The Seeds of Sorrow
The Seeds of Sorrow
Art and Agnes were on a cloud as they sat in the back of the Model T. The afternoon festivities were already a blur, and their thoughts were now focused on the evening to come. Art whispered into Agnes's ear, bringing about a girlish giggle. It was a short, ten minute drive and Sam focused on the road ahead, trying to provide the newlyweds with as much privacy as he could.
Quickly The Fort Garry came into view, its steep roofline and turrets rising up majestically above Broadway. It was elegant and stately, a stark contrast to the railway yard that lay not far beyond the tree-lined boulevard. While it appeared out of place and out of time, to those who lived in Winnipeg, and even more so to those who had been fortunate enough to have stood in its grand lobby, it was a source of fierce pride and a welcome distraction to the inevitable fallout of war. It was a jewel in the prairie landscape, and it rivaled any hotel in New York or Paris.
As Sam pulled the car up to the hotel entrance, the arriving guests were greeted like royalty. A sharply dressed valet helped Agnes out of the car while another took the overnight bag from Art and carried it inside. Sam walked around the car to say good-bye to the blissful couple.
"Pa, thank you so much for helping to make this such a glorious day for Art and me. I could not have imagined it any better. And this," Agnes said pointing to The Fort Garry, "is the best gift in the world." Agnes wrapped her arms around Sam and kissed his cheek.
"You do not have to thank me, my dear. Your happiness is all I need. I hope you enjoy your evening tonight. The hotel car will bring you home, and your mother will have brunch ready. Now I have a yard full of guests to get back to, and you have the beginning of the rest of your lives awaiting you beyond those doors. Congratulations, you two." Sam shook Art's hand, gave Agnes one final kiss on the cheek, and was on his way.
Art and Agnes entered through the gold and glass revolving door. It was as though they passed into a fairy tale. Inside they stood mesmerized by the grandeur that lay before them. It was the first time they had seen it, and it was a sight to behold.
A spectacular floral arrangement, taller than either of them had ever seen, sat gloriously as the lobby's centrepiece. Its fragrance permeated the room, bringing the presence of an English garden indoors. It was framed by a square of black marble inlayed into the grey marble floor, and it was illuminated by an intricately designed chandelier that glittered from overhead.
A valet directed them to the front desk where their overnight bag was waiting. A gentleman, perfectly pressed without a wrinkle, appeared behind the long, marble countertop. "Welcome to The Fort Garry Hotel. May I have your name, please?" he asked of Art.
"Certainly. Mr. and Mrs. Art Craig," Art said as Agnes giggled quietly. Mrs. Art Craig sounded marvelous but so foreign in its newness.
The employee flipped through a stack of cards and pulled out their reservation. He scanned it briefly and then excused himself. He exited through a door to his rear, returning with another gentleman.
"Mr. and Mrs. Craig, what a pleasure it is to host you on your wedding night. Heartfelt congratulations on the wonderful event," he offered. "We have a special room selected for you, which I hope will be to your liking. Your dinner reservations are at half-past six in The Factor's Table Dining Room. Is that time still desirable for you?" Agnes turned to look at the entrance to the dining room, which even from a distance looked magnificent.
"Thank you. We look forward to it."
"Excellent. Would you like help with your bag, Mr. Craig?"