Against all odds I can definitely say that my friend`s visit from England was a success.
It all started when I received an email from one of my best friends at school 50 years ago in England. He said that he and his wife would be passing through Vancouver on a holiday tour of Western Canada and would like to meet up.
After school, circumstances had sent us in different directions and we had lost touch but a few years ago he had tracked me down because he was organizing a school reunion and wondered if I would be able to make it. Unfortunately that was not to be, but through that reunion and a web site I made for it I was able to reconnect with some of my old school chums at least by email.
When they arrived in Jasper (Alberta) he gave me a call and told me where they would be staying while in Vancouver and that the best time for our visit would be on the day they arrived here. I asked him to give me a call as soon as he arrived and I would have something set up by then.
I immediately went to work phoning the hotel and assessing the best way to get them out to Surrey to our house and decided that our extremely efficient public transit (sky train) would not be an option because of the location of the hotel so I would drive in and pick them up as soon as they arrived. They were due in at 3-30 so I left a message at the desk for him to call right away as we are about 30 minutes away.
The day he called the temperature here was a record 32° C (90° F), so we were hopeful that they would see the Vancouver area at it`s best.
Against all odds
On the morning of the day they were to arrive we awoke to a miserable, dark, wet dreary day and by the time afternoon rolled around it was raining so hard in some areas that the streets were flooding deep enough to stop traffic.
Naturally they arrived at the hotel almost an hour late so by the time he called for me to drive the normally 30 minutes in to pick him up it was well into rush hour. It took me 70 minutes to get there but I thought at least since it was so late by that time (6-15) the rush hour would be over coming back.
When we met in the hotel lobby we recognised each other immediately and as soon as we began to talk the years just fell away and I felt as though it was only a few days rather than 50 years since we had last met.
We started back right away and my hopes of the traffic being lighter were dashed. No such luck. It was still about as bad as I have ever seen it due to the pouring rain and flooding.
Just as we were heading over the bridge to Surrey where we live the clouds cleared and the rain stopped. We picked my wife up from the house and then stopped at a restaurant for dinner.
When we arrived back at the house I knew I was going to be disappointed that our garden was looking so drenched but it wasn't bad and I was surprised to find flowers spread throughout the house. My wife had used my time away to bring some of the garden indoors. What a gem she is.
We had dessert and talked for hours. His wife is a gardener so she got on well with my wife.
We chatted about this and that and that and this remembering our friendly rivalry in class.
It was so nice to hear that accent and I found myself slipping back into it although I am sure they never noticed.
It was far too late when I finally returned them to their hotel but we all had a marvelous time.
As it finally worked out the visit was more than I could, or did, expect and we had a wonderful time catching up on the past 50 years.