After two days of rest we boarded a train
and headed for British Columbia. A three day journey. Watching the western
landscape roll by our window, we shared memories and hopes in conversation.
Dreaming aloud about what the future would bring. At various stops along the
way we stepped off the train. A chance to catch glimpses of places we had
heard about but never
Then back on and away to the next stop. Often meeting fellow passengers.
Many from other countries. Offering us opportunity to share our point of
view on Canada and its people. All interspersed with naps in our sleeping
Our final stop was
Mission, a small town about an hour from Vancouver. We spent two evenings
with Barbara's sister and her husband. Then off to Abbotsford in a rented
car to spend an evening with my uncle and aunt. Auntie insisted that we
spend the night in their room. After a wonderful dinner and lots of
conversation we headed for bed. Settling in under the covers, Barbara began
to lightly express intimacy. She noticed that I was somewhat reluctant and
wondered why. The very idea of making love in that bed was overwhelming to
me. It was as if my whole Dutch Calvinist heritage was in the room. She did
tease me a bit. Then put her head on my shoulder. We lay quietly together
and fell gently into sleep.
The next morning, after a wonderful Dutch
breakfast, we started driving to the coast. On arrival we boarded a ferry
heading for Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island. There we visited with Barbara's
mother. A curious woman with a deep appreciation for her own worth and
merit. I also met some of Barbara's younger sisters and brothers for the
first time. An experience which allowed me to gain some insight into
Barbara's past. Her mother had been painting for most of her adult life. She
had a talent and a determination. But there was little indication of her
presence as mother. She had brought ten children into the world. I saw
little evidence then, as well as through the following years, that she cared
for her family. Her attention seemed wholly focused on her person, her
dreams and her ambitions. The visit passed quickly. Soon we were saying our
good byes and starting on the journey home.
Getting off the train in Winnipeg we found
the ground covered with snow. Headed for our apartment by taxi. Approaching
our front door we noticed a rose still in bloom by the step. This struck us
both as a sign of all good things to come. Fully aware that the future would
include challenge. Confident that our love would see us through all the
seasons of life to follow.