Saturday, October 16, 2010

Holiday Time

Today we left home for a holiday trip. We plan to drive south through the central states, perhaps as far as the Gulf Coast.

As we left the driveway about 8:30 this morning we heard a strange noise from the car. Couldn't decipher it, so drove into town to drop off a book at the library. When I stepped out of the car, the problem was clear: the right front tire was very flat! We limped over to KalTire and had to wait until 9 for them to open. They quickly found out that the valve stem was damaged, and soon had it fixed up with a new valve stem, and we were off.

Our first pit stop was in Strathmore, where we picked up some Werther's Originals from Walmart. These candies are a must for on road trips, and the tin in the glove compartment was almost empty.

By noon we arrived at Bill and Pearl's, friends from years and years ago. We had a nice visit, including lunch: some delicious homemade muffins.

Then we went to Lethbridge to visit our old friend Hilda, "old" as having been a friend for almost 40 years, and "old" as being 89, going to be 90 next April. That was a sad visit, as she is definitely failing mentally, forgetting so much! She lives in a care facility, and I think there is just not enough mental stimulation for the residents. They can sit around, do jigsaw puzzles and watch television. I think I'd go downhill rapidly in that situation also. It's a conundrum: is she becoming so forgetful because she doesn't have enough stimulation, or is she so detached because she is so forgetful?

Whenever I visit her I resolve to stay as active both mentally and physically as I possibly can!

Driving south from Lethbridge we passed
through that wide open landscape of the southern Alberta prairies. When we moved west in 1971, this was all new to us. I came to love the openness and expansiveness of the prairie landscape, and always enjoy visiting this area again.

We had a bit of a "kerfuffle" at the U.S. border as Jim did not know that I had put most things from the fridge into the cooler when we packed. The Mandarin orange, I just didn't think about. I know very well that you can't take any citrus fruit across the border. Just blanked out on that one. But the red peppers I never suspected were "verboten." And of course, Jim was not even aware that I had put them in the cooler. So as the border guard is asking whether we have any fruit or vegetables and Jim is saying, "No" another guard is looking at them in the trunk, and saying, "They have oranges and peppers!"

They had us pull over to the "inspection" area, and Jim explained to the inspector, "My wife must have cleaned out the fridge!" He was very nice about it, welcomed us to the U.S., wished us a pleasant trip--and confiscated the one orange and the peppers.

Sorry, Sweetie! I certainly didn't mean to put you in an awkward position!

We stopped at a rest area north of Great Falls and saw this rather intimidating sign:---->

Got to Great Falls around 6:30 and checked into the Motel 6, pretty much my favorite because you depend on lots of light for reading and knitting. Had a little supper of bread, sardines and cheese, and are settled in for the night.

We don't have any definite plans at this point, and after all the planning for the big Thanksgiving dinner and visit with the kids and grandkids, that seems just a very pleasant way to take a holiday. So we'll just see what turns up.

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