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  #1  
Old 08-16-2006, 08:13 PM
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The Cody Diaries

8/8

I'll probably forget more things than I'll remember. I had every intention of
keeping a running diary going while we were in Timmins, but we seemed to get back to the hotel late at night. Sam would put the pictures we'd taken during the day on my laptop, but I was too tired by the time the computer was free to work on notes for the day. Here it goes...

After about 12-13 hours flying/airport time (MUCH easier time wise than our first trip), we arrived at the Stay Inn in Toronto. Sam decided to check out the hotel, and when he came back he said he'd spotted a couple familiar faces outside. That's all I needed to hear! Cody and I went outside and said "hello, Shania family!!" Irene was there and she introduced me to Paige and her parents, Nancy and Ron. What delightful people! Paige was just what I expected her to be from reading posts over the year. She's an absolute doll! Cody busied himself with splashing in puddles and watching busses and trucks go by while we all chatted. More people arrived and joined the visit. It felt like a homecoming.

Sam came out with the camera and joined in, but before long Cody took over the camera (a theme which would continue throughout the convention) and started directing people to join in for group photos and encouraging everyone to smile. I have to say, he didn't do too bad!

After going upstairs for Cody quiet time, we rejoined the family in the lobby for our bus ride to the Mandarin buffet. When we came downstairs, we found many more Shania family members - Tracy, Debbie, Jack, Linda, FV, Richard, Tom, and were blessed to meet many people whose names I recognized but hadn't met. Plenty of heartfelt hugs were exchanged. Debbie introduced me to Rene as we were heading for the bus and I hugged her because I recognized her name. She hugged back and said she was sorry but she didn't know who I was, so I said my name was Sheri. She said "Oh, Sheri! You're Sheri!" Then she hugged me again. That was also something that happened more than once. Hug someone because you know they're part of the Shania family, then find out just who it is and hug again. Ha!

The Mandarin was great! It was probably Cody's favorite meal of the whole trip - he ended up having 3 big platefulls AND desert. Whew! He'd get a little overwhelmed by all of the noise and laughter (there was a LOT of that throughout the con) and he'd cover his ears and make sort of a hum so all he could hear was that hum until he felt calmed. When he needed a bit more than that, Sam would take him outside for a couple minutes to give him quiet. Mom just kept right on chatting away. I LOVE these amazing people!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last edited by Sheri : 08-16-2006 at 11:47 PM.
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Old 08-16-2006, 08:36 PM
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8/9

We boarded the bus and headed for CMT studios. It was going to be a long journey, but it was already obvious that it was going to be a fun one. The tour was very interesting - although.... where were the pictures of Shania that should have been on their walls, hmm? The group was split in two, so while one was inside on the tour, the other was waiting in the parking lot. Our group went in first. Cody got excited when he saw a clip of Shania discussing her perfume and his happy fingers were dancing away. He did have to step out with Sam for a bit, but he did get to see most of it. The clip of Shania was beyond a doubt, the highlight of his tour. During our wait in the parking lot, Sam enjoyed chatting with another professional driver - Sharon. She was just as much a part of our group as the conventioneers before we got done. MANY thanks to the CMT employee who unlocked the door and took us back inside to buy a couple of soft drinks!

There was a brief trivia contest which took place in the parking lot which was not Shania related (ie. I had no clue). We each got a CMT sticker to take with us. I wish it had been labelled CMT Canada - the other one, I don't wish to support with a sticker on my car.

We traveled on to Vaughn Mall for a lunch break and a bit of time to shop. Tracy made two stuffed bears for her kids. Sam bought a pair of socks. (He looks sexy in his socks) Although the food court was crowded, Frenchy and Lyn were just leaving their table, so Sam, Cody and I were able to sit there. We spotted Sharon at a table by herself, so Sam went over to invite her to join us, and she did. It was a very pleasant lunch!

We got back on the bus and rode for a few more hours on to Deerhurst. Cody and I sat together. Sam was right in front of us with Linda and Irene was right across from us. We had a running joke going on that Sam and Irene had a thing going, and Sam and Linda ALso had a thing going on. Busy man!!!

