Saturday, March 29, 2008

Spring Break in Canada, Family Music

On our way back from Montreal to New York we stayed with my cousin Audrey and her husband Mark. Audrey is my grandfather's sister's daughter. I should add that I really like my Canadian family and I only wish that we got to see them more often. Some of my fondest childhood memories were in Montreal with my family up there.

In any case, Mark plays guitar in a band and that night was the night that his band practiced at their house. So we got to enjoy some more music that made me think I was back down in Georgia. Strange to hear all that country sounding music so far north. And for that matter, the Sugar Shack we went do made some amazing pork rinds's.

Also, Audrey took us for a tour of some of the buildings that my great grandfather used to own as well as a couple that he built. And we got to go to a bagel shop to buy some Montreal Bagels. As New Yorkers, it is hard to enjoy a bagel outside of New York, but Montreal has some amazing bagels. It's difficult to say which place makes them better, but we did buy 24 bagels to bring home to New York.

Spring Break in Canada, The Sugar Shack

On our way back to Montreal we stopped at Chez Dany, a sugar shack. We were not sure what we should expect there, but told we had to have a meal at a sugar shack. Upon arrival we were seated and fed a tasty all you can eat meal beginning with a French Pea soup and fried pork skin, then moved on to ham, meat pie, and an omelet, finishing off with a desert of pancakes with maple syrup and snow taffy outside. When the 5 tour buses arrived the band began to play, which reminded me of the country in Georgia, just without the snow.

Spring Break in Canada, Snow Taffy

I just had to add a note about the snow taffy that they have in Quebec (and I understand is also in Vermont). I think the photos will tell the story best, but let me try to explain.

They pour hot liquid taffy onto the snow and you let it cool and then wrap it up with a stick and eat it. The various textures and flavors are delish. This is the only time that I think it is safe to eat brown snow.

Spring Break in Canada, A Snow Story

From Montreal we drove to the Old City of Quebec which has a very European city feel to it. Only the American dollar goes a bit further there these days than it does in Europe.

While we were walking in Quebec our path was blocked with a large mound of snow. While we were checking the map for a way around the mound of snow, not even sure if we were headed in the right direction, a couple walked by us and simply walked over the snow. I know this seems silly to write about, but that reminded me of a story my grandfather Manny told me. When I was learning to drive my grandfather told me about the one question that he got wrong on his driving test when he first moved to Georgia from Canada. The question was, "what do you do when you get to a road and a sign says 'paved road ends'?" The choices were, "A. Proceed with caution. B. Turn around and go back. C. Keep driving normally." My grandfather chose B, to turn around and go back. The correct answer was A, to proceed with caution. As silly as that story was to me as a teenager in Georgia (where I knew all about dirt roads), I felt that my situation in the Canadian snow was just as silly, for surely my grandfather knew exactly what to do when one's path was blocked by a mound of snow.

Spring Break in Canada, Arrival

For my wife's spring break from school we decided to go see the Old City of Quebec in Canada. She had never been that far north and I could not remember if I had ever been or not (if I had been it was when I was too young to remember).

The added bonus of driving to Quebec from New York is that we were able to stop in Montreal and see some of my family there. My father's family is from Canada. He is the first generation of his family to be born in the United States.

While we were in Montreal, my Aunt Saretta (technically my grand-aunt) made us some delicious grilled sandwiches with Rye bread, Jarlsberg cheese, and tomato.