We planned to meet with my friend’s host mom, we’ll call her June, over lunch one day. June’s husband had died some years earlier and she now lived in a newly built condo on her own. She had actually only moved in the week before we came but the place looked impeccable.
June was an absolutely delightful woman. She had cooked a full meal which included the most perfectly cooked chicken breast I have ever tasted. She was 80 years old, I believe, but still very active and had such wonderful stories to tell. She is the kind of woman you could curl up on a chair next to and listen to for hours as she recounted stories of her life. We all laughed so hard that day.
That same night we were going to June’s son’s house for dinner. We already felt stuffed to the brim after lunch but we carried on like the troopers we are. We stopped at a supermarket and I was able to load up on obscene amounts of Cadbury chocolate and other delicacies unknown to the American market including the mildly illegal Kinder Surprise eggs. I thought I was being teased when someone told me they were illegal in the US. Of all the countries in the world to make a candy illegal I wouldn’t have thought it to be America.
Anyway, we arrived at the host brother’s house to find that he was also entertaining two of his friends. After mentally confirming that this was not some sort of weird triple dating situation we settled down to catching up or getting acquainted. One of the men was from a lobster fishing family but didn’t eat them, another sold fancy cars and did drive one and the other was a social worker.
During the course of the evening we discovered that Canadian men drink a lot. Also they are prone to impulsive acts, namely ordering strange (but not totally bad tasting) fast food to be delivered to the door just so we could taste it. This after a hearty steak dinner.
I was also offered my first ever joint, actually it was the first time I had been offered anything that you smoke. I did once accidentally eat smoked salmon but I didn't care for it at all and it is unlikely that I will be repeating that mistake any time soon. Anyway, our very attentive host asked if any of us would like to partake and then went on to explain that he and his friends didn’t do such things but he liked to keep some on hand just in case his guests did, to be polite. I had heard that Canadians are very polite but this was taking it to quite the extreme. We, politely, declined and conversation went back to more legal topics, kind of.
He did tell us one story that had us all in stitches. His mother had been having a hard time sleeping a while back and it was starting to bother her. She mentioned it to one of her church lady friends while driving the octogenarian carpool to Sunday mass one week. The next week this lady handed her a bag of herbal tea. She explained that one cup of this tea, brewed and consumed before bedtime would set her up for a wonderful night’s sleep.
Well, June was willing to try anything and since her friend, we’ll call her Doris, had given it such a glowing review she gave it a try. Low and behold, she was able to sleep again. She made it part of her regular routine and felt so much better for it. She mentioned to her son one day that Doris has given her this wonderful tea to drink before bed and it was doing wonders, although she had noticed that she had gained a tiny amount of weight, but not to worry.
The son was curious and wanted to know what kind of tea this was, thinking perhaps chamomile or some sleepy blend. Well, imagine his surprise when she presented him with the bag of leaves and he discovered that his 80 year old mother had been brewing herself up a cup of Mary Jane for the past month and a half!!
June was rather proud of the fact that she had a ‘dealer’ although she did stop partaking in her bedtime ritual. We had a good giggle at what we called ‘Aunty June’s Special Tea’. We were also relieved that we had all declined her kind offer of brownies following our lunch that morning.
We were a little disappointed at the lack of wildlife, besides Canadians, that we saw on our trip. We had thought we would be over run by moose and other exotic beasts but really the only thing we saw were seagulls. Perhaps we should have visited a zoo.
On the drive homewards we had no sooner crossed the border back into the US than we saw a bear loping across the road and then a baby moose standing in front of us, again in the road. We were in such shock that I don’t think any of us actually got a photo. Of course I was driving at the time so that’s my excuse.
The border crossing was just as uneventful as the previous one. Apparently the US was happy with my passport, complete with photo taken in my dining room by a 10 year old, and my green card got its first official workout. We told the officer that we had a car load of candy and he seemed unfazed by that.
So far no child has choked on any of the toys from the Kinder Surprise eggs although several of them were almost maimed when they snuck in and ate my Crunchy bars.