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Ottawa in the snow

Today Ottawa had a huge blizzard – something like 30 centimetres of snow fell, and the roads were sheet ice. My rental car got stuck in the driveway and I had to dig myself out, just to get the three blocks to Do’s. I was chanting, “I HATE OTTAWA!” to myself. “Who lives in this hellhole?” I know, there are many people who love winter. I was just in shock after our incredibly mild December. 
Do didn’t want to leave the building, understandably, so I managed to get to a grocery store for urgently needed supplies and later walked on the street through the blinding snow – it was almost fun, actually – to the local mall to buy Do a toaster and for me, the most urgently-needed supply – wine. When I drove home at around 8, the snowbanks were 10 feet high. 
But yesterday was wonderful. First we visited Auntie Do. 

Ninety-five meets five months.

 Then we drove to my brother Mike’s home in Chelsea, Quebec, for a family celebration. Once there, Ben settled in to do some reading.

And some heavy drinking. As did the rest of us – the champagne was flowing.

 The kids – Mike’s son Jake aged 8, Eli 3 1/2 and my sister-in-law Emilie’s brother’s children aged 5 and 3, had a cushion fight.

The boys playing computer games. They also played for hours in the snow (just enough snow, at that point.)

Emilie’s lovely mother Lorraine with our oysters for the evening, from my brother’s gourmet seafood emporium La Boucanerie de Chelsea. We also had fantastic cheese, calamari salad and smoked and baked salmon. And Ben devoured his first shrimp.

Jake was much admired as he banged out some tunes.

And Eli (wearing a t-shirt that used to be Jake’s, celebrating my brother’s favourite team) bashed the drums in the basement where Mike and his band play on the weekends. We had a fab family gathering, and when I went back to Ottawa that night, Anna and the kids stayed out there. Much more fun – toys! Snow! A fireplace and lots and lots of fish. Today they were supposed to come in to Ottawa but got snowed in and are staying put till tomorrow. It’s clearing, the roads are plowed – this city knows how to deal with snow.

What turned out to be best of all was that my aunt and I had a quiet day to ourselves. She reminisced and discussed my parents; we made meals, and I showed her all the pictures from the past year on this computer. She told me again, for the eightieth time, about first meeting me, “a determined little thing of two or three,” when we went to visit my mother’s parents in London. It’s such a privilege to be close to someone who has lived so long, seen so much, and has watched me grow up, and my children, and now my grandchildren. She’s incredible, resents having to use a cane, is sharp and astute. I love her very much. Rock on, Auntie Do.

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2 Responses to “Ottawa in the snow”

  1. That photo of Do and baby! What a classic. Loved the pix of the park in the snow as well. Hope you had a great holiday — looks like it!

  2. beth says:

    Actually, Caitlin, I couldn't wait to get home. The climate in Ottawa is brutal! Still, it's great to visit my aunt and see her so well.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.

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