Deerhurst is stunningly beautiful. The scenery is simply gorgeous and SO peaceful. I can see why Shania would want to have that as one of her getaway places. The meal was delicious and we were able to get to know even more Shania family members.

The show didn't go so well for Cody. It was just way too loud with too many lights and too many people. Debbie noted later that it's odd that none of that bothered him too much at a Shania concert. After one song, Sam left the room with Cody so I could enjoy the show. When the intermission came along and they had not yet returned, I went to check on them. Cody was still overwhelmed. I told Sam that I really wasn't able to enjoy the show when I was worried about them, so we went outside where it was completely quiet. He was instantly calmed down. It was so restful and quiet, with just the breeze blowing through the trees. Gorgeous night. Once the show ended, we bussed to North Bay. Aaaaaaaah, time to sleep. The North Bay hotel was much more organized than Toronto's Stay Inn had been.

Last edited by Sheri : 08-16-2006 at 11:47 PM.
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  #3  
Old 08-16-2006, 09:25 PM
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8/10

This was the day that had a couple of moments that almost required therapy for Sam and I. The first occurred in the morning while we were in the process of checking out of the North Bay Best Western. Normally, Cody sticks right with us AND we have our eyes peeled for any signs of straying. But on this morning, we had our hands full dealing with luggage and checking out. Cody had helped us with the door and with carrying a bag. I assumed he was with Sam checking out, Sam assumed he was with me organizing the luggage.

Debbie asked if Sam was ready for his golf games with Jack and Frank and I glanced around and realized Cody wasn't with either one of us. Debbie was gracious enough to keep an eye on our bags while I went over to Sam. Sam headed into the bathroom to see if Cody was there (after all, the sink always provides an opportunity for water play). Sam came back out of the bathroom without him and looked over at me and we both felt our hearts in our throats. He went on down the hall to look. I went back over to the group in the lobby and said "we can't find our son. If anyone is willing, could you please help us look for him". There was no hesitation. A number of people were instantly on their feet. That says so much for this incredible group.

Debbie stuck her head in a bathroom and said "Cody, are you in here??" Afterword, it dawned on her to check and see if it was a men's or ladies' room. It was ladies'. Whew. I went down a hallway, made a turn and there was Cody with Fred walking back towards us. He apparently lost track of us and headed back to our room instead of to the lobby. Mom and dad could start breathing again. Fred said he just went for a "walkabout". Fred, thank you, thank you, thank you. Cody was scared, which meant a brief trip outside to calm himself in the quiet, but boy were we relieved.

By the time we all boarded the bus for the trip to Timmins, it was time to party. Thanks to Chris and Lynn Clyde (and whomever else) for providing the DVD's which we enjoyed on our bus journeys. We always sang along - sometimes quietly, sometimes... not quietly at all.

We stopped for breakfast at Tim Horton's - which brought on our second spooky moment. I was in the line for the ladies' room when I heard this earth shattering scream. My first thought was that some poor child was in real trouble, but when I turned to look, Sam was tending to Cody. That was a noise we have never heard from him before. I started to head over, but Sam said no, it was okay. Cody's finger got shut in the door, but he was okay. I kept glancing back, and once when I looked over, I saw several of our group huddled in a circle around him. Again... what an amazing family we are in. When I was able to rejoin them, Cody was holding ice on his finger. It was red and swollen, but he was okay. When he saw me, it was time for a mom hug and cuddling. Someone made the comment (I'm sorry, I'm not sure if it was Betsy? Debbie?) that all of the women in line right there were swaying back and forth just like Cody with his mom. It was an "aaaw" moment and we were all comforted. That was cute! 3 doughnuts later, he was juuust fine.

Back on the road singing along with videos....

It felt SO good to arrive in Timmins and check into the Days Inn. We could actually unpack and not have to worry about being on the move again in the morning! We met up with Jack, Debbie and Linda at Don's for a late lunch. Since there wouldn't be a shuttle to the Centre on the first day, Jack volunteered to take Sam to pick up a rental for the day. After we ordered our meals, Jack and Sam left for the car. When they got back to the hotel, though, they met up with Luc who was taking Irene to get her car, so Sam just hitched a ride with them. The people lending a hand theme continues....

