There was a bit of dithering when I got home. Run or mow and trim the lawn? Run or mow? In the end the lawn won out. I really must get the blades sharpened and and the cutter bar properly set. One of the helical blades is way out, which makes things very difficult.
Saturday morning we were up and off to the airport fairly early. Some of you know that the only immediate family either of us have here is one cousin each. Lee is busy working all the time. Terry has been living here even longer than Linda and we try to get together a couple times a year. There are some more distant relatives here, or near here, but I've lost touch with them again. I don't really think of myself as a family oriented person, but it's nice to be reminded that there are people that think you are family.
A little while ago one of my youngest cousins had a child. S lives in Montreal. I was pleased and a bit surprised to be invited to a party where she was coming back to BC to visit her mom and show off toddler C. (This is not the first visit.) Lots of cousins and relatives from her mom's side of the family were there, but one as well from her dad's side (which is how she is my cousin).
At first I thought, I'd have to fly out just for the weekend, and then I thought, I don't care. I want to go. I'll never again have a chance to see C being a small child in person, and she might well be full grown before I meet her again. Plus, I have a ton of cousins on both sides of my family in the Chilliwack area. Turns out my aunt lives only a few miles from where my dad's side of the family farmed though we didn't go that way. Even though I'm told my aunt and I were childhood friends, I don't really remember it; I was preschool, after all. I only ran into her on some of my rare visits.
My memories of the Fraser Valley is that it was primarily a farming community, cattle and mixed farms. Now it's strictly crops, I don't think I saw a cow all weekend. There is so little farming now there is an actual road sign saying "Respect farm vehicles." My memories are that if you saw a non-farm vehicle it was people going to church. Times change. I did see a couple guys on nice road bikes though.
In fact, S took me to where our mutual grandparents farmed. She knows where it is, but doesn't really remember it as a working farm. There is nothing there now. Nothing at all, none of of the buildings or trees or anything. However, Google maps is behind the times. You can see the barn, and the small building just the left of it is the original dairy. There is a tiny square just at the bottom of the barn where the more modern dairy was. Just above the barn is the driving shed. Sort of at the top left side of a small square using the old dairy, the barn, and the driving shed, was a small storage shed. In the photo it's a small black sqare. You can't even see the scar where the house was, a bit to the left of the storage shed, or some pear trees near it. It was a very, very small house, with no basement, so I'm not surprised there is no trace of where it was. At the top left of the image is a house surrounded by trees and a garden. That isn't there anymore either. I remember another house there that was damaged in a miscalculation with dynamite. I think it was in the field at the top of the image.
S was nice enough to leave her child in the hands of people corrupt enough to feed candy to a baby and pick us up at the airport. There were several prominent warnings on Facebook about such an eventuality but I don't know how it turned out. She didn't seem too wired. We got there well before the show started, and I got to have some quiet time with my cousins S and A, and their mom D. And toddler C, of course, who is an adorable child. She has light blue eyes, blond hair and fair skin. She has the most oddly intense eyes, and a very serious way of looking at the world. Here she is, on the run.
Here's mom S and sister A. That's a cousin of theirs, but not mine off to the right.
And all of my cousins at the party in one shot. I was only on the way home when I realized that we didn't get one of me, V, J, and R. Oh well.
I had never got to spend much time with these guys and it was nice to do so. My cousin V was coming back from a trip out of town and showed up a bit later. She is the one I know best of all my cousins and it was so nice to chat with her and her husband. We are of similar ages, and I think are quite alike in some ways.
The pot luck food was all excellent, and I don't know what was in the burgers but they were tres yummy! I ate lots. Training be damned. We stayed till it was time to go, and then chatted yet a while longer with V after we got to her place.
Next morning her brother J and sister R showed up for breakfast. I haven't met J since we were maybe early teens at oldest, but we got back in touch through Facebook. I used to work with R, briefly, when we both lived in the same small town, and have run into her occasionally on trips. We've at least met as adults. We had a nice breakfast and just chatted for a while, then went out and watched an excavator knock some trees down for some work about to happen on V's property. Exciting times!
Back in Abbotsford airport we found this water clock. Fascinating. I love that sort of stuff. I would have liked to watch it a bit more, but we had a plane to catch.
All in all, I'm really pleased by this weekend. It wasn't that expensive, really, especially since my obliging cousins could do airport driving so there was no car rental. I got a chance to see family I haven't seen for a while. Every time I do this I enjoy myself, and I hope the people I visited enjoy the visit as well. We say we shouldn't wait so long, and especially not have to wait for a wedding or funeral. I'm tentatively planning a trip next year. Maybe out to do a race, then hang out for a week after. V has two other siblings that need visiting. One lives where they shot The Beachcombers, so it's just a little bit scenic. For the non-Canadians, you'll have to IMDB it, I couldn't begin to explain. I have a bunch of Cartmell cousins I haven't seen for a while either, and I'm overdue for a visit there. Soon guys, soon. I hope.
And friends. In fact, I heard from one of them already. I quote "You were here and didn't say hi??? :-(" Yeah, lay on the guilt. I wasn't quite "there", though I admit it's as close as I've been in a while.