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old friends

Conversations to report. On the streetcar yesterday, I watched a friendship develop between a rough Irishman in big muddy boots and an old woman. Her name was Mary – “Mary Christmas,” she said, laughing – and she was from PEI, born in 1930, came to Toronto in 1953. When she got up to get off, he said, “Mary, have a good one.”
“A good one what?” she said.
“Have a good one,” he repeated.
“But a good what?” she said, bewildered, and then realized. “Oh that’s what they say now, isn’t it? Have a good one. Yes, thank you, I will.”

I’ve never understood “Have a good one” either. And a Merry Christmas to you, Mary, and your new friend Ben, born in 1953 though looking considerably older, from Ireland.

Went for a walk yesterday, trying to stimulate my body after the already-overdone seasonal excess – and ended up wandering around the Necropolis, our more than 150 year old local cemetery. Mother and young daughter, maybe 5, walking there too. “No, people don’t die here, their bodies are buried here,” said Mum.
“But what if I step on their souls?” cried the little girl.
“You won’t, sweetheart, their souls are somewhere else,” said the mother.
Then I crossed the street to Riverdale Farm where the farm attendant was delivering hay to the animals – it was closing time – and there was the sound of placid munching everywhere. Heaven.

And talking to Auntie Do, 93, on the phone yesterday – she was watching the hockey game. I said I’d call her back later. “Oh it’s all right,” she said. “It’s the interval.”

Many gatherings, some with just about the oldest friends I have. Today, lunch in the Beach with Patsy, Chris and Cathy, David, Lionel, Misha. I met Chris when I was 18, a tour guide at the National Arts Centre; he was working with a theatre company backstage. We met again by chance in 1970, and he got me a job in the box office of the Neptune Theatre in Halifax, where I met Patsy, one of my dearest friends ever since. She helped me celebrate my 20th birthday that year, and edits my work, from Gabriola Island, now. What joy to see this group assembled today.

Yesterday, the beloved crones – the name is a long story – a group of women who’ve known each other since the early 70’s, when we all worked at the Canadian Conference of the Arts. And last night, my francophone discussion group, where we talked about, among other things, why around 3500 years B.C., world religions all shifted from polytheistic goddess worshippers to worshipping one male god. I learned that it’s because, when the world became agrarian, land meant power and that meant war, and men took over. Fascinating. And then we talked a lot about drugs and tried not to mention Rob Ford, while eating a lot of food and especially cheese.

Several of those old friends have expressed a wish to see, perhaps, fewer pictures of my grandson on this blog. I know – who are those people, who say they’re my friends? But I will try to respect their wishes; I know I’m turning into a tedious grandmother person. It’s just that he IS the best human creature who has ever lived. But I don’t need to keep telling you that; you know it already.

“Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world” – Voltaire

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2 Responses to “old friends”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Personally I LOVE seeing pictures of Eli. Lani

  2. beth says:

    Thank you, Lani! Okay then. Pictures it is.

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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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