It still warms my heart when we drive up and first see the Centre. What a spectacular building. And we stepped inside to see the Shania by Stetson outfit. Tiny and gorgeous. Then, of course, I veered over to the gift shop. CHARGE!!!!!!

Tracy welcomed everyone and she and Ren passed out our badges and backpacks which included the newspapers featuring articles about the convention as well as a bag of dill pickle chips (YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!). Cody actually went up and got his bag by himself in front of a room full of people. Good boy!!!!!!!!! He also worked the camera for a bit, again.

Tracy also brought out wood blocks from the Maple Leaf and invited us to take some home if we chose. I took one for Sam and one for me. One of my bosses does woodwork - making lamps (Debbie has one), pens (Tracy has one), small clocks, bowls, etc. I'll ask him if he can make something from these, so that we can have a bit of the Maple Leaf on our desks in some form.

We went on a quick tour of the Centre and Tracy showed us the new "Maple Leaf" and we enjoyed guests from the Maple Leaf era.
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Old 08-17-2006, 12:38 AM
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8/11

Now that the Toronto crew met up with the group that started right out at Timmins, we needed two buses to take us to Mattagami. JD and Allison joined our bus for the trip, as well as a news reporter!

Once we got going and the DVD's were playing, the singing and laughter once again took over the bus. JD was really taken aback when Shania's Up! Close and Personal DVD was playing and she was talking about wetting her pants in her school days because she was so nervous about performing. He either didn't know or had forgotten about that story. The expression on his face was priceless.

We actually saw a moose crossing the road on our way to Mattagami, too. It was our first moose sighting! We tried to get Cody to notice him, but he was more interested in the video at that moment.

Once we got to Mattagami, Chief Willis McKay boarded the bus and narrated on our tour. We were able to see the older homes as well as homes currently being built. He also pointed out places that were significant to Shania. Thanks to our fearless leader, Tracy, we were able to have box lunches in a picnic type setting down by the water. I finally got a butter tart!!!!! Major serious yum!

Yes... water. Even though it was quite chilly, Cody kept telling Sam "shoes off, shoes off". He wanted in the water. We were trying to explain to him that water in Timmins is not quite as warm as water in Honolulu. Why do I get the feeling that he didn't particularly care? He kept tempting fate and standing right on the edge of a wall, but he didn't go in the water. Sam was like "oh, he's fine". Mom was like "Cody, get back from there".

The setting was magnificent. Just beautiful! We also enjoyed the nature hike to get from the bus to our picnic area. It's probably the most we'd moved since getting off the plane in Toronto.

That evening, we rode the bus to Cedar Meadows for the outdoor BBQ. The dinner was set up in a huge tented area with the meat being cooked outside the tent. JD was standing outside posing for pictures and chatting with various people. When we were able to speak with him, I told him very briefly about Cody's autism and how he was affected by Shania, her music and how moved he was by the energy and enthusiasm of her and her band on stage. He was very sweet, exchanged a high five with him and posed for a few pictures with him. He and Sam also had a football conversation about the ONLY team in their eyes - the Steelers. JD said he bleeds black and gold blood. Yep... sounds like Sam.

Soon thereafter, we were able to meet Allison. I also told her about Cody's story and thanked her. She said that was awesome. She posed for a couple of pictures, then looked Cody straight in the eye and said "what's your name?" He said "my name is Cody". I told her "he can do that because of Shania and all of you". She has such a beautiful smile and seems to be such a gentle soul. We got back to the table, and as soon as I told Linda that he actually said "my name is Cody" in response to Allison's question - naturally, I fell completely to pieces. Poor Luc and Andrea (also at our table) must have thought I was nuts. When asked what was wrong, Linda said "she's proud of her son". Then she said other nice things that was SO NOT HELPING ME GET MY ACT TOGETHER, Linda!!!

Once the meal was finished, the music started and Cody requested quiet time. We found a small fish pond that he found entirely fascinating, so he relaxed and watched the fish for some time. Then we enjoyed a quiet stroll on the grounds. Tracy pulled up in the STC van and offered us a ride back to the hotel. We hesitated, but when she mentioned that the shuttle wouldn't be back until 9:00, we decided to take her up on it. You remember that theme, right? These gracious people helping others?

