That’s Driving Miss Donna backwards for those of you who didn’t understand. And it refers to the last week when I acted as ambassador for the adult delegation visiting Stony Plain from Shikaoi, Japan. So instead of being driven, I was the driver.
When I was asked if I would like to be a driver for the visitors I quickly agreed and moved some of my other commitments around. I have had an opportunity to meet some of these wonderful folks during my employment with the Town of Stony Plain and was excited to renew some old acquaintances and make some new ones!
Of course driving contains many other duties, such as meeting them for breakfast, ensuring they had a Canadian on hand during evening meals when they were “on their own”, and acting as tour guide. Actually to my surprise even planning an unexpected tour of the University Campus. Thanks mostly to my ambassador companion Regina, we were up for the task, and it was a pleasure to work with Regina for a few days.
So Day 1 Wednesday found us at Town Office discussing the visit and getting ready for the airport pick up. Driving an extended Tahoe was my assignment. Yikes! Arrival was scheduled for 3:00 p.m., and in this case the flight was on time. Since I have travelled to Shikaoi myself I knew that our friends would be tired form the trip, and felt compassion for them since they had a welcome banquet to look forward to prior to falling in their beds.
The banquet was a great way to welcome everyone to town, but again I am sure they were all glad to rest after.
Thursday Regina and I were back to the Best Western bright and early to have breakfast with the group, then prepare for the day of touring in Edmonton. We toured the student hub building, which houses the bookstore, and then followed the Alumni trail through some of the beautiful grounds. Next stop was rather special, as we visited the Legislative Grounds, toured the Parliament Building, and MLA Ken Lemke hosted lunch at a great restaurant downtown, Pampas Brazilian Steakhouse.
The afternoon was spent shopping at West Edmonton Mall, which from the amount of packages everyone including myself were carrying, was an outstanding success.
Friday tours started with Memorial Composite High School, followed by Forest Green Elementary School, and lunch at the Multicultural Heritage Centre. A tour of Westview Health Centre wrapped up the tours part of the day! A weary group of folks, but none the less still full of smiles.
The weekend was Farmer’s Days in Stony Plain, and after accompanying the group to the Pancake Breakfast, I spent the middle part of my day at Emerson’s dance recital. I was able to catch up with everyone at KC’s for lunch with the Mayor, then back to the rodeo grounds.
Sunday morning everyone was off to Jasper for one night, and I was on a break. Upon their return Monday I met them at the hotel and transported all to the farewell dinner. Hard to believe their time was drawing to an end already. The occasion was host not only to an excellent meal, but many toasts and tears. As they say in Japan Kanpai!
Although I had expected to drive the group to the airport Tuesday morning, that plan was changed. Wishing to bid a final farewell however, I went to the hotel on Tuesday morning (5:30 a.m.), had breakfast with my friends, and said our goodbyes. Until I have an opportunity to meet some or all of my friends again I say:
Wareware wa futatabi au made sayōnara!
Photo credit goes to Regina Lonnenburg; and in honour of their privacy I have not named the individuals who travelled…