Blessed are the flexible

“Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.” So they say. You know – Hakuna Matata people. They roll with the punches, go with the flow. Me? I’ll take routine and predictability. Make a list. Stick to it. Admittedly, it rarely works. My clever plans are easily derailed. But I keep trying.

So I woke up one Monday morning with my week pretty well mapped out. Sure, there was a slim chance of a whirlwind trip to Quebec, but most likely not. Jack had found a terrific deal on a piece of back-saving equipment located in Sherbrooke, PQ. Shipping options were complicated. Best to pick it up ourselves. I wasn’t about to send him alone on a long journey into strange territory with signs in a language he doesn’t understand. (His only French word is ooh-la-la!) Besides, why should he have all the fun?

With chickens in the barn, though, the planets would have to align for us to get away together. Enter our daughter Stephanie who used to regularly look after birds for us. Now she has three little girls and a full schedule. She also has a soft heart for her dad. And bingo! I had less than a day to cancel appointments, finish some business that couldn’t be postponed and prepare for an early morning departure.

Road signs & key lime pie

The road trip was on – nine hours of comfortable chit-chat and listening to music and podcasts. By splurging on the 407, we blissfully skipped the 401 traffic jams. We took turns driving through gorgeous scenery under a sapphire sky. In Quebec I deciphered signs while Jack found our destination. We checked into a hotel for the night and began searching for a restaurant.

Jack pulled into a parking spot. “You can’t park here,” I said, pointing to the dire warning, “Stationnement Interdit.”

“That could say anything,” said Jack.

“See the picture of the car hooked up to the tow truck?” I replied. He laughed and drove on.

At last we found a lovely restaurant with ample parking. The server greeted us in French, then quickly switched to English for our sakes.

After a fabulous meal he offered a variety of desserts, all by their English names. Then his brow furrowed. “And, we have Pouding Chomeur,” he said, “I don’t know the English. It has cake, ice cream and maple syrup.”

Jack’s face lit up like a child on Christmas morning. “Maple syrup?”

“Oui, but it is very big.”

“Mmm . . . maple syrup,” said Jack.

“Very big,” said the waiter, spreading out his hands.

We decided to share a piece of key lime pie – to die for, in any language.

Next morning we picked up our equipment and headed back. We had another glorious day for the return trip. Arriving home, we found Stephanie and her girls had taken good care of the farm. I have to admit the whole excursion was a lot of fun.

See? I can do hakuna matata. After all, blessed are the flexible.


  • Heidi VanderSlikke

    Heidi VanderSlikke lives on a farm in Mapleton Township with her husband Jack. They share their home with a gigantic Golden Retriever named Norton, who thinks he's a lap dog. Heidi and Jack have three happily married children and seven delightful grandkids.

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