On Easter day I spent one of the most wonderful hours of my 70 year old life! I was holding my 3 & 1/2 month old granddaughter Stella in my arms and she does not like to be held unless the holder is moving. She demands movement and soon lets the holder know that slacking off will not be acceptable. Well today after walking around the cottage a number of times I wanted to sip my coffee. I asked Stella to consent to “one sip”. At first Stella grumbled, as expected, but then she settled down. She acquiesced and I had a fine sip of coffee. Then I sneaked one more. And a third and a fourth. Stella was falling asleep in my arms.
I got to hold Stella for nearly an hour as she slept quietly in my arms. As I sat there staring at this beautiful girl only 3&1/2 months old I thought back to an event almost exactly 49 years ago. It happened in Ste. Anne Manitoba at the wedding social of my friends Chris and Laverne Duguay at the Au’ble Dor Hotel. A lot of wedding socials were held there. After all Steinbach was a dry community back then. Well not really dry. Lots of people drank alcohol, especially bad Mennonites like me. Dancing was also a sin. But in Ste. Anne all was permitted.
At this event I met for the first time a lovely young girl—Christiane Calvez. We chatted for a quite awhile before I got up enough nerve to ask her to dance. The dance was a “Butterfly.” That meant 2 young men would fling a young woman around between them. I was unaware that Christiane was wearing a cast that stretched from ankle to thigh. She had broken her leg a few weeks ago at another dance and guess what? It was also the butterfly that caused her to sail into trouble. That day a butterfly was impossible.
Christiane has always falsely accused me of being under the influence of strong drink as a result of not noticing her cast. Not true. Her leg was under the table and I had no way of seeing her predicament. She could not dance.
After the social was over many people including Christiane and I drove by car to a private house a few miles out of town where the party continued. Christiane and I never got to the house. We sat in the car until it was over chatting about everything. At one point we drove back to the hotel because I had left my bag of dirty laundry there. This was laundry I was delivering home to my mother who had the “privilege” of doing my laundry when I came home from University on the weekends. Lucky her.
Christiane was spending the weekend at the home of her cousin Suzanne in Ste. Anne. So my friends and I dropped her off at this house. Christiane had to sneak into the house as her cousin was nowhere to be seen. So she sat in the living room of her uncle’s house waiting for her to show up while she hoped no one would notice her. Her uncle was very strict and would have been furious that they were not together.
Christiane had given her phone number to me as I was driving my friend’s car. I had been voted most sober by my friends so I had to drive. She was far from convinced that I would remember the phone number. But I did! Proving that I was of sober mind. I remembered it and the next week called her for a date and she accepted. And the rest is history.
Well that history—49 years ago—had resulted in 4 beautiful grandchildren. Nasya, Emma, Nolan and now the youngest, Stella. I kept staring at her asleep in my arms thinking about 49 years and how it could produce such a profoundly beautiful child as the girl in my arms. She looked a lot like the beautiful woman who was not in my arms 49 years ago. But eventually she was. What a splendid journey—meandering as it was—that brought us from then to here.
Reflecting on this was one fantastic hour.