Saturday before Christmas Eve


Drop everything and proceed with Denis to the local Brooks Brothers store. For the first time in my life, their polo shirts are 50% off. I finally bought one. Still cost you over $50.00 but it’s worth it to have one. The cotton is amazing.

Go now. There are temptations all over the store.

Merry Christmas,
Mike T.


Hello, Michael!

The last Brooks Brothers store I was in was last year in Sarasota at a huge and very attractive mall called The Mall at University Town Centre. It was a bit of a drive from where we stayed on Longboat Key. Typically we had to struggle with traffic which naturally increased as the season progressed after the New Year. Living on tiny Longboat Key (a barrier island 1.5 miles wide, 8 miles long) was somewhat like living in Almonte near Ottawa. We have always preferred the barrier islands, starting with Hilton Head Island and including Jekyll Island. This summer in Almonte I discovered a Ralph Lauren store in Tangers Outlet in Kanata. As I mentioned when we chatted yesterday, walking is now a struggle for me (though I hasten to add that we’ve just returned from a 10 km cycle on the erstwhile railway right-of-way called the Ottawa Valley Trail because it goes from Kingston to Pembroke practically – what I understand was formerly called the B&O for Brockville and Ottawa line though pointedly it got nowhere near Ottawa and was a deceit promoted by the lumber barons in Renfrew where the mansions persist as evidence of the trade, similar to Almonte’s woollen industry before it was replaced by synthetics). My favourite clothing store is a small one in a mall on Longboat Key where we routinely went for breakfast. Although Brooks Brothers has me on their email list for perpetual advertisement I have never shopped for clothing on-line.  My most recent coup in matters sartorial is the purchase of a silk scarf at the new flagship store of Shepherd’s Fashions in what is called the Train Yards at the east end of Ottawa (again, more competition with traffic).  When in 1973 I got engaged to be married to my law school colleague Heather Gunn (a sole child in a family whose father was a Judge), she moved to Ottawa with me to article (we were at different firms).  She hated law and probably did it only for her father – whose father was also a lawyer.  Heather was like you in that she was a dedicated clothes horse.  She too had a sylphlike figure. She ended working at Shepherd’s at what was formerly their main store in the Rideau Centre in Ottawa. Several years ago when Denis and I were wandering about Rideau Centre I chanced to go into the store in search of Heather (whom I had literally not seen or spoken to since we broke off our engagement in 1974 – but my sister had kept in touch with her and told me Heather worked there). Denis and I did in fact encounter Heather and it was as though nothing had changed.  She was perfectly friendly and there were clearly no regrets. Heather by the way ended marrying Joe Weir, another student at law school, originally from Moncton, NB but he and Heather subsequently moved to Ottawa where I believe Joe worked for the Department of Justice. You’ll laugh to hear that the day in 1973 at law school in Halifax when Heather and I announced our engagement, I went to the men’s room to void my bladder. There was no one else in the bathroom, the wall of which was lined with about ten urinals. Joe followed me into the men’s room and inconveniently I thought at the time stood at the urinal next to me.  He said, “I wanted to marry her!”  In retrospect I recalled that although I never particularly liked Joe (we had nothing in common, so I thought), he always invited me to his social gatherings – and always reminded me to “bring Heather along”. When Joe first practiced law in Moncton, I hired him to deal with 200 acres my father owned there.

The scarf below is by a manufacturer I will willingly repeat.  I use the scarves throughout the winter as a sort of cravat because my neck is always cold and wearing the scarf contributes immensely to my comfort – in addition to being decidedly foppish without being preposterous! I have a delicate folding ceremony which is now automatic.  Last week when the cold air settled upon us and I had to dig into the top shelves in the study closet to find gloves, hats and whatever, I found several unused silk scarves in addition to others I had tucked away in the bedroom.  I took them all to the dry cleaner in Ottawa and will collect them on Tuesday next. Winter has its appeal after all.

I trust you’re enjoying your new Nordic Track!