Bonnie and I had a wonderful "Day Holiday" in Vancouver. We stayed at a very nice hotel near Stanley Park and brought our bikes to ride around. The first trip around the park at about 1:00 PM on Wednesday was terrible. There was a 5K long traffic jam of tourists and Japanese school children wobbling awkwardly along on rented bikes. I was so stressed out that when we got back to the hotel while Bonnie napped I had to take a brisk walk just to calm down and find my peace again.
Back at the hotel, I read a few more chapters of War and Peace (I finally made it to the Epilogue--you will be hearing more about that later), and watched a movie that was a waste of time (I don't even want to talk about it). Then off to dinner at Carderos Restaurant. This is a recommend. Bonnie and I were both very impressed by our entrees (she got the lemon halibut, I got the cajun lingcod); the Russel's Cream Ale is beer as it is meant to be: you can actually taste it, but it doesn't bite back. The prices are surprisingly reasonable for an excellent meal on the marina. One warning: don't order ice cream for desert. It's not. They put all that sauce on it for a reason. On the up side, when the waiter saw that we didn't eat it, it didn't appear on the bill--no questions, no hassle. I guess I'm not used to classy restaurants. By the way, the little lotto shop across the way sells pints of Ben and Jerry's in multiple flavours.
Back at the hotel enjoying a pint of strawberry (real) ice cream, Bonnie and I made a plan to get out first thing in the morning and try another cycle around the park before the tourists got up. Then we watched The Blind Side with Sandra Bullock. She deserved the Academy Award she received for this one. It is a movie that I had been putting off seeing because its plot hits too close to home for me. She portrayed accurately that same awesome combination of love, toughness and tenderheartedness that my own foster mother possesses and that saved my life. I never made it in professional sports though.
By 7:00 am, Bonnie and I were on our bikes making our way around Stanley Park with no one but a few joggers. It was warm already and beautiful. The tide was out and we stopped three times just so that Bonnie could paint or sketch. I scampered over rocks trying not to fall on the barnacles looking for sea life in the tidal pools. When we finally ended up in English Bay about 8:30, we stopped for breakfast at the Sylvia Hotel, one of the oldest hotels in Vancouver. Breakfast was great, and the old ivy-covered hotel provided lots of fodder for Bonnie's sketch book. We finally wandered back to the hotel at 11:00, napped until 12:30 and took a late check out at 1:00--priceless!
As Bonnie and I were clinking our pints of cream ale, toasting our our 31 years together, I said, "Here's to our first 31 years together." It got me thinking. If I live to 82, it means that I still have another half of a wonderful marriage to go. The front end was all the work: the rough first couple of years leaning how to be one pair instead of a pair of ones. The kids (wonderful and stretching). Adventures in survival, in religion, in work, in trusting God. Basically it is all pretty easy now, maintenance really. Together we are like very comfortable clothes that just fit. All the wearing in has been done, now there is just the occasional spill or popped button that requires attention. This is God's gift. Solomon was right: "He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord" (Proverbs 18:22).