CommunityNewsPeopleRon Baker

When Relatives Visit

By Ron Baker

It’s that time of year.

An aunt, my cousin and his son are here from Ontario for a visit with the Western relatives.

What fun! My wife and I got one day together with the travellers. Prior to that the Eastern relatives crashed a family reunion in Delisle, and had a meal with another of my cousins in Saskatoon. Since meeting with us they have visited Eatonia relatives, seen a town where the aunt used to teach in 1950, gone to the local museum and generally done the rounds!

I love these visits. Our designated day was a Sunday. We met, along with a few more aunts, at a church service. The church dates back to the early 1900’s when my grandfather joined with other settlers who had ventured out from Ontario. The aunts had attended the church as children. Their ages are now in the 90’s – although a lady never tells.

A lunch meal at a local restaurant turned into an almost three hour sit and chat time. The three aunts entertained us with stories and squabbles. So much fun to watch as they affirmed certain truths from the past and disputed each other’s interpretations of the same events. One aunt was an identical twin – when they were dating in their teens they actually switched boyfriends for a walk down Main Street in Kindersley. Apparently the boyfriends didn’t know the difference. The aunts claimed the walks were fairly silent – they didn’t know what to say to the other’s boyfriend.

Then home for a quick nap and back together for a hymn sing at the Caleb residence where two of them live. The “singer” in all of us came out and we enjoyed the time together. Of course, after the vocalizing we need to have a coffee time and dominoes competition! I can humbly say that I won – and I didn’t even have to cheat. We called the evening about 10:00 or so, but the aunts decided there was an abandoned puzzle waiting to be finished. Who knows when they got to bed!

The visit will be about one week long. While some visits had been planned, the spontaneous has been a large part of the fun. Visiting at the museum, my aunt ran across the brother of her best friend as a youth. They hadn’t seen each other in decades.

I realize we are in a new normal with COVID, rising costs and restrictions that change constantly. To fly from Ontario is a task. Two flights were cancelled the same day my relatives headed to God’s country out West. The rental vehicle in Saskatoon was plated in another province. Gas prices are up, as are so many other expenses.

And still . . .

There is something about an in-person visit that is much more satisfying than a Zoom call or a chat on the telephone. I shook hands (carefully) with my aunts, I looked my cousin in the eye. I got to see the reactions of my cousin’s son. I was connected more than just virtually.

And so . . .

I am headed out on some trips this summer to see, touch, speak with actual people. Already we have visiting with siblings and their spouses. Our son and his wife are now on the premises.

If I could rename 2022 I would call it the year of the “visit” after having just lived through the year of the “virtual”. I trust you will enjoy your summer this year!!

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