“Mommy, what was it like when you were little?”
“Let me show you.” Kiran removed the red scrapbook from the basket under the coffee table and set it on her lap. Raveena and Aman squeezed in close to their mother, their bottoms bouncing on the sofa as they waited for a story.
“This is a map of Canada.” Kiran pointed to a dot in the western corner of the map, east of Vancouver. “When I was your age, I lived here in Kelowna.”
“Is it like California? Kelowna sounds like California.”
“There are mountains near Kelowna, just like here.” She pointed to a postcard of snow-capped peaks.
“Did you get to play in the snow, Mommy?”
“We built snow forts and snowmen and had lots of snowball fights. We walked to school in the snow, too.”
“You were so lucky. I wish I could go to school in the snow.”
“It was freezing cold. I remember my fingers would be numb by the time I got to school. Then I had to take off my boots and coat in the cloakroom in the classroom.”
Aman flipped the page of the album. “Why is Uncle Prajit pushing a rock with a broom?”
“That is a game called curling. Two teams have to slide a stone across the ice and onto the target. We used to watch it on TV and then your uncle played on a local team.”
“Did they win all the time?”
“Sometimes they won. It’s a tricky game, even though it looks easy.”
“I’ll bet he fell down on the ice a lot.” Aman picked at the scab on his knee.
“No, we were used to the ice. Behind the house, there was a pond. In the winter, it would freeze and we would go ice skating on it.”
“That’s not fair. I want a pond to go ice skating on,” Raveena whined.
“We have a swimming pool in the backyard. That’s better than a pond. It’s clean and heated. The pond water was cold, even in the summer.”
Raveena pointed to the photo of the small house stucco-covered house surrounded by trees and asked, “What is that on the trees?”
“Apples. We lived in an orchard where apples grew. Your grandpa and grandma worked picking apples.”
“Did you pick apples, too? That sounds like so much fun.”
“Yes, I did.” Kiran thought, Boy, did I pick a lot of apples. My hands still haven’t recovered. She rubbed her hands together at the memory of long hours spent in the orchards.
“Did you eat apple pie?”
“Yes, we did, and we drank milk that came in a plastic bag instead of a carton.”
“I want a glass of milk,” Aman announced, dashing into the kitchen. “Don’t talk until I come back.”
When Aman returned with a mug of milk and climbed back onto the sofa, Kiran said, “Here is a picture of us camping on Canada Day. That’s like the fourth of July here.”
“Where did you sleep?”
“In a tent.”
“Can we sleep in the tent tonight? Can we? Please,” Aman begged.
“Let’s ask Daddy when he comes home from work.”
Raveena turned the page, pointed, and shrieked, “Eeeewww! Mommy, you’re holding a dead fish!”
“We used to go fishing on Okanagan Lake. Then Grandma would fry the fish for supper. Here is another picture of the lake. Some people think a monster named Ogopogo lives there. They say it has a large head and the body of a large snake with humps on its back.”
“A monster. Were you scared, Mommy?” Aman looked worried.
“It’s just a story,” Raveena informed him. “There’s no such thing as monsters. Right, Mommy?”
“What’s in there?” Aman pointed to a tiny envelope glued onto one of the scrapbook’s pages.
Kiran slid her finger into the pouch and pulled out a bronze-colored coin which she handed to her son. “It’s a loonie.”
As both children burst into laughter, Kiran explained, “That’s the name of the coin. See this bird on it? It’s called a loon. So people call this one dollar coin a loonie.”
Raveena grabbed the coin from Aman and said, “It looks like a duck to me.”
“Let’s put this away and set the table for supper. Daddy will be home soon,” Kiran said as she closed the scrapbook.
“Can we go to Canada tomorrow?” Aman asked.
Kiran laughed. “It’s too far away to visit tomorrow. We can go next summer, though. Promise.”
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