The Trains of Winnipeg 2

(for Rose and Del)

A hot August night when I was 6 or 7. Travelling with my young cheerful aunt by bus across town with my parents to the CP station at the Royal Alexandra Hotel. Standing with her with less than an hour to go when my mother asked her about her ticket. She began rummaging her clothes madly in search of it. My Dad was immediately assigned to go via taxi (a luxury then for us) back across town to do the impossible–find it and return before the train left.

It was announced that the train was ready to go–all passengers aboard, when my father suddenly rushed in. “It was lying on the kitchen table,” he said breathlessly. And then my aunt abruptly, hurriedly ran to the train entrance, leaving us for our long, slow, familiar, mundane return home by bus. My poor parents, who had trouble at the best of those lean times in rubbing two nickels together.

My aunt and parents–everything a stranger would ever need to know about who and what they essentially were. My parents–responsible and perpetually doing for others, ever stuck with the bill. My aunt–so cheerful but scattered–who left messes behind her everywhere she went in her vivacious, carefree, but oh-so-careless life.

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