Rejoice – The wanderer has returned!!…. A metaphoric celestial choir exults the Yorkshire girl’s recrudescence; the Strachan home awash with joy at once again holding the daughter absent for over four score months.
Two years where as she sampled life in the land of the maple leaf. The Rocky Mountains and Banff National Park providing the beatific backdrops during times of labour and numerous adrenalin fuelled pastimes. One of which her hitherto unknown existential act of avoiding being devoured by stray grizzly bears on the walk to the local store.
Forty eight months on the North American continent. Time where a young lady’s bucket list diminished markedly while amassing enduring life memories. Recollections indelibly etched upon a canvas within her neurological corridors – Horizons broadened, cognisance voids filled, bonds of friendship created.
Skydiving, caving, whitewater rafting, snowboarding, along with a ride on a four man bobsleigh at Calgary Olympic Park, just a few of the poussee d’adrenaline experiences sampled by Miss Strachan. Another being the catching of fresh water salmon; although as it was filleted and packaged on her return to her accommodation I’d venture the fish was more likely acquired in a Banff grocery store.
During Rachel’s trip she worked front desk at a hotel in the Alberta town of Banff, along with a shorter stint of hotel work at Fernie in British Columbia. Times when her northern English accent was mistaken for Australian, New Zealand and on one notable occasion frontier gibberish.
According to my youngest offspring, the skydive she undertook in Alberta was the most exhilarating experience she’d ever encountered. Bearing in mind she had a Leeds United season ticket in 2004 when Brian Deane*** led the side’s strike force it must’ve been one heck of an adrenalin rush!
*** – A Leeds born striker whose erratic shooting once saw his shot six yards from the opposite goal going backwards; conceding a throw-in on the halfway line when it came to a stop.
Hoping she might mention it was me, on her return this Saturday I asked Rach what she’d missed most about the UK during her time on the Northern American continent. An enquiry that led to the tongue-in-cheek response “Being able to walk to the shops without fear of bear attack!”
I can’t put into words how much I’d missed my daughter during her two year working break in Canada. Rach and me may clash regularly due to our similar personalities, as I occasionally do with my mother for comparable considerations, but on the plus side that similarity means she ‘gets’ my behaviour/humour as much as anyone.
Consequently, we have lots of laughs; generally resultant from whimsical comments at each others expense. Laughter I’ve missed nearly as much as antagonising her with my whistling language – An occasional indulgence of mine where I intentionally whistle through my teeth when starting or concluding any word with the letter ‘s’.
As part of the pomp and circumstance we wanted to extend to our daughter on her return to Leeds, my wife Karen (Rachel’s mum) put up a welcome home banner and baked croissants. Rachel doesn’t like croissants, but I suppose it’s the thought that counts!
As part of the celebrations, I set up the song ‘Welcome Home’ a 40+ year old song by duo Peters & Lee, on Apple Music. Leaving the refrain paused at the beginning to play immediately as she walked back into her home for the first time in two years.
The missus wanted me to play another welcome home hit track from around that time, ‘Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree’. However, after informing her I believed it was a song about a guy going home after a spell in jail she relented, concurring my choice was the better option.
So at around 4.30pm last Saturday, as Rachel walked through our front door, I pressed play on my phone and the warm melody and words of ‘Welcome Home’ emanated around the Strachan lounge.
While the song played, Karen and me both excitedly embraced the daughter we’d not seen for nearly 50 months. After releasing the trinity of vice-like grips, the three of us exchanged smiles and before her mother and I could speak our offspring blustered “Dad, can you turn this song off….. It’s crap!!”
Welcome home, Rach!!….. My God, I’ve missed you!!