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mother-in-law in the sun

Beautiful days, what a blessing – hot, gorgeous. Tho’ cooler in the evening, there’s nothing but sun predicted for the next while. Yesterday I just couldn’t sit at the desk opening dusty old letters, had to go outside and work in the garden, cut down a huge thicket of Golden Glow, which was ten feet high and blocking sun to the second Rose of Sharon, the one that’s white with a delicate red centre. Hacking and hewing in the hot sun – I felt like a farmer, a child of nature. Briefly. Today I went back to chat with the Rose, tell her how beautiful she looks in the sun, please try to get rid of the bug that’s spotting her leaves.

Monday night, walking to Ryerson, I thought, I should calculate how many times I’ve made this hike, since as of this September I’ve been teaching there for 25 years. Shouldn’t there be a gold watch or something? (Quick calculation – 9 classes a term going back and forth = 18 times a term x 3 terms a year x 25= 1350 hikes back and forth. There were a few years I taught twice a term, but then I’ve missed a term or two, so I figure that’s about right.) Walked into the classroom, 17 nervous interesting faces – registration is closed at 18, but 17 is big enough. And I have to say – I know you’ve heard this before – that one of the great gifts of my life is that after all these years I know what I’m doing in the classroom and enjoy doing it. It’s a good show. I see tentative people relax, there’s laughter, camaraderie, everyone gets a chance to talk, my eye on the clock so we get all the way round by the end. It’s hard work, and I love it. And it does work for some: one of my students from years ago is on the short list for the CBC nonfiction competition, with a beautifully written story. When I wrote to congratulate her, she replied, You deserve some credit, you know. You kept asking: Where are you in all these stories? Be careful what you wish for! 🙂 

The same competition, I might add, that did not find my own essay worthy of inclusion. I’ve read all the finalists and a few are wonderful and some … need to come to my class. I do not understand all their choices, but what the hell.

Another great blessing: this $7.95 Spanish red, the famous Toro Bravo, that I’m drinking now. A really good red for less than $8 – I may survive the winter.

Many emails going back and forth about Bob Baker and his expulsion from Equity. Others have stories to tell. I wonder how it feels, hunkered down wherever he and Tom are, to have their behaviour exposed at last. Pariahs in exile? Or, like Trump, oblivious? Surely not.

Thomas came over today to ask me to be the guarantor on his passport application. I must be a respectable person, at last. The form asked my relationship to the applicant, and we figured out that I should say “mother-in-law.” He and Anna are not legally bound but they’re bound in every other way. I’m a mother-in-law! Someone should write a song. Oh yes, someone did. 1961.
Mother-in-law (mother-in law), mother-in-law (mother-in-law)
The worst person I know, mother-in-law, mother-in-law
She worries me so, mother-in-law, mother-in-law
If she leaves us alone, we would have a happy home
Sent from down below…



Let’s hope not. Just a little bit of nagging, guys. Not too much, I promise. Sort of.

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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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