Casting a glance in the other direction

The Ivy Lea Parkway between Brockville and Gananoque along the St. Lawrence River is an expanding drive at any time of the year. Its nautical theme unquestionably draws traffic in the summer. No doubt the autumn is a preferred time of year as well. The summer however offers the Ivy Lea Club which is terrific for a meal in the main lodge or an ice cream in the adjoining studio. Naturally all this – except for takeout – is under wraps at present because of COVID. There isn’t even a public washroom available on site.

Meanwhile the Ivy Lea Club is just another of the spots formerly within our orbit which we hope one day soon to revisit – including for example Neat Café in Burnstown. Our outings to those places are now limited to casting a wistful glance in their direction.

This lack of harmony doesn’t dissuade us from looking further beyond to the other side of the St. Lawrence River towards the United States of America. Whether provident or not to do so we persist to cast a glance in the direction of the Gulf of Mexico specifically Key Largo where we haven’t yet given up hope of wintering. I can’t say the creation of this repetitive drama qualifies as adventurous but within our oaken hearts the yearning is both palpable and inspirational. As mawkish as it may sound a winter in Key Largo is among the things I’m set upon doing before I’m dead.

Yesterday while excusing ourselves from the household during regular housekeeping we ambled about the Townships of the Counties between here and the St. Lawrence River.  We squished our way along the sodden roadway as the wiper blades flapped back and forth in the mist.  We ruminated upon “arrangements” in the end. The aimless drive gave us a chance to do our internal housekeeping.

Since my retirement we have distilled our worldly possessions and crystallized our testamentary wishes. It encourages me enormously that my account of life is not wanting. I do not view this as approbation of what I did or have but rather of what I think of what I did or have. In short I am content. And – as is so often said – I have no regrets. The idea of regret is totally foreign to me – again not because of personal endorsement  – rather because I never failed to do or get what I wanted. I recognize the obvious limitations of my existence but frankly if I had any part in the plan to make it happen, I couldn’t have wished for more.  When I say life owes me nothing I mean I owe life a lot!

After an exceedingly restorative nap in my reclining red leather armchair this afternoon I fulfilled my daily automotive ambition. I am bound to acknowledge that the utility of doing so is beginning to take hold. I am even developing within the recesses of my brain the option to buy an exciting automobile like the Mini Cooper.

There is no escaping that smaller electric cars are on the horizon as the new normal. Neither is there any escaping that my necessity to drive pioneering kilometres each day is on the wane. It may represent the expiry – or should I say the evolution – of one of my last visceral pleasures though shamefully I have a trunk load of others (such is my unblanketed materialism)!  I can still see the picture of my 94 year old father seated commandingly at the driver’s seat in the his Buick Riviera careering about the neighbourhood at 15 km/hr. It was I think shortly after one of those spirited endeavours that he drove into the garage post in his driveway. By that time he had sufficiently spent the habit and not long afterwards “went into space” as he so often mystically observed.

By utter coincidence during my country drive today I listened to a BBC program about recent technology.  The current conversation is the effect the pandemic will have upon work-from-home employment.  One of the most persuasive arguments I heard in favour of it is that workers will no longer have to endure 2-hours a day sitting in traffic to and from work.  The commute to work will be expunged. The advantages include environmental, infrastructure, child care and likely a good deal of heart health. The only diverting argument I heard advanced was that the new employees wouldn’t have the assistance of others for their continued education and improvement.  After brief consideration I dismissed that dilemma.  A worker’s performance is always being assessed by another. I can’t see that explaining things remotely is a problem.

I began my day my dropping off a bag of automatic Bulova watches to a jeweller in Carleton Place to have new batteries installed, etc.  Since I began wearing my Apple Watch is is difficult to persuade myself of the advantage of a simple timepiece – especially when the cosmetic feature is missing. But I haven’t given up my delight in watches whether manual or automatic. And naturally they need to be maintained much the way one maintains a level of comportment on the rare occasion it too is required.  How comic it is to recollect that when I inherited from my paternal grandfather an antique sterling silver pocket watch wound by a key I thought I was leading the advance rather than merely standing by the river watching it all go by.

From time to time I cast a glance in another direction!