It’s all French to me

Four days ago we entered Canada. No big hoopla, but we needed not just our passports, I remember the days when we didn’t even need those, but also proof that we were vaccinated and held proof of a negative Covid-19 test. Good for you Canada. I wouldn’t trust us either. We entered just north of Detroit and after a long day of driving, departure time from Madison, 4:00 AM, we arrived at Niagara Falls, Ontario. Yes, the Falls were spectacular. And Eh, the Canadians are as friendly as everyone says, They actually let you in gracefully when you need to change lanes, of course maybe they have heard so many stories about American drivers that it is just safer to let us cut in. Second day of travel took us to Toronto and the CN Tower. Much to be said about dinner at 1800 feet above the city, or as the Canadian’s measure it, 533 meters. They don’t realize that when you measure it in feet, it’s a lot taller. At least it sounds like it to us “size is everything” Americans. Needless to say it was a very moving experience, maybe in part to the fact that the restaurant was rotating.

Niagara Falls Bathed in Blue Light

That brings us to Quebec and Quebec City. I was fully aware that the province’s official language is French, but who knew they are actually French? First stop at a gas station, or should I say station-essence, left me believing I WAS in France. Now I may be exaggerating just a bit, I do understand geography, but it is surprising. It is also culturally stimulating. It is, in fact, the next best thing to being there.

St Louis Street in Old Quebec

Not that Quebec isn’t naturally beautiful sitting gracefully on the St Lawrence Seaway, but it’s when you pass through the gates of the Old City that Quebec’s charm, they pronounce it K’ebek, and her Old World beauty strikes you. You are transported in time and space to the culture of France. The architecture of the buildings, the beautiful artwork, and the sumptuous restaurants awaken your senses. Close your eyes and you are not just in Canada, you are in France.

Heart of Old Quebec

I choose to travel for many reasons. Sometimes for business, other times for pleasure, often just to satisfy my restlessness, but I also travel to experience a different culture. We can all too often assume that everyone everywhere is just like us. Until you travel, you will never appreciate how different we can be. This trip has shown me an aspect of Canada I had never experienced. It showed me France.

The Frontenac Hotel

Bon jour fellow travelers and merci for taking the time to read my blog.

PS: Big shout out to Larry Landsness for the incredible job of research and planning that went into this trip and it’s making it a success.

Don’t Miss the Moment

There are moments in our lives that happen but once. They are often filled with emotion, sometimes good and sometimes not so good. I want to speak to those moments filled with the good emotions.

I recently got to officiate my own daughter’s wedding. And yes, it was filled with emotion. There were many moments that day. There was the walk down the aisle. The moment I had to switch from father of the bride to officiant. The exchange of the vows, first dance, father daughter dance. The day was literally filled from beginning to end with these moments, but the one that nearly escaped me was the most beautiful moment of the day.

I had become overly busy with helping to keep the wedding on schedule. This I believed was my duty as the officiant. There were lots of questions coming my way about when to start, where to stand, how to present a particular reading, and the like. Suddenly, the groom was beckoning me. As I approached he told me that Kathryn, my daughter and bride to be, needed me. My thought, soon to be one I would regret, was what might possibly be wrong. I was totally unprepared mentally for what followed. As I rounded the corner, she was standing there in the middle of the side lawn away from everyone else. The sun shone behind her and created this halo effect as she stood there, stunning in her wedding gown. I had to collect myself as I realized what I was witnessing. She told me softly that she wanted me to be the first to see her. As we embraced, I knew in that moment that I was the luckiest dad in the world. My little girl was all grown up, about to be married, and still wanted me to be the first in her life at that moment. I was so busy with the process of the day that I nearly missed the meaning of the day. I almost missed the moment, one I could never have had again.

How many moments have you missed in your life? If the answer is none, you are a better person than I. If you can’t say you’ve never missed a moment, pledge to never miss another. Promise yourself to always be in the moment, to savor the emotions that come with it, and to hang onto the memory that moment creates. You don’t get but one chance to go through life. Don’t miss the moments its made up of.