It was 7:00am, late April, and I had arrived in Calgary, Canada a few hours previously. With eyes still closed and snuggled deep under the bed covers in my sister's guestroom, I was trying to figure out what strange noise had just awoken me. I knew I had heard it before, albeit not for a while, and then it hit me....it was the sound of someone in the parking lot outside scraping ice and snow from their car windows!
When I booked a flight to Canada for late April, I had expected that winter would be long gone and spring would have arrived by the time I did. But, oh, was I wrong! There wasn't a leaf to be seen on any tree, not a hint of green grass on the landscape, not one brave little flower bud in sight, and there was certainly no balmy spring breeze blowing or any "April showers to bring May flowers". In fact, to add insult to injury, there was an actual full-blown snowstorm raging with frosty -6C temperatures when I touched down in Calgary. Granted, I had arrived in the middle of the night, but things looked no less dismal when I peered out the window the next morning and saw that all was covered in a blanket of white. All I can say is "many thanks" to my sister Marge, not only for letting me stay at her place when I'm in town, but also for tackling the snow-drifted roads to pick me up from the airport that night, and even going so far as to bring me a nice warm winter parka to put on before we left the airport to brave the elements.
It's always great to see family and friends and catch up on personal errands when I'm in Calgary, but I had also made the trek up to Canada at this particular time of year for a specific reason: the Martin Clan was gathering. You see, Mother's Day takes place in Canada in early May, and around that same time was also my Mother's 89th birthday and my brother-in-law Les' 62nd birthday, so there were lots of reasons to celebrate. But, in addition to all that, on that same weekend it was officially one year since my Father had passed away, and our family was gathering at the cemetery to pay our respects and to view his newly-laid gravestone.
Thankfully the snow melted while I was in town, and the day we went to the cemetery to visit Dad was actually sunny and mild. But although those crazy "locals" up north seemed to think that it was warm and pleasant, it still felt pretty damn chilly on my old bones, so I was happy, about 3-1/2 weeks later, to make the return trek back down south to warmer climes.
(You'd see more evidence of my happy times with family and friends had my laptop not crashed and burned shortly after I returned to Grenada and the majority of photos gone down with it!)