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autumn rolling in

A beautiful day here – fall at its best, sunny with a nip. I went for a jogette, relishing the Canadian scenes along the way – the team on the baseball diamond at Riverdale Park, half men, half women, all heavy hitters. “Run, run for home!” shouted the team coach after a great hit, and I thought, how primal are those words.

Are there public parks in France where men and women play team sports together? I don’t think so. There’s boules, I saw an occasional woman hefting a boule. But few.

Then I trotted up Riverdale Hill on the Broadview side and happened upon Riverdale Environment Day – all the city experts and local activists with booths and bins, a place to dispose of Hazardous Waste and broken electronics and advice on composting and solar panels. I asked what plastics can be recycled and what can’t, what the trucks will take away and what they won’t. It’s a complex business and I want to get it right. Bought an apple from a Boy Scout and went back down the hill, up through Riverdale Farm where the maples were shining red and gold and the Clydesdales were getting their lunch of hay, and where I bought four eggs fresh from the chicken barn from the farm shop and was asked by the attendant, a boy I’ve known for decades, about my basement apartment. Which is NOT RENTED YET.
Ran into a writing student on the way home, a talented writer and neighbour who has missed a few of my home classes, and gave her the lecture I gave her classmates Thursday night – we have made a commitment to this work, you and I, and just kissing it off because you’re tired is not an option. Talented young Jason wrote me on Thursday morning that he was tired so wouldn’t come, I wrote him back a stern lecture about commitment, and so he showed up. After the class, he sent me an email. “Thanks for confronting me today. I need it sometimes. And yes, we all do. I came begrudgingly and left wondering how I could have possibly been anywhere else tonight.”
“Your stories matter,” I told them in class. “That’s why we’re here.”
This fine sunny afternoon I rode my bike to the Wintergarden Theatre feeling like Jason – that I’d rather be elsewhere, but felt obligated to see Laughter Through Tears, a one-man play about the great Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem written by and starring Theodore Bikel. At the Thursday class, student Amy told me the show was heart-warming and I should see it. The word “heartwarming” often means my heart will be feeling anything but warm, but this time, it turned out to be just so – a lovely show, dignified, moving, and, yes, heart-warming. Afterwards I went to the Stage Door and left my book for Mr. Bikel, with thanks. Perhaps – dream on, sister – he can make a one-man play about my great-grandfather and the Yiddish theatre. Why not? It’s a great story. Steven Spielberg did not respond to the copy I sent him; maybe Theodore Bikel will.
Last night old friend Kate the actress came for dinner – leftover Thanksgiving again, and she didn’t even mind. Kate and I have been through the hurricane together – marriage, divorce, single motherdom, frantic worries about kids, money and work; she has had frightening health scares and a difficult time in a most demanding profession. Now she has landed, a soft landing for once; there is love, security, lots of work, her extraordinary daughter moving onward and upward. What joy to see someone so deserving of good fortune, after a long hard climb, actually achieve it.
And now suppertime. Thanksgiving dinner again. Soon I will be giving thanks that there’s no turkey left.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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