A Proper Send-Off

I know I promised you the moon today, Marina, but I feel compelled to write something else.  Tomorrow good for you?  I sure hope so.

I am sitting in my quiet house, having just returned from Patrice‘s funeral.  The boys stayed behind with their gang to celebrate him the way twenty-somethings “should” – starting with a shotgun beer in the parking lot, no doubt, followed by who-knows-what and I should not know.

Visitation was held from 10:00 am till 3:00 pm today (plus four hours yesterday from 4:00-8:00 pm) followed by the religious ceremony in the chapel, which was the room right beside – a rarity, not the chapel, but the religious ceremony.  Most of my family came and it was no easy feat for all the “kids” who had hung out with Pat on the cruise. It was just so surreal.

There is a different dynamic when the deceased is a twenty-two-year-old healthy, full-of-life type.  I’ve been to far too many forty-somethings and fifty-somethings funerals already since, let me see, 2001 – so almost twenty years.  And I thought THEY were all too young.  So this?  No. Almost impossible to wrap one’s head around it.

Life celebrations have gone from boards with pictures or albums on tables showing the life of the loved one to movies or montages of their life scrolling in an endless loop.  I thought seeing a fifty-year old’s was hard. This was a punch in the solar plexus.  They had a corner for Pat’s art, a long table with various pictures and favourite pieces such as a hockey shirt, his football trophies and such and, of course, a beautifully done video.  And, oh Lordy.  I was not ready to see him lying in his coffin.  Everyone gets cremated now.  Visitation is an urn with a 16″ X 20″ (or two) photo beside the urn. Not this time. They went old-school for this.

The place was packed with mask-wearing mourners of all ages.  the priest came in and told us that he would give one prayer and then ask us to make our way next door to the chapel, leaving the family to say their final farewell in private.

Standing by your bench, watching your own twenty-two-year-old and his four friends, plus Pat’s cousin, roll the casket to the front, while this song is playing is sobering.  These young men were doing their best to hold it together as they performed their solemn duty, then sat together and let their emotions do what was needed.  This song just about killed me.

Father Sylvain was perfect.  He said beautiful things and asked those who pray to pray; never preaching

Jules, Marilyn and Maude (his parents and sister) came up and Jules spoke for them. He started off by saying he promised Pat he wouldn’t cry and he spoke beautifully, his composure cracking only at the end; his wife and daughter on either side of him, giving him what he needed to push through.  My heart broke for them.

I know Pat’s family chose music that he loved and when this song played, I watched as their heads bopped to the beat. I know it wasn’t the lyrics they were feeling.

Father Sylvain introduced Charles-Olivier to come and say a word and the five young men stood up as one, the four surrounding him as he read the beautiful post he wrote the day he found out he lost his friend, his gym partner, his clown, the one who always said how much he loved them who was now his guardian angel.

There were the usual blessings and the thank yous and, as the following song played, we were all invited to come up and use the provided Sharpies (and Purell) to write something on the casket.  Now THAT is a beautiful thing.

May I say that I do not want to do this again.

 

 

Staying the Course – Crimson’s Creative Challenge #93

Crispina’s challenge has sent me down a path I couldn’t seem to avoid. It’s been a week since Pat’s death and we are still reeling so I apologise ahead of time!

Staying the Course

He had never been afraid of the dark or going it alone before and he wasn’t going to start now. He was, however, a mix of angry and sad that life had dealt him yet another blow.

“You can grieve for a bit but then you have to keep moving forward, my friend. But know this. I have your back and when you see a light in the darkest corners, that’ll be me, there for you.

“And, when your own journey is over – and that’s not for a really long time – I’ll be there waiting for you.”

The Problem is You Think You Have Time

The Universe is funny.  Here I was, trying to put into words this sudden, heartbreaking event and along comes Merril with her dVerse prosery prompt that is exactly what I need.  We had to use the phrase: “when it is over said and done / it was a time / and there was never enough of it.”  –Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, “A Time” Truly. I could not have asked for better.  My son lost his best friend in an accident this weekend. We are all trying to come to grips with it. My heart is broken.  As there are still questions to be answered, I could not do the post I truly wanted to do so this is just perfect.  Then Iain showed me this drawing by Pat, dated September 24, 2017.  I shiver.

“The problem is you think you have time… ”      drawing by Patrice Chevalier, September 24, 2017

 

Born at the age of nine, a friendship for the ages.  At ten you went away to summer camp, doing who-knows-what that shall remain a mystery. At twelve, you went to the same high school and made the football team, where, in your first year, you were undefeated.  By fifteen, you two got kicked out for your “entrepreneurial skills” (which shall remain unnamed – one of many stories to tell in your old age) and to different schools you went. Yet that glue was a good one, its bond secure.

As young adults, you have travelled and experienced thrills most people only think of.  When it is over, said and done, it was a time. And there was never enough of it.  You were supposed to do more, share more. You were to remain forever best friends.  At twenty-two, your adult lives were just beginning.

