We up here in Canada have thanksgiving in October. I’m not sure why it’s celebrated at a different time of year than the States. Maybe we like to spread our holidays out a little more. Or maybe we really need that full seven weeks of hearing the elevator music version of ‘Frosty the Snowman’ every time we set foot in a mall and a November thanksgiving would just steal thunder away from the more revered Christmas. Whatever – all it means to me is that I get an extra day off in October.
The last few years we have spent this holiday traveling to Winnipeg to see my mother. Winnipeg is about a six hour drive from where I live, but I have three kids and to do that drive anymore than once a year would be downright masochistic. There is literary NOTHING to do or even look at. It is six solid hours of bald-ass prairie. But, being the dutiful daughter than I am, I feel it necessary to make an appearance in Winnipeg at least once a year and I usually choose thanksgiving.
I was born in Winnipeg and lived there until I was fourteen and my father got transferred to Vancouver. We were only in Vancouver for about six months when he was transferred again to Saskatchewan where I have lived ever since. Since I was still quite young when I settled in Saskatchewan, I consider it home more so than Winnipeg. So whenever I return to Winnipeg I always feel this mixture of nostalgia and disgust. I fucking hate Winnipeg.
I was a nerdy kid who was socially awkward and desperately wanted to have friends and be cool and be good at stuff. I wasn’t athletic, my grades were mediocre, I tried to be good at music but really wasn’t and I had no real hobbies or interests that I could attach myself to. I had two friends in elementary school and the rest of the time I had to duck and weave the verbal and physical attacks hurled at me on a daily basis (I'm talking to YOU, Rob Morese). My cousins were older and cool and had no interest whatsoever in dealing with me. I have one brother but he is almost six years younger than me so he didn’t really factor in to my life that much. My parents traveled a lot and when they were home they couldn’t wait for me to be ‘filed’ each night (that’s the word they used when it was time to put me to bed). They practically high-fived each other every night when I was finally out of their hair. I always wondered what the hell they did each night that they couldn’t do while I was around. Closet drug addicts? Sex fiends? Satan worshipers? Was Jacee Dugard chained up in our backyard? Who the fuck knows what they did each night, but it had to be something because they spent a lot of time figuring out how to get out of dealing with me.
Anyhoo, this really isn’t a ‘poor me’ post; I know everyone has their stories of bullshit they’ve had to deal with and many are far worse than mine. I just had to give you a little background on why I hate going to Winnipeg. It drags all that shit up for me and I prefer to leave it buried nicely under a giant piece of chocolate cake where it belongs.
While I was in Winnipeg this weekend I did have a chance to see a friend I hadn’t seen in a very long time. Our parents were friends so we sort of grew up together. Now she was cool. She was very smart and got great grades and was even in French emersion so she could speak A WHOLE OTHER LANGUAGE. She had beautiful long blonde hair and could swim forever and could ride a bike super fast. She was good at everything. She was very popular and everyone loved her and she even had three sisters which I badly envied. For some bizarre reason she liked me and was willing to be my friend. As kids we saw each other periodically throughout the school year, but we didn’t attend the same school and since she was so wildly popular and fucking good at everything she rarely had anytime to just hangout. But our parents would vacation together every year so each summer she was mine for two whole weeks!
We kept in contact into our early twenties, but work and life took over us both and we fell out of touch. She of course went off to dazzle everyone with her fabulousness (as a physiotherapist living in Minneapolis treating the Twins baseball team), and I took a job pushing paper, bought a house four blocks from where I grew up, married my high school sweetheart and had a bunch of kids. Natch.
Thanks to the invention of social networking, we have been chatting via facebook and made a plan to get together while I was in town for the annual pilgrimage. For various reasons she has recently moved back to Winnipeg and came over for some drinks with her new beau Saturday night. He’s cute, and very well behaved. He must really love her because he sat back and calmly watched us get completely shit faced on red wine and didn’t bat an eyelash.
It was really good to see her. I still have very few positive things to say about Winnipeg, but least now I have someone to share some good memories with (read: get drunk and giggle) when I’m there.
And yes, she is still fabulous. And still wants to be my friend. Cool, huh? I wonder if she could get me some baseball tickets…..