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My Happy Family – highly recommended

Last day in paradise. After two days of threatening warnings of thunderstorms that never came, leaving us with perfect sunny weather, today is grey and drizzly. We may not be tromping through the forest or diving into the lake with such alacrity. But then again, the weather may turn in an instant. And a day inside with books and music and a full fridge is not a hardship. 

I’ve never been a swimmer. I blame the Waeg, the club in Halifax that wouldn’t let us join because my father’s Jewish; all my non-Jewish friends learned to swim there. I taught myself the crawl in my twenties. But in any case, I’m not fond of being cold and wet. So even on the hottest days, I usually just get in, flail around, get out.

Here, I’ve done some actual swimming, staying in for an actual ten minutes. A new experience. And a special treat – Ruth gave me permission to go in without a suit. I wait until no boats are passing and get in and out quickly. Even more delicious.

So four days have passed reading, tapping on the computer, cooking, eating, drinking, forest bathing, dancing or line dancing online, doing a bit of work, and much jabbering. Our politics align, our taste in films and many other things, and despite two strong, opinionated, independent women navigating the kitchen, and the fact that Ruth has been running this place for over 50 years and here comes Betty Bossyboots, we’ve not had one disagreement. Well, yes – over which direction to put the knives in the dish drainer – blades up or down – and how much water to use to soak pots in the sink. Otherwise, nyet.

In the evening, terrific movies on Netflix. Tuesday night, a stunning film from Georgia, “My Happy Family,” highly recommended if a tich long. In Georgia, many generations live together. A long-suffering woman who lives with her husband and two grown children, her nagging mother and very old father and the various partners of her kids, decides to rent an apartment and live alone. We cheer for her as she struggles to find herself in the chaos. An amazing film, very well acted, written, directed, with the added treat that every so often, a group of men break into song with gorgeous Georgian polyphonic harmonies, and our heroine sings as well.

Last night, an extraordinary, very quirky documentary, “Dick Johnson is dead,” about facing the death of a loved one head on. The filmmaker celebrates her kind, gentle father, whom we all fall in love with through the film, as his daughter stages various silly ways he might die, and his memory fades. The ending is tremendously moving. Ruth and I wept, the best kind of empathetic tears.

Tomorrow, we take the boat across the lake, possibly in the rain, and I will wait for the bus home – a long bus ride back to the steamy city, where Robin has been keeping the plant running. I will miss this, and my friend, very much. But – onward.



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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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