There we were, traveling late on the highway, white lines racing hypnotically toward us. My chin leaned on the back seat of the station wagon, a burgundy Rambler, as I lay stretched in hot dog fashion alongside the oldest and youngest, in the back. My parents voices were a hush. Every now and then there was the sound of my father humming a few notes of this or that song, usually melodic at this hour, better to keep everyone calm and quiet.
I have no recollections beyond that and the sound of the windshield wipers in the dark…then sleep.
In the morning, we met another landscape. I don’t remember ever seeing a sky so open or so welcoming. Honestly, there was a huge purple canopy stretched over that sky. There was the threat of rain. At this point, it seemed the miles flew by; there was a wild energy in the air and yet, we remained still and calm. When we saw what rose up off the horizon, it seemed an alien world.
Dad, with voice cracking, said, “Kids, there they are!”
We had no notion of what he might be talking about until we scanned every portion of the landscape stretched out before us. And then I saw them and my eyes opened wider than ever before! I called out, “THE MOUNTAINS!” Mauve, deep violet, edging the entire world, I saw the Rockies for the first time.
My brothers, in unison, called out, “We are close to Grandpa’s! We are almost there!”
I love those same mountains this morning…those set out for me on the horizon! What an awesome thing, to have been born Canadian and to be given the opportunity to love this country…to have been the daughter of a man who would have given everything in defense of this everything that I love!