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We all look to the sun

Monday, August 07, 2006

I had one of the most amazing weekends. My mother and I went to visit my grandparents who live in Saint-André-Avellin. Once we were out of Vaudreuil, the drive to the little village was just what I needed. At first, I was slightly nervous by my mothers driving. Not because she drives dangerously but because she surpassed the maximum of 80km/h that I am used to handle regularly on my way to work.

The scenery was lush with native flowers, trees and shrubs which all seemed to be radiant. Of course, some areas were only for show, thin trimmings of forestry to hide the stripped land of progress. But the further we were from Montreal, the thicker the landscape became. The road to Saint-André is embellished with village spots, making the speed limit sway from 90 to 50 and back up to 90km/h again. It’s nice when you slow down and no one is there to push you into speeding by something that my take your breath away.

When we arrived at the cottage, my grandparents, my godmother, my aunt, her husband and their two children welcomed us. I was struck by my grandfathers weight loss. He wasn’t the man I remembered who used to eat a slice of pie after each meal. Yet, when I was swinging on the front porch and heard him singing from his lazy-boy I was thrown back to the times when my thoughts were not clouded by the fear of losing him and my grandmother.

At the table, while we chatted over desert, she explained to me why she was looking forward to moving to Gatineau to her new apartment. “She listens to me,” she said, bringing a tissue to her puffy left eye talking to me about her new doctor, “ she’s not always offering me some new drugs.” (Here, I skip my anger towards her mistreatment and her previous physician and hope for a more compassionate future.)

It’s difficult for me to imagine my grandparents living in an apartment building. They have always lived on great lakeshore lands. Gardens, boats, copious meals and many many relatives have always been linked to my idea of my grandparents. An idea that has now been confronted to a new outline of age, love and family.

For me, the cottage (which has changed locations three times in my lifetime) has been synonym with haven. But it’s only yesterday while I was floating under the sun that I looked back at the shore thinking that for my grandparents it may be quite the opposite or something completely different. The shed is falling apart. The picnic table is chipped and has lost all it’s color. But some tall bright colored flowers that were initially planted near the entrance have spread up and across the grounds surrounding the whole courtyard. Everything is changing.

The haven is now time spent together. Time cleaning up the shore with a little blond haired girl. Time spent sitting around the table playing poker. Sitting with my mother. Serving a meal to my grandmother, one she didn’t have to cook. Time waiting for my grandfather to come around on his lawnmower and offering to do the chore and watching him decline, smiling and proud that he can still push the pedal and turn the wheel. Time driving my mother home and singing along to her favorite songs.

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posted by Primessa Espiritu
2:27 pm


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