Tuesday, 2 September 2014


I'm sure you've visited a place a second time with the expectation that you'd enjoy being there as much as the first time you went. It never is quite the same, is it? This is what I found to be true, especially on August 21.

I felt in high spirits as the New Horizons Seniors Club road the Thorhild County bus to Edmonton. We had supper reserved aboard The River Queen paddle wheeler with a cruise on the river afterward. Every one chattered excitedly about the trip and caught up on local gossip.

The first thing unlike last year's trip was the weather. An Arctic high pressure system chilled the balmy summer weather we had enjoyed for six weeks. The forecast high was for sixteen Celsius, about sixty-two Fahrenheit. We knew from experience that the temperature on the water would be chillier than the ambient land reading so everybody wore jackets or sweaters.

Though the food was first class, we were all crowded into the main dining area of the ship. In fact, it was so cramped that everybody kept bumping elbows with each other. The aisles between the tables were so narrow that, even with my belly pressed against the table, people still had difficulty passing between the two rows of chairs. I don't remember the dining room being that crowded last year when I ate there.

Furthermore, the racket from the other diners hurt my ears. I don't remember the room being that noisy last year either. It was like after a Sunday service except that no children ran around the place. People spoke so loudly that I had to lean close to the diner next to me to hear what that person said. Speaking across the narrow table was almost impossible due to the noise.

Unlike the gentle summer breezes of last year, a chilly northeast wind gusted down the valley. I felt disappointed when I couldn't smell the scents of the river or the trees along the banks. Since the river was too shallow by the High Level bridge, we went the opposite way. Even so, I did take a few nice photos.

The tour was over before we realized it, partly due to the new course of the ship. The ride home was uneventful but I felt cheated because of what happened.

I wrote in all three of my books about unrepeatable life events. Check out my first two paperbacks at the Bruce Atchison's Books page. My new book is at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.