We had stopped for a grilled cheese and a coffee at the Hitching Post Cafe somewhere between Camrose and Saskatoon. Kristine was on her way to visit an old family friend, one she had not seen since her mother passed away, and I had come along for the ride.
The highway was clear between the flat patch of land connecting Edmonton to Saskatoon. We were past the deep freeze, and the ground was white and the sky blue. The Hitching Post Cafe was adorned with Rhineland touches—heavy oak tables and cuckoo clocks on the walls. The cafe was in the same log-framed building as a small gift store and museum.
We were the only customers, and we hadn’t passed many cars on the highway. Once we got into town we went our separate ways; I was staying in an empty house in Buena Vista and Kristine took the car across town. Our time together was on the road.
I started my first day in Saskatoon with Alison Norlen. She made us some great coffee and I remember there being a large number of cats. I spent my morning in her house and studio engaged in generous conversations about Medalta and her new miniature-soldering machine. I then walked over to meet Sandra Fraser for lunch. I think we had Thai, but maybe I am thinking of another town, another time. Sandra was relatively new to Saskatoon and was referred to me by Mary Reid in Winnipeg. They knew each other from their time together in Ontario.
I walked toward the bright afternoon sun and squeezed in an impromptu visit with Stacia Verigin, on Alison’s recommendation. I would like to see Stacia’s work again twenty years from now. She is grinding down time, pressing sawdust back into life. Time will be on her side. Stacia knew Amalie Atkins; they had both worked on the production of Wapos Bay, a stop motion animation series on APTN. Stacia helped make the tiny props and sets and Amalie made the tiny costumes.
It was already dark out by the time I got to Amalie’s place. When she came to the door, I felt as though we had met before. We had never met before. I had never met Alison, Sandra, or Stacia until that day. Amalie was first recommended by Wednesday Lupypciw, years ago over a plate of perogies in Edmonton. I had already seen the first in her series of short films at an outdoor screening put on by the Film Pool in Regina.
The temperature outside was dropping, but I was warm there in the living room. Amalie’s work is submerged within the fantastical, twisting the sequential narrative into hallucinatory realizations. As we talked on, Amalie continued carving loose teeth out of fondant for an upcoming performance in Montreal at the Edgy Women Festival—the same festival that Kristine and I had been to twice before.
When Kristine came to pick me up, we stayed sitting and chatting about collaborations and roller skates for a while longer.