LEAVING

We all missed Alan but had good reports on his school work at Harbord Collegiate, Toronto, which my sister, Louise, had attended.  He had made new friends and taken part in the School sports, but he did miss the boys and girls he had left  British Columbia. 

My two men and I were invited to a "Coming-of-age-party, at the Alexandra Hotel, Prince George, February 6th,1923, honouring a fine young English lad, who joined his family, Mr. and Mrs. Roddis, of South Fort George, after the First War was over. I was prepared to stay at home, if Mac did not feel like going.  Neither of us had danced in more than a year, but he was interested and wanted to go, and we were all present with about a hundred others.  

Mac wanted to try the first waltz, his favourite dance, but we had to drop out before he was half way around the room, so I went with him to where the non-dancers were gathered, including some real Old Timers, and he was happy to chat with them.  The music was good and I danced until supper was served, then I had supper with Mac.  It was a perfect party!

On the second evening following, I left for my last Red Cross Council Meeting at Vancouver.  I presented my Reports and recommendations, then surrendered my seat on the Council.  I had already resigned my post as Secretary-Treasurer in the Fort George Branch of the Red Cross, in order to be free for home and family claims on my time. 

There were a few small purchases that I wanted to make while I was down at the Coast, and some brief calls on old friends from the "Georges", now residing in Vancouver.  With that done, I was ready and anxious to get back home.  As usual, I was staying with my friend Mrs. W., and her fine interesting young family.  Mr. and Mrs. Whittaker had been very kind to me, and I appreciated it more than I could say. 

Mac and Murray met me at the train, the morning I returned, and I was suffering from a miserable cold, caught by taking liberties with the Coast temperature, no doubt. It was still zero in the "Georges, with plenty of deep snow everywhere. Dad and Murray had managed all right while I was away, and Paddy gave me a very impressive welcome home.

At seven o'clock the next morning, the operator at the station telephoned, then read a telegram from my sister at Toronto, asking that I "Please comes at once Mother very ill double-pneumonia." My answer to that  message, requested that enough money be sent, to take both Murray and me to Toronto.  The money came promptly, and Mac got the tickets and reservations.  I never hesitated; I knew that I was making the right decision.  I telephoned to Dr. Ewart asking that he keep an eye on Mac in regard to the blood-pressure; otherwise, he was quite able to look after himself, and Paddy was good company.

There was no work in the district for Murray, and little hope that Mac would ever take his place again in the earning class. Friends called briefly by telephone, with regrets for my added trouble; they had been kind on many occasions.   

On the third evening after my return from Vancouver, we went downtown by taxi, had a quick supper at Pat Louis' with Mr. John Savage, then over to the station.  Mac had promised to wait, and not to disturb our Fort George home for six months,  By that time the future should be clearer. 

As the train began to move, Murray and I did not speak; we just looked and waved to Dad as he lingered on the snowy platform, until he turned away quickly towards the taxi.  Then our eyes sought the Cutbank across the Necheco, for remembrance, then The Cache where we had skated, and the two boys had had such happy times with the children living there, then we were rumbling over the iron bridge, crossing the mighty Fraser, and last, we turned to each other. 

"Murray," I asked, "did you see what I saw in Dad's face, as we waved from the window?"  There was a glint in Murray's eye as he nodded,  "I'll give him three  months, Mother." Murray was right.  He sold out and followed!