We were glad for that, too. Cody was able to get a nice amount of down time before crawling into bed. Good deal. When I see the photos of all the fun that occurred after we left, I think darn, darn, darn! But we did what we needed to do, and that's cool.
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Old 08-17-2006, 01:34 AM
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8/12

It was time for one of the highly anticipated moments of the con - the behind the scenes tour. And you know? No matter how many times we read about, hear about or see for ourselves how tiny Shania is - it's still stunning to look at those clothes and see just how petite she really is.

It was also time for one of Sam's highly anticipated moments of the con - GOLF! Once the behind the scenes tour had concluded, he teamed up with Jack and Frank and headed off for the links.

Cody and I got back on the bus and headed for Timmins High. Seizing every opportunity to make Cody more comfortable, I found a nice, shady spot just a bit removed from the group for him to relax before we were able to go inside. Once Tracy stepped inside to discuss the trivia contest with JD and Allison, Cody snuck right in with her. OOPS!! I opened the door and got him back out.

The rules of the trivia contest were cleverly changed to involve as many people as possible. All of our badges were thrown into a pile and Tracy randomly separated them into two teams. Cody and I ended up on separate teams. Yikes! I asked Tracy if we could possibly have an exemption. She said "oh, of course. And if Cody needs to be away from this, that's totally fine. We understand that." So, Cody and I were on Paige's team - "Team Regina" with the cheer "Shimmy, shake, make the earth quake!" We weren't so great with the coconut search. Debbie said "You're from Hawaii! You should be able to find coconuts!" I said "We normally find ours on trees!" But Paige was unstoppable with lyrics and Rene did a great job naming band members by their initials. Do you guys think of Shania as one of the band members? Ha!

After a buffet lunch at the Mac Curling Rink, we returned to the hotel to relax before the auction and dinner. Cody finally got some swimming time in. He'd been asking for pool and swim since we'd arrived in Toronto, and it helped him tremendously. He was swimming or floating in that pool for 45 minutes before we headed upstairs to get ready for dinner.

Sam returned from his day of golf while we were getting ready. He said he had a good time but he lost about 6 or so balls on the course. What he forgot to mention was that he took quite a tumble! Jack mentioned it at dinner that evening and I said "excuse me?" Sam said "oh, yeah". He hit a golf ball into the bush on a hill of some sort and when he was trying to get it, he lost his balance. He made it sound rather minor (must be a guy thing), but I did notice several bumps and scrapes showing up over the next couple days. Did he have any regrets? Nah.

Dinner was at the Curling Rink again. We went up front to look at the auction items before eating and knowing full good and well that I'd be outbid before I even got back to the table, I bid a piddly $30.00 for a packet of the "Just BeTwain Friends" newsletters. Sure enough, my bid was lost in the dust! But they were mine for a brief time, anyway! I didn't even try for Debbie's spectacular cross-stitch - I knew that would end up way beyond my reach - and it DID! Over a thousand dollars!!!!! Way to go, Debbie! And congrats to Barry and Romana for getting such an incredible work of art.

Allison was selling a CD of some of her music and was getting quite a response. When I handed her mine, she asked if Cody was having a good time. I told her very much - for the most part . I asked her if she would sign the CD for him. She said "oh, of course. Cody, right?" She signed it "dearest Cody, Allison Cornell". Okay, so I'm trying not to get emotional about that, right (it's a challenge). Debbie asks me "can you tell me about what happened when Cody met Allison yet?" NO WAY! I don't want to turn this into another weenie-fest. Not 2 days in a row. Here it is, Debbie. Sorry for the wait!!!!!!

The guest speakers, applause and wonderful enthusiasm of the Shania family proved to be WAY too much for Cody this time, unfortunately. Sam spent quite a bit of time with him outside, and then I took my turns with him out there. What a beautiful image the Mac was at night, though, not to mention the lit cross across the water. It was a bit chilly, but with our jackets, it was quite managable. He was able to calm himself trying to skip rocks on the water. Of the three of us, though, Sam's the only one who can actually do that.

