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a brief encounter on College Street

At noon today I was downtown, rushing as usual – had forced myself to pop into Winners for the annual gift of socks for Sam, also managed to pick up a basketball and gloves, both always needed around here. Was dashing out to unlock my bike on the way to my Monday class at the Y when two older women dressed in black approached me with pleading faces. I was about to brush them off, as we do in the city, thinking they were Jehovah’s Witnesses, but stopped. “Please to help?” one said, with a thick Ukrainian accent.

She was a haggard middle-aged woman, the other much older, undoubtedly her mother. Someone had printed instructions for them to get to Women’s College Hospital, but they were lost. I pointed them in the right direction, telling them in slow English, over there, then cross, then go left. It was very cold here today, and busy College Street is not a friendly place. I think Toronto right now is not a friendly place. 

I felt the brutality of that war suddenly close, again. Here were two vulnerable older women who should not be in a foreign country, struggling to make their way around in the dead of winter. They should be in their own homes. May they be safe here. May we keep them safe until they can go home. 

Watched part of a documentary on Darwin and evolution and how fervently American evangelicals deny scientific reality, homeschooling their children that God created the world just as in the bible and they must be ready for people to make fun of them for not believing in evolution. Incredible, so many decades after the Scopes trial. Are Americans more gullible than other nationalities? We do see the huge failure of their education system daily. (Though not of their legal system, at least, today. LOCK HIM UP!)

But the doc was fair, also showing that faith brings comfort to the religious, showing a couple at the bedside of their daughter who was made quadriplegic in a car accident. They said with shining faces that God has a plan. 

Incomprehensible to me, but obviously there’s something fundamental I’m missing. 

Anna and family are all sick with some kind of flu, which I hope is not God’s plan. Sam reported that in the night mice chewed open his big bag of dog food; Bandit helped himself to a great deal and was sick all over the apartment. He wrote later, however, that they play games together and his face hurts sometimes from laughing. What a wonderful image that is. 

I found a place for all Patsy’s poems: hanging from the big oleander in the kitchen. She is with us, still. 

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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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