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  • Writer's pictureLizzy Shannon

Adventure in Canada

I’ve been listening to a lot of true crime podcasts when driving, and one of them prompted this memory.

Just after I moved to Oregon, my parents visited from Northern Ireland. We had such a great time – I took them for a week to Lincoln City at the coast, we visited all the local beautiful places: Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood, and Mount St. Helen’s, just as the grass and shrubs were beginning to poke their heads up through the ash.

The Phantom of the Opera was playing in Vancouver, Canada, so we drove up there and stayed for a few nights, our last night being the musical. The small hotel we stayed in was within walking distance from the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, so after the (wonderful!) show, we strolled back in the warm August night.

We passed a closed antiques store, and my parents stopped to look in the window. I caught movement out of the corner of my eye, and looked up to see two men on the corner just about to cross the road. In the momentary glance I gave them, I saw them spot us, and halt. I looked at my parents, blissfully unaware of any danger, and realized belatedly that we were probably walking through a not-so-safe part of town.

I couldn’t imagine how awful it would be for Mum and Dad to be mugged on their summer vacation. Before I knew what I was doing, I turned to face the men head on, my body tense and ready, and I felt sort of puffed up like a cat’s tail when it’s scared or angry.

The two men had taken a couple of steps our way, but as soon as they saw me facing them down, they hesitated, and simply turned back around and left us alone. I must have looked crazy! I told my parents to hurry up and tried to usher them as quickly as I could from the area. They remained totally ignorant of the close call, thankfully. They probably just thought I was rude and impatient!

Today, I laugh at myself – young, stupid, hothead. What did I think I was going to do – give these guys a Vulcan nerve pinch? I’m so glad it turned out well and my parents had a vacation of a lifetime.

Here are Mum and Dad during their visit in 1991


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