Jill and I go back a ways. We hit it off the instant we met – which I think was about twenty years ago or more. We were dining in Almonte at the home of mutual friends and our inherent hysteria fused our cheeky minds immediately. More than anything I admire her wit though at the time we first crossed paths she was equally celebrated for her stunning physical appearance.
It wasn’t until some considerable time afterwards – at least months – that we began our ingrained ceremony of social gatherings. I was having guests for Sunday lunch and was short one person because of a precipitous illness. On a whim I telephoned Jill and asked if she cared to fill the place at table which (as I have since discovered more than once) she agreed to do with her accustomed alacrity and spontaneity. Her unparalleled contribution to that gathering cemented future inclinations. Jill can always be counted upon to participate; she is decidedly no wall flower! Subsequently we have reiterated many similar congresses, often with others (including a vernissage for a work of art I commissioned her to do) but as frequently just between ourselves. Once we even retreated to a Montréal hotel on Sherbrooke Street West for a cosmopolitan weekend though I hasten to add her husband tagged along. Our respective partners willingly tolerate our singular conventions (and frankly afford us a fairly wide berth). Without equivocation I can attest to what is for me the supreme buoyancy of Jill’s company.
Today after getting my flu shot at the pharmacy (as a member of a “high risk” group – translation: old) and concluding some inconsequential grocery shopping (endurances which perspicuously warranted recognition), I felt the brilliance of the late autumn day was just too exceptional to disregard.
So once again I called Jill on an impulse and – voilà! – she not only deigned to answer my telephone call but also consented to join me for an unscheduled outing. Within 20 minutes I was parked at the front door of her charming cottage on the Island and we were bundled into my rental car, blathering to one another as though we had never stopped. And indeed we never have stopped! Our aimless discourse took us around the globe and over the years, mixing reminiscences of the past with the present, squealing with laughter at our silly and often irreverent observations and headed into the aether without design or ambition.
It is undeniable that as mutable as I may fashion myself, I am a hopeless hack, a confirmed ritualist. Three elements instantly emerged during our rambling – one, stop for a “Ginger Hammer” (pressed carrot, apple and ginger) at the Booster Juice emporium; two, retail therapy at Winner’s; and three, get the filthy rental car detailed. We began as we should by dipping into Winner’s to scope the jewellery counter. There we were greeted amiably by a young female clerk who picked up on our energy and enthused with us as we peered gleefully into the cases and settled upon several items which caught our eye and which Jill asserted met with her cosmetic approbation.
Next we directed ourselves to the nearby juice bar to celebrate our victory. The Ginger Hammer is our stock refreshment and faithfully it delivered its punch. We perched at the small counter of the juice bar, chitter-chattering as always. I glanced at my watch and wondered aloud whether we had time to get to Tops Car Wash before it closed. We decided we did.
So with defined purpose we went back to the car and soon found ourselves at the reception window of the car wash, ordering an interior and exterior detailing. While the car went through the mechanical wash and the personal detailing afterwards, we lingered in the waiting room where Jill schmoozed with the cashier and I secretly admired the very satisfactory conclusion to our impromptu outing.
We left the car wash cleansed and polished. The sun was beginning to decline and we pointed ourselves directly into it to return home. Best friends forever!