The Epistle of Q — Chapter 182 (Part C)

Reflections on LentTravel to Visit a Grandson

Leaving the warmth of the southern USA for Montreal was inspired primarily by the opportunity to visit my youngest Grandson who was playing Junior hockey in New England…

After landing at YUL I made my way by rental car to Burlington, Vermont (not a pickup this time but a Ford Edge which has a great electronic system that allowed me to link my SiriusXM app into the sound system so I had my music whenever I wanted it). Brendan plays for the Vermont Lumberjacks whose outfits look very much like the colours of the Ottawa RedBlacks.

There were highs and lows to this segment of my travel.

I had superb visits with Brendan, most of them around meals and/or hockey practices. He is a very thoughtful young man, so the conversations ranged over many topics including where he is thinking of going to college in the fall of 2024. We also talked of the playoffs that they were in (when I arrived they were up 1-0 in the best-of-three opening round). We also took his roommates out for one meal which gave me a chance to meet them as well and enjoy some time observing the mind-sets of older teens…

On the less joyous notes: we went to the other Junior team’s playoff game where Vermont lost rather handily (dropping their series in two straight games). Then while Brendan and the team took a chartered bus, I drove to a place in New Hampshire for the second game in their playoff series. I had high hopes after watching their last practice but they came out quite sluggish, did not give their goalie much protection and soon found themselves down 5-1. However as the second period unfolded they came to life and began to chip away at the opposition and scored three unanswered goals. In the final minute of the third period, with the goalie pulled, they really gave it an effort and I thought they had scored the tying goal but the puck didn’t get high enough and the goalie somehow stopped it. So that evened the playoff series. Since the final game wasn’t for another two days I knew I couldn’t stay.

[Unfortunately that game ended the season for the Lumberjacks as they lost 5-3! I have since communicated with Brendan and we have discussed the aftermaths of such losses. I was able to share my own experiences in High School where twice we went to the Provincials only to lose to a team from Markham. The irony was that when I went to the UofT, in the residence at Knox College lived the very guy that was the single reason we lost – and we became good friends. My hope is that Brendan will return to the Lumberjacks next season in a frame of mind that will lead the team all the way to the Junior Frozen Four, because I think the talent is there and I believe Brendan has the mental strength to be a fearsome leader for the young men that will be on the team in 23-24!]

From New Hampshire I traveled back north to Montreal, where I did a wee bit of visiting within ST’s circle – firstly a good friend who has a great condo in Verdun and had acquired a delightful bottle of scotch for us to try; and then, her oldest sister who is not only the most bilingual member of the family, may also be the smartest even though she had to leave school before graduating high school to help raise her younger siblings. Both visits were fun & enjoyable… And then I flew back to YYF via YVR, arriving (after spending a night in Vancouver) in time to drive up the hill and get in 5 runs of skiing!!

Spending time with Brendan was an excellent part of Lent