It would be preposterous of me to suggest that each day isn’t very much a repeat of another. I suppose that were not untrue even years ago before the sterilizing advent of face masks, social distancing and the global pandemic. Certainly what for me has materially altered as the mere consequence of aging is an evaporation of the commercial vernacular, the mixture of employment and capitalism. The payoff is freedom from obligation at the expense of occupation. Currently my agenda – which is seriously lacking in social exchange – is little more than the predominantly solitary and lonely ambitions of sleeping, breakfast, bicycling, driving, writing, reading, Netflix and photography. The list has the appearance at least of moderate activity and productivity but I have to admit it is unvarying. Like my cycling the scope of achievement of it and the other amusements is distinctly amateur and hobby-like.
What it is that prompts one to relive an old recipe from the cellar I shall never know but the vintage ingredients do not go unnoticed. The spearhead today is what was called “911” – basically, cream cheese, whipping cream, butter, smoked salmon, dill, leeks, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, pasta and Parmigiano-Reggiano. I am doing this strictly from memory so I am uncertain that I have everything straight. Certainly some makeshift additives are tolerable (mushrooms and prosciutto for example) . To my credit at the last minute while shopping at the grocery store I recalled the components for hors d’oeuvre; namely, garlic dill pickles and dried sausage slices. From where I sit the only thing missing is a vodka martini! I’ve settled instead for a double-shot espresso Americano coffee and Dosecann THC Oil Spray. The butter tarts may lose some of their attraction this evening!
Lakes or rivers are not my preferred choice for swimming. It’s gotta be either a swimming pool or the ocean. Interestingly I have met those who feel quite the opposite. In either case – fresh or salt water – there is normally some underlying dislike of (1) a muddy bottom and reeds or (2) shellfish and sharks which drives the preference. For those confined to the hinterland – especially on a hot summer’s day – the allure of a clear, shallow river tumbling gently over a nearby waterfall is nonetheless hard to resist.
It is paradoxical that in an atmosphere of unrestrained behaviour – such as currently prevails amidst this enfeebling global pandemic – the formulation of purpose is apparently strictly academic. I say this to capture the difference in attitude arising from necessity. If one were for example compelled to accomplish even the lowest domestic fundamental then the debate about existential meaning is far less engaging. Indeed one may be hard pressed at the outset to establish a modest stimulation for the philosophic investigation. Nevertheless my scrutiny of the redeeming features of humanity survives the most inured perspective.
There is among those who esteem themselves acquainted with the rudiments of good health a conviction that each of us requires precisely eight hours of sleep daily and no more. Last evening after having exhausted the humour of “Frasier” re-runs on Netflix we succumbed to the allure of the straw bed around ten o’clock. Whether because of clean living or the natural result of exercise and a fulfilling meal (perhaps punctuated by the soporific effect of Tylenol Arthritis 650 mg pills and Dosecann THC Oil Spray) I thereafter spent a quiescent eight hours. If I recall correctly it was magically 6:20 am this morning when I awoke from my dreamless slumber. Through the drawn draperies I discerned an uncommonly blue sky. For whatever reason (I did not open the patio door) the balmy weather was as evident. The combination of the hour, the sky and the suggestive weather inspired me to get a move on!
It wasn’t until precisely 11:00 o’clock this morning that I shamefully succeeded to raise myself from the sprawling king-size mattress and confronted the already glittering world about me. Apparently the 7:00 am collection of prescription drugs and painkillers had nicely tranquillized me for the first half of the day. I immediately took a hot and cold shower (inspired by my native asceticism) then proceeded to assemble my routine breakfast of sliced apple, wedge of Brie cheese and handful of pitted prunes. Afterwards it was a late morning bicycle ride on the erstwhile railway right-of-way where we strangely encountered few pedestrians and fewer cyclists. It was a quietude which signalled the remainder of the day. Upon our return to the apartment we resolved to celebrate Canada Day by driving southward to the Ivy Lea Parkway parallel the St. Lawrence Seaway. The weather was sultry. Billowing white clouds mounted in the azure sky.
“He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobium of INFIDEL powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce. And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the LIBERTIES of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the LIVES of another.”
Excerpt From: Thomas Jefferson. “Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson.”
Sunday morning breakfast at the golf club in the Village of Appleton along the meandering Mississippi River has become a stock performance of ours. Like most ingrained habits it is a combination of convenience and reliability. Historically we have perched ourselves on high chairs at elevated tables in the dining room overlooking the first tee. This year during the pandemic we’re obliged to dine al fresco on the patio. The young sylphlike summer-student servers wear face masks and practice social distancing as well as regularly using disinfectants. In spite of the dystopian medical precautions the substantive culinary and social experience is predominantly unchanged. The usual people congregate at the trough. The geese and their goslings waddle about on the fairway above the marsh reeds adjacent the River.
Little interrupts my routine daily agenda. My mediocrity is well settled! My complacency is equally hardened. This being said, the interruption – whatever it may be – is likely not of atmospheric import. Allow me to explain. My timetable as a retired country lawyer consists generally of a healthful breakfast (sliced green apple, Brie cheese and pitted prunes), bicycling for 10 kms, afternoon amusements (grocery and bakery shopping, searching for white woollen socks, washing the car and driving around, a restorative coffee and writing my codswallop), dinner (raw veggies, tea biscuit and Becel, filet mignon with Keen’s hot mustard and plain buttertarts aka the Sacrament of Heaven), Netflix and sleep. The syllabus is overall interposed with Dosecann THC oil spray which has proven to be a reliable modern laudanum.
The weather forecast is balmy. With the usual inconceivable urgency we are headed to one of the summer’s central holiday weekends; namely, Canada Day on July 1st. The pandemic will unquestionably disturb normal congregation. I suspect however that the historic focus upon food will survive. My recent finding at Beckwith Kitchen, Carleton Place of its “house crafted corn relish” constitutes for me a life-altering episode! Granted my capacity for propulsion is never far below the surface and is natively correspondent and enthusiastic. But the plain truth is that the domestic condiment succeeds to elevate my shamelessly uncultured plate of sliced raw vegetables and fresh squeezed lemon juice (with just a handful of blueberries) to a new height of achievement! Never have I been so fervently reminded of the poetic rapture of the trough! I now approach the ritual cocktail hour with new vigour and devotion. No longer is it sufficient to rely only upon the adage that “the best sauce for any meal is an appetite“. Instead I have adorned the once visceral instinct with the inexpressible magic of a skilful conglomerate.