Over 43 years ago, as a young man, I prepared to travel to Canada from Coimbra, Portugal in what was to be my very first time travelling abroad. Those few last days I spent trying to squeeze every possible minute I could with my sweetheart and with my friends walking the shores of the Mondego River. I did not have, nor made, time to prepare my luggage. My mother did it for me.
I arrived a late and cool October evening at a Montreal that seemed magical, new and intimidating. When I had finally settled into my new room and was alone with my bags, I started to unpack. At the very bottom of the bag, I found this wooden crucifix, a flat, irregularly shaped cross with a bronze depiction of Jesus on the cross. It hanged in my room for years. It was just there, a constant companion through my youth. For the time it was modernistic but I never really paid much attention to it. And frankly I questioned why my Mom had placed it in my bag.
But, years later, it still accompanies me and every time I contemplate it I feel a special connection to my home, my city and my Mom. it brings back the memories of a land I cherish and a mother now departed but never far.