Once the auction and dinner were both over, Allison gifted us with a few more soulful songs. (I love her short hair look, by the way!) She really is quite a thoughtful, soulful songwriter.

Then the music and dancing started. Sam and Cody had stepped outside. Man! I Feel Like a Woman was playing nice and loud (reminded me of an actual concert with that volume). Betsy and I started a chorus line type of kick to Man! and we just kept adding people! That was fun!!! Although by the end of it, I felt like I needed oxygen. It's hell getting old.

I sat beside Rene and we watched the dancing with the What Made You Say That Video. Rene said "you know, I've watched these videos so many times at home. And now...." When she didn't finish her thought, I looked over at her and she was fighting back tears. I hugged her and said "I know". She'll never look at those videos in quite the same way. Now she'll remember the magic of having experienced it with a room full of friends who "get it" when she watches them. I'm the same way.

Sam came back to say there was a shuttle outside and I knew it would be best for Cody if we called it a night. What I didn't realize was that I left our camera on the table. Sigh....
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Old 08-17-2006, 09:10 AM
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Wonderful diary!!! Can't wait for the rest of it!
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Old 08-17-2006, 10:07 AM
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Great posts Sheri. waiting for the finish.

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Old 08-17-2006, 11:58 AM
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Wonderful account of Cody's experience (together with Mom and Dad) at Fan/Con4. Like the others, can't wait to see what else comes to us through your diary entries. It brings the whole Fan/Con experience back to life for me.
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Old 08-17-2006, 01:16 PM
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8/13

I hate the term "farewell", so I'll just refer to it as "the brunch". Actually, it was a bit nice not to have to shuttle anywhere. We were able to wake up whenever we happened to wake up and stroll down casually to meet up with friends.

After I woke up, Sam asked me where I put the camera. Eh-oh. I thought he'd taken it with him when he and Cody had stepped out during the banquet at the Mac. Nope. He'd left it with me. I called the Mac Curling Rink and asked about it. They didn't have it in their lost and found, but the lady on the phone suggested I call back at 2:00 to check again. I posted about it on the boards in case somebody had found it and kept it safe. We had a hunch that that's what had happened. Before we left the room for breakfast, I checked the board to see if anyone had responded. Sure enough, Betsy and FV had found it and given it to Tracy for safekeeping. THANKS, YOU GUYS!!!! The theme continues... people helping each other.

The brunch was wonderful! We thoroughly enjoyed the slide show with fancon memories (and thanks for including a song by Bruddah Iz, too!!!!). JD gave a very moving speech - reminding us about what's really important in all of our lives. He also touched on a thought that Sam and I had been discussing throughout this convention. With all of the chaos going on in the world, our group gave him hope. Here we were - coming from all over the world - different accents, different languages, different ages and genders, and no doubt different philosophies. Yet, we're bonded by a shared passion. And we're able to laugh, hug, cry and be there for each other and put all of the other stuff aside.

By the time the brunch was over, the mood was already beginning to shift. A few of us were preparing to leave. Jack volunteered to drive a couple groups over to the Centre since the shuttles were no longer available, so we headed for the exit to get ready. Cody scooched through the crowd ahead of us. By the time I worked my way out of the room, I didn't spot him. It hadn't taken me that long, so I knew he'd probably gone to the restroom. Allison and JD were walking down the hallway in the other direction. Allison turned and spotted me looking around and said "are you looking for Cody?" She pointed down toward the restrooms. "I think I saw him heading that way". I thanked her and waited in the hallway outside the bathroom. Sure enough, that's where he was. He sat in a chair by the phones and waited for me while I used the bathroom and FV kept an eye on him for me. Thanks, FV!!!!!!!!

Sam was feeling a little too sore from the previous day's golfing to try it again. He told Jack and Frank to go ahead and go without him, but both of them had decided to give that one up, too. I think secretly he didn't feel too bad about missing the last golf game, he didn't want to miss the final day with the entire group.

