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the visit

A quick word, as it’s been a long time. I’ve been in the tunnel of houseguests, and now am in the tunnel of sickness – flu or a bad cold, which hit just as my friends’ visit was drawing to a close. It was wonderful, exhausting – they were only here for 3 1/2 days, and many people wanted to see them, so we had a constant stream of guests for lunch or dinner. And as I’ve written, since my guests are French, with the critical spirit endemic to the French, there’s an added pressure to provide good food well served.

The trip started strangely; I am sure I heard that their train from Montreal arrived at 2, so I was there at the station, eager and waiting, as crowds disembarked. No Lynn and Denis. Had something happened to them on the train? No answer to phone calls or What’sApp. Finally I called Lynn’s sister in Montreal; their train was due at 4.30.

Next day, we were supposed to go across town to have dinner with Anna and her boys, but the boys were sick so Anna and Sam came here.

Friday we had aperitif with Jean-Marc and Monique and dinner with Suzette and Pierre – the conversation switching effortlessly from French to English and back again. And Saturday, old friend Ken and new friend Anne-Marie for lunch – much discussion with all eight about the Catholic religion they all share – and Eleanor and Sherry for dinner.

All those meals had to be planned, bought, prepared. Plus hors d’oeuvres to have with drinks beforehand. I needed a spreadsheet. By the end I was buying prepared food. As he ate a delicious berry tart from the Sri Lankan bakery, Denis asked why I had heated it up. It turns out that the French eat fruit desserts cold, with a spoon, and we eat them warm, with a fork. Who knew?

And then unfortunately the bug that was hovering in the background blasted in, and it’s a doozy. I ache in head and bones. Perhaps stress had something to do with it. I know it’s ridiculous to feel stress; these are my dearest friends. But I did feel an obligation to get things right. They had a great visit and saw lots of people, though they saw very little of the city because November.

Here we are in 2012. Friends since 1967. She has not changed!

And now I have to get well. There’s a book waiting for me to get her out into the world. Dear friend Theresa, a blog friend in B.C. whom I’ve never met, just wrote, “It’s really a wonderful collection. Your voice is engaging and bright, your sense of how to shape an anecdote sharp and clear, and I love how your life builds as the pages accumulate, how stories are revisited and rewoven — your childhood relationships, your marriage, divorce, etc — so that the result is something rich and fine. The structure is intriguing too. I love the postscripts in particular.”

Thank you, Theresa. “Rich and fine” sounds good to me. As soon as I get my brain and body back, I’ll return to work. But for now – back to bed.



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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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