On Saturday, my family and I got to attend a very special event, that of the wedding of a dear friend of mine from back home. Interestingly enough, he also became a Mountie and was posted here Saskatchewan. he chose to have his wedding at the RCMP Chapel at the training academy, which means I got to set foot on academy grounds for the first time in well over a year.
I felt an empty sense of loss as I crossed the chainlink gates into the parking lot of the academy, where I had parked my vehicle and performed my duties for almost five years before retiring from the Force. I got to see some cadets standing sentry, spoke to them and discuss their training, which brought back memories as well. Although I speak as though I retired years ago, it certainly does feel as though I was there a lifetime ago.
We walked into the RCMP Chapel and saw a spread of people who had all attended to join in this happy occasion. Since we couldn’t find a babysitter, my wife and I opted to bring the boys; a choice that would end up costing me. But I’ll get to that later. The RCMP Chapel is a beautiful building and in fact, the oldest standing building in Regina. It’s wooden benches have been beautifully maintained and were originally constructed by serving inmates at the time.
The stain glass windows are iconic and represent various scenes from religious texts and the walls are adorned by commemorative plaques for fallen members and members who died in service to the people of Canada. There is always a sense of quiet calm inside the Chapel, even when there happens to be a troop hollering to one another outside. My kids, being young as they are, were at a loss to enjoy and appreciate the environment they were in.
After some delays and the bride arriving late (the Chaplain made a point of saying that any good thing takes time) the ceremony was under way. Nathan was becoming restless and asking why we couldn’t leave yet, so I wound up handing him my phone so he could play a game on it. Pretty sad state of affairs when life requires this kind of distraction for children. In my day, I would have been told to shut up and wait for the ceremony to end and that would have been it. Sign of the times, my friends.
A video game only kept Nathan occupied and in his seat for so long before he handed me my phone back and started doing that whiny begging kids do, when they really want something or they want to leave. Alexander started following suit and I hushed him by putting the Paw Patrol movie on my phone on mute and both boys sat and watched quietly for all of ten minutes. Then, they handed me my phone again.
That’s when I took the step that cost me dearly. In an effort to entertain the younger one (the older one had returned to his end of the bench and was sitting quietly for a moment), I handed him my RCMP Veteran’s card, which features my photo and some key information identifying me as a retired member of the RCMP. He played nicely for several minutes, giggling and pointing at my photo… In retrospect, I’m not sure if I should be offended by that or not.
Things were quiet for a few moments and it took me those few moments to realize that Alex was no longer holding my ID card. I looked down at the floor and realized it wasn’t sitting there. I asked where my card was in a harassed whisper, to which he pointed to the small compartment of the back of the bench on front of us. You know the ones, they hold hymn books and bibles and stuff in churches. I reached in and realized my card wasn’t there. Then to my horror, I realized there was a slight gap between the front panel of the box and the panel at the bottom. My ID was now trapped inside this thing, with no apparent way top get it out.
All of a sudden, the entire moment switch from being all about my friend’s wedding and all about my ID card. My wife and I searched frantically for a gap, a nail or some means of getting the thing open without damaging it. None was found. The wedding procession made their way out of the Chapel and I stopped the Chaplain when he was exiting to explain what had happened.
It was a fun day and I was happy to see my friend get married. I have no idea when I’ll get my ID back or whether I can get a replacement if I can’t. Of course, my kids WOULD have to do something to hamper the day’s joyous overtones. But as the old saying goes, “This is why we can’t have nice things…” I treated us all to some take out and we went home, none worse for the wear. ☯️