It’s Thanksgiving Weekend. And once again we have lots to be thankful for, lots! As a serendipitous added blessing, Saturday morning was magnificent, a great start to the celebration, an undeniable perfection – clear blue sky, blazing autumnal colours and refreshingly cool air! Everything shone as a result. Everywhere we saw people with a bounce in their step!
As we leisurely bicycled along what has now become our alternate route (following last year’s move across the River from one side of Town to the other) we glimpsed the bustling enterprise and community congress at the local Farmer’s Market in the Elizabeth Kelly Library parking lot. It is a monument to the advantages of a small town! In addition to the kiosks displaying fruit and vegetable produce, baked goods, honey, hot sauces, jams and relishes and handmade crafts (soap, balms, knitted goods and pottery), there was a local talent ensemble of musicians entertaining the shoppers who unhurriedly milled about the stalls while talking with the vendors and exchanging inconsequential remarks one another. A murmur of cheerful conversation and spontaneous mirth prevailed.
At the sandwich board entrance to the market we dismounted our bikes and walked them into the throng. It wasn’t long before we were absorbed into the mix. At these congregations one inevitably meets old acquaintances. Gossip and catching-up seamlessly ensue. As to be expected the aimless dialogue included one’s health, upcoming travel plans, recent accomplishments and trials, reaffirmation of one’s age (and one’s spouse and grandchildren – always punctuated by, “Where does the time go!“), politics naturally (including an unforeseen activist movement) and of course the weather. In keeping with the intimacy of the rural setting, the Mayor was there, mingling among the crowd, alternately stopping to chat with constituents about this and that and dipping under the stall covers to examine the provisions for sale. I reconnected with two former clients who shared with me some topical information about preparation for their declining years and their fervent ambitions and captivating hopes. Other chance meetings revived neglected though never forgotten associations spanning almost forty years, reminiscences followed by a hearty laugh and a philosophical sigh. Strangely perhaps we made plans to purchase two handmade porcelain urns for our mortal remains! The macabre nature of the commission did nothing but elevate the buoyancy of the moment! Naught would succeed to dampen our spirits this Thanksgiving Weekend!
Antecedent to our arrival at the Farmers Market we reignited the erstwhile pleasures of cycling on Concession XIA, a bucolic rural road of country estates leading into the depths of uncultivated acreage on the fringe of Town. It spoke to the holiday weekend that we didn’t see the three dogs (Trudeau, Jaffe and Bentley) which customarily bay our arrival at the end of the road. Nonetheless the countryside was sublime. On our return into Town we delighted in spectacular views up and down the Mississippi River from a newly emerging park, a decided credit to our local Planners. It is our concerted opinion that this area of Town promises to be highly coveted.
After we returned home we wasted no time putting on the nosebag, an appetite stimulated by the exercise and bracing morning air. Afterwards – and with no little enthusiasm – I prepared myself for my customary automobile drive, yet another of my unquestionable passions. The day naturally lent itself to motoring. I had earlier remarked several highly polished convertibles on the road, drivers determined to announce their pride and to reap the benefit of the glistening sunshine. My amble in the car took me first to a gas station where I got the car washed and then filled up the gas tank. Then it was off to a coffee house for a stimulating espresso and interloping upon the idle chatter of nearby patrons. Such mischievousness!
The fortuity of this splendid day obviously exemplified the munificence I enjoy. Poignantly it is a reminder that life will not always be so gratifying. Until that turn of events I am intent upon savouring all that I can. And when the amortization becomes tangible I shall face it without misgiving or regret. Believe it or not I have long ago resigned myself to leaving this world with dignity; and by that I mean specifically without complaint. I acknowledge life owes me nothing!
There is however an important corollary to this gratitude. I have stumbled upon a replacement for the possible loss of what I currently relish. It occurs to me that no matter what restrictions I may be forced to endure as a result of aging and advancing illness (barring of course complete ruin), I would still be able to have another pet. At this stage of life having a pet would be a hindrance as much as I adore dogs for example. But if I were housebound or incapable of driving, I could divert myself just as happily with another French bulldog. I have a French bulldog in mind because they require (and prefer) little exercise; they are small enough to cuddle and big enough to avoid being mistaken for a rat on a leash. They are of course brilliant animals, full of personality! Now then! Isn’t that something in life to look forward to other than the mere end of it! The pet would furnish me all the raw material I require for my tedious writing and it would adequately replace the need to drive a car. Such a dénouement on the horizon is an incomparable addition to life – it captures the desirability of both the present and the future. Happy Thanksgiving!
Subsequent to writing this account we visited my sister and her family for Thanksgiving Dinner. As always it was a thoroughly agreeable evening and a sumptuous meal. Almost every one of the nine people at table contributed more or less to the festive board. The catalogue of provender included the customary fare one would expect at a Thanksgiving dinner – roast turkey, bread stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, mashed potatoes, squash, green beans, pumpkin pie and fresh berries with candied ginger syrup. There was the usual collection of wine bottles. The intimacy of flesh and blood ensured there were in addition all the standard annoyances which families invariably generate in spite of the Rockwellian occasion. We nonetheless survived the fray and are of course the better for it!