My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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Bernie blasts through, Brian gets well, Eli is cheerful

It’s colder out, though the leaves are still mostly on the trees; the weird fall continues. Still, though I am always bundled up, there are people out in light clothes, even shorts. Crazy Canucks. Speaking of which, Bernie Sanders was in T.O. this weekend to learn about our healthcare system – not perfect, but so much better than his country’s that it’s barely comprehensible. Go Bernie. And in Washington, ARRESTS ARE BEING MADE. Go Mueller!

On Friday, at my Runfit class at the Y, I ran into an old old friend – well, former friend. I’ve known her longer than anyone; we were in Grades 4 through 6 together in Halifax and later in high school, visited when both living in London, then when I took a room in a communal Toronto house in the early seventies, she moved in with her boyfriend. We had children at the same time; I stayed with her when I came to Toronto from Vancouver. Her lifestyle was always strange to me; they had a very expensive Italian sofa and no kitchen table. But still, she was my oldest friend. Until she dumped me, not returning my phone calls, eventually also dumping all our mutual friends – apparently, I was told, to avoid seeing me. No idea what went wrong; when I ran into her years ago, also at the Y, I asked what I’d done, and she said, “Kaplan, life is like that.” Since then, we’ve met occasionally through our mutual friends and had cordial talks, but it grieves me. I knew her brother who died young in a motorcycle accident; I remember her childhood home and she mine, her parents, my parents, my child self and hers – and there is no connection at all. On Friday, we said hello and exchanged a few words, and that was that. Unimaginable to me, to throw away a lifetime’s friendship, but hey. Life is like that.

Also re the Y: Last year a Y friend, Brian, an architect in his late seventies who sometimes taught the Runfit class, had a massive heart attack. Many of us from the class kept in touch; we signed cards, wrote emails, some went to visit him in hospital. He recovered and finally came back to the Y, very slowly working on the machines to regain his strength. He’s still not where he was, but he is much better, and was told that if he hadn’t been so fit, the attack might have killed him. On Friday, he and his wife Judith had a party to thank those of us who’d tried to give them support. We stood on the south-facing deck of their Riverdale home overlooking the sloping garden below, with a view of sky and trees. The Runfit crowd are such extremely nice people – and I appreciate that they almost all have normal 9 to 5 jobs, as opposed to the arty types I know. Ordinary, nice, kind, interesting people who get regular paycheques – exotic, in my world. We ate and drank and looked at the view and toasted Brian’s full recovery and our friendships and the Y. Blessings.

And then, the greatest blessing, a sleepover with Eli. Last time, there were tears at bedtime, missing his mother and brother. This time, no problem at all. His beloved new stuffie, perched on the pillow beside him, helped. After his birth, I spent ages looking for exactly the right teddybear to give him, as my grandparents gave one to me and my mother to my kids. But he paid no attention to it, or to any stuffie at all, until now, when his chosen one is not the lovely teddybear I searched for but a fat child version of Captain America. Yes, my grandson’s favourite stuffie is Captain America. He carries it around and throws it up and down stairs. Ah well.

After bathtime, when we played pirates slashing and shooting, we were snuggled together in bed reading Harry the Dirty Dog, a favourite book, and I noted the H on the doghouse. “That’s H for Harry,” he said, and I said, “H for happy.” To which he replied, “which is what I am right now.” Be still my beating heart.

In the morning, he got into bed with me as usual, and we lay in the warmth for a bit. “It looks like a grey day again,” I said. “Oh no,” he said, “it’s nice out. It’s just not sunny yet.”
How’s that for optimism? And another great line: I asked what the tooth fairy had brought for his first tooth. “One blue money,” he said. And that is how I would like to see money forever after.

We played and explored and made a big mess; Wayson came for a big Sunday lunch, and while I was cleaning up, they did puzzles and played Snakes and Ladders amid peals of laughter. 79 and 5 and best friends.

A cold grey gloomy Monday, but … it’s nice out. It’s just not sunny yet.

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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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Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.

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