed the Frazer River all the way to Kamloops and Bamss.  That’s in Alberta. Oh, it was beautiful. The mountains are awe inspiring; so steep.  And they don’t drive small cars.  Large vehicles like Hummers. You know they don’t even have crash barriers on the side of the roads.” 

 Her train of thought had now diverted.  I had become accustomed to mums habit of making a quick topic detour mid conversation and quickly caught up.  “They can’t have a barrier cause the weight of the snow will break them.” My imagination inserted a thought bubble of them in an emotional state trying to use these curling roads next to plunging valleys with no barriers driving their Winne Bargo, their usual mode of transport.  “We are so flat compared to Canada. Actually, the South Island of New Zealand is similar. A smaller version. But you didn’t come on that trip did you?” 

Her monologue had now jumped from a train in Alberta to New Zealand so I rerouted her surging recollections to Bamss.  “Oh yes. We got on the bus then. Went to Lake Louise, Jasper, the Columbian Icefields; you know they go for 200kms.  200kms of ice!. Then Whistler and Vancouver Island and Victoria.”  I knew the list of geography which she has always recalled with amazing clarity, was not going to reveal what I was looking for.

 “You went on a boat too didn’t you mum?” I prompted.

 “The Vollemdamm!” she declared proudly. “Took us up the Inside Passage to Alaska and Skagway.  It’s a Dutch Ship”.  She corrected protectively. “They served your father the best Alberta steaks.  His meat was hanging over the edges of the plate.  And it melted in his mouth. All their cattle are handfed there cause they have snow a lot of the time.” As she continued revealing more of Canadian cattle methods, I looked out the window at our thinning bovine standing idle in dusty fields.  We had no more feed and wondered if I could line them up with the kids and feed them Wheetbix in the mornings.

 “That’s lots of meat mum,” I politely agreed but realised it probably wasn’t the food that made her voice sparkle.  So I dug further. “What was your favourite bit? You know, where God meets mum?”  The following silence was way out of character and I wondered if we had been cut off. “It has to be Lake Louise.  We were standing on the edge of the lake and heard what I thought was thunder.  But then I saw it.  It was an avalanche only two miles across the frozen water. I’ve always felt closer to God through nature admiring His creation. But you know it was the people too. The Fairmont was pure luxury and our room even had three bay windows. But the service was something we just weren’t accustomed to.  Oh we loved it but we were treated like we were someone special”

 Like we were someone special. There it was. The reason for her delight quickened in my heart and I celebrated their delight of celebrity treatment. But this truth was a double edged sword and I grieved at their belief of second rate citizens. They were special wether they lived in luxury or not.  Maybe people around them and limited economics had contributed to this erroneous belief but it doesn’t alter the truth. They were made in His image and God is beyond impressive. The maker of Canadian mountains and avalanches and mighty spruce trees gave all this to them as their outdoor Fairmont. To staff it, He gave us each other which puts them in the position of “always having the best.”