Here's an update. Thursday evening around 19:30 - 20:00 we finally saw them. They
were actually on schedule, but had missed the Edmonton Bypass exit from Highway 2
and ended up in downtown Edmonton, totally and hopelessly lost, until John finally
stopped at a gas station and got a city street map. Then he was able to find
Highway 16A, which starts downtown as Jasper Avenue, then turns into 102nd Avenue,
then joins with Stony Plain Road, which finally, at the City Limits, at 231st
Street, becomes Highway 16A, the Parkland Highway (a little touch of Europe just
for John and Becky -- you know, where streets change name for no apparent reason!)

So by the time they got here they were ravenous, and Becky was dead tired. They
both had some of Cathy's chicken curry rice and Becky went immediately to bed.
John and I chatted and he admired my "big gentile library" and I even showed him
the Inner Sanctum, from whence I dispense wisdom, good sense, and traffic control
information to black helicopters. We lost track of time and it was well after
midnight by the time he and I both retired.

Friday morning we were supposed to do a bit of sightseeing, but I slept in (Friday
turned out not to be a very healthy day for me, neurologically speaking, anyway).
They had some very arcane, Catch-22  paperwork to do (it's a looooonnng story, and
I'll let JWR tell it, but it has to do with Becky's car), and that ended up taking
up most of their morning, but they did manage to see at least part of the West
Edmonton Mall. Unfortunately the only bookstore they saw was a Coles remainders
shop (where remaindered books are sold in stacks), not the giant Chapters at the
west end of the mall, or even the Smithbooks on the 2nd floor in the middle part
of the mall. Something tells me they only got to see the east end of the mall,
because they missed two well-known Mall landmarks: Bourbon Street and Europa
Street, that are further west*. But they seemed impressed, and only wondered how a
city like Edmonton could maintain such a large mall. We explained that a good deal
of it is tourism (my own mother-in-law, from St. George, UT, personally provides
half of its revenue, I know that for a fact!), but also because of our bitterly
cold winters - we are always looking for indoors activities when it's too cold
even to cross-country ski). It's also why Mall of America, built by the same
Edmonton family, the Ghermazians, who built WEM, was placed in Minneapolis.

In the early afternoon I had to go downtown to a doctor's appointment, so my
oldest daughter came in to get me and dropped off my granddaughter for "Grandma"
to babysit, so they got a look at her. After I came back we just sat around
shooting the breeze until the "hand-off", when Mark Gregson came to get them. It's
too complicated to get to his place, which is in the Glory Hills NW of Spruce
Grove, near the village of Onoway, so he just had them follow him out there.

Oh, and John got a lot of amusement out of Cathy's attempts to figure out why we
called him the "BLT".  I must say, John shows a far greater sense of humour in
person, and exudes an exuberant warmth, openess and downright love,  in person.
It's funny how email just doesn't convey these kinds of nuances. (Not that he
doesn't necessarily come across that way on the web, I'm just saying that I for
one, at least, didn't have the true measure of the man until I met him in person,
and am very glad to have had the opportunity).

We did get a few pictures, but I couldn't find my son's digital camera, so we had
to use old-fashioned film. Which means I'll have to wait to get them developed and
then scan them in, which of course could take a while, but I will post them when I

Over to Mark for the report on the next segment...

*even though the WEM is already the largest indoor shopping centre in the world,
they just got approval this last week from city council, to add on yet more.
They're adding more stores, more parking, some condos (!), an office tower, and
another hotel (there are already 2).

Gary Smith wrote:

> Aw, and I was so hoping to catch a glimpse of him when he passed by
> here...Does this mean I've missed Christmas again?
> K'aya K'ama,
> Gerald/gary  Smith    gszion1    http://www
> "No one is as hopelessly enslaved as the person who thinks he's free."  -
> Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
> Marc, the francized German tonight, and then we hand 'em off to Mark the
> Scandihoovian tomorrow afternoon, and they'll be out in the boondocks in
> Onoway
> tomorrow night, then Sunday they're off for Prince Rupert via Jasper and
> Prince
> George.
> ________________________________________________________________
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Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

“Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick
himself up and continue on” – Winston Churchill

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author
solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the author’s employer,
nor those of any organization with which the author may be associated.

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