Sunday is always a day of rest. It is the way it is and no one asks why, because Sunday is the most beautiful day of the week. First we attend mass because the roads are clear and easy to navigate. And then we gather with our ‘ready-made friends’ (our many relatives) and we celebrate. Adults play cards, laughing and talking. And mom with our aunts and grown cousins cook – giving us the most delicious food we will ever eat. We don’t know this. We just take it for granted because we don’t know otherwise.
Kids go outside and play, sometimes together, – kick-the-can, hide-and-seek or even my beloved cowboys and Indians. Sometimes we break into age groups and wander off to do activities in groups. There is endless space to do as we please. We are not supervised. But we are always guaranteed a fun, joyous time. Some live close and we see them nearly every Sunday. Sometimes we visit them and sometimes they visit us. But always we have large gathering that people might call a party – every Sunday.
I have a cousin my age. He is a genius. He is going to university when I start high-school. We don’t care, because when we get together, we play – no different than others. They live in the Eagle Hills. I look at those huge hills and think maybe they are mountains. Covered with mysterious forests, we approach them carefully with both anticipation and fear. Visions of stories about the explorers fuel our anticipation. Thoughts of dangers lurking, like Hansel and Gretel, give us the fear. The fear isn’t enough to stop us. We are explorers.
Others, those that live nearby, become an extension of our siblings. We fight, we play together but we always know we are there to protect each other. We are always there to help each other. We have competitions and play sports (yes, we are that many) and sometimes the older ones might let the younger ones win. But mostly they don’t. That is how we learn – their winning isn’t demeaning nor does it make me feel bad – it only makes me determined to do better.
We enjoy visiting our uncle and aunt what seems like far away – to the south of us. Strangely we are matched age to age – their children to mom and dad’s. How unique is that. The girl my age is one of my best friends – and it never changes as we grow up – although sometimes we only see each other a few times a year. I prefer the area I live in with slopes, hills and tree surrounded sloughs. They live in the Saskatchewan everyone hears about – the flat, empty area. It is then I learn maybe it doesn’t matter where you live – it’s more about being surrounded by people you know, people you love.
Rarely we visit distant cousins – they have a cabin by a huge lake. Oh the glorious times of white sandy beaches, huge rolling waves and the silky joy of cool water in the summer heat. What a glorious time we have.
I know as a fact, I will never be alone, regardless of how many hardships I suffer, unless I choose to be alone. I salute all my ‘ready-made friends’, scattered all over North America – many strangers, but not. I realize I will always be welcome somewhere, someplace. I apologize for drifting away. I count my blessings.