Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ottawa on Thanksgiving Weekend 2010

By Norm Richards

It's sunny, warm as the plane climbs up through smoke. I notice stubble burning below. No ones gotten much of a crop off this year. The ground looks dark and even green and it's early October. I think, crop insurance and what that must do. Costs will rise, is my simple economics. I turn my attention to the people around me on the plane. The guy beside me wants to talk. We chat briefly and settle into what comes next, a book chapter and plug the ipod into my ears. Time to test the (pay by credit card only) food menu. Days before I learned cash will no longer be accepted. I'm not impressed. The front part of the order routine seems easy. She takes my order and I pay. Awhile later, a sandwich wrap appears in front of me from the rear of the cabin. As I look up she's drifted six seats forward. Actions up front have me assume since I'm in the third last row, it will be awhile before I get my drink.

True, I'm not going anywhere. When the drink arrives, it's not handed to me with a calm smile or apology for being late. Instead, since I'm now slow to notice, immersed in my book, I look up and remove the ear buds to respond. I'm met by a dead stare as if I'm the grade two delinquent about to be sent to the principal. She asks if I paid. The food is on my tray as if paid. I look up at the one who took my credit card but she's not engaged. I paid, I tell her but I resent the need to say so. I look for pleasant atmosphere but I get stiff service instead.

I'm met at the airport by my son-inlaw and granddaughter. Nice to be back in Ottawa and be greeted by family who care. We talk while waiting for my bags. I hand Scott an ipod dock and camera. He snaps a few pictures at random. I'm not sure about the settings but the camera is automatic. A large bronze statue of Sir John A. Macdonald sits on a park bench beside us. I grab a seat next to him and Scott hits the shutter button. I figure a ton of people before me have taken a photo on this same bench, why not me?

An hour ahead, it's a bit later by the time we get to their country home. My daughter greets me with a hug on arrival. She and the family are ready for bed. We'll visit next day and see the kids off to school. The next day is relaxed and we have a nice dinner. Friday night we attend the home opener for the Senators hockey team hosted by Dan Cheresna. He's rented a family box for his son George's 10th birthday. We arrive to hot food and full service. Very nice! I've never done a hockey game in such lavish style. The Senators are facing off against the visiting Buffalo Sabres. Dan points out Senator player Matt Carkner 39 is a local boy and friend of the family. The game is exciting but Ottawa's home team can't seem to mount an offence. They wind up losing the game 2 to 1 but it's only the first game. They have a lot to learn about winning with the rest of the season to prove themselves. Dan is owner of Euro Auto Paint Systems in Ottawa. Thanks to him we had a smashing time and I manage to take a few photographs as well.