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It’s a bright chilly day, and I’m in Ottawa, visiting my mother and aunt. At 88, Mum is thinner again since I was last here only a few months ago; she uses a walker now and is more forgetful, but then she smiles at me with those bright blue eyes, and she looks 12 years old. Both she and her sister Do, who’s 91, live in their own places and do their own shopping and cooking – though Mum has some help three times a week, as now she can’t drive. Do still drives, though I’d prefer not to be in the car with her when she does.

Mum and I have spent the morning deciding what needs most to be done during my time here; by the time we came to a decision, which naturally was going shopping, it was lunchtime, and now it’s naptime. It’ll take us quite awhile to get dressed to go out, to get downstairs, to get the walker into the car, and then out the other end, let alone into the shopping centre to find what’s needed – pants with stretchy waistbands that fit, for example. It will be slow, and I, a very speedy person, will need all my patience. Must go into a zen zone. There’s a movie called “Poetry” playing here – I’d wanted to see it in Toronto, Wayson said it’s a must, about the power of writing; I missed it there and, for a moment, had a fond fantasy that I could take Do and Mum to see it here. I don’t think so. Just the thought of that much organizing is exhausting, plus Mum would fall asleep anyway. We all started watching “Born Yesterday” starring Judy Holliday on TCM yesterday after supper; what a pleasure, a wonderful intelligent movie starring a wonderful intelligent actress (she was, I must point out, the child of immigrant Russian Jews.) Do saw some of it before she slept; Mum slept all the way through, except to wake up periodically to complain about Judy Holliday’s voice, and then drop off again.

I brought Mum a CD of Haydn quartets played by the Jerusalem String Quartet, the superb group I saw a few weeks ago. She knows a lot about chamber music, so I wanted to see if she liked them as much as I did. She did; she loved their musicianship, the romantic delicacy and yet power of their sound. We sat at the dining room table, eating a boxed pizza, listening to the exquisite strains of Haydn, and I thanked the powers that be, with all my heart, for the joy of this time with my mother.

Incidentally, just received an email from friend Ewa, who pointed out that in a recent post, I said that I “wrote my bike” to a movie. She said, even on your bicycle, you’re a writer. Or simply careless, one of the two.



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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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