Bike Touring Journals by Neil Anderson and Sharon Anderson Two for the Road Bicycle touring France
26 High Pain Threshold
We were joking around, as usual, and Madeleine said my mother had raised a droll child. Looking up droll in my dictionary I found "funny, humorous, queer." Hmmm. I wondered which one she had meant. I had just returned from the kitchen pretending to have three knives stuck into my chest and saying, "Thank you, Madeleine."
At 10:30 p.m. Sharon phoned home and talked to everyone for an hour. Most of her eight brothers and sisters were at her parent's for Easter dinner. Three of them were on the line at once--a real old fashioned party line. Neil had a new job in Warburg an hour from Edmonton. Lara had quit her job. They were selling their house. Neil was staying in the cabin at Pigeon Lake with no power, heat or electricity. The maximum temperature had been twelve degrees Celsius and it was still freezing at night, so Neil had been cool. Just like camping. They had made an offer to purchase another house near Devon.
Chris hadn't sold the house he built yet and his renter had moved out. He was on Larry's farm and couldn't come for Easter as he was up to his neck, or armpits at least, artificially inseminating cows. Diane said he liked playing God.
Murray finished hockey in Germany and was subbing in Grande Prairie. He went to Mexico with Sherry for two weeks. The rest of the family called him "the holiday man." Sounded good to me. Keep your priorities straight Murray. It reminded me of the old man who saw two young boys lying on the beach. He told them to get jobs so they could earn enough money so that when they were his age they could lie on the beach.
Heide had brought some of our slides to the farm, but there was no projector. Holding minuscule pieces of gelatin and cardboard up to a light bulb was not the way slides were intended to be viewed. Lil said the two rolls of film from Susan finally arrived via Vicky. We learned Vicky's dad had died in January.
Faye was going to NAIT and said it was too easy after university. She had a hundred percent in one course and ninety-seven percent in another. Sharon wanted to know what happened to that three percent? Faye said our new Mastercard had arrived in the mail. The one I had had expired. Maybe that was why it wouldn't give me money at the Instant Teller!
Loran wasn't as macho in the delivery room as he was talking beforehand. "It'll be just like calving," he had said. "If she has any problems we'll just hook the tractor up to her." Annette did have problems with the ten pound baby. They had to use forceps. The baby had sustained a broken collarbone. Sharon's mom said, "Loran was still white when he arrived home to tell us."
"It should be illegal to allow men in the delivery room," Loran retorted. They may have downgraded their quest for six kids. Good thing Annette had a high pain tolerance.
We hadn't phoned for almost three months. It must have been a while--even Sharon's dad said we should call more often. We had been afraid to call after our hour long call from Sardinia. "It's averaged down to fifty cents a day, so that's not too bad," he said.
Diane did our taxes. "Come home--you're broke," was the message she gave us. We told her to pay Sharon's ca dues just in case. Diane asked, "Can't we tell them Sharon's pregnant and get a reduction?" I was sure they would demand a doctor's certificate as proof. The institute was absolutely unyielding in its fee collection. Once they had you as a member, they were like a gator's jaw on a monkey.
After being tired all day we couldn't get to sleep rehashing all the news. It had been so long since we phoned that we had forgotten our calling card pin number.
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