Frosty beginnings…

We awoke this morning  – a raw and cloudy Sunday morning – to a “snowfall warning” on my iPhone Weather App. Thanks to hurried matutinal activity we luckily escaped the immediate peril until after we’d completed our routine 10 km cycle along the erstwhile railway right-of-way. I remarked how bare are the trees. While cycling I wondered when will be the last time we’re able to bicycle. For the past many years – since 2014 when we began wintering in southern climes – we have cycled almost every day of the year. I say this with an immoderate degree of approval at my age – if for no other reason than people marvel when seeing me: “Look at that old fogey still struggling along!” Cycling has always been my preferred exercise.  It’s the closest thing to a car without the guilt. Even in Florida swimming was always more a diversion than a workout.  Once though on Longboat Key I recall having swum parallel to the shore from our property on Longboat Club Road to the Resort at the southern end of the island and back. It wasn’t the first time I’d reminded myself that I prefer sitting, cycling or swimming to almost anything other than walking. For my entire life walking has provoked me. I believe the last time I walked any distance was in Rome.

And speaking of sleigh rides, today’s ritual venture in the Aviator en plein air may also have been one of the last before an inhibiting blizzard.  This afternoon’s elliptical tour from Lanark County to Renfrew County and back was punctuated at the precise end with a flurry of tiny crystal flakes which lightly descended upon the hood of the car before submerging the whole into the garage. Until that moment I had as usual revelled in what blatantly is for me one of life’s worthy ambitions – driving. Today I also profited from the intelligence of Fareed Zakaria, Journalist who provided cogent evidence – as I have instinctively asserted – that immigrants are good for the economy. The records put the achievements of immigrants far, far above what many Americans incorrectly observe is the bailiwick of cheap, uneducated labour.

The arrival of late November entices me as well to renew my equally obsessive love of Christmas  music – both classical and popular. As proof of the schmaltz surrounding my unending devotion I have succeeded to download original copies of Handel’s Messiah by Mormon Tabernacle Choir (1953), White Christmas, Bing Crosby (1950) and Mantovani’s  Christmas Favourites (1987). These were all albums my sentimental mother originally played as 33 rpm on her once outlandishly modern “Hi-Fi” – which lasted until my parents replaced that enormous grey module with a CD player and eventually bluetooth (transitions that were not always triumphs). It may assist to recall that I saw my first Technicolor© peacock on television in the early ’50s. Clarabell the Clown was still on black and white TV with the introductory Indian head dress.

Clarabell the Clown is a clown character who was part of the main cast on the 1947-1960 series The Howdy Doody Show. Clarabell, who wore a baggy, striped costume, communicated through mime and by honking a horn for “yes” or “no”. Clarabell would also spray fellow cast member Buffalo Bob Smith with seltzer.

I fully acknowledge that driving with the windows down on a chilly day – or listening to Christmas music on any day – is admittedly not everyone’s idea of fun. That I suppose is why in these obscure renditions I am “left to my own devices” so to speak. Apart from the subordinate insinuations, these trifling amusements point to their cathartic achievement. Frankly at this juncture of my life predictability is a good thing. Nor have I any need for anything other than “peace and quiet” as my late father so often observed.