I spent the most amazing month last January sharing a small dorm room with a wonderful gal called Iam. Yep, that is right, Iam as in “I am.” There’s a whole interesting story to her name but suffice it to say that her parents were part of the 60’s generation. We were roommates at a month-long Shakespeare acting intensive in Massachusetts and we both felt EXTREMELY lucky to have landed in the same room and we became as close as sisters. So when this trip entered my mind, a stop to see Iam in Calgary was a must. I decided to put her at the end, rather than the beginning, and it has felt all along that I was moving my way around the continent to get to Calgary.
With such high expectations, we were both a bit scared that our relationship would not be the same, the reunion wouldn’t be everything we had anticipated. But I walked into her home, into her arms and it was like no time had passed. She lives in a suburb of Calgary in a bright, cheery, sunshiny home with a wonderful husband, Stuart, and her dog Phebe.
My first night we got caught up with our lives and I was shown a white stuffed elephant, my special designated toy to play with Phebe when I chose. She loves stuffed animals and was a master at whapping the elephant wildly around the living room.
The next day we went to the Canmore Folk Fest, with Cheryl, a friend of Iam’s. I have heard about music festivals, but it is amazing that I had never been to one, and this first experience was totally cool. Canmore is a beautiful mountain town not far from Banff, and I was in heaven seeing the mammoth rocks towering around us and walking through the quaint township.
The festival sported 4 stages for bands. We arrived in the afternoon, and it was extremely warm to be sitting in the sun, so we deposited our chairs in a cozy location and went in search of shade and explored the food and craft vendors.
I danced to a few tunes at the main stage before the clouds rolled in and showed we were in for one of those epic mountain thunderstorms. We were not prepared for rain, so skee-daddled for the shelter of the trees. The guitarist just kept on entertaining and we were soon drenched. We went from HOT to WET and chilly in maybe an hour. The rain lasted what seemed like 45 minutes, yet the atmosphere continued genial with people burrowed under tarps or dancing with arms out-stretched welcoming the rain on their skin. We were relieved when it finally stopped but our chairs were soaked and Iam had to work early the next day, so when it dried enough to walk to the car we slipped away.
While Stuart and Iam worked, I was given the wonderful gift of getting to hang out at their house, read, write, sleep, drink coffee, do laundry and enjoy their lovely home all by myself. After bunking in hotel rooms it really is a lovely thing to be in a home again. I ate it up.
That evening we had a “kitchen party” which according to Iam is “chatting, cooking and eating.” She forgot to mention the LAUGHING part. We made these awesome tofu/vege dumplings, Hail to the Kale salad and laughed from deep down in the gut. Such a memory is enough to live on. Like one drop of food coloring changing the whole cake batter green, I will be colored by that evening for a long, long time.
The next day I would be off to visit another friend about 90 minutes to the east of Calgary in the Canadian prairies in Rosebud, Alberta, but I would be back in a day. I didn’t have nearly enough Iam family time to last me through the agony of the eventual parting. So I will stop here and give you a break before continuing with the saga.
(TO BE CONTINUED…)