Familiar Territory
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Familiar Territory

Familiar Territory

Sept 14, 2022

In the distance is Pointe au Père. You can just make out the lighthouse and quai.

My father knows this place. Ships bound inland on the St Lawrence Seaway would pick up river pilots at Pointe au Père. Ships outbound headed to sea would drop the pilots here.

Getting here meant meant as much to me as getting to the Pilot Buoy off of San Francisco Bay, a place familiar to not only my father, but my grandfather as well. Fair to say it runs in the blood.

My father’s ship was carrying troops back, and immigrants to Canada. On the return trip seaward, his ship passed the one carrying my mother to Montreal. Working in the Dutch Foreign Service, she was bound for the Dutch Embassy in Ottawa. Fair to say ships passing in the dark.

Far from home, at a place I had never been and may very well never see again, I felt on familiar ground. My father and mother had both passed this place. Their own paths now lost in the wakes of a thousand thousand other ships. My own path on the shoulder of Highway 134 equally indistinct. Nonetheless, familiar to me now just as it is to my father who passed here the better part of 70 years ago.