It’s snowing. At first it comes down in light fluffs, little tufts that melt as soon as they hit the ground. Minutes later, it picks up and the flakes become larger, giant puffs of cotton that land on the gross with a soft pfft sound and gather there, quickly covering the lawn in soft white.
I don’t mind if the snow piles up. It’s Saturday. And I’ve got provisions.
Not milk and bread and eggs. No, that’s for amateurs.
I pull things out of the fridge. Carrots, celery, onions. I pull out the cutting board and begin the act of chopping, a rhythmic action that lulls me into a complacent state. Christmas music plays. I can hear the snow hitting the front door.
My father always made soup when it snowed. I’d watch him chop, mesmerized by how fast and deft he was with the knife. I’d ask him questions, like did the ingredients have to go into the pot in a certain order, or how long until we would be able to have soup? My mother would grab me away from my father, bundle me and my sisters up in our snowsuits and usher us outside to play in the snow until we too cold to move.
I’m not the greatest cook but I love the act of cooking. It’s comforting, ritualistic, things I often need at the end of a busy day. On days like this, with winter swirling around outside and the memory of snow day soup dancing in my head, it’s pure comfort.
I cheat and use rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. I pick it apart by hand, shredding first the breasts and then the thighs. My hands are greasy and slippery, but I don’t mind. I’m humming along to “Sleigh Ride,” the snow is falling harder and I know that soon my house will smell like simmering soup. It will smell like winter. Like home.
When we’d come inside from the snow, shake off our boots and unzip our snowsuits, my father would light a fire and we’d warm ourselves in front of it while the soup slowly cooked on the stove. Being outside in the cold that long - building snowmen, throwing snowballs at the neighbor kids - was exhausting and sometimes I’d fall asleep in front of the fire. When I’d wake up, the soup would be ready.
I put the vegetables in the pot and cover them with water. I add salt, pepper. I’ll throw the chicken in later being that it’s already cooked. I turn the stove on and wait. Wait for the water to begin to roll, wait for the vegetables to start cooking, wait until I throw the chicken in and everything starts to smell wonderful.
Eating my father’s soup is the greatest comfort I remember. I’d wake up from a short nap by the fire and dad would call us into the kitchen where he’d ladle out a bowl for each of us. That first spoonful melted away any residual cold I was feeling from being outside. I’d feel the hot soup slide down and it would warm my insides both physically and emotionally. I was being well-fed. I was being taken care of. The snow would pile up outside while darkness descended and I would stare out the window and watch the flakes swirl under the streetlights until my mother would nudge me back to the present and the soup in front of me.
I take a nap while my soup simmers. I wake up and the snow has built a little fortress outside my door. It’s dark now, and I can see the flakes swirl under the outside light. I dole out soup for my husband and myself and that first sip feels like home.
I call my father and tell him I made soup, ask if he wants me to bring him some (he lives just across the street). But, of course, he made his own. Of course. It’s snowing.
“That doesn’t look safe.” Your aunty commented to your mother as your whole family was out on a ice skating trip in your home time, having spare time from the band made you not even doubt about taking the next airplane to your hometown in Canada bringing Luke with you. “He said he really wanted to.” Your mother said as they both were eyeing you and Luke – him holding himself tightly around your shoulders because of the high difference and the slippy ice. “Luke – You’re almost knocking the both of us down.” You said through muffled voice into his jacket making him pull back but never leaving his arms around your shoulders. “This is crazy Y/N.” He said in pure fear wide eyed making you let out a laugh. “It’s just ice skating. It’s normal here.” You smiled making him shake his head slighty. “There’s no doubt when we get married we’ll live in Sidney instead of this.”
The smell of warmth and coffee hit yours and Calum’s notrils as you both came into the little Tim Hortons coffeeshop not far away from your family’s house, the snow outside falling making the streets covered in white – a tipical Canadian weather. You were out with the guys touring in the North states and Canada making it possible for you to introduce Calum to your family. Everything had went fine with your family and now you and Calum was craving for some hot chocolate. “ You’re family is nice.” He commented as you both had settled down. “They think you have a funny accent though.” You laughed making him smile shaking his head. “ But they like you. So it’s okay.” You stated as he grabbed your hand lacing your fingers together. “I’m gonna miss them though.” You sighed knowing that in more than 2 days you had to leave for another concert. “We’ll come here again soon. That’s for sure.” Cal ressuoured whilst kissing your hand.