On the drive to the Centre, Jack drove us past the Twain house on Montgomery. It's the first time we'd seen that. To look at that and think of where she's living now... wow. You go, girl. We loved being back in the Centre for a final visit (shopping opportunity). Since there were a few less people, I really took the time to study all of the exhibits and marveled at the work of the STC staff. And when Cody needed a break from the final behind the scenes look, we were able to go outside and take a few photos that I'd really wanted to take. On our first trip out a few years ago, we took a couple of pics of Cody sitting on rocks outside of the Centre. He's grown so much that I wanted to try to recreate those same shots so I could compare the difference.

Several of us wanted to take some final pictures of various groups of us, so we posed by the Centre sign. Jack waited very patiently for us to finish that, and then we got our shuttle service back to the hotel. Thanks, Jack!!!!

Oops! Have to get to work - will finish this day's entry tonight.
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Old 08-17-2006, 01:44 PM
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Great summary Sheri! It brings back a lot of fantastic memories...
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Old 08-17-2006, 06:46 PM
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Awesome posts, Sheri! It was so great to finally meet you, Sam, and Cody! You are one of the sweetest ladies I have ever met! Sam is great, and Cody is a sweet, cool, amazing boy! Reading your diary really makes all the wonderful memories from Fan Con 4 come flooding back! I can't wait to read the rest of it! I hope to see you, Sam, and Cody again next year at Fan Con 5!
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Old 08-18-2006, 02:29 PM
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Thanks for the rest Sheri. Yeah, read about the camera before. It hit home when you talked about JD and how basically here was sometihing good going on in the world besides bombs and people dying for a change. Thanks for that! Glad you and your family had such a great time even if your hubby did golf too much.

Steve
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Old 08-18-2006, 03:22 PM
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8/13 continued

(There... sorry for the interruption of work. Instantly back into the push, push, push the work out mode. Crud. But I don't want the party to end. Not just yet)

After Jack dropped us off at the hotel, Sam and Cody headed for the pool at the Days' Inn (does anyone else still want to refer to it as the Senator? We sure do). That gave me some space to work on packing our bags. We intentionally packed light to begin with, knowing I'd be supporting the Centre's gift shop to the very best of my ability , but man! I was still surprised by how much heavier the bags felt once everything was packed up.

Tom's party was scheduled for that night, but we knew we wouldn't be going to that - for one thing, Cody's not exactly allowed into taverns for some odd (he's only 12) reason, and Sam and I aren't exactly drinkers, either. Sam will enjoy an occasional drink when we go out to dinner, but other than that, we're non-drinkers.

I'd fully expected to have a quiet evening to catch our breath a little bit in anticipation of the long drive to Toronto on the following day, but we got an invitation to dinner to take Tracy out. Could NOT refuse. For one thing, this family owes her SO much and we have the greatest admiration for her - a feeling I know is shared by the rest of us, I know. The other reason was I felt the clock ticking, and knew our time with the Shania family was now limited.

So, once Sam and Cody returned from the pool and I'd finished packing? It was back on the bus to go out to dinner! Our conventioneers sure did take up a lot of space at restaurants! And again, we noticed this magical comraderie amongst so many different peoples. It was a bit late when we returned to the Days' Inn, but we didn't mind.

P.S. I forgot to mention!!!! Kirppu? Thank you so much for sharing the Fazerina. Your chocolate is to die for!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 08-18-2006, 04:03 PM
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8/14

It was raining lightly and a smidge chilly while we all waited outside for the bus. One of the elevators was shut down, so it took a while for everyone to get down to the lobby since we were all hauling luggage. But good spirits remained.

Once the bus arrived, the bags were loaded and everyone had boarded, we started our journey back to Toronto. Goodbye Days' Inn. Goodbye Timmins.

We stopped at a truck stop for breakfast after we'd been on the road for a couple hours (I think). Then it was back to the bus. Rene had created a couple of games to pass the time and passed those out for us to work on. One was to identify which videos the pictures on the game were from. Sounds very simple, but alas... the photos were all extreme close-ups of Shania's beautiful face. That made it much more challenging. I didn't do too bad on that one, though. I believe I got 29 right. The next one was nuts! It was again extreme close-ups, but it was of events - appearances, award shows, magazines, etc. The one I wanted to slap myself upside the head for was a close up of Shania's face from the cross-stitch that Debbie had done of Cody meets The Girl! Hello!!! It's on my living room wall, and I didn't get it until Rene gave the clue that it involved somebody on this bus. Well... actually, it involved several somebodies. Ha! Debbie created the incredible stitch, Cody was in the picture, Sam took the picture, and I had my fingertips on Cody's arm in the picture. Duh moment, Sher.

