[This post is part of the 5 Years Ago Today Series]
As you know from the first half of this story, I successfully, and safely, crossed the river and was able to leave the island for the first time in 10 days.
[cont… 18 Dec – still cold & sunny]
I think the Calvins may have had a more stressful time of my crossing than I did. They watched the whole adventure with binoculars from their living room window to make sure I was okay. They worried every time I stopped to test the ice with the axe or adjust the strap I was using to haul the canoe, or even wrap my scarf a little tighter.
Sue was kind enough to drive me over the ferry to the Gondola Point Grocery, where I shocked (and maybe delighted?) John & Cathy who had “presents” waiting for me from both mom & Gerry. Mom sent high-tech long underwear and some smartwool socks from MEC to keep me warm. Gerry sent my laptop.
I grabbed my gifts and I jumped in the car to drive into town and see Dad. At this point Dad had been out of the hospital for just over a week, and was recovering from surgery and from being stuck on the island with a massive heart attack for 3 days. So you can understand my rush to cross & get to town to see him.
[You might have noticed, that while these posts keep getting longer, I’m not sharing much about what is happening with my father ashore. I promised my father I wouldn’t write much about him on the blog since we had that call from CBC triggered by one of my posts, which he still refers to as “that time you outed us to the media”. This moratorium on writing about him also means I’m skipping all the bits about me worrying and fretting about him. But also the good bits about Di & Molly who were doing such a wonderful job looking after him, and all the friends and family who rushed to be around and to help.]
Got into town and Dad looked good!
Di insisted I have a shower while she made me food… I didn’t argue much on either count. Ahhhhh a shower! Did I mention there’s no running water on the island?
As I headed back to the car after my short visit I saw a woman walking down the street. “Wouldn’t it be nice if that were Jackie”, I thought. My aunt Jackie had arrive the day before from Calgary. hadn’t seen her in over 14 years.
I doodle packed up the car, and kept being drawn to stare at this woman walking towards me hoping she’d look up and recognize me or turn off onto a side street or something to determine if she was Jackie. Which of course she wouldn’t be… how could she be… well she did sort of have a Clark-feel to her… but no…
Then I notice her sneakers – not really Saint John-style footwear for December. And her outfit – black, sleek, pseudo-track suit fleece matching her black sunglasses – not really Saint John-esque either more Calgarian. Coiffed hair… hmm… so I figure I’ll call her name quietly “Jackie?” She didn’t stop moving, didn’t smile, just tilted and turned her head slightly – aha!
“Geeze,” I say as I toss my coat in the passengers side casually, “don’t say hi then… I’m Alexa”.
“Alexa, you’re on the wrong block,” she replied without missing a beat. Definitely family.
Unfortunately I had to hit the road to make sure I’m on the island again before dark. Quick zip to Superstore for groceries and fresh veggies. Library for some books on tape. Boozeteria for some wine and a bottle of Dubonnet.
Then change back into my layers and layers of clothes (including my fancy new insulated long johns & undershirt) before crossing the river back home. John drove me back to Moss Glen and I crossed, safely, just in time to do my “I’m safe home” calls sitting on the beach as the sun started dipping down.