It wasn’t until my sister-in-law brought up the idea of the entire family hitting up the Winnipeg Folk Festival together that I really thought about the nature of most Bonk family gatherings. When we are all together we are 99.9% of the time at my mother-in-law’s house, around her table, in the living room, on the back deck. Sitting, eating, chatting, arguing, joking. The standard family gathering, perhaps at a slightly higher volume, full of love and laughing at the expense of each other.
On a glorious and sunny Sunday morning Dave, Julie, Kathy, Bruce and I loaded into the Camry and embarked on the 200km journey to Winnipeg to meet Malcolm and Lesya. I don’t think any of us in that car had an illusions about the fact that the car ride was destined to be the only real danger of our family outing. We were correct.
Let’s just say that the family tradition of attempting to be the loudest in order to be the ‘rightest’ (you know I get in on that) is amplified within the limited square footage of a mid-size car. And perhaps we all have different bladder volumes and varying abilities to merge on the freeway. And it’s highly possible that a raccoon or other small woodland creature died under the wheels of the vehicle on the ride home. Otherwise, it was all sing alongs and I Spy. Moving along.
Once we were all within the festival grounds in the glorious Birds Hill Provincial Park, a few beers (lemonade for me and baby, boring), some pierogies for Dave and two orders of fries for me (the baby wanted it’s own!), spirits were high and the game was afoot. The afternoon was full of musical workshops, my personal favorite being the one led by Arrested Development, and the weather was absolutely perfect for enjoying the vendors and people watching. You know how Manitoba summers can include blazing hot, muggy, mosquito filled afternoons? This day was comfortably warm, breezy with nary a bug in sight. I would never expect that to happen for me again, I don’t have that kind of luck.
By the time we settled on our tarp for the Main Stage show, we were all a bit tired and ready to just enjoy the sounds of the songs, the sights of the prairie sky at night. Gord Downie was crazy, in the best way, Sarah Harmer makes my heart sing, Andrew Bird blew my mind. What the heck is up with that? Playing all those instruments himself!? Good job him! I should have worked harder at piano lessons.
By the end of the night, being the only one who couldn’t enjoy a chilled micro-brew throughout the day, I was exhausted in the best way possible and responsible for driving us back home to Brandon. I was not, however, responsible for the death of that racoon, I’d like to say. I won’t name names, but some other sober person took over the driving with 100kms left, and most parties in the car agree she swerved TOWARDS the animal. May it rest in peace. Besides the part where we kill defenseless animals, I’m suggesting we make this an annual affair.