The Day We Didn’t Meet the Prime Minister

Thursday, July 27, I was lying in the dentist’s chair with a mouthful of instruments, listening to the radio when I heard that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was going to be in Kenora the next day. When I got home, mouth numb, I googled for more information and discovered that indeed, PMJT was scheduled to host a community barbecue from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Kenora is about three hours away, but I still floated the idea of taking the kids there and M was thrilled at the idea of meeting ‘the boss of Canada.’

So, as lofty as a six hour round trip as a solo adult with two kids seemed, the next day we hustled as hard as we could. We had to eat breakfast, get ready, go to the bank, get out of town — by the time we fought our way through construction on highway 17, and terrible American tourist drivers, and A screaming as loud as he could while I tried to navigate to a parking space at Kenora’s harbour, it was 1 p.m. But all of the information I’d read made it sound like the event was fully in swing till 1:3o p.m. so I popped open the trunk, wrestled out the stroller I’d previously wrestled in, corralled the kids and headed off to the BBQ…

… where all that was left were a few sad hot dogs, some straggling people, and no prime minister. Apparently he had been there at the start and left after that. After M received her hot dog we sat at a lakeside bench and I told her that we had missed the PM and managed to drive three hours just for leftover hot dogs.

Being a three year old she took it mostly in stride. She was a little disappointed, she said, “but at least we can sit here and watch birds catching fish!” (they were seagulls). We watched the MS Kenora sightseeing cruise take off, then I pressed my solo parenting luck and offered to take M for a sit-down meal. With all Kenora offers, kid-free me would’ve gladly sat my butt down on a patio during that 30+ C day, but M chose Boston Pizza so I loaded everyone back into the car, drove literally around the corner, and fed them both with no backup but a glass of wine. It went surprisingly well.

We filled up on cheap gas, visited a few big box stores, and headed right back down highway 17, this time with far less traffic.

I’m still a bit rankled that the info was so unclear that we ended up driving three hours each way for nothing but hey — M said she was more excited about hot dogs than the prime minster anyway.

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