Yesterday was day one of the Break. We decided to take day a day trip somewhere, but our plans were consistently scuttled. The planned trip to Martyrs Shrine was scuttled when we discovered that the Shrine was closed at this time of year. This was a surprise to me. I had thought that a Shrine to Canada's most famous saints, saints who are of huge importance to this area, would be open year round. More fool me. However, to be fair, the area is under several feet of snow, which sort of makes me wonder what the Jesuits and Huron were thinking when they chose that place. I see a dialogue sort of like this:
"Brebeuf, il y a dix pieds de neige ici!"
Brebeuf: "C'est parfait!"
So we drove around and did some family research, which consisted of finding a few of the last graves we haven't tracked down yet, only to discover they were buried in a section of the cemetery which only allows for flat markers on the ground and are therefore under several feet of snow and ice. We visited some other graves, and older and younger had some fun taking rubbings. We'll return after the thaw and get the rest.
Our cemetery wanderings brought us close to Hamilton, which lead to another bit of research that was a bit of fun. We went to the neighbourhood where my father grew up. I told the kids some of his old stories about growing up in the depression. We took pictures of the Tim Horton's where my father was born and raised, and photos of the hill that was a major source of my father's income. (This is a bit of a story. In short, he lived near a hill. The kids of the area discovered that the open backed delivery trucks of the era couldn't stop on the hill, so they'd jump on the back, help themselves to whatever they wanted, and jump off before they reached the top.) We also visited Christ the King Cathedral, where Dad was one of the first altar boys. I took some photos of places he mentioned in his stories- the door where he leaned his fishing rod while he went to serve Mass, the steps where he and the other altar boys were caught shooting craps by the bishop, a few others. I explained to my kids the importance of some of the figures on the facade, but that was all. We could not go in, which I thought was very odd. I am too used to St Michael's, which is never closed as near as I can tell. Christ the King is closed during the week, and has only two Masses on Sunday. I imagine the diocese is in need of our prayers.
We ended the day by visiting my Mom on the way home. It was a nice visit. Mom was in her usual fine form, which involves conversations like this:
"How are you today, Mom?"
"Not too good, not too good. I got up this morning ('this morning' to mother means about 5:00) and had breakfast. I did some laundry and sweeping, then I did a little painting ('a little painting' generally refers to mother's project of painting portraits of all the Canadian soldiers who died in Afghanistan or elsewhere and sending them off to the families, among making portraits for other tragic stories as they come along. She currently has 20+ portraits on the go.) then I went to church. After that someone asked me to go and visit so and so in the hospital who isn't feeling too well. When I got back I did a little quilting, but the dog's hair was getting everywhere so I had to vacuum before I could do any more. So I did the vacuuming but after that I felt hungry so I made an egg. I wanted to do some more quilting or painting, but by the time I was finished eating I felt tired."
"You felt tired? Really? You don't say. How odd."
Dear old Mom would not appreciate me saying her age, so let's just it's unlikely she'll see another eighty+ years.
Today we'll have a little fun with the kids.