The Baptism and Thanksgiving

The wind came and moved the clouds along. The present system has a few surprises up its sleeve as is distributes its bounty of clouds up and down the coast. I was ready for a shower from the sky but instead we got a pleasant sunrise in the morning. 

It was hard to fall asleep in anticipation of the early pick up. A friend and former colleague picked me up at five thirty in the morning so that we could safely catch the early morning ferry.  Ania was already waiting there or just getting there as we set off from my block. Sandy has already checked the sailings to make sure that there weren’t any cancellations. The reports seemed kind of dire for rainfall. Not on this day it seems. 

We chatted as we made our way through the dark deserted streets and over the Lions Gate Bridge. It’s majesty highlighted by the blue LED lights running along the main cable like vertebrae of a serpent. Then it was onto the highway and around the dark forests and mountains of the north shore. We made good time and when we got through the booth i was in contact with Anna so that I could help her with some of the stuff that she had to bring over to the island. 

It was cutting it close. Ania found “rock star” parking. Right there close to the entrance and on the end of the row. There were two bags and I grumbled sarcastically about having to help her with them. Chivalry is not quite dead yet. As I grabbed the bags I heard the anouncement about loading onto the ferry. Looking over I noticed the cars starting to move. Shit! My dear sis still didn’t have a ticket. I had to board with the car. As I ran across the gangway towards the cars I left my sis to fend for herself. I got down the stairs and watched as Sandy rolled by in her car. There was no way to alert her of my position. There was also the wrath of the line of cars behind her. One of the attendants noticed me and recognized my predicament. She guided me to the loading deck and I walked over there with a bag in each arm thinking ” at least they’re not heavy”.

The paved slope had and the painted padestrian markings guided my way towards the ship. By the time I got there the last few cars were loading. I was stopped by the attendant supervising the loading. He heard me out and called his supervisor over. 

The last of the cars were on the ferry now and I get a message from Sandy asking me where I was. I respond with can you send me a picture of the ticket. I explain my situation to the supervisor. I explain the situation again. There is something lost in the translation. They wouldn’t want someone to just walk into the ferry without paying. Finally he understands the situation and allows me to board the ferry. The circumstances behind me walking onto the ferry in this manner finally made sense. Sandy also texted me a photo of the ticket that she bought for the car and myself. The final piece of the puzzle helped to make sense of a puzzling appearance of someone just walking up to the ferry with two bags filled with stuff. 

The car was easy enough to find. Somewhere on the right of the ship or the starboard side. I got a text from Sandy alerting me to the  location. The bags were safely loaded into the car. We climbed the stairs to the fifth deck where all the food was being served. The cafeteria had a line up already. We called Ania and told her to find us in the line up. We didn’t want to give up our spot in the line up. We ate the breakfast chatting away as the ship blasted its horn and disembarked from shore on the ninety minute journey to Nanaimo. We walked around a bit caching the sunrise from the sun deck. It was shaping up to be a beautiful day. 

We climbed down the stairs and made our way to the car when the time came to drive off the ferry. Sandy wasn’t familiar with where she left the car and eventually I lead the way to it. Sandy needed directions and I could navigate to our destination. We had to stop in Duncan to refill on coffee luckily being familiar with the city somewhat I knew where to go. We had the luxury of time and Sandy wanted to buy a card for the “dunking” ceremony. I opted to refrain buying such a frivolous piece of sentimentality opting instead to add what I would have spent into the donation. 

We communicated with my brother et all that we were going to meet him at the church. It would have been pointless to drive to his place and then to the facility. Maps told me that we were four minutes away from the building. We drove over to the place and parked legally really close to the STOP line at the intersection. People were slowly marching in and filling the pews. When we spotted my brother’s young family we filed out of the car and walked over to them. They looked so handsome. Erin in a dress, Jarek in his suit and the little one with a cute clip on tie looking quite dapper at such a young tender age. We filed into the place of worship and down the corridor and into the space. We were directed to sit in the front row. The family all sitting together the parents of the little one, the godparents Ashley and myself as well as Erin’s father. The service was a series of songs and some readings as well as announcements and a bit of preaching about the theme of giving thanks. It was an inviting place with a good atmosphere. The preacher had an affable personality calm and inviting with a smooth voice and cheerful disposition. He was happy to baptize the little one into the flock. It was a joyful occasion made all the more significant by the full pews of the gathered congregation. Many have come from far for the celebration including ourselves. 

When it came time for the ceremony we stood there in front of everyone and pledged by reading from the script that we would help and be a part of the little ones life. To help guide him to the Lord. He was baptized and anointed with holy oil squirming and making a fuss when the ceremony was taking place. The light poured in through the stained glass windows as we returned to our seats and sang the final hymns. At the end we all commented on how nice the service was. There was some strength in the ceremony and after we filed out to make our way back to the car and to Jerry’s house for dinner. 

Thanksgiving is a truly North American tradition. In Canada it is celebrated a lot earlier than in the states. It may be due to the northern climate coming down on us much quicker than down south. The growing season is a lot shorter. It is a nice time for everyone to get together for a turkey feast. The fall season with its distinctive flair and color is the perfect opportunity for this. And so it was for us gathered here waiting for the bird to finish cooking sharing stories playing with the little one. This day was different from the other Thanksgiving dinners we have had. My parents weren’t around and the group gathered there was mostly the new younger generation brought together not by blood per se but by friendships that have formed into family type bonds. I guess by marriage now they are the new family that we are a part of. It feels like a new frontier. 

The turkey was delicious and cooked to perfection. We ate as much as we wanted. Then we had to make room for dessert. All the simple elegant pieces that speak of Canadian traditions were there. Apple pie with ice cream, pumpkin pie. We enjoyed each other’s company and had various interactions with each other. I think it was good that my li’l sis got to enjoy this day. The various circumstances that have created this weird constellation of obligations were evident on this day at least in my mind as the day rolled along. 

It was time to go at six. I have work the next day as does Ania. Sandy needed to get back as well. The ferry back wasn’t too bad either. We made the hour drive and through the toll in time to watch the ferry release the passengers that just arrived from Vancouver. The ride back was made I. The darkness of the night the sun having already set. We talked of the experience we all just shared. We smiled and laughed as we recalled the different little events. Sandy drove me to my apartment. Who knows when the next time will be when we will see each other. We chatted about the serious topic of the future. 

There wasn’t too much time for reflection the next day’s shift was fast approaching. 

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