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Birthday boy, American Fiction, and LE Jewellers

In case you don’t believe me about how busy I’ve been this last while, here’s this week’s day-timer. Incidentally, the recurring note to buy cheap beer is as slug killer. In case you wondered. Not for my sluggish self. Still haven’t made it to the LCBO.

Yesterday dawned wet and dark. I felt for Anna, who had twenty-two or more kids coming over at 5 for Eli’s twelfth birthday party, which of course was meant to be held outside, in the yard and the laneway behind their building. But rain. I decided not to go, that she’d have enough on her hands with so many kids in a small apartment. But she remained optimistic about the weather, and sure enough, mid-afternoon, it cleared up. From her mouth to God’s ears, as they say.

Here’s the photo she sent me of some of the kids there. I post this with immense pride in my daughter, my grandsons, my city, and my country. When I went to school in Halifax, there was not a single non-white person in my south-end school until 1963, when one lone black girl attended. “She’s nice!” I wrote in my diary, as if surprised, although my parents did have many black friends, and in 1965 or 66 hosted the Freedom Singers from the States in our home. My grandsons have grown up in such a multicultural world, they are, truthfully, oblivious to colour and race in a way I can never be, try as I might. It’s a victory for the planet.

And for Anna, who provides safety, fun, and a great deal of food, including a vast quantity of barbecued stuff that Sam cooked. Six of the kids slept over, and this morning she made pancakes for them all. She is a saint and a lunatic. Both. Most of all, a superb and generous mother, which one day her sons will come to appreciate.

Just between us, yesterday I went to my favourite jewellers to buy Eli’s present. Awhile ago he was in Dollarama with his mother and persuaded her to buy him a chain necklace, which soon broke. She told me he wants a chain, so I rode over to the new location of LE Jewellers, 1362 Queen Street East, at Greenwood. Elaine, the owner, was a dear friend of Wayson’s and is now a dear friend of mine. She was renovicted from her first shop, ended up for the lean pandemic years in a most unsuitable place, and recently managed to move. But now, she says, nobody has money for the lovely sparkly things she sells, at all price points. I promised her I’d write about the shop in this blog.

If you need jewelry, or repairs, or just to look at sparkly things, go to LE jewellers and chat with Elaine. And leave with something pretty. I hope Eli likes his silver chain. I’ll let you know.

Yesterday I also ordered a few things online that I can’t carry on a bike, and somehow ended up with an Amazon Prime membership, how they snuck that by me, I don’t know. Yes, I do, they make it nearly impossible to avoid. In any case, I’ll keep it for a few weeks and get out before I have to pay, but in the meantime will watch films on the site – yesterday, American Fiction, a black writer making fun of white liberal guilt by writing a ridiculous novel about black life that becomes a bestseller. It’s an entertaining film, although the satire is too broad for me. There’s not a single decent or intelligent white person in the film. I know, that’s the point, we’ve stereotyped black characters for so long, now it’s our turn. Got it.

But more egregious, it shows the protagonist writing a bestseller in three minutes of screen time, a book that comes out mere weeks later. Ah yes, that’s just how easy and fast the process is! Sheesh.

It’s a glorious, indeed perfect day, and there’s cleaning to do upstairs; Nicole is here to help. I was going to see the National Theatre Live production of Nye at Cineplex at midday – the play I had a ticket for in London that I had to give away – but it’s too beautiful out and I’m too busy to go. Just doomed not to see Nye. After pondering where I’m going to move to when I’m old and decrepit, I appreciate even more the space and light I have here.

Drink it in, girl, because your time here won’t last forever. As you won’t.

Happy Birthday to all the twelve-year-olds out there!

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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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