The two of us went out, on not what I can describe as a grand adventure, but as a lovely day spent together in the middle of the week, doing things that needed to be done. It started with a trip to the accountant, and then the bank. We signed our lives away, but since that was part of the plan, we just smiled, nodded, and kept the pens.
The day’s excursion continued to the town of Steinbach. Steinbach is a not a town, not anymore, but continues to embrace the small town feeling. The best place for lunch is a tiny shop with 10 tables that seat two people each, and is known as “Main Street Bread and Butter.” German is spoken readily here, both High and Low, which you’ll hear while you help yourself to chicken noodle soup that is so thick with homemade egg noodles, that you can barely find any broth. Which is why, I suppose, the ladies behind the counter don’t mind that the regulars pile the noodles three inches above the rim of the soup bowl.
We ate quickly after realizing that one of our contractors was in town, at the building supply store. We needed to talk house, (specifically tile) and after sorting a few things out with him, we wandered over to the plumbing and heating department to talk chimneys and shower heads, and then to the lighting department to analyze ceiling fans and 4 inch pot lights. Then to the reception desk to process our credit application (don’t you just love one stop shopping?) and then to the kitchen department to look at faucets. In the middle of our wandering, I lost my mitts, but didn’t realize this until, somehow, our building materials salesman Roger found us in the stair hardware aisle, and handed them over. (I’m still confused as to how he knew the mitts were mine; and then to track us down in the middle of that huge store, but there you have it. Customer service at its finest.)
The next stop was back to Main Street, to pick up house build insurance. Chadd’s cousin owns the insurance company, and we ran into Chadd’s aunt, who was just leaving. He gave her a hug. After the insurance was taken care of, we decided to walk up the street for a coffee. Since we were passing Main Street Bread and Butter, we ducked back in to buy some of the Danish Anthon Berg chocolates that were half-price at the till.
A day out with the husband in the middle of the week always involves knitting in the car, and I had brought both projects, because I knew I’d be sitting in the car while Chadd met with his scheduled appointments. One was in town, but the other two were out in the country. Southeastern Manitoba has lovely, descriptive names such as Sandilands, Woodlands, and Piney. They are exactly as they say; Sandilands is sandy, Woodlands is full of woods, and Piney is a dense pine forest. Old, small towns are surrounded by the forest, with some of the homesteads dating back over 100 years. There are still two tiny ramshackle log cabins that can be seen from the road. And then, of course, there are always the new houses being built, carved out of the bush by those who prefer to live surrounded by trees and nature, or in the middle of a small stretch of bald prairie; but most certainly not even within shouting distance of the neighbours.
We drove a little farther, to the site of a major forest fire that happened two years ago in October. The fire had taken out close to 190 square kilometers in that area, and it was now beautiful and amazing to see all the tiny pine trees that are now carpeting the ground. Finely pale green, as far as you could see on both sides of the highway, covering what looked like swaths of prairie. Fascinating also to see the remains of a patch of burnt trees still standing, stripped of their needles; and the scorch marks on the survivors where the bark and sap had bubbled and blackened. Then abruptly, the forest begins again, where the firefighters and the water bombers managed to stop the fire. We used an access road, cut out of the bush and carpeted with red pine needles, to turn the car back around and head home.
It was a lovely day.