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Doug Jones saves the world – or at least Alabama

Who’d ever have imagined the world would care so deeply about an election in Alabama? And yet, today there was a palpable lift everywhere. A modicum of sanity, a tiny ray of hope in that benighted country. How I loved Roy Moore’s wife telling an interviewer they weren’t prejudiced because “Our attorney is a Jew.” No, no prejudice at all. And then the two of them riding up to the polling place on their horses. What movie are we in, Tonto?

Good luck, Democrat Doug Jones. I don’t envy you. What a barrel of rattlesnakes you have fallen into. But our terrified, appalled planet is extremely glad you’re there.

It is very very cold and snowy all of a sudden, definitely Christmassy, the ching of cash registers in the air. Though of course cash registers don’t ching any more, more like the zip zip of the credit card in the machine and the sound of people clicking on their cellphones ordering stuff, the delivery guys out there in the ice and snow, going insane.

Yesterday, during a quick trip to Doubletake, I was assailed by Samia, one of the Bengali women who has worked there for years and become a friend. She wanted to ask me an important question. “What is it you do,” she said in her careful English, “on Christmas?” I told her about the morning stuffing the turkey, Anna and the kids coming over to open presents, the huge dinner with, usually, a few people who have nowhere else to go. These mundane events were fascinating to her. This is exactly why we started the conversation circle – so immigrant women could meet and get to know mundane old Canadians, and we them, just by talking.

Today was our last session of the circle until February, a potluck, and of course, the women brought a big feast – chicken biryani with basmati rice, pakoras, chick pea salad, black bean salad, very hot with lots of green chilis, and other things we didn’t know the name of but ate with pleasure; we Canucks brought dessert. We told them about our Christmas and they about their Eid. We talked about hair, at one point, though the only hair visible in the room belonged to me, Jane, and Linda, the volunteers, and Ashrafi, the Muslim woman who runs our group but does not wear the hijab. I said next time, we Canadians should do a potluck of Canadian food, but what would it consist of? One older woman said, “I like the sall mon.” Yes, we could do salmon. She also told us she used to have hair down to her knees, but now, under the scarf, it’s short. And, importantly, that though her children speak Bengali, her 5 grandchildren do not, so her English is improving as she speaks to them. That’s how it’s done, it takes a few generations.

The warmth, kindness and generosity, the neighbourly love in that room is spectacular. We all hugged. I will miss them, but am glad of some time off.

Last night, to the Performing Arts Lodge, where performers without much money can live comfortably in small subsidized apartments; what a blessed place. My friend Beth-Anne Cole, chanteuse extraordinaire, is putting together a one-woman show and wanted feedback, so invited a select group to watch, including of course her fella, one of my oldest friends, actor Nick Rice. She used one of PAL’s performance spaces, had a great musician playing clarinet and keyboards, and sang beautifully; we retired to her apartment afterward for wine, and we all made friends with her friends, a fascinating group. Not an easy task, a one woman show.

But then, what worthwhile is easy? Just ask Doug Jones.



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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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