Sometimes, it’s the simple pleasures in life that end up being what you remember most when you get older.
All the lavish trips and experiences are nice and all, but when the cards have been played just right, even something as normal as going out to eat can be memorable in its own way.
That’s how it was with my mom, Lynda. She appreciated the happiness that came with life’s most average days, when something as easy as going out to eat was worth remembering.
Take the golf club restaurant down in the village of Elbow, for instance. Now, we had been there a number of times for a meal, which was always great, but I remember one instance just last summer where all the cylinders happened to match up right and made for an excellent experience down there.
I don’t know what it is about Elbow, but I’ve never had a bad experience down there for anything. Neither did Mom. There was just that little extra something in the air in the lakeside village that seemed to hit the right spot for both of us. Now, it’s important to know here that Mom absolutely LOVED turkey suppers. If she heard there was a turkey meal being served anywhere remotely close, that got her attention.
So as luck would have it, this particular time last August, the golf club restaurant in Elbow was doing a turkey supper. Of course, Mom had to have it. My brother Brendon and I weren’t really feeling like bird, we were in the mood for fish since we were literally dining directly next to Lake Diefenbaker. The food was delicious and, as it turned out, after a snafu in the kitchen regarding the misplacement of our meal order caused it to arrive a little late, it ended up being free.
Free food, with a hell of a view from our table outside. What could be better?
Well, the ice cream from the parlor was a nice touch to end the evening. Yes, we did in fact have to pay for that.
I bring this excursion down to Elbow up because one of the last true meals in the last few weeks that Mom had was, once again, a turkey supper being offered this time for takeout from the golf club restaurant. So much had changed between Meal One and Meal Two, but I’m happy to report that her enjoyment of both was the same.
Look at her in that photo. Life is just the bee’s knees to her in that moment. Great food, great view, great weather, great company, great memory. What a woman. I’ll remember this evening forever.
I have to tell ya, I really don’t know how to process this. When my dad died almost eight years ago, it was still a major shock to the system, but at least in that scenario, we knew what the end result would be and it was much more gradual, a story told over the course of maybe eight months. But this? Everything about my mother’s passing was so…fast, I guess is the right word to use here. I almost felt like I didn’t have time to breathe and POOF, five of us were standing around her in bed watching her fade away. Despite everything, I’m so very glad I was there with her in her final moments, as I’m sure my brothers and my sister are too. I didn’t get that with my dad.
Mom loved life and everything that it offered. A city trip to grab some groceries, a bite to eat, and stop in and see my brother Perry? Awesome. An afternoon of running errands, getting things done off her to-do list, and then spending the evening on one of her two decks at home? Lovely. Or how about something a little more fine-tuned to her wants, like a Christmas spent up north at a two-story cabin at Candle Lake? Perfect. Just absolutely perfect. The woman was all smiles for the rest of the holidays that year, even flying straight past New Year’s Eve. That was ‘THE’ Christmas as far as Lynda Ruttle was concerned. Crossed off the bucket list.
The only thing missing from that particular Christmas was my dad. Hey, you never know, perhaps they’re together again; dancing, smiling, laughing. They deserve it.
I'll miss her laugh. I'll miss her smile. I'll miss her enjoying life to the fullest, like she is in this photo. The simplest of pleasures brought her such joy, as long as she was with any one of us three boys.
I'll miss that.
I’ll miss her.
I’ll miss enjoying even the simplest of pleasures with her.
For this week, that’s been the Ruttle Report.