Lately, I’ve been trying to capture tidbits of random memories from long ago in hopes of eventually creating a larger piece of fiction from them. It’s made me wonder why certain scenes from the past can appear in our minds as clear as a recent photo while others have faded to fuzzy edged black and whites. The memory below is a bit of both.
Me around that time outside our apartment
“Winter had made the walk from school a cold one, but our apartment was warm. We were eating lunch. My mother was in her cashier’s smock. A work issued plastic Christmas corsage was pinned to it, just above her name tag and the embroidered Steinberg’s. Mom was on her break and eating an egg salad sandwich while she jabbed her fork at cucumber slices on her plate. My dad had been working the night shift and just gotten up. Still in his undershirt but wearing his work pants, he ate scrambled eggs, and baked beans with toast. I had my favourite apple sandwich on my plate.
“I don’t know if the strike will happen,” Dad told my Mom. “I’ll find out tonight.” My mother pulled the tea bag from her cup, squeezing it with the back of her spoon. “I hope not, especially right around Christmas.” My Dad shrugged. Normally I didn’t engage in conversations at the table, but the subject of Christmas got my attention. “Why is there going to be a strike?” I asked. He explained, between a bite of toast and sip of his coffee, that the assembly line at the plant was being sped up and the shop steward found out. “Those supervisors can’t just keep making us work faster all the time. There’s a limit.” I thought about this. We continued to eat in silence. The white clock on the wall ticked. Finally, I said, “I bet you could all just stop doing your jobs until they didn’t do that anymore.” My Dad really got a laugh out of that. “You got that right, sister!” That was one expression my dad used in English. “You got that right, sister.”
Postscript: My father worked for a good part of his life on the line at GM and my mother was a cashier for much of hers. We were working class, and though it wasn’t always a perfect or easy upbringing, it instilled in me what I like to think were lessons that have served me well. These memories also make good grist for the creative writing mill.
Now here’s an update on my Long Distance Walking plans, and a few tips I’m discovering along the way. I’m gradually adding more kilometres to my walks. I stress gradually because I don’t want to risk injury that could sideline me. This is my biggest worry because patience is not one of my virtues! I walked 16 kms one day last week on the Millennium trail, and then another 10K or so the following day. I plan on doing the remaining 20K of the trail in the next couple of days. My husband and I also hiked the Doe Lake trail at Frontenac Provincial Park. What a gorgeous place! Highly recommend. It was only about 4 kms, but lots of up and down and having to avoid ice on the paths meant plenty of climbing around to find alternative routes.
The hike at Frontenac also made me realize that my long neglected muscles need some work. I’m adding a few exercises for both my lower and my upper body to my walking routine. This is for stability and to build endurance to carry a pack as well as to prevent injury. Once the weather gets a bit better, I’m also looking to hike long sections of the Rideau Trail in preparation for the eventual 700km walk in P.E.I. I find using a tracker a good motivator, and as I’ve mentioned likely in other posts, documentation is my thing. I’ve been using Sports Tracker, a free app on my phone since mid July. I started daily walks almost a year ago now but didn’t use the tracker before the summer. Since using the app in late July, I’ve walked 258 hours and 1152 kilometres. 700 kilometres should be easy, right?
The nicer weather has been energizing and I am trying to stay motivated with podcasts and books. One I recommend is the newly published In Praise of Walking: a new scientific exploration by neuroscientist Shane O’Mara. Recent findings prove that something as simple as walking significantly boosts creativity and slows the aging of our brains as well as our bodies. He describes the experiments carried out to confirm the brain research data. Walking has also been proven to fight depression and anxiety, something that’s been documented for some time. It helps with insomnia, too, which I’ve had for years. I still have it sometimes, but it’s so much less often now. Here’s a review of the book.
Also, a link to a short video of our Doe Lake Hike at Frontenac.
Well, that’s it for this week. Thanks so much for reading the blog! As always, if you find any of the content I’m putting out useful, interesting, or entertaining, please consider tapping “follow” at the top right of the page to receive an email update when I upload a post.
Stay safe and I hope you have a great weekend! Christine