Laetitia’s cousin Sophie settled into a comfortable chair in her living room in Alberta, Canada. Her husband was at work, and she had just returned from taking her daughter, Emma, to school. She closed her eyes, cleared her mind, and moments later was standing on the porch of the Emerald Victorian in front of its green six-paneled front door. A few days earlier, she had received a packet from Mind’s Eye Limerick Tours headquarters—wherever that is—containing a key, an agreement, and a set of instructions. Laetitia had briefed her thoroughly, so she knew what she would find when she inserted the key in the lock. She opened the door and walked into the sumptuous entry hall, with its molded plaster ceiling. Though she knew she needed to get down to the business of planning the day’s trip, she allowed herself a few moments to admire the William-Morris-inspired paisley wallpaper.
Entering the kitchen, she looked for and found the packet of coffee beans next to the grinder. It read, “Peet’s Coffee, Uzuri African Blend.” Walking into the library with a steaming cup in hand, she paused briefly to scan the book collection, the globe, and the Harold Balazs silkscreen print above the fireplace with its message, “Transcend the Bullshit.” Then she sank into a comfortable chair with maps and guidebooks she had gathered and began planning the day’s tour.
Since Sophie was new to the business, she decided to stay in the familiar territory of western Canada. Laetitia ended yesterday’s tour in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, so Sophie decided to start there, bring her group to Climax, near the southern border of the province, and ending the day in Medicine Hat, Alberta. On the way, they stopped for hiking and wildlife viewing in Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park.
Going to Climax was Laetitia’s suggestion. When Sophie and her group arrived there, they found it a hamlet of slightly fewer than 200 inhabitants. It had a grain elevator, ballpark, and a community museum, which they visited. A local man at the museum told them a joke about a Montana couple that, having gone north across the border on their honeymoon said, “We got to Havre, then Turner, but we never made it to Climax!” The group, which consisted of several couples, had lunch in a local bar. All the men had several drinks and were in a bawdy mood when they climbed back in the van. There were loud snickers as the group passed the Climax water tower, a tall cylinder of phallic proportions. But the water tower was only a foretaste of what was to come. Climax has the usual “Welcome” sign, but as the group left town, there were loud shrieks of drunken laughter from the men and frowns from the women as they passed the sign inviting visitors to return.
When the group arrived at Medicine Hat, they did a walkabout before going to their hotel. Sophie gave them instructions about when and where to gather before going to dinner. She knew Laetitia often hung out in bars looking for gossip that would inspire the limerick of the day, but Sophie didn’t know if she would adopt that practice. She would think about it tomorrow. She already had the limerick for today.
As we drive out of town all the men
Who are laughing and screaming “Amen”
Do the women much peeve
As from Climax we leave
Past the sign saying “Please come again.”