The following is the story of our recent road trip to Bear River, Nova Scotia…
This is the amazing 150 year old captain’s house with a sprawling 5000 square feet of beauty, antiques and charm where we stayed. I had booked the two guest rooms well in advance for us and our friends and arranged for purchasing four tickets for the sold out performance of Hold Mommy’s Cigarette. So super excited but a bit nervous that maybe I just might be over-selling how wonderful it would all be. I needn’t have worried.
Before Shelley departed to prepare for her performance, she asked what time we wanted breakfast and before I could answer, she announced “OK, 11:00 it is then”. Always the comic! She told me that after the show she is usually drained and crashes while she regroups so I didn’t expect any special treatment
She and her husband set up and prepare for the show with minimal help, the set simply a reproduction of her growing up environment.
During the performance she plays her seven year old self, her mother, her grandmother and her current self. She deals with such emotional and traumatic events with such ease, moving effortlessly from character to character. We belly laughed and at times felt our eyes welling up with tears. It was truly a world class performance.
Following, we returned to Hummingbird House, stripped down to our bathing suits and wrapped in the fluffy robes left for us in our rooms. We skipped the sauna warm up and headed straight to the Nordic salt water spa that overlooks the Bear River and soaked and soaked and soaked until pruney, chatting and sipping wine. Actually I think we stayed there relaxing with our friends until at least 1:00 in the morning.
That night we slept with the angels. Morning came with the delicious smell of freshly brewed coffee and when we descended to explore we found the breakfast table already set for the four of us. Cereals, toast, homemade jams and cake, freshly squeezed orange juice.
The sign she left on the table for us made me smile. So very Shelley!
Four hard boiled eggs gathered that morning, two blue, two brown, prepared with love and so much care.
We asked Shelley to join us while we sipped coffee and chatted about the show and her life in general. She truly has had quite a challenging life and has come through the other side with such dignity and strength. I could have sat there listening to her for hours. Even as draining as it must be for her to perform then change costumes to become super host she carried it out with such ease.
After breakfast was cleared away we packed up our gear and headed down to the barn to visit with Jason (Shelley’s husband) and the Farmacy menagery.
I have such a soft spot for ginger cats! There was Marlowe, Peewee, Junior and Archie. Lucy Maude, the momma ginger, had previously departed for unknown adventures. Then there’s Johnny the black feral barn cat who is not a favourite friend of the Gingers.
They have an impressive variety of critters all with very distinct personalities. The shy and very grumpy pot belly pig. The curious sheep. One somewhat aggressive alpha goat who was insistent on challenging Francois to a head butting competition. The cautious feral black cat with vampire fangs. The adopted cow that nobody wanted.
Jason told us a hilarious story about the time Shelley called out to him and asked where Mork, the goat, was to which he answered: ‘out in the yard somewhere’. To which she replied: ‘no, just got a call, he’s down at the legion and it’s not even happy hour.’ They said that one or other of the animals with wander off into the town from time to time but they have become such a well known fixture in Bear River that it’s never really a problem.
Let me see if I can remember the names of Shelley and Jason’s crew. There’s Maynard the Indonesian Ayam Cemani Rooster (complete with black feathers, black internal organs and black bones), Rosie, Tammy the Silkie with feathered slippers and Susie. Then there’s Oscar the cow; Bean, Hana, Gilbert, Mork and Mindy the goats; Molly B, Seymour and Audrey the pigs; Sweetie the sheep; and last but definitely not least, Steve the pony. I think my favourite of their critters was Phyllis the Frizzle hen with her perpetual bad feather day.
Shelley refers to these wonderful animals as her ‘farma-suitables’. We came home totally relaxed and refreshed. Great entertainment, beautiful healing surroundings. The very best medicine indeed!
It must have been quite an adventure. I like “OSCAR”.
Oscar was a real sweetie for sure.