Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Two Special Trips

     Last Tuesday Beth and I travelled up to Hanover and I got to revisit some of the areas that were important to me when I was growing up. I was born there and like to call it my hometown even though we moved to Kitchener when I was 4 or so. However because both sets of grandparents lived there, we visited many weekends - it seems to me it was about every other weekend but Mom says it wouldn't have been that much. At any rate Hanover has a special place in my heart and memory since there's nothing like the unconditional acceptance of grandparents to make you feel loved. Plus on my Mom's side I was the first grandchild so I was probably spoiled from early on (at least that's what Aunt Marilyn claims about my Grandpa Bieman's relationship with me). Sometimes when I can't sleep at night I'll try visualizing their houses and find a peaceful, happy place.
     We visited the cemetery on the edge of town and when we got into Hanover we parked at the church which is across the street from Grandma & Grandpa Bieman's house (I remember going there often, including Sunday School). We walked from their house to Grandma & Grandpa Kreutzkamp's house which is a few blocks away, and it was a stretch of road I can remember walking along many times as a boy. Then we doubled back down the Main Street which still has a few famous landmarks (Norm's Restaurant, the movie theatre) but has also seen lots of changes - brought back many memories. Of course we had to visit Shultz's bakery and pick up a coffee cake (my mom used to work there many years ago). Then we met up with Mom & Dad and mom's two sisters and the brothers-in-law who were in town for a mini-reunion. We had a nice time with them for lunch at Cravings Restaurant, a favourite place of Grandma Bieman's in her later years.
     This past Labour Day weekend was our 3rd annual canoeing trip into the Frost Lake area with my sons and friends. We paddle for under 2 hours, with only 1 portage, so it's not an arduous trip by any means, and then we camp for the weekend on an island. First, on Friday night we headed for the Wiseman cottage outside of Huntsville and I was surprised with a nice ice cream cake and 14 people singing Happy Birthday to me (along with over 30 Facebook birthday greetings I felt very blessed). After a Tim Horton's stop Saturday morning, we put in at Raven Lake. It was a beautiful, sunny, and hot day, and somehow David and I ended up well in front of the other canoeists so when we arrived at the site we quickly jumped in the water to refresh and greet the rest of the travellers. On the portage in I have set myself the challenge (as the oldest guy on the trip) the last couple of years to carry our (heavy) Coleman canoe by myself, and I was happy that I was able to (barely) accomplish it. We had a super weekend together - it was great that my 3 boys could make it, along with my good friends Bruce and Steve (Daryl couldn't swing it this year) and sons Adam, Ben and Jesse.
     We had wonderful weather on Saturday but about 4:30 Sunday morning a terrific thunderstorm passed through (as in it seemed to pass right through our campsite). Steve said he timed it as lasting only 10 minutes but it sure felt longer - the lightning was almost relentless and the thunder was shaking the ground. Fortunately there wasn't much rain left by the time we got up in the morning, but we did put up 2 large tarps just in case. Each family took care of a meal so we (as in David) made steaks over the fire for supper on Sunday. It was pretty cold getting up Monday morning so I got the stove going with hot water for oatmeal and hot chocolate and started up the campfire for warmth (and burning the last of our garbage). We were packed up and away from the site before 10 o'clock and arrived back in Kitchener by four. Then we headed over to Mom & Dad's for a meal to celebrate my birthday, Alison's birthday and our 30th anniversary. My family got me a new digital camera which I really need as my last one is having a few issues. When we got back to our house I snuck over to the school for a bit to make final preparations for the first day of classes. So it was a pretty full, but obviously wonderful, weekend!

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