Labour Day Weekend 2020

Friday, September 4, 2020

I just spoke with an agent at the Cadillac dealership and she casually echoed my own sense of the burgeoning party mood which appears to have infected everyone as we begin the last holiday weekend of the summer.  Earlier this morning while bicycling among the already thickening mass of weekenders I punctuated the thrill of the moment by chomping with frank abandon upon a crisp and pleasantly sour apple which we bought yesterday at an orchard in Renfrew County. Its newly harvested juiciness was nonpareil! Meanwhile the sky was a cloudless blue, the air was fresh and the emerald corn stalks high in the fields. It cheered reflective contemplation and thriving anticipation!

If one were to relate current events to this corner of history it would no doubt be embroidered with details of defeated ambitions. It was almost precisely six months ago we were compelled by a Canadian government edict to return to Canada from Florida one month earlier than we had planned. From the firecracker of our start throughout the ensuing Covid-19 pandemic life has been at times seemed but a hesitating accomplishment. In fairness we have nonetheless managed to fulfill the annual medical congregations – everything from head to toe (ears, eyes, teeth, X-rays and ultrasounds). On the domestic front some minor matters have been embraced. I speak of a ceramic aroma pot, silk flowers for the Lalique vase, a mahogany frame for the bedroom and an astonishingly durable teak stool for the electronic keyboard. Of greater momentum has been the negotiation of terms with Lincoln Heights and Destination Vacation on Hilton Head Island, both directed to the upcoming year.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Having turned out the lights fairly early last evening – say around 10:30 pm – it was with uncommon resolve that I tore myself from beneath the duvet this morning nearing eight o’clock. The arthritis was having its own way with my chest (especially around the lower broken ribs and abdomen near my latest inguinal hernia) so I took my pain killers and sat on my paternal grandfather’s lounge chair waiting for the pain to subside before attempting to perform what were then the unimaginably tortuous morning ablutions.

Once again I repeated the habit of munching upon an improving apple as I rode my bicycle. I noticed upon the pathway there were shadowy collections of fallen leaves. The dome above was blue. The air distinctly had the start of autumnal freshness. In the parking lot next to the Elizabeth Kelly Library the Saturday morning market stalls had appeared once again for what I suspect will soon be the final occasion of the season. The muted mumbles and laughs of the cheery crowd reminded me of a soundtrack from an episode of “Two Fat Ladies“. An elderly gentleman sported a fedora; his wife carried a wicker basket. Several dogs enthused to be so busy on a Saturday morning!

Though it did not for an instant diminish my current glee, when driving this afternoon I suddenly felt a cold wind. It naturally heralded the imminent arrival of a rain storm. The blue sky with white billowing clouds shifted to a mass of plain grey above the entire western horizon. With surprising velocity the storm was speedily overhead. The wind noticeably drummed upon my vehicle. The ambient temperature dropped over 10°C. The storm passed and left in its wake the residue of rain, wind and grey clouds amidst rays of brilliant sunshine and a re-awakening blue sky.  During that transitional period I satisfied my own mollification by arriving at the strange verdict that my state of affairs is digestible. This I confess is an abbreviated version of the reflection but I believe my summary is correct and adequate.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

It was with far less zeal this morning that I at last induced myself to arise from the virginal lair. It and the hedonistic sport of life generally had descended to a spiritless hiding place from the existential imperative of productivity. You would think that after so many early mornings of cold showers and tireless conviction to education and capitalism I would in old age dismiss the vulgarity of the Protestant Work Ethic. Yet that and a fathomless adoration for a sunny day always succeed to elevate me from any rhetoric about the triumph of lethargy.

In an effort to gather speed and to propel our day further and faster we wasted no time preparing ourselves for the constitutional bicycle ride.  As mundane as such preparation might be considered to be it is nonetheless fraught with frequent and annoying shortcomings. Things like forgetting one’s iPhone; or perhaps overlooking a jacket or gloves. The standard checklist includes for me lip balm and sunglasses.  The item I forget most often is my Apple Watch which I use to track my distance, date and time. It is of course needless intelligence but I never tire of pressing the buttons and recording and revisiting the details.

A more delicate matter surrounds that of jewellery.  Jewellery is not normally considered an ingredient of either sports or sporting equipment.  This bigotry does not however persuade me. I can usefully note that I am the same person who regularly wore a full-length racoon fur coat when downhill skiing.  Nor I hasten to add was it merely cosmetic – though admittedly that would have been sufficient. Rather it was a strategic fashion calculated to overcome the failing of most ski outfits with their waist-length jackets and tight ski pants neither of which did anything to improve the ascent on a cold, damp day on a cold, damp chair on the ski lift up the mountain.

The jewellery benefits from the same shallow “blingism” as any other; namely, the glitter and depth of gold on a bright sunny day with a blue sky above – features of perfection by any standard!

Yet even as I gloated while sailing along the shady corridor of the bicycle path there were – as there always are – features of disruption percolating beneath the surface. Upon arriving home we learned that the estate agent on Hilton Head Island is unable to arrange a suitable property for us for the 6-month extended period. The incapacity is primarily a result of the agency’s inventory being large multi-bedroom mansions which are generally marketed for families and weddings. Meanwhile the smaller 2-bedroom units are less available and when available, usually only for one month or less. Needless to say the cost of the mansions was beyond what we can tolerate.  Accordingly we’re now redirecting our attention to Key Largo. Though this obstruction was unanticipated we are not defeated.

After cycling we readied ourselves for lunch at the golf club. While there we discovered that the passenger side door will not open from the inside by the electronic button. Coincidentally while investigating that dilemma I found that a mud flap is missing from the front of the rear wheel well on the passenger side. Such tribulation! It irks me beyond recognition that these catastrophes occur regularly on a long weekend – protracting my resolve for correction! Needless to say I have already readied myself for early morning departure to the dealership on Tuesday morning!  Such is the selfless dedication of a retired old fogey!

Monday, Labour Day, September 7, 2020

Last night I checked the weather forecast for today.  It was a combination of rain and clouds. That suited me well.  I imagined lingering on the mattress as long as I wished with impunity.  Nonetheless when I finally plied myself from under the duvet I immediately set upon bicycling. Within a remarkably short period of time – say 25 minutes max – I was showered and ready to take on the world!  Or at the very least, to go bicycling!

Though the air was warm, almost balmy, there was an undeniable scent of autumn in the air.  Small yellow leaves swirled about on the pavement and sidewalks. Labour Day was already proving itself a critical step on the seasonal calendar. I relished the wind on my back as I rode through the shady corridor of the erstwhile railway right-of-way towards Martin St N where I would ultimately turn and head back. In all it’s near 10 Kms from start to finish.

I am inclined to believe that the weekend has proven to be “one step forward, two steps back“. Whether this is true or even if it is whether it matters at all, is irrelevant.  The simple truth is cars are like people, they sometimes need attention.  Cars and people change from time to time. As for the influence of the pandemic, every day is anyone’s guess at the result. Our confinement is currently ruled by the USA/Canada border authorities and our medical insurability. We were upset not to have been able to negotiate terms regarding Hilton Head Island but it does not for a second diminish my curiosity about Key Largo – our next venture.