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D Day

So moving. A CBC Ideas program for D Day: Harry, a Canadian soldier who wrote letters home about the war until he was killed, and a group of Canadian descendants of Harry’s who toured the Dutch villages where he and others fought and died. At one village, they were met with choir after choir, singing O Canada and other songs, and reading aloud the names of the young men who died there. Tears. Wonderful that Harry’s family – he had no children, these are great-nieces and nephews – is intent on making sure he’s not just remembered but honoured.

I was sitting on the deck with Jean-Marc when Stéphane, a Frenchman, friend of my downstairs tenant, came into the yard. We told him we were discussing D Day. He said, “Merci! We are grateful to Canadians. Thank you from France.”

Oh the tragedies. The hideous appalling uselessness of all that loss. Playing out to this day.

We are a flawed species.

However. Onward.

It looks like there will be a transit strike tomorrow, which will paralyze the city. Anna wasn’t sure how she’d get across town if it happens, so, hooray, they are coming to sleep here tonight. She works not far away so can walk to work, and the boys were spending the PD day here anyway. I am sheltering my family once more. That feels good.

Today, Doug and I took a load of stuff across to Anna and Sam, and then since we were already in the far west, went on to Doug’s favourite store, Costco. I have only been twice before, and each time, I’m overwhelmed — so much stuff at such good prices. Each time, as I wander the aisles packed with all manner of things, people loading up their giant shopping carts, I think of most of the rest of the world. And here we are overflowing with abundance. But those thoughts don’t stop me from buying: today, a badminton set for the boys, a dozen cans of tomatoes, quantities of asparagus and cheese – oh the cheese! – and much else. A great pile of socks for Sam. What Anna wanted was garlic powder; she will have enough for the rest of her life.

We are not at war. On Ideas now they are talking about the camps and reciting the mourner’s kaddish. More tears.

From 4 to 6 this afternoon, there was a Kite Festival at Riverdale Park. The children of nearby Sprucecourt School made their own kites and were overjoyed to gather to fly them. And once more, as I watched this multicoloured crowd of children and parents celebrate a beautiful evening, I was swamped with love for my country. One little girl on the field, in a hijab, did not stop running, her kite streaming behind her.

We are not at war; we live in a peaceful democracy. I am a child of immigrants, grateful for my life here.

Thank you, thank you, to all those who made our peaceful lives possible.

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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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