Not even 30 minutes into the 4 hour drive, we hit major rain. The wipers were on full blast and not clearing the water. It lasted like that for an hour! Whew...it stopped raining but you could see more dark clouds up ahead. In our 4 hour drive to my brother's home in Kitchener, I drove through copious amounts of rain, some hail, high winds which wanted to throw the van into the lane I was not driving in and fog. The highway speed is listed at 100 km/hour but the cruising speed of the vehicles on this road is normally 120 km/hour. On Friday night, the speeds went anywhere from 60 km/hour to 80 km/hour and then in the few dry spells back up to 120 km/hour. By the time I reached my brother's home at 11:00 p.m., my shoulders and neck muscles were filled with knots and I had a major headache. My son is able to drive and was willing to take over the driving, but the rain poured down so hard that the wipers couldn't keep up with it, you couldn't see the lanes and you couldn't see the road signs. There were very few spots where we could have pulled over safely to switch drivers.
I met up with my husband at my brother's house as he had been in the area for business meetings. I had a brief visit with my sister-in-law before I
Yesterday was Mother's Day. This was the reason for our trip to Kitchener. My siblings and our families have not been together with just my mom since before my dad died in 1991. My mom had called us all about 2 weeks ago and told us her plan. We would all meet at The Falls Inn and Spa in Walter's Falls, Ontario for a Mother's Day Brunch. So we loaded our van up with 7 people for a 2 hour drive up to the Inn. En route, we detoured so that we could go by the church that my mom grew up in and got married in near Bognor, Ontario. I remember attending this church on Sunday mornings as a little girl while visiting my grandparents' farm. The church closed many, many years ago and is now a bed and breakfast. Directly across the road was an old abandoned school house. It is grey and lonely looking. It still has the bell tower over top the entrance but there is no bell. This was her elementary school she attended as a little girl. As we stopped and my husband took pictures, my mom shared a few memories with us. She told us that there were two older boys who took hold of my uncle and holding onto his feet, dangled him headfirst into the well. My mom says she remembers my uncle laughing but that she was terrified for him. As she was describing this event, she pointed at the yard and gave us the approximate location of where the well was. What was interesting is that the old hand pump was still there although it was overgrown with grass and weeds!
I have forgotten to mention that as we were driving up to Walter's Falls from Kitchener, the wind picked up and snow and sleet started to hit the van. As my husband was taking pictures of old St. Paul's United Church and the old St. Paul's school, the gale force wind was blowing snow and it was very cold. After visiting the old school, my mom directed my husband to the old homestead of my great grandparents. As we drove up the laneway so my husband could again take some pictures, I recognized the house! I had memories of visiting my great-uncle in the 1970's who had taken over the homestead many years before. As I sat in our van, I could literally smell the mouth-watering aroma of my great-aunt's kitchen. The memory that I was reliving was of my grandpa, my dad and I stopping by Uncle Willie's house for something. As we walked in to the house, you could smell my Aunt Mary's baking. She was making pies and some were out cooling while others were still baking. There's nothing like an old farm kitchen with the Franklin wood stove providing the heat along with the smell of homemade pies!! So now I'm back in 2013 in our van and I'm watching my husband take pictures of the outside of the old farm house. It's been kept in great shape. The biting wind is whipping his hair and dress pants as the snow is blowing. You see, Bognor, Walter's Falls and the area is all set on top of the Niagara Escarpment. There are high "hills" and deep valleys. We continued on our way to Walter's Falls.
We arrived at The Falls Inn and Spa just in time for our Mother's Day Brunch reservation time. When I packed on Friday, we had been enjoying warm Spring temperatures. I packed a very nice flowing skirt along with a dressy white t-shirt which was covered with a three-quarter length sleeved light jacket. For my feet, I packed my sandals. So there I am, climbing out of our van with my very Spring-like ensemble. My bare feet were blue from cold even though I had wrapped a blanket around my feet for the ride up. As the side door of the van opened up, the wind whipped my skirt right up into my face just like the old Marilyn Monroe photo except I'm sitting and trying to climb gracefully out of the van.....NOT! It was rather funny and I'm sure it looked just as funny because there was my brother roaring with laughter...once I got my skirt down from my face. We went indoors and awaited our turn to be seated. As we were waiting, my other brother, sister-in-law and my two nephews arrived. My sister and brother-in-law arrived with my two nieces and my nephew. They are triplets and are growing up so quickly. They'll be starting high school in September. Everyone arrived at just the right moment because the hostess was leading us to our table. I asked my mom, "How many are we now?" She promptly and proudly said "16"!! It was so nice to see my mom so happy. She was glowing and so proud of having her children and grandchildren all together.
As can only happen in a large family, the noise level increased as we all laughed, teased and talked. Sometimes amongst the ones right beside us, but other times, raising our voices to "talk" to the other family members at the other end of the very long table. As we enjoyed the warmth of a delicious Sunday brunch, our table overlooked Walter's Falls. The Falls Inn is actually built on the location of the original sawmill site. The view was spectacular! You could see the rocky hills of the Niagara Escarpment and right outside the window and below was the actual Falls. As we ate and visited, the wind outside picked up and started sliding the patio chairs around on the patio. The snow started falling more heavily with big fluffy flakes. The snow started to accumulate on the ground. We all enjoyed our meals and the family fellowship. Before long, it was time to get up and leave.
Oh wait!!! My mom had my brother-in-law bring along his camera and tripod. We all congregated in the foyer where there were was a wrought-iron circular staircase. We set my mom up in a beautiful chair and arranged all 15 of us around her. Some stood beside her chair, some stood behind her chair and some of us stood on the stairs. My brother-in-law set up the shot, put on the timer and ran to get in the picture. He told us to look at the flashing light. Wait....what flashing light? So back he goes to the camera to try again. Take 2 became Take 3 and then 4 and finally Take 5. The end result was a wonderful family photo!! My sister is going to get copies made for all of us including our children. My son has already said that he's going to get his framed and take it with him to university in September.
The bonus part of the day yesterday was that my one nephew's birthday was on Saturday, May 11. So we went back to my brother's place and shared in the celebration with a birthday cake. It was a great day and wonderful to see us all together. My mom was so happy and I enjoyed myself immensely. Before too long, it was time to pile back into the van for a 2 hour drive back to my other brother's home. We dropped my mom off. Originally we were going to just
I have to say the snow stopped and we had a very good drive home. We arrived home around midnight and I'm very tired today. But....my Mother's Day was so worth the extra effort and time required. I can always catch up on sleep. Today, I'll unpack, teach and do laundry tonight. I'm hoping I'll have an early bedtime. It was a great weekend and I can't stop smiling from the memories and stories that were told. It is so heart-warming to have nieces and nephews who have the same quirky senses of humour. My one nephew is quiet. You see a sparkle in his eye and a very slow smile develop as he shares in the family dynamics. My other nephew is a little louder and enjoys a good laugh. It was a great day! So Happy Belated Mother's Day and I hope you enjoyed your day as much as I enjoyed mine. May it have added some warm memories to your heart.