I’m pretty sure it’s not the flu. But I’m basing that on the fact that I didn’t get that horrid achy feeling of “being hit by a truck” where it hurts to even blink.
Whatever it is, I have quite been sick since Sunday.
Naturally, Sunday when I was going on my pre-booked day tour to Quebec City. I figured that after spending three days visiting with my son we’d both welcome a break from each other. It simply never occurred to me that I’d wake up that morning with a raging sore throat.
Best To Just Tell Mom I’m Fine, Thanks
Sore throat or not, I had to get to the bus rendezvous spot by 7:30 a.m. so I choked down some leftover fruit salad from last night’s dinner party (more on that in a later post) and shot out the door.
With each passing hour, the throat got worse. By the time we arrived at our first “rest stop” I was in dire need of some sort of a throat lozenge. As everyone poured off the bus to pee (the bus driver had forbidden us to use the one on the bus) and get some coffee and maybe some of those aircraft-friendly plastic souvenir jugs of maple syrup, I bolted for the candy counter. Thankfully, there were several options and I unwrapped the nearest one while standing in the lineup.
It took the edge off. And yes, I was a good little sickie. I coughed into my elbow and washed my hands at every possible opportunity and kept to myself.
Perhaps you’re thinking “why the hell is she doing this trip when she’s so sick?” Well, I’d last been to Quebec City over 40 years ago with my late father and I needed to rekindle the memories of that trip. I dearly miss Dad and his quirky sense of humor and his magical gift of listening. How could I not go?
That particular trip is special to me because I got to go to his annual Canadian Pediatric Convention with just him and not my mom, sister and brother. My memories are of hanging out with him and his friends and drinking wine in crowded bars and acting as the French translator. The latter was necessary. A west coast boy, Dad’s cringeworthy French consisted of adding an “o” to the end of random English words. As in “a glass of wine-o, please.”
After the convention, we set out on an extraordinary father-daughter road trip to Ottawa. Dad wanted to stop in at farms along the way looking for Canadian antiques; wooden storage trunks in particular. His one rule was that they had to fit inside each other so that he could mail them home.
The trip normally takes about five hours but unfortunately my skills as navigator were somewhat lacking and it took me a good thirty minutes to build up the courage to confess that we were heading east to Halifax, not west to Ottawa. However, once that was sorted, we had a wonderful time. In addition to trunks, we managed to pick up some lovely thick wooden cutlery holders. I still have the one he gave me at the end of the trip. Every time I look at it I can hear Dad asking “Have you any box-o’s for knife-o’s?” and remember him being so impressed when I batted him away and somehow managed to convey to the very confused French-speaking farmers that we weren’t murderers but were simply looking for original cutlery holders.
Anywho, back to Sunday. After an informative 30 minute walk through the scenic city led by a local guide, we hopped back on the bus for a quick trip to the spectacular Montmorency Falls. 98 feet higher than Niagara Falls, they are stunning.
By this time, I could barely swallow and needed something hot, so once back in Quebec City and released for three hours on my own, I made a beeline for the Chateau Frontenac, pictured in the top of this photo. It was where I’d stayed with Dad, those 40 years ago.
The server could not have been kinder. One listen to my croaky voice and she produced a huge mug of hot water, some lemon slices and a pot of the Fairmont’s own honey.
After ordering a bowl of their heavenly French Onion soup and a glass of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc and being encouraged by the server to sit and rest, I soaked up the spectacular autumnal St. Lawrence view and thought of my dad. I could almost picture him beside me, grinning, and ordering up more medicinal wine.
I left the restaurant an hour later, feeling 100 percent better, despite the fact that I lost all sense of taste halfway through the soup.
Happily I found it again this morning which means I’m on the mend.
In order for my improvement to continue, please don’t tell my Mom to read this post. She’ll think I’m dying. Bless you, I know from experience that it’s best to just tell Mom I’m fine, thanks.
And one more wee thing before I go, a huge thanks to my son for booting my ass and getting me back to the book. Thanks, H. Grandad would be so proud of you. And yes, I’m on it.
Enough about me, I’m curious about you. Would you have been sensible and stayed home tucked up in bed? Have you ever been to Quebec City? Better yet, are you getting the flu shot this year?