Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Here, There, and Everywhere

My son is away on a class trip today. To Toronto. Big deal.

Even back in the dark ages, when I was about his age, I can remember going on a class trip from Port Colborne, where we lived at the time, to Toronto. One of our stops on the trip was the typesetting department of the Toronto Star newspaper. Each of us were given a little wood holder, with the little lead alpha characters that made up our names set into it. We were then able to press the device onto an ink pad and stamp our names on things. Lots of things, as I remember. Lots of ink stains too. How things have changed since then. Just about every newspaper does its layouts and typesetting on computers now. It is much quicker, less messy, and saves a lot of money.

My wife and I had hoped that my son and his classmates would be able to go on a trip to Quebec City. Since they are all French immersion students, that would have made sense. Many parents volunteered as chaperones, offered to fund the trip, did everything but stand on their heads and beg. I don't know who nixed the idea, the teachers or the principal, but someone didn't play along and the kids got to go to Toronto instead. Yippee!

My son has already traveled extensively and I want him to have every opportunity to see as much of the world as possible. I didn't have those same opportunities. I missed out on numerous class trips when I was in school. Mostly, I didn't even bother telling my parents about the trips. I knew the cost would be a financial hardship for them, and I was trying to be a responsible member of the family. I have tried to make up for my lack of travel since then. Given my childhood travel experiences, (or lack thereof) I have never wanted my son to reach his twenties before he saw any place outside of Ontario, Canada. I guess we'll have to head off to Quebec City with him, one day soon. If you have never been there, it is a truly charming place, with a lot of history, interesting old buildings, and great cuisine.

My wife called earlier today to report that she and her group had just left the Leaning Tower of Pisa and were off to Rome tomorrow, on the final leg of their tour of Europe. Then it's back home on Saturday.

My wife is away. My son is away. What am I doing here?

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