October 12, 2017

     

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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 experienced. 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 compartment.

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.