. Most couples are quite sad when they drop their children off at university. Wendy and I just left our precious little Julian (6'1", 220 lbs) at Dalhousie University after a few short days at home for Thanksgiving. In dropping him off I was basically retracing my steps from a month earlier, when I took junior to Dal for the first time. I was in my usual Spock-like state of logical emotionlessness...all systems normal. For Wendy, this was her first crack at leaving the large baby, so it wasn't easy for her. . (Real) Men are from Vulcan, Women are from Venus. . Umbilical integrity is something with which most mothers struggle. Wendy is no different from all those other teary eyed moms who can't believe that their child no longer wants, or needs, to be tucked in at night. It's tough. For seventeen years Wendy has stretched that fragile cord all over the world, and it's always held like a pair of Power Mama Spanx. It's always brought her home to her son. Stretch, tug, twist....that cord couldn't be broken. Until now. He's in university, and we're home alone. It's going to be different. . Metaphorically speaking, the cord never gets completely severed. Mothers and sons will always have a special attachment. Don't get me wrong, I haven't forgotten the place of the father. I love my son as much as any man could. Men and women are both sentimental. , it's just that men seem more 'senti' and women seem more 'mental'. . I cut the cord a month earlier, so I was in a mood to enjoy my new found freedom. I could do whatever I wanted without embarrassing anyone for a change. First thing on my list was to stick my head up the ass of a concrete mastodon in Stewiacke. Stewiacke is famous for five things: . 1) being the home to a roadside replica of a mastodon that was found somewhere else (Milford) 2) having a Taco Bell where it doesn't belong (not that they really belong anywhere) 3) being latitudinally halfway between the equator and the north pole (cool, but who cares?) 4) giving birth to a railway tampering teen who derailed a Via passenger train 5) absolutely nothing, really. . Second thing, on my list of 'must do since I'm now an irresponsible, under-employed, stay-at-home dad without a kid at home' activities, was to check out the Frenchy's in Truro. I wasn't searching for clothes or a Halloween costume, though if I was searching for the latter, I easily hit the mother lode. I could have easily Charlie Chaplined, Kurt Cobained, or Conrad Bained my wardrobe for under fifteen bucks. . Frenchy's creeps me out...it felt like I was rifling through the cadaverous hand-me-downs of a long since mothballed uncle. I know the clothes are legitimate and not grave robbed, but I'm just being honest with how I felt. I don't ever want to go back to a Frenchy's, though I will because I love train wrecks, be they fashion or otherwise (hence my intrigue with Stewiacke's dirty past). . Wendy and I knew someone who was once involved in another Via Rail train wreck. The wreck happened between Montreal and Toronto. After the impact, and ensuing derailment, she had to step over bloody passengers and twisted metal, then clamber out through a smashed glass window to reach safety. This woman worked in the world of Canadian opera and had survived the dangers of working with bleating mezzos, so the train wreck was a bit of a holiday. . Wendy and I once took the train from Toronto back to the Maritimes. This happened in December of 1987. I don't remember much from the trip, except that some guy called Wayne got drunk and unruly. The train made an unplanned stop in some Quebec hamlet that was too small to have a name, though Petit Stewiac Sans Cloche Taco would have been fitting. Wayne was removed from his seat with only a token amount of kicking and screaming. I've often wondered how Wayne managed to get home, if at all. Perhaps he ended up 'dating' the Sheriff's daughter. . C'mon Chantal, untie me. It's been twenty-two years. I want to visit my family back in Stewiacke. I hear there's a Taco Bell there now! . Ce n'est pas possible. . They've got poutine there. . Mon dieu. Allons-y. . And so Wayne was freed and reunited with his family in Nova Scotia. His mother, now eighty-two years old, had never given up hope that her son would one day return. The umbilical cord can never be broken. Never.