Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Adventures with Kenzie and Charlie

I can't remember a busier summer.  The first week on July we moved to Lethbridge and  sort of settled in.  Then we had our Arizona adventures, followed by a week back in Edmonton, and on this past Sunday finally came on down to Lethbridge to finish getting unpacked here and settled in.

But since Lloyd was still in AZ, I had to drive the 5 hours to Lethbridge all by my lonesome.  The day before I was due to leave, I was visiting with daughter Amy and mentioned that maybe I should take Sara's daughter, Charlie, down with me for company on the drive.  Amy said "why don't you take Kenzie too?  They'd be great company for one another down there".  So no sooner said than done.  Since Sara was in AZ at the time, I didn't bother asking her permission.  Her nanny seemed pleased to have 3 instead of 4 kids to care for for a week.  And the girls were thrilled to have a getaway with Grammie.  Charlie is 8 and Kenzie is 9, and they're best friend cousins - both the oldest in their families of 4 kids.  I picked Kenzie up first on Sunday morning then we drove over to get Charlie.  As soon as the car door was closed behind Charlie, she sighed a huge sigh and said,  "Aaaah! No siblings!"  I guess being the oldest of four is not an easy job.  I wouldn't know, being the middle of three myself.

And we were off!  I didn't realize, or had forgotten, how much two little girls can chatter.  Nonstop. For six hours!  It sure kept me from getting sleepy on the way.

We stopped on the way for a quick lunch at our favorite rest stop in Three Hills, AB.  It was hot, and the sun was bright, as you can see from the girls' reaction.  It was a welcome break though, especially when the ice cream lady in the store let the girls have samples of whatever flavor of fresh gelato they wanted - and they wanted lots!

Shortly after arriving in Lethbridge, Kenzie discovered our tile rummy game, so we had several goes at it - lots of fun.  Then Uncle Mike stopped in after work to help his technologically challenged mother get the DVD player working so the girls could watch a movie.  After easily accomplishing that task, he sat and played a couple games of rummy with us too.  I neglected to get a picture of him with us.  The girls really enjoyed having him there to play with too.

The next morning our first order of business was going out for supplies.  I found my two girls making themselves comfortable amidst the water display in one of the aisles.  I got them out of there quickly before the display came crashing down on them, but not before I got their happily posed picture.  Aren't they just perfect little angels!!!

We decided to explore Lethbridge a bit so we went to Indian Battle Park and followed the Coulee Loop Trail for a bit, with the girls running ahead of me of course.

From the trail I had a good vantage point to take a picture of Lethbridge's High Level Bridge.  This bridge, completed in 1909, is the longest (1,623 metres or 1 mile, 47 ft) and the highest (96 metres or 314 ft.) trussel bridge in the world.  It was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway and spans the coulees and Oldman river.

We went farther into the coulees, down to the edge of the Oldman River, where we watched people tubing down the river.

The girls begged me to rent some tubes for us so we could float down the river, but I had to refuse because I couldn't see myself being able to rescue them if they capsized.

So they entertained themselves, me, and anyone else who happened along, with posing on the trail.  Silly girls. The bridge features in the background.

We continued on down to Fort Whoop-Up but it was closed because it suffered flooding twice in the spring and summer and needed to be repaired. 

 This is getting long, but there's one more activity on Monday that I want to tell you about - the girls' favorite activity of the day.

As we were driving down Scenic Drive we came to a huge cemetery that the girls insisted we go into. Neither one of them had visited a cemetery before and they were so curious and excited to be in such a large one.

So many of the headstones caught their attention. They liked looking at the dates to see how old some of the people lived to be, and were sad at the ones that lived and died in the same year.   The one below identifies the couple as "Grammie" and "Papa".  That's what the kids call Lloyd and me.

This one fascinated them because of the lighthouse on the right, the long verse, the flowers and the mementos tucked in between the flowers and the stone - a ball hat, etc.  The grave was that of a young lady who was a Constable in the RCMP.  We assumed she was killed in the line of duty.

They were also fascinated by the crematorium and mausoleum where the ashes of the dearly departed were stored in little drawers.  So many questions and comments from the girls.

As we wandered farther into the cemetery, we came to a Japanese section.  There is historically a large Japanese population in the Lethbridge area.  Someday I'll post about the beautiful Japanese Gardens that are part of the city's beautiful landscaping.

This colorful stone had beautiful Japanese charactered etched in red and green. 

This appeared to be a recent grave, the date of death was June 2012.  The gifts of oranges must be a traditional one.

So if it seems like a strange place to take children, it was a lovely experience.  The girls' vision of a graveyard as something scarey and horror movie like has been replaced by a knowledge that the loved ones are still remembered and visited and treated with respect and honor.  They found it to be a surprisingly beautiful and peaceful place to visit.

And with that we went home and ended our first two days together with another couple games of tile rummy.


Mickey said...

Looks lIke you are having fun with your very pretty Grand
daughters! Nice memories for them. Enjoy!

Granny Annie said...

This fascinates me. I can see how the girls would enjoy each other but putting two oldest together for a long stay could turn into a real control situation. I'm guessing that your experience as a middle child makes you the perfect referee:) It looks like a good time for all!

RoeH said...

Grandchildren are wonderful.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

How great to have company like that. Those happy smiles would make anyone's day brighter. Hope your Wednesday is a wonderful one!

LaelShine said...

Great post!
You make me want grand kids..and THAT is something:)I love cemetery exploring myself. I think its important to examine death in our highly sanitized culture that fears it so much and cemeteries help do that perfectly.

JQ said...

Psst. Chinese. Just sayin...

Avril said...

Kenny was begging me a month ago to visit a grave yard. We went about week later, but not cause we wanted to. I think he enjoyed his visit.


I have fond memories, as a child, of visiting the cemetery every Sunday with my parents to put flowers on the grave of my grandpa and great grandparents. We skipped through the place getting to know all the residents. I am happy that your granddaughters were exposed to this part of the life cycle. It was a GOOD experience. I'm glad their curiosity was satisfied. take care.

Magpie said...

You are an amazing Grammie!! I think the girls are having a wonderful time and I know you must have enjoyed the company. I watched something on TV the other day that took place in Lethbridge and I thought of you!

Magpie said...

I forgot to ask, I have come across what seems to be a unique practice in the small cemetery in Pine, AZ. On the back of the headstones the person's children's names are listed. Do they do that in your area?

Pat MacKenzie said...

Magpie - yes I remember your blog about the cemetery in Pine and the children's names on the stones. I noticed that a lot of the headstones in the Cardston cemetery had the children's names on the back, but no dates.