Thursday, 2 April 2015

Shades of the Rolla Ferry

Me and my siblings
My dad had some sayings he would toss out every now and again. "Talk's cheap but it takes money to buy whiskey" was one he apparently got from his dad.

"La-da-di-o" was an expression that caused my mom no end of annoyance for some reason. He used it when he thought people were being a little too fancy for his liking. Or when he was trying to be fancy.

And when my mom had cooked a particularly good dinner and we were all sitting around the table, satisfied and relaxed, he would say "I wonder what the poor people are doing tonight." It was his way of saying he felt rich, even when he wasn't. At least, that's what I always took it to mean.

A similar expression was "shades of the Rolla ferry," a comment that was part of my parents' idiolect, their secret language, built up by years of living together, filled with nuances and history that only the two of them knew.

"Shades of the Rolla ferry" reminded them of a perfect spring day when our family took a picnic to the site of a former ferry not far from our home in Dawson Creek. The weather was lovely. I am sure we had our plaid tin picnic basket and the thermoses in the leather case that my parents had received as a wedding gift. The poplar-clad hills were washed in the green-gold of early spring. Bits of foam blew off the river into our faces. Our loyal dog Pabby made sure none of us got too close to the water. Something about that day held a special place in their hearts and every now and then in the years that followed, when our family was together, my dad would look at my mom, and say "Shades of the Rolla ferry," and she would laugh quietly and nod in the way of couples who have been together for a long time.

"Shades of the Rolla ferry" was their private reminder of a moment when their world stood still. A moment when they were surprised by the simple exquisite perfection of their world.  A moment when a husband and wife looked at their family and knew life was more than they had ever dreamed of.