 

Weekend Writing Prompt #167 – Nuance

Had been hoping to squeeze this into my weekend during work hours but that was not meant to be. Sometimes you just can’t create, even in the ebbs of the regular flow.

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend. How you use the prompt is up to you. Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like. Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise. If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.  Click on the box below to join in on Sammi’s challenge or read other takes on this wonderful word.

 

Simple beauty painting the sky

in subtle and nuanced palette

the softest of violets and blues

morphing into brighter pinks and oranges

reminiscent

of love’s journey, where

A chance encounter turns into a friendship

Grows

Glows

into love

 

Ponte Vecchio – Crimson’s Creative Challenge #81

Good Thursday afternoon, my peeps!  I haven’t played in a while but when I saw this photo and knew I would this week.  Crispina is most generous in her rules and regulations and to find out just what she expects of those of us who participate, just click here. You’ll see, just about the only thing she stresses is not more than 150 words, which I, phew! did not surpass.

Ponte Vecchio

Diana and Anne sat on the wall beside the river, under the bridge, and watched the slow flow of the river.  Anne was regaling Diana with her stories filled with imagination.

“Let’s pretend we are in Florence, or, like they say in Italy, Firenze!  We are walking along the Arno River and come upon the Ponte Vecchio.  Isn’t it just the most romantic thing, Diana?”

Diana could only nod her head, unable to add a thing.

“You’d have your beau and I’d have mine—”

“Gilbert Blythe!”

“Bite your tongue, Diana! He’s vile and I’ll have nothing to do with him!” Anne’s eyes flashed.

“You doth protest too much, my friend. But please, do continue with your story.”

“Hmph! As I was saying, you have your beau and I have,” she looked at Diana with warning, “mine.  We would secure our love forever with padlocks.”

“What a silly thing to do!”

 

Word count: 150

The above picture is the central part of one of the bridges crossing the Arno, and the one that inspired my little visit with Anne of Green Gables.  (Don’t ask, it’s a mystery what goes on up in my noggin, at times.  For those unfamiliar, Diana is Anne’s best and bosom friend and kindred spirit.)  The story went in a whole ‘nother direction than planned.  As can happen, right?

Below are two pictures of the real Ponte Vecchio I took during my dream trip in 2016 and I cannot believe I have NONE with all the locks!  There were so many people in front of it, I thought I’d pass by later but guess I didn’t. Oh well. Thought you’d enjoy nevertheless.

 

 

 

Weekend Writing Prompt #158 – Downpour

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend. How you use the prompt is up to you. Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like. Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise. If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

I almost didn’t play this week, then remembered an August evening in 2018…  Even though I wrote about it here, I figured it was worth a little redo.  Thanks for hosting Sammi!

 

Who Needs an Umbrella?

The two friends walked twenty blocks from the restaurant to the theatre.  Summer in Montreal meant Ste. Catherine Street was closed to cars and filled with pedestrians enjoying the warm summer evening.

After the show, they made their way to the exits, talking about their favourite parts, stepped out…

It was not a drizzle, nor a sprinkle. It was a veritable downpour!

“You game?”

“Absolutely!”

Laughing, they walked and skipped like young girls, arriving completely soaked.

“You know, I have an umbrella in my car.”

“So do I!”

 

Weekend Writing Prompt #156 – Home

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend. How you use the prompt is up to you. Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like. Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise. If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Wow. Congrats to Sammi for doing this prompt for three years already!  Looking forward to what’s to come!

There is always that one house on the block where people congregate. As kids, it is the meet-up or the hang-out place – if the mom says it is okay – and if she says ‘no’ today, it will not stop you from coming back tomorrow. There is nothing obviously special about this house. It is like everyone else’s in size and shape and number of rooms. And yet, the kids know. Here, they are welcome. Here, they can be kids, and whether related or not, will be yelled at if they get too much. Here, they feel like they belong, part of a family. Here, this is not a house. It is a home.

Mine.

 

 

Weekend Writing Prompt #155 – Tune

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend. How you use the prompt is up to you. Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like. Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise. If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments. Sammi, you wild thing, you. TEN WORDS??

There’s nothing better

Than finding someone

In tune with you

Rainbows, Smiles and Sunday Everyday

My last day of quarantine was yesterday. Thank goodness because, much as I am quite creative in the kitchen, I was starting to worry that things would turn drab as I was running low on pretty much everything.  You see, my family and I were fortunate to go on a cruise together. (Post about it to follow soon as I kinda got distracted on my return, for some reason.)  Yes, there was talk but it was faint and precautions were taken upon boarding and we sanitized everywhere we went so we felt pretty outside of the situation. Till we hit New York. Waiting for our plane the drone overhead was relentless as were all the TV screens.  We thought, shit… what the eff is going on?

Took it easy on Tuesday (11th) and worked Wednesday through Friday, receiving the stink-eye from a couple of the cooks.  Sorry, mates. We were not told to self-quarantine.  Until we were.  On Saturday, my boss called me to ask me to stay home just as I was texting him to say I had to stay home for two weeks from the arrival date, meaning, until the 23rd. All good.

