The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon

The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon
Shortlisted for The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

There and back again...

Lots of fun and adventure on the family vacation, but there's always something comforting about home.

We got back yesterday in the early evening and things were mostly as we left them. The grass is a little longer, the vegetable garden has exploded with bounty and ... hey, wait a minute! Why is it so easy for me to walk straight through the carport? Didn't there used to be an old, beat-up 12 speed bike in here?

Gone. Evaporated, apparently. The disappeared bike wasn't the new one that I have grown to love - that bike was safely locked in our potting shed. And something told me to throw a chain through the spokes of the wife's and children's bike, so they're all there, but that shitty 12 speed ball-cracker is gone. It isn't so much that I'll miss that bike - I was going to put it at the end of the driveway with a "free" sign on it anyway, but the point is someone (really tall without much respect for his testicles, if he rode it away) came into my carport and stole it.

Man, that pisses me off. I hope whoever took it enjoys it and rides the bike often. That way, maybe, his balls will become so hopelessly crushed (have I mentioned the uncomfortable seat the black bike has?) that he will become insignificant from an evolutionary standpoint and not be able to pass on his thieving genes.

Other than the stolen bike - and really, I don't care that much - the vacation was a lot of fun. There was fishing - brook and rainbow trout and bass, boat rides, hikes through bear-haunted woods (lots of bear sign on this visit - scat - one huge pile crawling with slugs near a pick-clean blueberry patch, torn open trees and smashed apart ant hills). I took the kids on their first atv rides.

In Sault Ste Marie we toured the locks along St Mary's River, explored the museum ship Norgoma and patronized the world's most unfriendly Used Book Store.

We attended a Pow-wow on the local Indian Reserve (and yes, I checked, the Thessalon Native North Americans prefer the term Indian) and what a blast that was. With the Thessalon Pow-wow there's a really strong element of respect for veterans and soldiers (something I believe to be a common thread running through all pow-wows). One of the dancers, a veteran of the Korean War, had a poppy as an integral part of his traditional regalia. It was wonderful for the kids. They were invited to join in many of the dances. The dances ranged from a very dignified and sombre entry dance with 49 drum beats of remembrance for 49 Indian (Native North America) prisoners of war who were executed by Nazis during World War II to the hilariously silly Potato dance where partners dance with a potato held between their foreheads. And that was the flow - sombre to silly and back and forth.

I took my nephew and the French exchange student staying with them golfing. He's here as part of an immersion program to learn conversational English. When he flubbed a short I heard him mutter "Merde.." "No, no, no." I told him. "You're here to learn English. When you fuck up a golf shot here you must say 'Shit'"

My sister-in-law was neither impressed nor surprised.

Yesterday - after a long drive we stopped of a couple of hours at a new visitor's centre at French River. Wonderful place that educates about the fur-route that opened up that part of North America to Europeans. We went on a fairly rugged hike with kids and dog in tow and were rewarded with this sight at the end of the trail (photo courtesy of my son):