We were able to share a little tiny bit, too. Before we left for Timmins, Sam and I had some concerns about how Cody would handle the number of people, the noise, jet lag, etc. And we were also concerned about how everyone would react to him. Those bus rides from Toronto and back are long, and let's face it, autism can be intimidating and a challenge, even if you are familiar with it. In a small gesture of our gratitude for everyone's patience, tolerance, and as it turned out assistance, we wanted to give our friends a small momento from the folks from Hawaii. So we passed a bag of pins around the bus. It's a minute gesture, but we hope it brings a smile or a memory to the surface whenever those pins are come across.

We stopped in Huntsville (right?) for lunch, and then drove on to Toronto. Tracy invited anyone interested to dinner at The Spaghetti Factory. Once again, I knew it would probably be wiser to just rest up in the evening after the long bus ride and knowing the next day at the airport could be a mess, but we couldn't say no. We still were unable to let go of this group.

The Stay Inn in Toronto did not impress us much. I have a hunch they were simply unable to manage such a large group, but still, it was quite an inconvenience. Jack and Debbie Smith (and Linda and Rene) were not able to put their luggage in their room because it was not cleaned yet (we arrived in the evening). Our 2 German girls had no room at ALL in spite of their reservations. And again, we were dragging luggage up the stairs because they have no elevators. The Smith gang left their luggage in "the Hawaii room" until their room was ready. The bus waited until everyone was taken care of before we left, so once everyone HAD a room and the rooms were cleaned and ready, we headed into the city for dinner.

Wow... Toronto has huuuge buildings and beautiful architecture. FV had wanted to go to the CN Tower, but Linda said it was currently closed down. On to plan B. The Spaghetti Factory was wonderful. Another meal that Cody could just dig into - and he did. On his face, his hands, his shirt.... We sat in a booth with Tom and Sharon and enjoyed reminiscing about this convention and conventions past.

Once the crowded, noisy atmosphere got to be too much for Cody, Sam started to take him out. Sharon stood and said she'd be happy to go open up the bus for him to give him a nice break. People.... helping people.

She couldn't start up the bus yet, so we sat in the bus in the dark. It was very restful and quiet and gave us a chance to take a nice long look at Toronto's architecture. Just beautiful.

The drive back to the hotel was a bit more subdued. We'd just bid a fond aloha to Sheldon at the restaurant, and the final farewells were minutes away. Not good. I was already fighting back tears just waiting to get off the bus once we'd reached the Stay Inn. Way not good.

There were many, many hugs and LOTS of tears with each of those hugs. The friends we'd already known who are so precious to us and the new friends who were once only names and who are now treasures were just so difficult to let go of. And seeing Cody hugging some people did NOT help stop those tears. God bless.
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  #15  
Old 08-18-2006, 04:09 PM
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Sheri Sheri is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Aiea, Hawaii, United States of America
Posts: 5,140
Final thoughts (yeah, right)

Okay... the first of the final thoughts.

FUNNY forgotten moment:

When we toured Shania's bus (wow!!!! What a bus!!!) - Sam (having driven a tour bus for some years) couldn't quite leave the driver's seat, so Cody and I looked at the rest of the bus without him. GORGEOUS! I was admiring Eja's crib and glanced to check on Cody. He was preparing to use Carrie's bathroom. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!! Cody, NOOOOO, no, no, no!! Straighten shorts, pull shirt down. WHEW!!!


Paige! Thank you for letting us visit you in the Shania Twain Suite!!! (and for letting Cody come VERY close to napping on the bed. Oops!!!)



Mahalo nui loa and much, much, much, MUCH aloha to the incomparable Tracy and the STC staff, to Sharon, and to each and every one of the Shania family members who were able to attend the convention this year. You have touched our lives immeasurably and made this such an incredible experience for us. Our love to you all!
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