Okay, a couple of hours have passed since my last post. I’m telling you — weeks go by without a word — then, wham! 2 posts in one day!
So, Thursday, which was Remembrance Day we have plans to attend a service in Vauxhall, and then lay a wreath at the cemetery in Lethbridge where Wilf is buried.
The morning gets off to good enough start. Connie makes us all french toast — yum! — and then Rick starts with ‘organizing’ everyone. We need to be in Vauxhall by 11 a.m. he tells us. Okay. Rob, who has a broken arm and is facing surgery on Monday, decides he needs to go wash his rental truck. (His own truck was broken in to and vandalized — for the second time this year — and is in the shop for repairs.) It’s a rental, we all say — why bother? Well, because he’s a Larson, that’s why.
Being a Larson will be a recurring theme throughout this account. Just so you know.
Rick tells Rob to be back by 10 so that we’re not late. No problem. The rest of us then set about getting dressed and organizing cameras, gathering up wreaths, boxes of Kleenex, etc. By 9:30 there’s no sign of Rob. Rick is becoming frantic. “We need to get out of here.” he keeps repeating. That’s that Larson thing I was mentioning. But you told Rob 10 o’clock we keep reminding him. Well, he should know enough to be back early, Rick counters. It’s decided we’re not waiting. We go to get in Rick’s vehicle. There is a ton of stuff on the back seat. I say let’s take our vehicle. I’ll drive. (I’ve been through my apology by this point.)
So, we pile into my vehicle and are out on the highway when Rick asks Connie if she locked the doors. Of course, she says. Well, how are Rob and Kelly going to know where we are, he says. And then they discover they’ve forgotten their cell phone, so it’s spin around and go back. Rick and Connie rush in, get the phone, make a sign for Rob and Kelly. We’re just about to pull away when I see them coming down the street. They pull up, the time is 9:56. Rob is a little miffed — “you said 10 o’clock, it’s 10 o’clock!” Anyway. . .
. . . we finally leave. We’re out on the highway again. It’s been all of five minutes since we left the house and both my husband and Rick are haranguing me from the back seat. I’m driving too slow, I’m stopping too fast, I’m in the wrong lane. . . I tell them both to shut up or they can get out and go with Rob. But Rob is now passing me and tearing off down the highway at super-speed. More haranguing from the back seat. Connie and I just look at each other and do our best to ignore them.
Rick starts telling me that if I don’t step on it we’re going to miss the service. It’s just after 10, I tell him, you said it starts at 11. Well, I want to get a good spot he says. We’ll get there, when we get there, I tell him. I’m doing 120 kmh and both him and Tim are telling me to go faster. I ignore them. This is as fast as I’m going to go. If we’re late, we’re late. Nothing to be done about it.
We roll through Taber, take our left at the sugar beet factory and head towards Vauxhall. Still the bitching from the back seat. “I will kick you to the curb,” I tell them. “Ha,” says Rick, “There is no curb! This is a country road.” Him and Tim laugh hysterically at that. Connie and I roll our eyes. Finally, we see the entrance to Vauxhall. I, amid a flurry of new instructions and directions, turn onto main street and head towards the 4-way in the middle of town. The Legion is to the right.
“We’ve missed it.” says Rick.
“How could we have missed it?” I ask. “It’s only ten minutes to 11.”
“Look at all the cars.” he says. “Well, that’s it. We’re too late. There’s no point in going in.”
We all look at him in amazement. “We’re going in. We didn’t drive all this way NOT to go in.”
Connie marches towards the hall, we all follow. As we enter the building we hear the familiar sound of Revelry. Then, a voice intoning everyone to observe 2 minutes of silence. We aren’t too late! We’re just Larson late!
After observing the 2 minutes of silence we tiptoe to a doorway. And are turned around and told to go to the other door where there is a bit more room. Off we go. We’re standing at the back of the Legion hall. The place is packed. My husband is holding the cross of poppies they’ve brought to lay in memory of their father. We stand for a long time. There are scripture readings, followed by a song from a couple of local girls, then prayers from a local minister, followed by a speech from another. Then, there is an interminably long reading out of names of the local business and community organizations — some of who are placing a wreath, but most certainly not all. At some point I turned to Connie and asked if Rick had called ahead to tell the organizers that they wanted to place a wreath in honour of Wilf. She frowned. Shook her head no. I grinned. Next thing I know, Rob is asking if anyone has a pen. I dig through my purse, find a pen. Connie finds an old receipt and writes on the back of it: In memory of Wilfred Larson. Wreath laid by his son, Timothy.
Then Rob, with his bright purple cast/sling slinks through the back of the hall, sidles up along the side of the hall and stands waiting for a pause in the reading of names so that he can pass along his note. Quite a bit of time goes by. We see him start to nod off. Finally, he is motioned to step forward. The presenter reads out our note. All eyes in the hall have now spun around to stare at our small group. My husband’s name is spoken. He steps forward with the cross. I get out my camera to catch the moment. What I catch is his head concealed by a drooping flag.
Huge sigh. But the moment is past.
The service is finished. The colour guard marches out and we head into the recreation side of the Legion. It’s time for a drink and a donut.
. . .to be continued.