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eye of the storm

Mother Nature hit us hard today – tons of snow and then sleet, hard sleet that slashed the face, and high winds, so bad, the schools were cancelled for the first time in years, to the joy of a small boy of my acquaintance. His mother posted on FB that she’d be happy to take any kids whose parents were suddenly strapped for childcare; once more her generosity amazes me.

The roads first were clogged with heavy snow and then dangerously icy; the trees are coated with ice and some places in the city have lost power. And of course, today, rather than huddling at home as usual, I had to be out and about, first for a welcome visit with my beloved psych – wait, she told me she is not a psychiatrist, she’s a psychologist and psychoanalyst. All that matters is the psyche part – she understands mine. After today, I may not go back for a long time; the crises have passed, I’m calmer about the reno and other things. But still, there’s such comfort in that bright small room with a small, quiet, wise woman sitting in it. Listening.

A bit later, slogging through the snow up the street to a piano lesson. I haven’t practiced often because the men are here all day, I won’t play while they are, and by the time they leave I’m ready for my wine. But still, I’ve managed to get every so often to the Moonlight and a few other things, and for some reason was unleashed at my lesson – he was impressed, or at least he said he was, though it’s his job to be encouraging, of course. I think I decided to stop feeling apologetic for not being Glenn Gould and just play the hell out of stuff. It was fun.

Home to shovel and shovel and shovel some more, then to a memorial event at the Y, no easy feat – the streetcar ended up not moving because the wires were frozen so I went to find a cab. Last year my dear Carole, the Wednesday runfit instructor, and her husband Brian, 17 years older and already afflicted with Alzheimer’s, celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary at the Y. Tonight we honoured Brian, who died at 87 two weeks ago in his sleep with Carole at his side. I learned a lot I didn’t know about him – that in his childhood during the Depression, his mother left the family and his father was forced to put Brian and his younger brother into an orphanage. In his first marriage, Brian had six children and was determined to provide them with everything he didn’t have as a child, and obviously did; they were all there tonight, with their children and grandchildren. Brian belonged to the Y for 60 years; it’s where he and Carole met. They continued their athletic life, their running, together. A member stood up tonight to speak about him and asked Carole about his best marathon time: 3 hours 34 minutes, to a muttering of appreciation from the crowd. She was asked about his worst marathon and told a funny story about ending up at the wrong start location in Atlanta.

I thought, another reason I love the Y – what other memorial event would be fixated on the dead man’s marathon times? The room was full of lovely fit people. I’m the bottom of the barrel in comparison, but I was there. And then friend John, the best of the best, gave me a ride home.

You’ve gotta be tough to be Canadian. Kindness helps a lot. We get through, and we help each other through.

PS Was just on a writer’s site on FB and found a few words there about the topic from Abigail Thomas, one of my favourite memoirists. So I wrote her a message, and she wrote one back. I know Zuckerberg is creepy and our privacy is gone. But there are pleasures to be had on FB.

Abigail Thomas  thanks so much. really nice of you to say. 



12 February 20:52
Comment history
Beth Kaplan  Abigail Thomas it’s thrilling to read your advice here. I am a huge fan of your wise and beautiful writing and truth telling. Thank you for weighing in on this vital issue. 



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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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