It's October Eve and here I am finally blogging about the rest of my trip to Canada...in August. To be fair, I only got back a month ago today and somehow September has been a doozy of a month!
On the morning of August 26, we walked to the park to meet up with some friends. Notice the nice wide boulevard between the sidewalk and the road (oh, don't I wish we had those around here)?
My mom's friend—who is also my friend these days, but who I grew up knowing as my friend's mom—Bernie was the first to arrive, and then my friend Maud showed up (I knew her as Karyn in high school). It was lovely to get to chat with her; she's had a rough go of it the last few years, but is pulling through just as lovely as she ever was! She was always such a great friend!
She even brought a copy of my book for me to sign!
Then my friend Naomi arrived with her husband Luc. I hadn't seen Maud in ages—probably about 23 years, if we're being honest, since I moved away in 2000—but I hadn't seen Naomi in forever.
Naomi was in my ward in PoCo, which means I haven't seen her since 1994 (so nearly 30 years). She now lives in Okotoks! What a small world!
In the United States, most members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have ties to Utah. When you're raised outside of Utah you might not realize how strong those ties are, because wherever you're living feels like home for you and Utah feels more of an almost...mythical...place.
In Canada the same thing is true, but you can replace Utah with Alberta. Most members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have ties to—specifically—Southern Alberta. And if you're raised outside of Alberta, like Naomi and I were, you might not realize how strong those ties are. I, for one, was shocked when I moved to Alberta and found myself surrounded by first and second and third cousins. It seemed like I was related to everybody and there were just so many Mormons—and unbelievable number of Mormons! I honestly didn't think it was possible to have so many Mormons in one location. I went from being one of two or three Mormons in my school (a population comprised of...me and my siblings) to having a handful of Mormons in my grade. It was wild!
Grade five was just me and Jocii, but once we entered middle school (which all the elementary schools pooled into), there was me and Jocii and Luke and Craig and Ashley. We weren't all in the same class, but we were all in the same grade. Unthinkable, right?
You should have seen me try to process the number of Mormons at my school after moving to Utah.
Anyway, it wasn't just the volume of Mormons, but the connections between our ward in PoCo and Southern Alberta. I've talked about the Raymond Parade before. My grandparents' house was right on the parade route and we used to visit them frequently on Canada Day to enjoy the parade and the fireworks and to play with our cousins. But, like, we wouldn't just play with our cousins...no...because all our friends would be in Raymond visiting their grandparents, too!
So, sometimes we'd have an odd mix of the Ackroyds (friends from our ward in High River, visiting their grandparents) along with their cousins the Laytons (who are only distantly related on my dad's side, but who are from Grassylake, and thus are friends with my Torrie cousins, who, of course, would also be there), as well as the Andersons (friends from our ward in PoCo, visiting their grandparents), and somehow we all knew each other or of each other and decide to ditch the quiet, reserved, grown-up house calls to go swimming in the canal or something.
We're really quite lucky, I guess, that our parents all decided to spread their wings a bit, otherwise I don't know how we ever would have found anyone to marry. At times I feel like I'm related to 90% of Southern Alberta (though I know that's hyperbole; it's probably only like 50% or something).
It wasn't something I ever would have imagined possible as a little girl living in PoCo, being the only Mormon in my school (aside from my siblings) and, honestly, usually the only child in my church class! (Naomi, for the record, was a handful of years older than me).
Shortly before we left, my friend Kaly (Bernie's daughter) showed up. It was so good to see her as well, and I wish we had more time so we could have talked homeschool a little bit more.
Her husband was on sabbatical a couple of years ago, so they took the year off and travelled the country with their two boys, spending several dreamy weeks in the Maritimes. I was drooling over her every post on Facebook! So we talked about that for a while, but she had to go because they were recarpeting their music room prior to a new grand piano being delivered later in the week and because her son had possibly broken his foot so they wanted to swing by the hospital to get some x-rays done.
Now, Kaly was really my sister's friend and I hardly knew her growing up, because she was in high school and I was in elementary school when my family moved to High River. But now we just...have a lot in common and get along well and have kids the same ages...so we're friends. Meanwhile, my sister Abra, who was friends with Kaly, is now more friends with Jocii than I am because they have similar personalities and enjoy each other's company in a way that Jocii and I never did. Isn't it strange how in some phases of life, age seems to be so important in forging friendships and at other stages it...just doesn't? And while I was friends with Kaly's little sister Lexa in High School, we really don't keep in touch anymore.
I suppose, developmentally speaking, that the difference between a 10- and 17-years old is somewhat significant, while the difference between 38 and 45 is somehow negligible.
Here's another friendship where age is negligible: