Saturday, April 04, 2009

In the Mountains, On the Prairies

I've never heard anyone say they lived on the mountains...and in the prairies might be a little more common, but I prefer on the prairies because there's nothing between you and the sky -- the horizon is always down there, a nice consistent center of gravity grounding you below the knees.

I get fits of prairie longing and nostalgia every fall. Harvest time. Never in winter. This year we're going to be in Manitoba at the end of June, through Canada Day and into the first few days of July. Bill hatched this ambitious plan involving a joint road trip with him and Sam (Tannis and Ezra will fly), a dinosaur museum and Niakwa Pizza in Altona. Notes of anticipation:
  • Riding motocross long ago ceased to be part of my identity, and I've basically forsaken it as personal history (of all skills to master at as a kid, why that?)...but then I think about flying around Milt's track with him (like this photo from a few years back), jumping 70 feet through the air and coming back to earth at 70km/h, which shouldn't even be possible...and my heart skips a beat in a good way. Plus, just hanging out with Milt and Carla is often a trip highlight, going late into the night overanalyzing and laughing.
  • I want to wander with my camera along ditches and riverbanks and fields, smelling Indian Tobacco and flax, seeing hawks spin on the wind. I want to pedal down straight dirt roads and throw rocks into the water below railway bridges. I don't want any company, deadline or schedule.
  • I'm dreading going to see my grandpa at whichever institution he's stuck in now, not wanting to feel forgotten...and letting the guilt of that sentiment simmer. My instinct is hide, not learn. Yet I don't want to forget him either, and I am looking forward to seeing the rest of the Stoesz relatives.
  • I want to wake up at Plett's house and walk to the co-op for a banana, yogurt and juice. Maybe Freez or Brent will sell me some pop and salt 'n vinegar chips for later when I stop at the station to say hi. I want to sit with the powerful matriarch of the Rosenort Reimer clan with as many of her wonderful daughters and granddaughters as we can collect on short notice. Or just her.
  • Globetrotter and dear friend Shawna may be coming to MB right then too. We're so far overdue to hang out, it's embarrassing. I've tried to rook several other long-distance friends to coordinate their summer trips to be there at the same time, but they're not looking promising. And realistically we'll have too many people to see already.
  • I may need a bicycle along, and if so, need to ride with Chad at some point. The Whiteshell would be fun, but probably logistically difficult. Looking forward to hanging with Tannis's family...preferably at Grand Beach if the weather cooperates.
  • I'm prepared to see Altona in a whole new light, now that our old Summerland friends the Hildebrands live there. My only past experiences of the place were bitter childhood sporting rivalries in volleyball, soccer and hockey, and a few memorable motocross races. Maybe we'll take in the Canada Day Festivities there. And Niakwa Pizza.
  • I enjoyed seeing my Hiebert relatives two trips ago, and will try to make that happen again.
  • Lots of old friends to see too, but not always easy to fit it all in. It's been way too long since I hung out with Mr. Jeremy Plett. I'm terrible at planning these things in advance, despite obviously having some ideas about how I'd like things to go.


The Squirrel Hunter said...

You will be incredibly depressed, but you can use my bike if you want. That same pink and black Giant that I bought back in '92, back when suspension was still a luxury.

Just come up with a day and a list of people, and do a bbq out of my backyard. I'm sure 60% of the people you want to see also show up on my list of long-ignored friends who cause me feelings of guilt. It's an actual list.


Angelo said...

Sounds ambitious. I go back every six months or so, and never seem to accomplish half the stuff, or see half the people, I intend to. Of course my trips are usually limited to the less-than-five-day threshold established a few years ago. How long are you going for?

It's a shame we didn't coordinate our trips this summer. Would be good to meander the prairie backroads together on a lazy afternoon in somebody else's car.

Jeremy said...

Thanks for both generous offers, Plett. Your old Giant would do fine for noodling down backroads...maybe not the Whiteshell, though. I'd rather not shlepp mine halfway across the country, so we'll see. A BBQ sounds great.

Angelo, this list is ridiculous, I realize -- if I accomplish three or four of these things in a week, it'll be victory. And yes, we'll totally have to coordinate this the next time around.

Marj said...

Don't forget the Sugar Shack! We'd love to see you there.

Ok, how weird is it that the verification word is "Flood!"? High and dry and COLD - no sign of a flood yet. Just ice and snow....sigh...maybe you should wait till August to head this way...

Jeremy said...

Yes, the Sugar Shack. OF COURSE! I've lamented not making it out there every time. I'd love to connect with you and your crew there if we can swing it somehow. How about wine 'n weiner roast at the Shack with your kids, and maybe any of Kim's clan who might want to?

Flights are booked for Canada Day, so winter better be gone by then. Although I am going through withdrawal symptoms on my ice-photo addiction, so if there are still a few shreds around, I'll be grateful.

Elizabeth said...


Jeremy said...

Elizabeth, I have sad news on that front. Niakwa Pizza in Altona is apparently no more...Lorne broke the news to me last week.

Any recommendations on things I MUST do in Altona?