KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
At last North Bay was within striking distance. The plan from the beginning was for us to drive across Canada; my brother David and his wife Jeong Ae would fly to Ottawa, visit the city for a couple of days, and then drive their rental car west to North Bay where we would meet up with our paternal uncle, Art Lalonde and his wife Doris. Uncle Art is the youngest of my father’s family; he was only sixteen when my father was killed in a plane crash while on a rescue mission flying with the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1953. I will tell you more about my father’s family in the journal entry entitled ‘Kirkland Lake’.
I have visited Art and Doris several times as an adult, but David has not seen them since they attended our wedding in Banff in 1974. Art and Doris are the first relatives on our father’s side that Jeong Ae will meet. She has often mentioned wanting to meet some of the Lalonde’s but this is the first time that she has travelled to Eastern Canada since coming to marry David in 1981.
We arrived in North Bay in the late afternoon to the warm welcome that Art and Doris can always be counted on to give. It was great to see them looking so well because the past year has been very difficult for Art. He had major heart surgery in April but has had a terrific recovery and to us, he seemed just like his old self again. They are busy with plans for a new home near the North Bay Golf Club, one that is all on one level so that they will no longer have to deal with all the stairs in their current multi-split-level home. The house got off to a good start, but when we arrived Art was in week three of a delay in getting the trusses delivered and he was feeling pretty frustrated.
On our last visit to North Bay, we were introduced to the Friday Night Club, friends of Art and Doris who have a long standing tradition of gathering for drinks and dinner together each Friday evening. There are currently twenty members; this past year has been difficult as they lost two members. We had a great time meeting their friends last year and indeed, we were even made honorary members of the Friday Night Club. This Friday the group that gathered at the Lalondes was quite small because plans for dinner had to be changed at the last minute and the group split into separate clusters and met in different peoples homes.
We were just settling in to making introductions, when David and Jeong Ae arrived from Ottawa. It was wonderful to see the excitement generated when Art and Doris greeted David for the first time and when Jeong Ae expressed her pleasure at finally getting a chance to meet another Lalonde. After drinks and snacks we all headed out to a Chinese restaurant called ‘Chicago’ for a meal and plenty of jokes and laughter.
The next day Art and Doris took us to the building site and showed us the new home under construction. The house backs on to the 16th tee box and great views of the course. The Lalondes' good friends are building a house next door so the parties and friendship can continue on for many years to come. After touring the house, we headed over to the terrace on the golf club for drinks and snacks and had a great time watching the golfers struggle with the difficult green on the 18th hole. It looks like a pretty tough course, one that is well beyond my beginner’s level so I will have to work hard if I ever want to come back and go for a round of golf with Art and Doris.
Art and Doris surprised that evening when they told us they were planning to come with us north to Kirkland Lake and Kenogami. I had always envisioned us all being together with my cousin Diane there, Art was feeling he needed to stay at home and await the arrival of the trusses for the house. They decided to drive up with us on Sunday and come back the same day. We planned to stay three nights up north so that we would have at least two full days to visit with Dianne and Gary.