”whats up rockstar, arent you coming out?” You asked seeing Michael wrapped in, in blankets his teeth almost shaddering. “No way.” He stated shaking his head. “ Too cold.” He said mentioning to the snow outside, your whole family having a snow fight. “Come on.” You whined. “ You can borrow my snowsuit?” You winked making him shake his head. “Canada is too cold for me. Come cuddle.” He gestured opening the blanket for you to join. You rolled your eyes at him but obliged joining him in the pile of blankets. “How do you even survive this.” He asked making you laugh at him. “I’m used to it smartass.” You said whilst ruffling his hair. “ Oh sorreh.” He said in a sassy tone. “It’s not my fault that I’m used to sun all the time.” He mumbled making you kiss him on the cheek. “ I guess I just need to get used to it.” He said winking at you.
“ Come on, I’ve seen that old video of you and the boys eating English food, take a bite.” You said whilst holding the poutine in your hand reaching it over for Ashton to take a bite, but he was holding back a bit. “It looks… eh.” He mumbled eying the dish making you roll your eyes at him before putting it back on your plate. “It’s good.” You smiled leaning back in your chair waiting for him to take a bite. “What is it even, a cake?” Letting out a laugh you shoke your head. “Its French fries which you like. Just with brown sauce and cheese on top.” You said as he took one on his fork before placing it in his mouth. He chewed for a bit before nodding his head. “It’s actually good.” He said in surprise before placing another one in his mouth. “You should make some more Canadian food.”
I’m excited to be visiting Winnipeg in January. Yes, you read that correctly.
And I’m not alone. The Vancouver Canucks as a group are looking forward to their first visit to Winnipeg since the rebirth of the Jets; it’ll actually be Vancouver’s first time back in Winnipeg since February 21, 1996, when the Canucks beat the Jets 5-3 thanks to a three-point game from Alexander Mogilny.
A lot of Canucks have ties to Winnipeg with the city having been home to the Manitoba Moose, Vancouver’s AHL farm team, from 2001–02 to 2010–11. That includes yours truly.
It seems like just yesterday I was bundled up in my snowsuit walking along Donald Street, across Portage Avenue, down to Princess Street, eventually arriving at Red River College.
I’m originally from Brandon, Manitoba, two hours west of Winnipeg and after a long series of twists and turns in my life, I moved to Winnipeg in 2006 after being accepted into the Creative Communications program at Red River College, where I majored in Journalism.
I lived in Winnipeg for two years cutting my teeth on the mean streets and freezing my buns off along the way. I remember starting my car early one morning and somehow the ice block of a Ford EXP fired up; I heard the radio deejay then say it was minus-50 with the wind chill at that moment. That was when I realized Winnipeg and I had to breakup.
Some people are built for Winnipeg. I am not.
That being said, I’m looking forward to going back.
I spent a lot of hours in the MTS Centre covering the Manitoba Moose in college; I worked freelance for the Moose, Canadian Press and eventually the Vancouver Canucks, who were excited about prospects like Jannik Hansen, Alex Edler, Luc Bourdon, Michael Grabner, Mike Brown, Mason Raymond and Rick Rypien.
When I realized Canucks.com didn’t have much Moose prospects coverage on the site, I started profiling the stars of the future, beginning with Raymond. Then Juraj Simek, Jason Jaffray, Pierre-Cedric Labrie, Brad Moran and Zack FitzGerald.
I interned with the Canucks twice during my final year at Red River, then moved to Vancouver and bullied my way into a job. Now here we are, six years, countless stories, blogs, photos, captions, tweets and nonsense later, headed back to where the dream started to become a reality.
Same goes for Alex Burrows, Ryan Kesler, Jordan Schroeder, Kevin Bieksa, Chris Tanev, Eddie Lack, Hansen and Edler, all of whom will be back on the ice at the MTS Centre for the first time since turning enough heads they were able to make the jump to Vancouver.
Dale Weise never played for the Moose, but he’s from Winnipeg and is as amped up as anyone – even in January with the forecast calling for a high of minus-20 Thursday.
All signs point to Weise and I getting slurpees to celebrate our return to the Peg.
Slurpee and a nip if we leave with a win.
Let’s have a great road trip, I look forward to hearing from you along the way.
P.S. - Yes, I know how ridiculous I look in the above photo. Thank you for reminding me anyways!