I try to go out daily with Zeke for a walk, choosing less populated streets of which there are many.  Distances are kept and every “hello” is not only received but returned with a smile, to boot.  No one tries to get in ayone else’s space and that is fabulous. There are a few “rainbows in windows” campaigns going on and I have seen the proof. It is precious and beautiful to see. Most are handmade and even if not, who cares? It’s a lovely way of uniting us.

Speaking of uniting, it’s a mixture of disconcerting and heartwarming to see all the cars parked in the driveways, making every day seem like a Sunday, with people walking about, cycling, playing hockey (I had to assume this was a family who lives together).  You can see the distance between groups or individuals – a good sign that rules are being respected.

This last image was taken shortly before the ambulance arrived. You can see a person sitting on the ground with one helping her while others look like they want to go close to help (or snoop) but don’t dare – a good thing at this time.  I hope it was nothing serious.

In some places, I have finally seen signs of spring flowers working their way out of the frozen ground!  Not at my house just yet, but still. And, I’m surprised this photo turned out as it was so bright outside, I could not see a darn thing!

Speaking of every day being like a Sunday, that includes Sunday meals en famille, of which we have not been able to partake in a dog’s age because we all work different shifts and most of the time are at work when it should be suppertime. Sundays especially.  Soooo… with my “Empty the fride/freezer/pantry” campaign, I was doing a bang-up job…

Which brings me back to my opening paragraph.  Now that I was allowed to go shop, I did.  All in one fell swoop as I do not want to have to go out and expose myself more than necessary until it is necessary.  I was pleased to see that Costco had organised the lines – and were counting how many they let in: one goes out, one allowed in, keeping the numbers at, well, I don’t know how many, but judging by the space in there, it was quite low.  However, as you can see below, the peeps in front of me were certainly NOT keeping six feet between them.  I did and let the guy behind me know when he was in my bubble.

Got my goods and the staff did no bagging so I figured, no big whup, once I get to my car, I’ll do it there.  However. DISASTER! My case of beer was on the cat food bag and, unbenownst to me, and slipped forward until CRASH! It fell to its side and made like the Caesar’s Palace Fountain Show only sans lights and music!  I got a good beer shower as I righted the damn thing and waited as it did its thing. A kind samaritan gave me a half roll of paper towels and said he hoped I was thirsty. Um… These cans are 500 ml (17 oz) each!  Even if all six, yes, SIX, of them emptied half-way, that represents 1.5 l (3 pints) of beer – Not saying I couldn’t if push came to shove but yanno… it was a “bit” much and plus, they were room temp. So. I put a couple in the fridge and drank them – they were flat by then. Blech. and the rest is put aside for more beer bread…

Victims, a sad state of affairs.

After the horror of putting all my stuff away into the car, I had two more stops to make.  Some fruit and herbs and stuff that I can’t get at Costo. And what up, peeps? Has everyone decided to bake their own bread?  Not an ounce of flour to be found at either store I went to. And fuggedabout yeast… Yep. Looks like I’ll be making more beer bread should I run out of the store bought one.

The snow started to fall ever so lightly during my last stop.  The boys helped me empty my car and put away the groceries. By then, forget about cooking. I was spent and it became leftover time. And we had a variety (see above).

I was settled into an evening of watching “Lion” when I got a text from Linda: “Yo, Outside your window.”  Took a peak and waved, then opened the door, shouted for her to hang on, I’d get redressed and join her – yes, yes, six feet apart – with Zeke.  It was a winter wonderland!

Neither of us was upset with the snowfall. We know that March snows never last.  This was just about the prettiest snowfall we had all winter!  Of course, it’s officially Spring, so that must be it.

Nothing lasts forever…

 

 

 

Dinner and a Late Show – Friday Fictioneers

It’s Wednesday-Friday and, though I thought for sure I wouldn’t play, here I am. Kinda hard to diss when Rochelle chooses my photo, eh?  I am going to aplogise in advance for anyone whose story I do not get to.  I’m getting away for a vacay and will do my best to get to you all before I leave. Gonna be weird to not participate next week but there is no way in hell I am bringing any technology with me (except my phone – for camera reasons, only!) That said, click on the frog below if you wish to read more stories…

This is a completely true story, zero fiction.  Sorry, Cathy 😉

Click me!

Dinner and a Late Show

“Delicious!  Glad you introduced me to this restaurant.  We better move it as we have a good fifteen-minute walk ahead of us.”

“Yep, time to high-tail it over to Place-des-Arts to see “The Phantom”.  Thanks for asking me to join you!  Even though I saw it ages ago, I’m glad to see it again.”

***

“Jeez… we’re fifteen minutes early and there is no one in the lobby? That doesn’t make sense…”

Cathy looked at the tickets, “Shoot! Omigosh! It started at 7:30, not 8:00.  We are late not early!”

“This blows…”

“I’m so sorry!”

“Please, I’ve seen it.  Sucks more for you!”