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Octopus, Bestellen, The Trip to Italy

So here’s one of those sentimental moments that you’re used to with me: it’s 7.30 p.m. on Sunday night and I’ve been dancing around the kitchen to Randy Bachman. I’ve just pruned the garden which is still exploding with colour, this afternoon I saw a fabulous movie, and this morning I said goodbye to a very dear friend who happens to be my ex-husband.

So it’s my-cup-runneth-over time, yet again. Life life life – oh Robin Williams, how I wish you could have seen the glass half full, the glass overflowing with the love and family and beauty which undoubtedly was coming your way.

As, in fact, my wine glass is, right now. Chilean merlot. Very affordable and delicious.

We had the best visit ever. On Friday, we all had dinner together at one of Sam’s favourite places way in the west end, a small restaurant and bar with the succinct name Food and Liquor. Hilarious when we saw the menu – we needed Anna to explain that these days, the hip thing in Toronto restaurants is to use parts of the animal body no one wants to know about. Beef heart, duck tongue etc. Radishes and goat butter. We all gazed at the menu wondering where the food was. But it was great fun, especially watching Eli, utterly unfazed, eat octopus.

Then the big boys went to play pool, and Eli’s momma and I, armed with blankets and snacks, took him to the Molson Amphitheatre to see Blue Rodeo. Happy to be there for Eli’s first real rock concert. He danced, and he fell asleep with his earphones on.

Before the concert began. It was wonderful. We grooved. What a fine fine band. At one point, they stopped singing and the audience simply continued for them, at full voice, for two verses.

Poor Edgar was here for the worst weather in the history of August, surely. He had brought t-shirts, and it was freezing and rainy. But we were fine. We had a visit with the babe here on Saturday morning; he spent the afternoon enjoying “The Trip to Italy” with his son, and then the greatest treat of all, dinner at the restaurant where Sam now works: Bestellen, on College St. We had a superb meal in this open, beautifully designed and warm restaurant. Loved everything – decor, service, wine, food. As we sat, I felt Ed’s parents and mine there with us – my father’s love of good food, drink, friendship and conversation, Ed’s parents’ loyalty, kindness and work ethic, and everyone’s sense of humour – all there, the parade of generations, and Eli at home nearby so treasured by us all, even those no longer here.

Anna went home to relieve her friend who was babysitting, and Edgar, Sam and I walked along Queen West, where it seemed Sam knew most of the people in every restaurant we passed. It was joy to watch our son in his element. It was a joy throughout the weekend to talk to the father of my children. He spent the morning today with Sam, the afternoon with Anna and Eli, and flew out tonight, back to his wife and four year old child.

And I went to see “The Trip to Italy” – and loved it too. They go along the Amalfi Coast and to Capri and Pompeii and Rome and Naples, where Bruce and I were only a few months ago. Though not in those stunning hotels and eating those glorious meals. It made me want to go again, instantly. But more than a funny bantering improvised film about two comics eating in Italy, in the end it is about being a man, I think – combative, endlessly competitive and lonely. Somehow, after all the hilarity, it’s quite sad. A very good film, highly recommended.

It’s getting dark, and the house, for the first time in awhile, is quiet. My heart is full.



2 Responses to “Octopus, Bestellen, The Trip to Italy”

  1. theresa says:

    "My dark angel" and any number of Blue Rodeo songs — bliss. They keep getting better and better.

  2. beth says:

    Yes, they do, Theresa – and they're ours, a Toronto band, yet so country, yet so rocking – our own Beatles, with the yin and yang of Jim and Greg, the one so light, the other so dark.

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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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