Sunday, April 30, 2006

Wagons Roll.

Memo to self: Add a trans-Canada trip by Greyhound to my list of Things to Do Before I Die.
Since I retired from my honorary male job, the voice of my left brain is gradually being shouted down by the newly-assertive right brain. This is giving me endless fun and taking me on all kinds of new adventures; I never travel more than a mile or two now without a notebook and pen, scribbling away on any pretext. Just like painting, it teaches me to see.

Old folks are the new Roadies. The bus to northern Manitoba had a good share of unaccompanied women seniors; I noticed them in what I considered a most untypical bus line-up in Winnipeg--neatly groomed, with newish compact luggage. The lady in the seat ahead of me, Pierrette, had been on the bus for two days straight, coming from Ottawa and sleeping where she sat. She was sharply dressed and wiry, with a tan you don't get from a Canadian winter and a twinkle in her eye, and had brought along a mohair blanket and her CD collection. She was off to see her sister in Swan River--the price was right, and she couldn't refuse.

Imagine being left on the prairie by the Greyhound bus. It would be like falling off a cruise boat in the middle of the ocean. There's nowhere within a day's walk, and in the winter it would certainly be fatal if no-one else happened by within a minute or two. One thing the prairie has plenty of is distance. It's like those nightmares where you run and run and get nowhere. You have to admire the pioneers that settled here.

The North American system of measuring ingredients by cupful (rather than by weight, as in Europe) when cooking has got to stem from long journeys by covered wagon. "Supper ready, dear?" "You're gonna have to stop them danged oxen fer a bit, while I weigh the ingredients for the pie."

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