A Victim of my Family and Other Animals

They are all on my case. They are all filthily smug about my short trip to Canada last week. It is a case of Schadenfreude at its very worst. They want the world to see my shame and feel GOOD. They think I normally lack sufficiently exciting blog material.

For the record, I love going to Canada and staying at my sister’s place in Stratford. I am spoiled and cuddled and no one gets mad at me. It is bliss as I sink back into a dreamy fantasy childhood of hot breakfasts and constant entertainment.

We go to visit Barb at the liquor store, Whitey in his little shop of horrors, see some of the best theatre in the world at the Stratford Festival, visit family members and eat yellow perch on the shores of Lake Erie. We go to the Antiques Warehouse (before it burned down), and stroll the streets of Justin Bieber’s childhood (my sister has fed him cookies…she claims.) Mr Kim makes us the best sushi in the world outside of Japan.

This time it was the same but different.

Instead of being wrapped in clean crisp sheets in a cosy historic house, we found ourselves in the tired sheets of the Festival Inn. Instead of short exciting walks to the theatre, we were located on the “strip” — miles out of town on Hwy 8, a major freeway. Taxi drivers looked after us.

The original trip was booked for October, 2020 when I would take my grand-daughter to see Canada. We would go during the Potato Holidays in October! We would see plays! We might even hit Hallowe’en if we were lucky! But the whole thing was doomed…some Greek god was playing with us.

COVID came, and the trip was postponed until October 2022. My grand-daughter was no longer in junior high school with long brown hair, but in “college” with short blue hair.  But, COVID had not finished with us, and the evening before our flight I received word that my sister’s house was COVID-infested. They had all tested positive and were as sick as dogs.

There was exactly one room left in all of Stratford, Ontario (last theatre week of the season.) No room at the inn… except, the Festival Inn!

This turned out to be an establishment more suited to a mining town north of Lake Superior. There was a complimentary fly strip hanging in the corner. The net curtains were torn and the windows filthy. The beds were spongey and lush. There was free parking! Hot water! And toilet paper and towels (on demand)! A neighbouring establishment offered an early 2-hour breakfast window and it was a 3 km walk into town. We had to prepay the six nights and sign a legal document that the hotel was not responsible for stolen items.

Our motel neighbours lived out of the back of their pick-up trucks and kept their hotel room doors open for friendly exchanges.

It was sad and glorious at the same time. We depended on the kindness of family: the niece, the nephew, the other sister. You were all great! I bow to you and applaud you all.  Encore!!!!