Caroline -that’s who I would take to Germany. She was my first Yukon friend. It was 1975. My husband, Mike and I had finally arrived in Whitehorse after a two week wait in Fort Nelson when a spring flood washed out the Alaska Highway. Vehicle number 365 in a long chain snaking its way north; or were we number 565? The highway wasn’t paved and we didn’t have air conditioning. After rolling up our windows we quickly wrapped soaked bandanas around our faces. Grey pillars of dust rising above the forest became our road markers.
Of course Caroline and Bob; who we hadn’t met yet, weren’t in that convoy. They had a visa card.
They turned around and drove up the Stewart Cassiar. They arrived in Whitehorse first and quickly found jobs. Their daughter started attending a daycare that was waiting for their qualified daycare worker, me, to arrive.
Of course it didn’t take long to discover that we were living at the same location; Wolf Creek Campground. They had a Volkswagen van; we had a Ford van that had towed a small camper trailer from Ontario; a parting gift from my father. We decided that one campfire was better than two so we rallied together by the creek with another Ontarian who had leant us enough gas money to make it to town; fifty dollars.
Mid August found us searching for a warmer place to live; so five adults and one child moved into a small log house in Porter Creek. This communal living arrangement only lasted until December. Mike and I moved to Thompson, Manitoba so my husband could finish his apprenticeship. Of course we moved back as soon as we could. After two years we were still friends with Caroline and Bob.
They built a house at the north end of town; we built on the south. We helped peel their house logs. We went logging for firewood together. They had two children; we had three. She went to work while I stayed home. The “boys” went on hunting trips. They moved to Haines Junction; we stayed put. They started a blue grass festival. When asked we volunteered; year after year for 10 years. She bought a mandolin and I did too. Of course I wanted to play with her. They travelled the world while we stayed home.
Last year Caroline asked me to accompany her to the Oberammergau Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany – in 2020! This Passion Play has been performed every 10 years since 1634. In 1633, the residents of this Bavaria village “vowed that if God spared them from the effects of the bubonic plague ravaging the region, they would produce a play thereafter for all time depicting the life and death of Jesus” (Wikipedia). The death rate in their village decreased. They believed they had been spared.
Caroline has already seen this play but she wants to see it again. She felt it’s so special that she’s inviting a special friend to go with her! Of course I said yes!
It would be a wonderful friendship gift to take Caroline to Oberammergau a few years early so we can check out the neighbourhood; find the good restaurants; book the best accommodations, take a tour of the 4700 seat theatre, pick out our seats and make some new friends. After all, we’ve known each other for 39 years; isn’t it time we went on a vacation together?