Tuesday, November 02, 2010

End Of Story....Except.....

All the posts around the blog sphere today about voting in the US makes me think they take voting much more serious south of the border than we do in Canada, where there is a general apathy about it. Least that's my opinion. I admire the difference.

When I was a child my dad was approached by a provincial politician to enter the upcoming election as a candidate. I remember a big sign that was hung on the fence announcing to the community which political party we supported.

After my dad was approached we travelled to the provincial capital so he could spend the weekend hob nobbing with politicians. Money was tight so we pitched a tent in the pouring rain, in a campground 15 minutes outside the city. I remember my mom sitting in the car smoking her Peter Jackson cigarettes while three of us kids went inside a big city hotel with my dad to some kind of political gathering. There were ladies in fancy clothes serving fancy food. I don't know if it was pity or good social graces but they treated us like we were special. We were the only kids present. Soggy, bedraggled kids who had spent the weekend camping in a tent in the rain. We never went to another political function. My mom told my dad she would divorce him if he entered politics. End of story.

Except there was this big, blue, round building at the campground where one could buy candy and pay camping fees. People would gather there for a cup of coffee to shoot the breeze. I stood not much more than eye level to the candy counter and while my dad was visiting with the man behind the counter I reached up and stole a tiny Cadbury chocolate bar. It fit right in the palm of my hand. Inside it was two squares of delicious milk chocolate. I hid in the tent, water leaking from the roof and ate that chocolate so fast you would've thought I'd inhaled it. (A habit I never lost the whole time I ate chocolate!)

I doubt I wiped all traces off my face and I'm sure my mom had other things on her mind than wondering whether her kids were stealing candy. Like how it sucked to be stuck in a campground on a rainy weekend with 5 kids while her husband spent the weekend at political parties bull shitting with the candidates and possibly the former provincial premier. Looking back I doubt I would've given up a chance to meet Tommy Douglas either had I been my dad.

Fast forward 20 years. Dearest one and I are driving down the highway to our new home. And there beside the highway is that big, blue, round building where they used to have tiny chocolate bars for sale for a nickle. I could even remember exactly which camping spot was ours.

From then on we drove past that campground every time we went grocery shopping or had a doctor's appointment. One day, after I had sobered up, I stopped to make amends for stealing that chocolate bar. I have no memory of what followed. All I know is that I stopped carrying around the guilt and shame for my childhood crime. The adults around me as a child set all kinds of poor examples of morality but stealing wasn't one of them. It was a huge relief to make that amend.

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