Beatrice Cassady Adams and Scott Simon pulled up to The Suite last Saturday, a rented red canoe strapped to the top of Tris' Nissan Rave. Hannah and I hopped in the back seats and we departed for Devon.
The www.paddlealberta.org website indicates that there is an access point to the North Saskatchewan River 20 km upstream of Devon at a place called Honeyvalle Acres. We zigzagged along several range roads and township roads only to discover that the access point had been barricaded, locked, and decorated with several "no trespassing" signs. As a result, the launch point shifted to the boat launch nearly in the town of Devon itself.
This story actually started in the early part of last week when I received an e-mail from Eleanor (Hannah's mother) informing me that she had run out of propane for her barbeque. If we had a car for the weekend, Eleanor wrote, would we mind getting it filled for her. Securing the use of a vehicle became a priority for us, if only to forestall somewhat Eleanor's campaign to get us to own a vehicle again.
As the four of us left Edmonton, Tris asked what Hannah and I had planned for the day.
"Just errands," I reported. "In particular, we have to pick up the propane tank to Hannah's mother's barbeque to get it refilled." Tris made an awkward sound. "What?" I asked. "Do you need your propane tank filled?" Coincidentally and conveniently, Tris' empty propane tank was in the back of the Rave. For some reason this pleased me a great deal. I started to get the feeling that I was joining in to some kind of flow of favours from my mother-in-law, to Tris and Scott, to us, and back again. I imagined the glimmering life-timelines in Donnie Darko, winding and weaving together.
We arrived at the Lion's Campground boat launch in Devon and unloaded the Rave, and Scott and Tris departed for their float down the North Saskatchewan River.
Hannah and I bought lunch at the Jasmine Restaurant whose sign declared "the best food in town!", which didn't bode well for Devon cuisine, in my opinion.
We drove back to Edmonton and picked up Eleanor's empty propane tank, then set about our errands which included our first visit to the Wildbird General Store where Hannah bought some premium bird feed.
Hannah had observed that sparrows perched on the Birdseed Angel's dress would sweep feed out of the feeder and spill it on the patio decking below, an action she interpreted as rejection of some of the mixed feed ingredients, and a tremendous waste. One of the fellows at Wildbird said that the mixed feeds often contain filler.
"It's like a blend of steak, hamburger, and hotdogs", he said. "They'll eat the hotdogs if they have to. But don't worry: the magpies and the crows will eat the waste feed." When Hannah relayed this commentary to me later I asked her if she informed him that the magpies and crows that visit our house don't eat metaphorical meat. This year our left-over spoilage rate has kept our crows dining on roast chicken, pepperoni, and smoked barbeque ribs!
We picked up some groceries. I bought a Chippewa Blueberry bush and some premium soil to add to the garden. It was a productive day.
Sunday afternoon I started receiving text messages from Tris as she and Scott wound their way through Edmonton on the river. They landed at Dawson Park in Riverdale, which wasn't more than 20 minutes away from my house.
It was a fun trip.
Photo Credit: Beatrice Cassady Adams