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Pulling up stakes

Posted by PlayGroundology on July 27, 2008

We’ve clocked a couple of thousand kilometers since my last post. I’m just starting to come around from some bone deep fatigue brought on by 2 all nighters in a span of 4 days. I did say no more all night bus rides after the TO trip but maybe I should have resolved not to do any more all nighters at all except in the direst of circumstances. Both of the nuits blanches had us rolling, rolling, rolling along the well maintained 20. The first was a return trip from Sorel to Québec City last Sunday for the Paul McCartney concert on the Plains of Abraham. The second was the car bursting at the seams à la Beverly Hillbillies ride back home that saw us pulling into our Halifax driveway at 5h45 Thursday.

The McCartney concertsans enfants – was spectacular, stupendipity, psychedelic tunes and lasting love songs, fab four divided by four hommage to The Beatles and Wings with pyrotechnics and 2 1/2 hours of straight thru music. There was only the merest of breaks for a little yakkity-yak from Sir Paul who let fly with a few French phrases such as, “je parle un petit peu” and “bonsoir tout la gang“.

The set list was hit after hit after hit from a catalogue that’s familiar to hundreds of millions around the world. On that Sunday, 260,000 fans bathed and basked in wave after wave of high energy pop classics that are as fresh and energizing today as when they were first recorded. We had made a peaceful invasion of the Plains to see a modern music legend and were not disappointed. The emotions were raw and palpable – laughter, tears, beatific smiles, goosebumps, spine tickling chills, playfulness and the freefall abandon of lovin’ full speed, no holds barred rock ‘n roll.

The grand old lady was treated to a rollicking birthday bash that will be remembered for years to come. Québec City and 400th anniversary organizers had everything under control – excellent bus service to and from the downtown core, ample security, washroom facilities and first aid on site and overall a welcoming and festive atmosphere. Getting out of the city by car at 00h30 posed no difficulties at all, no traffic snarls, no belligerence, no inebriation to the point of incapacity just love, love, love.

Mélanie and I noticed 2 clouds at a relatively low altitude just south and east of the light and sound pavilion. Side by side and motionless like painted puffs of white on darkening sky they were suspended in the still air for the entire show. After a while we thought of them as part of the crowd. The next day when we mentioned our 2 cloud guys to Mélanie’s mom Nicole, she immediately said, “it must have been John and George”. Hopefully they liked Paul’s tributes Something and Give Peace a Chance.

Selecting favourite moments of days, visits, events is a recurring theme for Mélanie. It makes her smile at the moment while visiting it again. For her this is a team sport because she wants to know what others’ favourites are too. She liked best watching her dad Raymond and husband during Give Peace a Chance. Husband – aka moi – was yelling out the lyrics arms swaying in the air and fingers veed for peace. Dad was quietly moving to the music, tears slowly winding their way down his cheeks.

With best moments, chords, lyrics, and songs swirling around our heads Raymond and I hit the Tim’s on the south side of the Pierre Laporte bridge. It was more necessity than desire. The caffeine bean was de rigueur to keep us eyes wide open as we zoom-zoomed back to Sorel and a couple of hours semi-deep, silly sleep before the kids would be starting their daily show of rock, roll and myriad other tricks. I hope the young women on the Tim shift that night tipped out well – they would have truly earned their money.

Our last few days in Sorel were spent in the pursuit of fun. When the sun was shining there was always a Noah park outing with Grand-papa Raymond solo, or me in tow. Parc Bibeau was one of our regular hang outs, just a short bike ride away with a pull behind kids’ passenger buggy. Parc Bibeau had the all time favourite swings and the new time climbing capades on the iron caterpillar forever earthbound and never to presto colourize into a resplendent butterfly. In Sainte Anne de Sorel we turned up to help break in the brand new playground on a sun soaked sticky wet day. I wasn’t able though to entice Noah-David under the water jets and into the wading pool.

Brother-in-law David, Martine and their kids Maxim 2 1/2 and newborn Catherine came down from Gatineau to get in a quick visit before our departure. We got confirmation on Tuesday morning that we’d be hitting the road Wednesday to look after some business back in Halifax that couldn’t wait.

Maxim and Noah hit it off as usual dancing and prancing about lost in foolery, giggles and overheated imaginations. Noah had been getting some solid playtime practice with toddlers from tante Stéhanie’s circle of friends. Baby Catherine had her first 5-hour straight through sleep a gift for Mom and Dad so early on. We all got a little squeeze at baby inhaling that new smell – the eau de bébé, disarming and heartwarming at the same time. We likely won’t see each other again until Christmas and the 2 older cousins will just pick up where they left off this time with hide and seek, caring for babies and spin, spin, spinning to music.

Our last night Great Granma, tante Danielle and tante Suzette, Richard, Lianne and others came to say goodbye to Mèlanie and get another installment of joy looking at and listening to the kids. It also happened to be my birthday, what serendipity – two lovely cakes to make the round of guests. I couldn’t make up my mind which was the most delicious the mango mousse, or the strawberry shortcake. What’s best is that everyone was able to try both, a little sugar sweet tooth decadence.

More on the last night in Sorel, the trip back and our Halifax lollygagging and skylarking in the next post.


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