Sunday June 9th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the culmination.

Right, time to catch up on recent happenings. On Thursday afternoon my parents arrived to stay with us for a little while. On Friday afternoon my sisters and my brother-in-law came to town for a weekend visit, staying in a hotel because we're plum out of room here.

So that made for two big family dinners on the deck in a row. My aunt and uncle from Montreal stopped in to see us at the farmers market on Saturday before meeting up for dinner with us that night (more on that in a minute). After selling out of strawberries Brittany and I spent the next three hours selling plants, a few of my cards, and most of the rhubarb we brought with us.

On the way home from the market I got a call on my phone, which I didn't answer because I was driving. We got into Osoyoos and I stopped to put gas in the truck and checked the voice mail that had been left.

Turned out it was from the chef at the Watermark, the local restaurant we started supplying this year. His salad greens and arugula guy hadn't turned up on Friday and he'd been unable to get a hold of him, so he was a bit desperate for greens. When he called again before I could even finish fueling the truck I said we were heading his way for dinner that night, would 5:30 be too late?

He said yes, but he could come to the farm to pick them up and that he'd take whatever we had. So I asked for a bit more than an hour to get home, unpack the truck, and pick the greens (in the hot, hot heat - thankfully the water had just been turned off in the garden so things weren't too wilted).

If he hadn't been in such a tight spot there is no way in hell I would have offered to extend an already long day. Normally when I get home from the market we unpack the truck and I go to sleep. Anyway, he was appreciative and I was glad to improve our budding relationship.

As for the rest of the day...

Mine:

Saturday night's dinner was the culmination of seven months of plotting and planning. It began during the family reunion in Jamaica that Kat and I were unable to attend, due to the imminent arrival of a certain someone.

My Uncle Roger and my sister Sue set things in motion down there. What followed were countless little lies and secret plans and increasing stress levels as the date drew nigh. My mother told my sister they wouldn't be around for them to visit on this road trip because they would be away attending a baseball game in Seattle. My sister Nicky flew into Calgary from Boston the night before my aunt and uncle were leaving there for here, telling them that she was just there to go camping with Sue and her husband Jake.

Me? I had to tell my aunt that the drive from Calgary was really best done over two days, both for the distance and to appreciate the drive. Plus that way they could drop in on us at the market in Penticton before meeting up for dinner later that evening.

So Nicky, Sue, and Jake actually left Calgary first (got to get an early start on that camping trip) and made the drive to Osoyoos in one day. Meanwhile my aunt and uncle stopped for the night partway here.

But Nicky had never seen the farmers market in Penticton, so the three of them came back up early in the morning to check it out. All the while keeping an eye out for my aunt and uncle, who were due to arrive later in the morning. The stress levels at our stall when Nicky was out wandering without a watch or phone as the clock ticked onwards were quite something to behold.

Anyway, they got out of there what turned out to be almost an hour before my aunt and uncle arrived. I arranged the dinner location and time, and even offered to make the reservation (which had already been made two weeks ago). As soon as they were safely on their way again I called home to Kat and to Sue on the road to let them know where they were.

My aunt and uncle ended up driving through Oliver while my sisters and brother-in-law were having lunch on Main Street - thankfully, not on the patio.

Anyway, I get home and not long before we're all set to leave I get a call from my aunt, asking us to come to their room (which was at the resort in which the restaurant is located) early so that she could spend some time with Max and they could get to know each other a bit. Because as far as she knew, meeting Max was the main point of coming here.

Not, you know, the surprise 80th birthday dinner we were planning for her.

So we gathered everyone in the restaurant and I went up alone (because Kat wasn't sure she could pull the lie off) and said that Max was being fussy and needed a nap, so it would be dinner with just Kat and myself. My aunt was disappointed but I assured her that she would still get to meet him the following morning.

So we came down from the fourth floor (boy was that a long elevator ride), walked into the restaurant and headed for the rear of the patio, where my family lay in wait. One final wrinkle though.

"Hi there, do you have a reservation?"

"Yes," my Aunt Monica says. "Under Roger and Monica."

"And for how many people?"

"Four."

"Oh." Slight look of confusion. Because I made the reservation for nine. Looks toward the bar. I catch his eye and give him the biggest friggin' wink ever, knowing that I had included a note about the surprise in the reservation. "Oh right. Yes, right this way."

Somehow, someway, despite innumerable opportunities for the secret to be blown, we managed to get my aunt ten feet away from the table before she realized what was going on.

2 Comments:

Greg said...

Well, I'm not sure anything we write could top what you've written today! That's quite a feat of logistics you've pulled off there, to get all nine people together and keeping secrets like that. I'm most impressed that you managed to arrange it so that everyone got to see the market and your stall and all the rest of it without bumping into each other!
Heh, and well done on being the one to go up and pretend that Max wasn't well and that dinner would just be a small gathering for the four of you!
Also, that was really great of you to help the chef out in a tight spot like that! I imagine his stress levels at having no greens were almost comparable to yours at trying to keep people secret and apart :)

The Culmination
noun. etym. unkwn. The Culmi were a tribe of people indigenous to the Culmi mountain range, which their creation myths said marked the end of the world. When they were discovered they explained all this to the explorers, who laughed at the scary tales of the simple folk, gave them syphilis, and carried on exploring.
None of them came back, but the syphilis proved harder to get rid of.
Later explorers also listened to these tales and laughed at them, often picked up syphilis while they were with the Culmi, and then disappeared into the mountains.
Recently the Culmi have been granted First Nation status, and satellite imagery has revealed that beyond the mountain range is a large, black anomaly that might very well be the end of the world.
Truly, this is the Culmi Nation.

Marc said...

Greg - I'm pleased you went the definition route, as I wasn't sure what anybody else was going to make out of that prompt.

Love the tone of this entry. Just leaves me with a smile on my face :)