Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Senior's Moment

Saturday is usually a day where the family gets up early, packs our ski gear into the SUV, and cruises up to Mont Ste-Marie for a day on the slopes. The girls have lessons, while DW and I try to relive the days when skiing was easy and not jarring on our bones and joints.

Last Saturday, however, saw temperatures hovering around –29°C: with the wind, it was a skin-destroying –45°C. It was a day to give the ski slopes a pass and, instead, we had a leisurely morning of staying under the covers a little longer, and enjoying a relaxing breakfast of home-made waffles and omelettes.

CBC Radio One was playing, as it always does in our house, and we were listening to Day 6 host, Brent Bambury, speak with Texas journalist, Diana Washington Valedez, about Pope Francis' visit, this week, to Mexico: specifically, his visit to the city of Juarez, once known as the murder capital of that country.

Ms. Valedez' name, as we heard, was pronounced "Val-deez." Our eldest daughter heard Brent address his guest and asked, "isn't her name pronounced, 'Vahl-dehz'?"

"I imagine it can be pronounced either way," I said. "Years ago, off the coast of Alaska, an oil tanker ran aground, causing an environmental disaster. The name of the ship was the Juan Valdez." I pronounced the second part of the name, "Val-deez," like the journalist's surname.

DW laughed out loud. "Yes, it was a terrible disaster. Millions of kilos of coffee beans spilled out into the sea."

I realized my blunder. It was the Exxon Valdez that I meant to say, not the name of the fictitious Colombian coffee guy.

"That's not the half of it," DW laughed, as she tried to further educate our daughter, "millions of birds and marine life were affected. They couldn't sleep for weeks. They became caffeine addicts."

I wished that I was on the ski slopes in that sub-Arctic weather.

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