The month of October continued into November and was made up of what I can only describe as turmoil, an opinion I’m reasonably confident my wife shares. The second weekend of the month is when Canada’s Thanksgiving celebration falls. Our tradition for this weekend is to spend it with our children, who live five hundred miles away from Calgary in Regina, Saskatchewan. The celebration last year, unfortunately, consisted of my youngest daughter making the drive to visit us, as I was pretty much confined to bed from the effects of chemotherapy combined with cracked vertebrae in my back.
This year I made the executive decision(translation: I suggested and my wife thought it was a good idea) to spend the weekend in Regina celebrating the company of our children and the blessings we have enjoyed since last year’s muted observance. Debbie (my wife), mentioned a home for sale in a small city we pass through on the way. She wanted to view it so I made arrangements for the realtor to meet us there. This home was almost immaculate, so we made an offer which the owner accepted!
The following three weeks were hectic, to say the least, but we were able to get everything packed and, with the wonderful assistance from members of our church in Calgary and in our destination city of Medicine Hat, we made the move. Our new home is a trailer, or manufactured home, as they call them now. And before anybody starts to snicker about “trailer trash”, we had our reasons for choosing this home over traditional stick-framed construction, the biggest of which is the fact that they are extremely simple to shut up for the winter, more so than your standard house. All I have to do is drain the water lines and heater and turn off the gas and power and it’s set.
We still want to spend our winters back in Hawaii, that is if this pandemic lunacy ever subsides. Please don’t take that as a criticism over what has happened over the last two years; I am simply stating my hope it eventually comes to an end. In the meantime we are living in a megalopolis not even one twentieth the size of Calgary, and I love it.
Medicine Hat is a nice little city of about sixty-five thousand, and rush hour consists of twelve cars together at the same intersection. The weather here is consistently warmer year-round and we are now three hours closer to our children and grandchildren. I mentioned to my daughter that we could come visit whenever the mood struck us, an idea I’m fairly certain she’s not overly enthused with. The people we’ve met are at least as friendly as in Calgary, and my border collie is loving the walks we take on the trails so prevalent in this city. At least she does now that she’s gotten over the stress she suffered.
When I started writing this I had the idea of discussing moving in the regency era, but I was unable to find anything that even mentions it, so I’m going to offer my conjectures on what it might have been like in England during Ms. Austen’s time.
To begin with, I’m fairly certain that other than the inhabitants of society’s upper crust, people did not move on a whim. Most of them stayed in their birth cities or towns and if their parents were tenant farmers like those of Longbourn or Pemberley, they stayed where they were until they died. Many children inherited their father’s lease upon his passing, especially if the lease was large enough to subdivide, so there was not much incentive to go in search of greener pastures. Don’t misunderstand, there were many who went to the bigger cities in search of their fortune, but often they were saddled with working in factories for subsistence wages and never escaped the grinding poverty. Their children were usually employed in the same factories, and the circle remained unbroken for generations.
For those like Bingley, a move would have been a far different experience. Once he made the choice to lease Netherfield, everything else would have been done by his servants. Of course Caroline would have been sure to gripe and complain at every step of the way; after all, wasn’t that her main role in Pride and Prejudice?
When Bingley and his new bride Jane decided to purchase an estate closer to Darcy and Elizabeth, the same process would have taken place, although without Caroline’s sunny disposition and cheery countenance to assist. Even then, from what I can gather, moving was not undertaken on impulse, and was almost certainly not done as frequently as it is today. My wife was kind enough to inform me that in the almost forty-six years of our marriage we have moved twenty-three times! I told her as far as I’m concerned our next move will be to a tidy little wooden place about six feet long and three wide, covered with dirt and hopefully flowers or grass, and she agreed wholeheartedly. Of course nobody can predict the future but our fingers are crossed just the same.
In closing, I wanted to add a little bit to my brother Jann’s post of last week. Our father was a wonderful man and a fantastic father. He served in the South Pacific, but rarely spoke about his experiences, and we didn’t press him too much because we knew a lot of the memories were painful.
I am not a lover of poetry, in fact I pretty much detest the literary form altogether. Having said that, In Flanders Fields is the one poem that almost always brings me to tears. It is such a beautiful composition that I make sure to read it at least once each November 11. Even as a child in elementary school that poem spoke to me.
Last but not least, with Christmas fast approaching, I want to take this opportunity to wish all the best of the upcoming holiday season. Maybe I’m too early, but I’ll take the consequences of expressing my hope everyone enjoys it and cherishes whatever memories are made this year. We have invited all our children to celebrate with us, as we have plenty of room to house guests. There is also a nice hotel a half-block away, and McDonalds is less than a hundred feet from our front door. Can’t you just visualize Christmas Big Macs? Mmmmm, delicious.
I think I just made myself a tiny bit nauseous, but I guess it serves me right. Be well and take care.