There are still a few days left for the voting on The Best of Blogs. BigBlueBarnWest is still holding its own in its category of Best Inspirational Blog. I thank all of you for your continued support and for taking the time to vote for me. As you know - I feel incredibly humbled by this sort of thing and I get all goofy and embarrassed by it. Despite the blush - I still thank you all and ask that you please keep up the voting for a couple more days.
Now - on with the story.
That summer Cid spent nearly every weekend hiking the Rocky Mountains. Some days he hiked 20 miles or more. He tried to talk me into going with him but I would have none of it. Not only would my asthma be a problem hiking at that altitude – but my fear of bears would drive me crazy - especially walking through their territory. So Cid went out alone and came back with amazing pictures and amazing stories. He told us about hiking on trails that were posted with bear warnings and how he sang and shook his bear bells the whole day. He talked about coming across other hikers in their Lederhosen and feathered caps; suspenders holding up their shorts. He told us about all the hawks and eagles he saw as he climbed up above the tree line. The big raptors were his favorite birds because they were the ones he could actually see with his poor eyesight. His face would go all soft and a look of contented loneliness would fill his eyes when he saw any of his favorites – the hawks. Luckily, here in Alberta they can be seen everywhere as they hover and soar over the plains in search of food.
We filled those summer weekends in many different ways. Sometimes it was just Cid and I who went out and explored, sometimes it was all three. Even on the weekends that he did hike in the mountains, he always made sure he dropped in to visit on his way home. Cid would often pick us up and we would drive west and then go upriver and watch my brother taking his guests on their white-water rafting adventures. Sometimes we drove into British Columbia so we could wander around Radium Hot Springs. We always took a picnic, and Cid always brought his camera.
As the summer progressed, Cid’s physique changed. His soft lawyer’s body was acquiring an athlete’s form and his face filled with joy when I pointed this out to him as he hiked along in front of me. Watching his tanned muscular calves as he strode along almost made me lose my breath. To me his legs were beautiful and I wanted him to know how I felt. Except for the huge scar that stitched its way up his stomach, you wouldn’t know he had had cancer. He was just happy to be alive and it was infectious.
Life for me still consisted of my Mom picking me up during the week and taking me into the store where I would sleep or watch the monitor. I was still so terrified of people that I couldn’t go out into the showroom and help anyone with a coat. Mom brought me into the store through the backdoor and I spent the day in the backroom – protected and safe. On weekends Cid and/or D protected me from everyday life as well. If people approached me, I would hide behind who I was with and start to shake and cry. I couldn’t get over this fear and the only thing that helped it was being distracted.
With the end of summer came the massive input of our winter stock and that helped distract me. I had always loved when the new coats came in for the winter or spring season. Day after day a knock would come to the backdoor and the delivery driver would be there with 6 or 7 huge boxes that he hauled in on his dolly and stacked in our backroom. It was like Christmas when we opened those boxes and brought out the coats we had ordered six months ago. Invariably we would forget what we had ordered and it was always such a surprise to pull out the different styles from those boxes. While I was sick, Mom and my brother handled the buying. Finding out what they had ordered was such a wonderful surprise for me and it made me take a bit of an interest in the business again. I started by steaming the coats before they went out on the racks. From there I found that I could go out to the front desk and put the stock into the computer. Somehow my brain retained information about the business while completely discarding other things. However, if a customer approached me – I fled.
On September 30th we celebrated Cid’s 48th birthday. We had spent enough time cooking with Cid in my kitchen to discover that he did not own a microwave. So that is what we gave him. We laughed when he stated that he just didn’t know what he would do with it. Like his little Italian mother, he was a hard-core pressure cooker type of guy.
On the Friday before my birthday in November, Cid asked me to go through my closet and find something special to wear. He wouldn’t tell me why –he just said he would see me the next day and that I wasn’t to get upset or worry about anything. He had purposely waited until the last minute so I wouldn’t have too much time to think or to back out of whatever he had in mind. On Saturday afternoon he picked me up and we drove up to Edmonton. I hadn’t a clue where we were going, but he took me into a large building full of people and I started to panic. Holding me close he took me to seats he had selected that were right on the aisle so I wouldn’t be hemmed in by strangers. He had also timed it so we sat down right as the performance began. Still not knowing what to expect, I held my breath as the curtains opened and Sarah Brightman came out onto the stage and began to sing.
I spent the next two hours enraptured by this gorgeous petite woman with the most incredible voice. Every song had tears streaming down my face with the beauty of it all. I had never heard of her before this night, but I was a fan. When the performance ended, Cid saw the panic instantly take over and he took us through that massive crowd like I was a football and he was a defensive end. With one hand stretched before him and the other wrapped tightly around me – he yelled ‘let this lady through please’ as he plowed through the crowd. In minutes he had me out of the building and into his car and we were on our way.
When Cid brought me back to the barn, he thanked D for letting me go with him for the evening. It was my special birthday present from him and I couldn’t thank him enough. After he had left to return to Edmonton once more, I raved on and on to D about the concert. I could only remember the name of the last song she had sung and I asked D if he had ever heard Time To Say Good-bye. In minutes he had looked it up on the computer and was playing it for me. As the sounds swept through the room and brought tears running down my face once more, I asked him who owned the incredible voice that was singing with Sarah Brightman. In a second the answer came back – Andrea Bocelli.
None of us knew how much this concert would affect our lives later on.