Monday, October 30, 2017
Back on the Prairies again, and all that goes with them, including great vistas of gently rolling country, huge fields, and blowing snow. The snow, however, was limited to the area around Portage La Prairie — something to do with the lakes, no doubt — but we simply drove through it with scarcely a bulge in the pulse. We who live in the land of real lake-effect snow, surrounded by giant lakes with real snow-power, are quite happy to take prairie lake-effect snow in stride.
We are aware, of course, that the prairie when riled has other tricks, and we may see them before we are done. But for the time being the prairie has done its bit and we have weathered it.
With only 575 kleacocks to drive, and a reservation waiting for us at the Hotel Saskatchewan when we got there, we drove relaxed and easy, taking our time. The road is four lanes and well maintained, the scenery is beautiful, and we had a good day.
The Hotel Saskatchewan, where Leacock stayed, turned out to be just right even in its renovated form (or maybe especially in its renovated form) and we have settled in for a pleasant stay, a little more luxurious than our customary, but most welcome.
We decided to splurge a little on supper, which we were able to do with the enthusiastic cooperation of the Copper Kettle Restaurant across the street.
Saturday, October 28, 2017
As this day hasn’t really started yet, there’s not much to report.
Family visiting to come during the day, and a talk-and-tell at McNally Robinson Bookstore in the evening.
Friday, October 27th, 2017
One event today, in the evening, with the Winnipeg Storytelling Guild at the Strong Badger Coffeehouse. Most pleasant.
In the afternoon we enjoyed scintillating conversation with cousins Rae and Winston, yielding much to think about and follow up after the tour.
Winnipeg was a fabled place for Leacock, for family reasons, and the footprint remains. Follow-up on Ralph Connor, a Leacock contemporary, also clearly necessary. A man of his time, who wrote for his time, as Leacock did. Leacock also wrote for our time. Did Ralph Connor, or is his present obscurity justified? Leacock’s certainly is not.
Snow, snow, and more snow, then high winds. Driving difficult but simple enough once we got the rhythm. Seven hours to travel 440 kleacocks.
The very latest we could arrive at the Fort Garry Hotel to meet our obligations there would be 2:00 pm. We arrived at 1:58. Precision driving!
Met there by Winnipeg storyteller Sue Proctor, who invited us to stay at her home, an unexpected and most welcome invitation. Comfort indeed.
In the evening the University Women’s Club at their Ralph Connor House: wonderful meal, wonderful audience, wonderful conversations. Some expressed determination to read more Leacock. That’s what we want.
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
We arranged to come here when we thought we might travel by train. We might have cancelled when we decided to drive, but chose not to. We are glad we did, because we received a wonderful northern town welcome and had a most excellent time. Meredith the town’s culture and museum manager a real gem.
Two events: a talk with high school students in the afternoon, a rare and special treat, and then an evening concert in the Legion Hall. A warm audience indeed including Annie, daughter of friend Irene on Bruce Peninsula.
A memorable day.
Skeleton Post, Tuesday, October 24, 2017
A very busy day indeed — four events — Lakehead University, Port Arthur Rotary Club, Thunder Bay Public Library Mary Black Branch, and Thunder Bay Museum.
This may be the busiest day of the whole Re-Tour.
Leacock is proving interesting and entertaining, but whether that will help much with the memory problem remains to be seen. As in battle, the immediate outcome is one thing, pursuit quite another.
Monday, October 23rd, 2017
The remaining 300 kleacocks from Marathon to Thunder Bay passed without incident. We were under way shortly after 8:00 am and arrived well before noon, and sought lodgings at the Prince Arthur Hotel, where Leacock may have stayed, and certainly performed, on the very first day of his tour. We were made most welcome by Manager Tony Scarcello and the gracious Ixela at the desk. It is indeed the best kind of hotel for our Re-Tour, being pleasant in every aspect and deeply authentic.
We checked in with our Public Library contacts, and made our way to our afternoon event at the Brodie Street branch. This kind of event — called “Dr. Leacock I Presume?” was designed as a briefing, primarily for the press. But none such appeared, and we had two members of the public instead. We improvised a presentation for them, with incomplete success. Back to the old drafting board.
This evening we do “A Field of Mariposies” at the Waverly Branch, which is at least familiar ground.
Tomorrow is a really busy day, perhaps the busiest of the whole Re-Tour, with four events, quite various. More on that afterwards.