129 Saskatchewan Crescent, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Begin, as always, with the weather.

Still grey, but 15 or so degrees Fahrenheit warmer than yesterday. Fahrenheit because the painted-pink wall-clock-sized thermometer on the back porch comes to me from Saskatoon: it must once have belonged to my grandparents, because in its middle there's a  black and white snapshot of their house on a bend of the Saskatchewan River, and individual snapshots of my grandfather, grandmother, my mother and my aunt, still small girls. The house's address is handwritten below the picture of the house, which is not yet landscaped, and there is a faded date: 19?8. My mother grew up there. I lived there for the first three years of my life. My memories of it come from photographs.

In my grandparents' time the street must have been quasi-frontier. A small prairie city on a river, traversed by a railway, surrounded by wheat fields. Barn-red grain elevators poking up. The land so flat you could seeing them for miles in all directions. When, later, we drove back to Saskatchewan in the summer, we played a car game that consisted in being first to spot the next clutch of elevators along the Trans Canada Highway, and calling out I can see the elevators! 

My grandfather ('Ga') worked in a bank, later started a moving company, Saskatoon Cartage, that was bought out later by a bigger moving company. We inherited some green padded moving blankets, stored in the car trunk, handy for picnics. There is still one downstairs in our basement storage room. Our storage room is the last. If you continue beyond it, you find yourself in a tunnel into Saint Sulpice Church. Part of our building was a convent. I have never been in the tunnel: it is dark, there is talk of rats; in fact the underground cellar area is totally creepy. Going down there, to rummage for an old rug or basket, I know exactly how Juliet felt.

So here I am in Paris. Last night we went to the new Woody Allen movie, Rational Man, which I heartily do not recommend. If we hadn't been wedged in by a row of occupied seats we would have left before the end. The movie was full. The cafés were busy.