|David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
I've known my friend Mel off and on since we were 14 years old. We grew up with each other in Fox Creek, and way back then, we didn't care for each other much. Even though we are born a day apart, we had nothing in common. To generalize and categorize, she was religious and I was a headbanger. Nuff said.
We got in touch through Facebook, and have been close ever since. Funny how that happened...we still shake our heads in wonder. How did that happen? But we no longer care.
We get together as often as time allows, talking about our lives, our good times, our problems, old times and job stress. (What? I have stress...like deadlines, promotions and I DO have a life away from my keyboard, y'know) Anyway, since we both turned forty-one, we decided we needed to get away. Have some frivolous fun. Maybe we were feeling impulsive.
We decided we would drive around in our own backyard of Alberta and check out museums. Believe me, there's TONS of them. Most towns have one sight-seeing point or another. So we drove to Morinville...
Oops! Too early. Well no problem, on to the next. So we arrived in Legal. Also too early. But I got a chance to point out where the settings of my current manuscript was taking place. We took pictures of churches and laughed at our lack of timing.
Why churches? Because the chapter I'm currently working on takes place in a church, and I figured I needed some authentic provincial and cultural atmosphere for it.
We drive back roads, sketchy stuff since it's winter in Canada, but the roads are good.
We made our way to Thorhild, and since the museum was open from 2-5, we decided to go for lunch first....in the only chinese/western restaurant in town.
Insert "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" theme here. Nope. We're not local. Could y'all please stop gawking while the owner seats us at the only available spot (the staff table, obviously) in the joint? Decent and cheap buffet. $8.95 a person, and the ginger beef tasted like beef, not MSG. The food was so cheap, they couldn't afford real bathrooms, which were not much more than attached outhouses with plumbing. Clearly an afterthought when the building was constructed. ( What? You need to pee? What do you think this is? A DINING ESTABLISHMENT?!) How did the water not freeze in the toilets?
We go to the museum, and guess what? IT'S CLOSED. Apparently, if we hadn't gone for lunch, we would have made it. Oh for three, so we head home as the day wanes.
I found a small secret--a historical site not on our map and certainly not on Google. I looked. I'd seen a small sign with a red arrow that told me Sandy Hills Historical Site went thataway, and Mel made good on her promise to take us there on the way back.
It was a tiny church with a silver, pointed dome. It's old, white, and clearly no longer in use, but lovingly cared for. Someone wanted to keep it alive.
It's perfect. It's the precise thing I've been looking to write about. And I can't wait. It means redoing several pages in a manuscript already accustomed to change, but this pretty little gem deserves my attention. It inspires me.
I guess what I'm trying to tell you is that one can find inspiration anywhere, with good friends. Thanks Melaida. I can't wait for our next adventure!