Friday, September 02, 2011
Dateline: Near Montreal.
There's something about a long road trip. As if one lives in a bubble, a balloon, floating above one's normal life, detached.
It's even more enhanced when accompanied by a beloved companion who shares her quirks and eccentricities and her rich imagination and who is also extraordinarily well read and informed.
We toss around all sorts of ideas, comment on the ridiculousness of human existence and this insatiable want that seems to overcome so many people, this desire for "more" that drives unjust wars and extreme poverty all over this tiny planet. The sad materialism of so many evidenced by ridiculously large vehicles speeding past us, Hummers, SUVs and their ilk, often with just one driver. Usually miserable too, if the face is the mirror of the soul. Nobody sings, we observe, except us. What is a road trip without singing?
I talk to the waitress at the wonderful bistro where we had lunch today, a wee bit off the road just before Quebec City. Turns out she owned the restaurant that served a heavenly beef bourginonne. And the menu was handwritten at the beginning of every week featuring 3 daily choices each day (soup, entree, dessert and coffee all for $9.99). She asked where we were from and where we were going.
She said: "When my last baby left home, for a whole year I accompanied my husband, a long haul driver, across the entire country, from coast to coast and my favourite place was Newfoundland!"
I said to her, "It's a shock how beautiful Newfoundland is, it is Canada's best kept secret!"
"My dear," she said,"We live in the most beautiful country in the world, don't we?"
And I nodded, feeling quite emotional at sharing this brief and wonderful moment with a Quebecois.
Afterwards, Grandgirl said to me that she finds this type of understated patriotism so much more meaningful than flag waving and anthem singing and hands on hearts and swearing allegiance and pledges.
"It's so heartfelt, so real, it makes me so proud to be a Canadian!"