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Life is Short. Clarity is Vital.

blog - madelyn hamilton

It’s now “Aunties and Me”

We stayed with my Aunt Shirley and Uncle Harold in Corner Brook.  Uncle Harold made his famous fish stew to accompany Aunt Shirley’s home-made bread.

Here’s a close up.  The cod was delicious.

During the evening after a few glasses of wine, we cajoled Aunt Shirley into joining us on our trip up the Great Northern Peninsula.  So now it’s “Aunties and Me”.

For this leg of the journey, there was a slight change of plans.  Uncle Harold and I swapped cars.  I love my Aunt Shirley and did not feel comfortable strapping her to the roof of the Smartie.  While my car might scoot underneath the belly of a moose - the added height might be a hazard.

June 23rd 2015

Auntie and Me in a Smart Car

The drive from Moncton to North Sydney seemed long.  Probably because we were tired.  The ferry crossing was uneventful.  A new boat, comfortable beds, and a bottle of wine made for a good lead-up to a solid night’s rest.

Bright sunshine greeted us as we rolled off the ferry.  The early morning sun bounced off the pyrite laden stone and bathed the dock in shimmering light. Port aux Basques seemed to glisten.  In the ferry town we had breakfast with Uncle Kevin and Aunt Pat.  

Balonga, eggs, and home-fries.  So wrong.  But, so good.  I hear a detox in my future.

Heading towards Corner Brook, we saw a lighthouse near the highway and decided to take a closer look.  My little car negotiated the pot holes on the dirt road.          

We didn’t find the lighthouse but saw something even cooler -  a Piping Plover and her brood.   

Aunt Josephine on the lookout.

Took the opportunity at the water’s edge to bless myself with the holy water of the north Atlantic.

June 23rd 2015

Auntie and Me in a Smart Car

The drive from Quebec City to Rivierre du Loup is spectacular.  Along the way, we decided to pull off the main road and have lunch along the St.Lawrence.

Arriving in Moncton, we headed to Mrs. White’s apartment.  A family friend, who at 94 is as spry as the day I met her.  Mrs. White was the librarian in my home town.  An avid field naturalist who went to Newfoundland from Britain shortly after World War 2, her life continues to be remarkable.

Still actively engaged in a local birders’ group - she uses her computer skills to publish their weekly newsletter.  

June 23rd 2015

Auntie and Me in a Smart Car

Quebec City is beautiful.  I love the wall and can’t help thinking about the social and political events that inspired the building of an intensely fortified wall.

We did a walking tour of old Quebec, the Plains of Abraham, and the Parliament Building.  As can be expected, the parliament building is beautifully maintained. But, what impressed me are the edible gardens.  I met a local couple who told me about the government program to grow food for people in this public space. Brilliant.

Walking back to our bed and breakfast, we came upon a beautiful old church. With the doors wide open and disco music blaring from the building, we decided to go inside.  The smell of mold, old books, records, and used furniture greeted us. Everywhere I looked was stuff. Looking down on this stuff was beautiful stained glass, incredible stone work, stations of the cross done in tile mosaic. Incredible. 

If you’re in the market for a church – it’s for sale.

June 23rd 2015

Auntie and Me in a Smart Car

Quebec City and it’s Auntie and Me - both looking a little tired after a late night, good wine, too much food and a long drive the day before.  But ready for a fun day in this fabulous city.

It’s only Day 2 of our Adventure and already blessed to have met some interesting people.  In fact, earlier this day,  we met a couple from New Orleans heading to the Eastern Townships to see the places made famous by author Louise Penny  

She said hello and when I said hello in return, she seemed relieved that I spoke English and so she took the opportunity to ask a lot of questions.  During our conversation, she remarked that my English down the conversation, again she said, you speak English so well - “your accent is quite good”.  So, I thanked her and then silently thanked the Newfoundland school system for ensuring I could communicate in my native tongue.  LOL 

By the way, I think I may have over-packed.  Who would have thought that was possible in a Smart Car? 

June 23rd 2015

Auntie and Me in a Smart Car

Day 1:

With the Smart Car fully loaded, we pulled out of the driveway in Niagara on the Lake at around 6:30am.  Tightly packed suitcases, work-gear for me, emergency supplies, and of course our cooler all loaded down my little darlin’ car.  

At around noon, we stopped at an Enroute Center to devour the lunch Ken so thoughtfully made us (it included my favourite DellaTerre bread).  Sitting beside us at the outdoor table was a woman wearing a Memorial University t-shirt. I asked if she was from Newfoundland. No, she had just visited.  She was from Hamilton and was taking a group of students to Quebec.  Lovely luncheon conversation.

It was a long journey – not because of the distance but the rain.  We encountered a lot of rain.  But, it didn’t dampen our spirits.  As soon as we arrived at our B and B, we made dinner reservations. We had a fabulous meal and a great bottle a wine.

After a good night’s sleep, a fabulous breakfast on day 2 we’re ready to take on the day.  We’re staying at Auberge Aux Deux Lions – a mere stone’s throw to the Plains of Abraham and the walled city.  With our comfortable walking shoes – we’re about to start a new day.

June 17th 2015

Auntie and Me in a Smart Car

What would it take for you to realize life is terminal?  

From the moment we are born we begin racing to our end date.  Despite the many illnesses, diseases, or maladies that face us as humans, in the end we all die from the same thing – our hearts stop - cardiac arrest.  No doubt a sobering dark thought.  Yet it is one that stimulates clarity,  pulling into focus what is important in life.

It is this thought that gives me inspiration in my coaching practice; do the things that give me joy; and, being with people who enrich my life.  

In a couple of days, I will be heading on an eastern journey with my Aunt Josephine.  My Mother’s sister has been an important part of my journey. No doubt our fates were sealed when, as an infant she wrestled me from the clutch of death. The mere act of pulling a lodged ice cube from my esophogus allowing me to breathe definitely cemented our relationship.  

Our road trip was decided when, in discussing our home province, she lamented that she would probably never get the opportunity to see the sites she had always wanted to explore. Although she has lived the last 40 years in the United States, the rock remains her “home”, as it does with all Newfoundlanders.  

I am indeed blessed to find myself sharing this experience with her.   Careful planning sprinkled with a dash of happenstance should make for a curious journey.  

We leave early Tuesday morning in my Smart Car.  During the coming weeks we will be experiencing a myriad of adventures.  To be on the safe side, I will avoid drinks with ice.

Life is short. Clarity is vital.

June 15th 2015

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