I kept an eye out the front window, waiting for the big white RV to show up, with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. Sure, I knew Merikay from her blog, but in reality I didn't really know her at all and her husband, Craig, was a big question mark. Would we like each other? How would our meeting go? Would we have divergent beliefs and views? Would our online friendship turn into a flesh and blood one?
I glanced out the window again and there they were, a giant white box obscuring the top of our laneway. I rushed outside and as I caught sight of Merikay a surge of emotion threatened to choke me. Here she was - in person. After a big hug and a few words, I turned back to the house to let them do their stuff without interruptions. With Craig in back of the rig directing, a hand-held walkie-talkie his link to Merikay, she backed the RV down the laneway to its temporary resting spot. They were here!
It was clear almost immediately that my trepidation was unwarranted as conversation flowed easily and our views were compatible. It wasn't long before Trump came up in the conversation and we were all pleased to find we had similar views. Political discussion became a favorite topic over the next few days to Carm's delight. 'They' say to never discuss politics or religion and we covered both with ease, a sign that we were becoming good friends.
Saturday (the day they arrived) was spent getting to know each other, sharing stories of travel and adventure. Merikay and Craig have covered plenty of ground over the last few years and had many stories to tell. I managed to get a meal on the table (forgetting the asparagus) amongst all this discussion; afterwards we retired to the deck with champagne to celebrate, until the mosquitoes drove us in. We talked and talked until I said I was going to bed. I was beat from all the excitement, plus I try to keep regular hours to keep my mood in check.
Sunday morning we were all up early and with coffees clutched in our hands, Carm scrambled up some eggs and I toasted waffles. Maple syrup from our friends Trudie & Leo topped it all off. It was a leisurely morning but we had 11 am set as our departure hour so kept an eye on the clock.
I don't think I've mentioned yet that the temp was set to rise to 33C (91F) both Sunday and Monday. With that in mind we all wore hats and I brought water in the car as we had an outdoor destination for Sunday. Upper Canada Village was having a Father's Day celebration with free admission for fathers, free train rides, and best of all a performance by the RCMP Musical Ride.
Trudie & Leo met us there, getting us in for 1/2 price (Merikay picked up the bill - thanks!). We wandered through the village, visiting the mills and blacksmith, until it was time to meet Trudie & Leo for a quick cold drink and snack before the ride started. Then we found a few seats in the bleachers and settled down in the blazing sun to wait for the performance. Dumm deee dumm dumm and the red serge atop beautiful black horses was entering the arena. Gosh they were beautiful and they were ours. My Canadian patriotism surged in my chest and tears trickled from my eyes. I was happy to find a tissue in my little bag… The show was great.
After the show we were all limp from the sun but staggered around some more of Upper Canada until we had enough - back to the car and on our way home for a swim.
I had a quick swim then dried off to see to supper. Hummm, that's strange, the beef pepperoncini could not be pulled apart into shreds. OH NO!!! One of us had turned off the power bar and I had a chunk of raw beef in the pot. Trudie & Leo were joining us for supper and I had nothing to feed everyone.
With panic in my head I scrambled to think of what to do. Oh, I could do pasta with tomato green olive sauce and grilled asparagus. My head swum and I couldn't think straight… I thought it sounded good… then Trudie came to the rescue with promise of schnitzel, sauerkraut, and more - leftovers from her cousin's funeral the day before. Leo dashed home to get the food while I spun around the kitchen in a confused state. I think my mind was addled from the hot day. Merikay disappeared, returning with appetizers to tide us over. It wasn't long before 6 hungry people sat down to full plates.
Again, we sat outside watching fireflies until the mosquitoes drove us in. It was a good day.
Monday morning started with Craig calling around to local RV shops to find somewhere to fix his hitch thing a ma bob that had broken. Luckily he found someone, unluckily it was on the opposite side of the city. Off went Craig and Carm, leaving Merikay and I to talk. It seemed like they were gone a very short time (we still had so much to talk about). When home they had a quick breakfast and we bundled up in the car for another hot day of touristing.
First, drive around the city showing them Parliament Hill and other sights downtown and through the city. We had to keep an eye on the time though as we were due at the Aviation museum for a tour with my father. We got there - 5 minutes late - and had a delightful tour. Dad has stories and anecdotes that bring the machines to life - some of the planes he's flown and his dna has been left behind in the thing that twirls around until you pass out. Interesting stuff.
The wind was blowing hard when we left the museum - it looked like we could have a thunderstorm that evening.
We got cleaned up, I grabbed a bag of food things, and we drove over to Trudie & Leo's where they were hosting a BBQ for our guests. My parents had been invited as had Jo Ellen and Don (who unfortunately were unable to attend). On the menu: Canada Goose burgers, a true Canadian meal. My mom brought butter tarts, another Canadian invention. Between the two Canadian offerings, and the multitude of other salads and dishes, we were all full to the brim. We had been able to eat outside in the garden but the skies were getting darker so we headed inside.
It was hot, but conversation was easy and soon the topic turned to how everyone had ended up in Canada (or the US). It was interesting to learn people's histories.
The storm passed around us but the winds were still high. It was time for bed so the party broke up without a bedtime swim.
Tuesday - leaving day - but not before Craig and Carm drove back across the city for the part. Merikay and I got in the last of our conversation,,, but suddenly the guys were back and it was time to get moving. And then, just like that, they were gone.
I crashed on the swing with a serious case of lunchbag letdown. I was exhausted but pleased that we had gotten the chance to get to know two wonderful people.