|Not-Quite-Sanctuary. The family ranch in Fort MacLeod.|
You can't hide things from your parents.
Just ask me . . .
I had my first 'official' job.
My Dad would argue this, as I worked for him for eight years.
Let me start again . . .
I had my first job-away-from-daddy's-ranch job.
It involved moving to Calgary, a city two hours to the north. And all the things that 'moving out' entails.
I had been an official Monday to Friday resident of Calgary for four months. And was feeling mighty independent as I made my weekly drive to my parent's ranch to fill my gas tank and stock up on food.
You look at 'independence' your way and I'll look at it in mine.
Ahem . . .
Just as I was driving into Claresholm, a small town just north of the ranch, an ad came on the radio.
A rather effective ad, as it turns out. Wherein (good word) different people were asked what was most important in their lives.
There were various answers. The last being 'family'. Which was followed immediately by the sounds of screeching tires and an obvious vehicle collision.
I hadn't seen my family in six days.
And, I will admit it here, I'm a wuss.
The ad hit me hard.
I started to cry.
At that point, things got a little confused.
My Old English Sheepdog, Muffy, happily ensconced in her seat of power (commonly known as 'shotgun') came unglued.
Tears did that to her.
She alternately tried to lick my face.
And crawl into my lap.
Neither of which is very desirable when one is hurtling along the road at 40 MPH.
Which, if I could have seen clearly, should have been 30 MPH.
You can guess what happened next.
Red and blue lights erupted just after the last intersection.
And suddenly a wavery figure was indicating, rather forcefully, that I pull over.
He poked his head into my car, took one look at my red-rimmed eyes and tear-drenched face and immediately withdrew.
"Come to my car when you've composed yourself," he mumbled.
I dried my face and blew my nose.
Then calmed Muffy, who was still under the mistaken impression that I needed some good, doggy-style comforting.
Then I made my way over to the officer's car.
We had a nice chat, which culminated in an issued ticket for $25.00 and a warning to 'be more careful'.
Then, just as I reached for the door handle, the officer said, "If you don't mind. Why were you crying?"
I rolled my eyes. "It's silly, really," I told him.
"Do you mind telling me?"
"No." I related the entire fiasco, sparked by the ad on the radio.
It lost nothing in the telling.
I so love a good story.
He chuckled. Yes. People did that back then.
"I remember when I first went out to Regina for my RCMP training," he said. "I was one homesick puppy! I had never been away from home and I really missed my family."
We chatted a while longer.
Mostly about families and missing them.
And the incongruence (real word) of airing radio ads about car accidents specifically designed to make people cry.
And cause more car accidents.
I know. It doesn't make sense to me, either.
Then I left.
A few days later I paid my ticket and all was forgotten.
Or so I thought.
Moving forward several weeks . . .
I was sitting at the kitchen table when my parents came back from a quick trip to Calgary.
Dad came in and stopped beside my chair.
"How do you know an RCMP officer in Claresholm?" he asked.
I stared at him blankly.
RCMP Officer? I didn't . . .
I had to relate the entire story, something I had formerly neglected to do.
Because of my reluctance to confess.
Dad chuckled. See? Chuckling again. It did happen.
"So how did you find out?" I demanded.
"Your mother and I just went through a check-stop in Claresholm," Dad said.
"Oh," I said.
"And this very kind and cheerful officer took one look at my license and asked me if I had a daughter, Diane."
"Oh," I said again.
"You can't blame us for being curious."
"Umm . . . so . . . what did he say?" I could feel my face getting red.
I hate it when that happens.
"He just told us that we had quite a daughter."
"Your Mother and I agreed with him." Dad smiled. "He handed back my license and waved us off."
"Oh." For a normally talkative person, I was really groping around for something to say.
Dad patted my arm.
"And don't speed," he said.
See? Parents always find out.