While I am as keen as the next chap on the excitement which attends anticipation and prospective living generally, I often admonish myself for not being more satisfied with the here and now, my present circumstances so to speak. I’ve become irritated by magazine advertisements which clearly advance the “greener grass on the other side of the hill” theory. So much of what we encounter in society, whether professionally orchestrated or just tumbling from our own mouths, is directed at the future, the plum on the other side of the room, the imaginable yet the unattainable. Those all-inclusive vacations never turn out to be quite as romantic as the advertisements would have us believe; the Alaska cruise ship was shrouded in fog for seven of the ten days; and we had no idea the economy class on the airplane could be so economic of leg room!
Anyway, I could go on forever about the disappointments I and others have had to endure when it comes to fulfillment of what had been expected to be a perfect time. Today however was a rare event by comparison. It was indeed the perfect summer day!
It began with a good sleep last night. We didn’t disturb ourselves from the lair until almost eight o’clock this morning which by our standards is late. After having fortified ourselves with two cups each of strong coffee, we pedalled for the customary 10 kilometres in the early morning sun and escalating heat. The temperature eventually surpassed 33ºC, well on its way even before nine o’clock this morning. Nonetheless it was a joy to feel the sultry summer heat and to sense the steaminess of the luxuriant fields of emerald-green corn stalks.
Afterwards we went to the Mississippi Golf Club in the Village of Appleton for our customary hearty breakfast of bacon, eggs, sausage, tomato slices, home fries and toast. Everyone was chatting liberally about the weather and the extraordinarily high temperatures, smiles all round.
Almost every day we pay a visit to my elderly mother, as we did again today. Today’s visit was distinguished by the unannounced visit of my sister-in-law Anna who qualifies as one of the most uplifting people in the entire world. Her buoyancy was infectious and we all delighted in her company which succeeded both to punctuate and to evaporate the morning in the way an absorbing interlude always does.
Rejuvenated by that experience, we headed off quite cheerfully to complete the remainder of our day which required our prolonged absence from the apartment while our cleaning lady made her scheduled visit.
After a brief discussion we determined to do what we have done many times before; namely, go to the Ivy Lea Club on the 1000 Island Parkway for an early dinner.
It was impossible to ignore that it was an ideal summer day in July! It was hot and clear. We motored along Highway 416 from Ottawa to Prescott then slowly drifted on Highway No. 2 adjacent the St. Lawrence River mesmerized by the views of the shimmering water, the yachts and sailing boats. The recent healthful combination of rain and sunshine had produced a verdant lushness wherever we looked. It was picture-book material!
We did not regret having arrived at Ivy Lea Club shortly before five o’clock (which is just when the dinner menu begins). Already there were a number of parties seated in the dining room and on the sweeping veranda overlooking the marina. Not long afterwards the place was packed. There were even people lingering in the airy sitting room, sipping drinks, waiting for a table. Our timing afforded us the privilege of prompt service (though not at all rushed) in addition to an exceedingly satisfactory meal. We have never been disappointed by the Chef at Ivy Lea Club and today’s meal was no exception.
On our drive home we chose the off-beat scenic roads through Smiths Falls to Carleton Place. There was very little traffic on this fine Tuesday summer evening as we drove northwest into the setting sun. We were entranced by the greenery on all sides.
All this is but a preamble to what I have intended to say from the beginning. This innocent diversion was the synthesis of all that I love about life. We had splendid weather and refreshing views of the water and fields; excellent food in a maritime setting; the gratification of a fine drive; the superlative pleasure of one another’s company; the gratification of having fulfilled my filial duties; and the prospect of another magnificent day tomorrow! Really, I can’t imagine the unfolding of a more pleasant day! It required no element of wishing or hoping; it was really there. I just didn’t want to let it slip through my fingers unnoticed.