It had been a crazy work week. Yes, we headed to the camper for some rest and relaxation, but is there really any of that when you are the only adult on the road trip?


Between grocery-getting and loading the car Tetris-style to make sure the youngsters and the dogs will even fit to sluggin’ it all inside once you get where you’re going, you’re exhausted before you even turn on any patio lanterns.

Then, a few wood-fire sleeps later you do it all in reverse, only this time ‘round you’ve got a tractor-trailer load of wet towels and a hundred pounds of dirty drawers and dishcloths that need to be tossed in the rig for the ride home to be laundered, rinsed and brought back up again.

There’s also the walk of shame load of recyclables that need to be hid in the shed long enough for you to convince yourself that it wasn’t all you and the mountain of leftover food that no one touched because the youngsters filled up on slushies from the shop.


Now, if you are like me with two youngsters that live in their own decade, then you also have to face what’s waiting at home by the grown-up kid that doesn’t go on weekend excisions with mommy anymore. Let’s just say that there was enough laundry to keep me occupied and enough towels to fold to keep me out of trouble for a year. By the time the holiday Monday rolled around I was wrecked and needed a good reset.

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In the midst of tackling the lifetime laundry pile, I took off to the CBS T’railway for a walk. I always start at my brother’s bench. Gone since 2017, his memory plaque is a good reminder to take a moment to enjoy the view. I took in the fog across the bay. I looked at the lupins. I paid attention to the sunlight glistening on the water.

When it was time to turn around, I noticed a bench and a memory plaque I had never noticed before. Gail Richards, 1969-2020, and the words, “Gail lived her dash.” I paused, lost in thought. Gail and I were born in the same year. Did I know her? Did we go to school together? Were our kids acquainted? What happened? I also wondered what “lived her dash” was all about.

I sat on her bench, went on my phone and found The Dash by Linda Ellis. The poem reminds us of how that dash that we see on headstones or memory benches, that little character between the birth and the death year of anyone who has passed, actually means so very much.

That dash represents our lives and the time we spent on earth. And how we live that dash, how we live and who we love, is up to each one of us. I headed home. Refreshed. I finished the laundry, not because I wanted to spend my dash doing domestic duties, but because clean towels come in handy for swimming or camping adventures and you know, you don’t want to ever conclude your dash in old bottom-of-the-drawer drawers that would make your mother cringe.


As I folded the last facecloth I pondered: have I lived my dash? I haven’t done too badly, but there’s certainly more dashing left to do.
From day trips with the kiddies to overnight hiking excursions with friends, there’s more I need to pack into my dash.

Like the poem says:

Remembering this special dash
Might only last a little while
So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash…
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

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