Like many other couples during this past summer, Keith and Chris had to make a few changes to their wedding plans. First up, whittling down the guest list. At the time, Covid restrictions in British Columbia limited outdoor gatherings to 50 people or less.
The outdoor part was easy, the men having always planned on having their service in Keith’s parents’ backyard.
Scaling down the guest list from a cozy 105 to a painful 45? Not so easy.
Because the invitations had already gone out, Keith and Chris had to make a lot of tough phone calls. Tell people they cared about that they couldn’t come to their wedding.
When Covid concerns had their catering service bowing out, a determined Keith and Chris rolled up their sleeves and prepared all the food for the wedding party.
Amid all the Covid-dictated changes, some things remained the same. The couple didn’t have to go looking for another ringbearer…
Their Bernese Mountain Dog, Gus had no problem walking down the aisle with them.
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Covid-19 has changed everything and Halloween is no exception. The scattering of houses in our neighbourhood dressed for the ghoulish holiday won’t be handing out candy. Not this year.
Kids are still buying costumes, but they won’t be roaming the streets. Pumpkins, candy apples, and ghost stories will be shared among bubble members in numbers of ten or less.
No parades of miniature Darth Vaders, but if you happen to be in Edmonton come October 31, you might find an unusual funeral procession winding its way through the streets.
No dearly departed, no cemetery visits, just a bunch of car enthusiasts celebrating the Halloween with a display of their favourite rides—hearses.
Who you gonna call?
Robb Eggertson, founder of the the Edmonton Bone-Wagon Association, 460 members strong. Their usual parking lot meet-and-greet being a bad idea this year, they’ve decided to share the fun—and their vintage vehicles.
Arms full of boxes, Martin emerged from the basement. Charlie took his eyes off the game long enough to ask, “What are you doing?”
“Could use some help here,” Martin said, kicking the basement door closed behind him.
“With what?” Charlie didn’t move, didn’t so much as take his feet off the coffee table. It was Sunday, the game was on.
“When’s halftime?” Martin dumped the boxes near the front door.
“Why?” There’d been a time when the break between quarters meant quick and dirty groping on the couch, but they’d been a lot younger back then.
“I need a hand with the coffin.”
Martin glanced at the TV, at the game clock. “Call me when it’s halftime.”
Charlie turned back to the game undisturbed by the noise Martin made getting the boxes out the front door. The clock ran down on the field, but he didn’t call Martin. He’d never had any intention of calling Martin. Charlie walked into the kitchen and cracked open a beer.
The front door opened. “Halftime,” Martin said, slipping his phone with its Google informant away, and heading for the basement.
“Ah, crap.” Charlie grumbled on his way down to the basement and on his way up. “Every year, every freaking year. Why can’t you just stick a skeleton on the door like normal people? Plonk a pumpkin on the front stoop? No, it’s got to be a grand production.”
Martin wasn’t bothered by the whining, it’s not like he hadn’t heard it all before. Plus, part of his job as Charlie’s partner was to give the man something to complain about. Worked out nicely. “Watch the walls,” he cautioned, as they maneuvered the coffin through the hallway and out the door. “Here,” he said, walking backwards, guiding Charlie into the temporary graveyard he’d set up. “Yeah, that’s good. Thanks, babe.”
“Yeah.” Charlie turned back to the house, left Martin to fiddle with spider webs and ghouls. He didn’t get it; they didn’t even have that many kids in the neighbourhood anymore.
Hours later, after the game, after dinner, after Charlie turned out the lights and made sure the front door was locked, he opened the bedroom door on a pitch-dark room. “Martin?” He hit the light switch, but nothing happened. “Shit. Martin? The power’s out. Where—?”
A body at his back, an arm locked around his chest, a hand tugging at his belt buckle.