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Thanks

Bliss. Yes, more boring bliss. I’m listening to Randy Bachman celebrate John Lennon’s 75th birthday with outtakes, demos, first recordings – he just played an early version of “This Boy” when at the end, John and Paul got the “this” and the “that” confused and collapsed in laughter. I laughed with them, as I laughed earlier today, listening to Eleanor Wachtel interview Salman Rushdie, bringing out his mischievous sense of humour. He’s a very funny guy – at least, when he’s talking to Eleanor. How I enjoy laughing along with CBC radio.

The weather today was almost painfully beautiful. I rode my bike in the hot sun this morning down the Don Valley Trail to Corktown Common, a lovely park near the lake, with bright red and yellow trees and bushes and clouds of white and mauve Michaelmas daisies. I went to take another shot and my phone died, and I remembered the day before, when I wanted to take a picture of a gorgeous scarlet tree and was chagrined that I’d forgotten my phone. I thought of trying to explain to my father, who died in 1988, why not having my phone mattered when seeing this tree. “Why do you want to telephone a tree?” he’d ask, bemused.

 Riverdale Farm

Corktown Common

As I made my way downtown to do an errand, a man started to talk to me, a short well-built guy in a  tank top, with long blondey grey hair. For some reason, he started to tell me the story of his life. His mother was a nun and somehow his father persuaded her to leave the convent and marry him. But his father used to hit his mother, his older brother and him. When he was 12, when his father hit his mother, he picked up his dad and threw him through a wall and said, “If you ever touch her again, you’re dead. After that,” he said, “my dad was afraid of me. My brother was older, but he never did nothing. How could he not have tried to stop that man? I hate my brother for that. I will never forgive him.”

So we stood together in the sun. I wished him a happy Thanksgiving and went on my way, graced by a stranger’s story.

I voted later. Enough – let’s get this over with! I voted for the NDP’s Linda McQuaig, because she came to my door yesterday, because she has worked incredibly hard and is smart and focussed – and also because there is no real Conservative candidate in my riding so there’s no risk – it’s either the Lib, who’s a good guy, or Linda, who’s terrific, a woman and a writer and a fighter. But in the end, I’m with Justin. Best case, my most beautiful dream: a Liberal minority government that has to court the NDP. Wouldn’t that be something?!

While listening to the radio, I made the stuffing and prepared the potatoes and cleaned up in advance of tomorrow’s onslaught; my housekeeping is never good enough for my meticulous daughter. And then I sat outside in the last of the sun, reading the newspaper with a glass of wine, thinking life couldn’t get much better, when there was a knock on my garden gate – it was my neighbour, handsome Rob, with a glass of champagne. He’d seen me from his window. Later I picked a bouquet – roses, mint, lavender, sedum, hydrangea – and took it to him and Alex as a centrepiece for their Thanksgiving dinner.

I miss my dead loved ones today – my parents, my friends who are no longer here. Yesterday a student sent me such a beautiful, heartbreaking piece of writing for the So True reading on Oct. 25 that I’ve been teary since. I thought, today, that this weather – this late fall burst of glory – is like life in the later years, if we’re lucky. At 65, I’m in the early October of my life, I hope, lucky to have this time, to appreciate everything in a way I couldn’t even have begun to imagine in my twenties. Because time is short, and winter is coming. So get your face in that sun, my friends, and feel it warm you to the bone.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

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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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