Good Wednesday morning my readers! You know what day it is? Yep… hump day AND Friday Fictioneers day! Today’s photo of a synagogue reminded me of my dad and his many stories of growing up in Montreal. Thank you, Rochelle, for keeping this challenge interesting week after week. And thank you Roger Bultot for allowing us to use your photo.
To join in the fun, click the blue frog below. Not sure how? Click on Rochelle’s name for the rules and regs. Fun and teaches you to use your words sparingly!
Dad always said he was a “goyim mit a Yiddishe kopf” (sic).¹ Grew up in the same ‘hood as Mordecai Richler, and considered himself a real Duddy Kravitz. Loved to talk about “Shtunks”² — real name, Stringer — owners of the general store that he and his buddies used to torment in their youth. He sure respected the tattoo on their arms, though. Was so pleased to introduce me to Mrs. Stringer before she passed. “Such a bad boy was your father!” she scolded and laughed. We finished our tour with a Wilensky Special.
Why did I not write these stories down?
¹Men with a Jewish head (goy would be singular 😉 )
What day is it? Wednesday! What’s so special about today? It’s the first day of spring! And? It’s Friday Fictioneers Day with none other than yours truly’s photo taken on New Years Eve. So what do I do? Tell a story about July, 1995… because yanno… why not? Plus there was a ferris wheel – just not this one and there were fireworks so…
Thank you, always, to Rochelle, for keeping us coming back week after week. Of course, when you use such fantabulous photos 😉 … I jest, of course. Do join in on the fun, why don’t you? Just click on the blue froggy below to add your link.
What a great date that was. They took his old, navy Celebrity, parked in the shopping centre and walked to and across half the bridge. A couple of miles of hand-holding, laughter and getting to know each other better.
They rode rides like a couple of kids, not thirthy-somethings. They ate junk food and rode some more. They watched the fireworks from the bridge in the rain.
Walking back to the car, they laughed and kissed and held hands.
In the trunk of that old Chevy was a blanket and sweatshirt.
A good while back, I let ya’all know that I would be starting to write my stories. Well, more like my stories with Mick because, frankly, he was quite the inspiration, my muse, if you will. The boy just knew how to attract, um, “situations”, yeah, that’s what we’ll call them! But, before I can get into our (mis)adventures, I have to share just how we met!
Why start today? Well, today would have been our twentieth anniversary together. Instead of focusing on sadness and what-could-have-or-might-have-beens, I prefer to remember the good stuff. The oh-so funny stuff. Lord knows there are plenty of those!!
As my story was not accepted by Six Hens ~ no, no, say nothing ~ it was my fault. I did not perfectly respect the guidelines. I will for the next issue, though! That said, I can now share with you what I sent them with a few extras thrown in! So, without further ado…
It All Started With a Phone Call
In my thirtieth year a series of events happened: my marriage of 17 months came to an end, I lost my job and I could have lost the family house ~ the one I had bought from my parents when they split up. I will forever be grateful to René for continuing to pay his share of the house, even though he had moved out. He went above and beyond and will always have my respect. He may not have been the man for me, but he is definitely a good man.
This six months sans job turned out to be a benefit to my sister as she had three babies at home and welcomed the daily help. Truth is, I didn’t mind the forced time off either – it was a fabulous time: playing in the park, swinging babies, cuddling, sharing with my sister, walks in the snow. All good.
In March, 2005, I found my dream job. (If the head office had not moved to Toronto, I think I’d still be there!) Things were looking up.
I started thinking about going out and dating but, ugh! Did I really want to do the bar scene? That whole meeting-your-soul-mate-at-the-grocery-store only happened in movies! Serendipity? Well… some work is involved, no? I had to create the occasions to meet people. I couldn’t just sit on my butt waiting. What other options did I really have? Almost all of my friends were pretty much coupled and none of them seemed to have any single friends to set me up with.
A friend of mine, Kathy, who happened to be single at the time also, suggested I sign up with Tele Personals (This was 1995, the Internet was still reserved for computer geeks!) Really? Do I look that desperate? Had she lost her mind? Was she nuts? No. She was none of those! She convinced me it would be fun and really, what did I have to lose, anyway? You made the arrangements. You decided where and when to meet these guys so… don’t be stupid and go to public places! Go for a coffee (a meal is way too much commitment!) and you can decide when it is worth more time and when it is not! I thought it over and really, how else are you supposed to meet people if you don’t want to sit alone by a bar looking like some desperado?
So, I sucked it up and signed up ~ it was, after all, free for women. I met some really nice guys, some not-so-nice guys, some desperados and some that just didn’t click. It was funny to listen to guys’ messages: “considered good looking…” (yeah, to your mother!), looking for minimum 5’9”, blond, must be under 125 lbs…. (really? You want a Barbie?), etc. I dated a few more than once and even ~ gasp! ~ met two in one day!! What? It was for coffee! Kathy was right. It was a lot of fun. People in Quebec don’t know how to date anyway. You meet someone, you date once and all of a sudden and you are “going steady”… Pfft.
And then one day, I heard a nice voice stating he was looking for someone to go biking with, to hang out with, go to movies; he did not describe himself at all and did not have a list of pre-requisites. I liked his voice and his message, it all rang so sincere to my ears, so I left him a message.
Well, whenever someone leaves you a message, the first thing you do is listen to theirs! Which is what he did, of course. I had specified in mine that I preferred a non-smoker so he left me a message saying that he would have liked to meet with me be but he was a smoker. Hmmm. In my suddenly-single state, I had found myself having a teenage-like identity crisis. I was rebelling! Well, no, that is a small exaggeration. But, can you imagine, after eight smokeless years, I stupidly started up again? It was all innocent at first. Apparently pretty much all the guys I met on the system were non-smokers except when they had a social drink. So I’d have one here and there. I started smoking during the meetings (strangely a lot easier to withstand when you are one of them) at work. As a result, it didn’t quite matter as much that this nice-voiced guy was a smoker. I then did something I never did! I gave him MY number! There must have been something in his voice that sounded trustworthy is the only explanation I can give.
So, it’s a Sunday morning, June 25th, and I’m basically lying in bed, listening to potential candidates’ messages when I get a beep stating I have a message in my voicemail. Oh! So, I switch over and get this message: “You obviously don’t have call waiting… so call me at 514…!” It was Mick.
Well I did. We ended up talking for over two hours! I won serious brownie points when I told him that he was listening to good music as I could hear Genesis’ Cinema Showfrom Selling England By The Pound in the background. It turned into a game of “Guess what song this is?” I would play something on my CD player and have him guess what I was listening to and vice-versa. So silly. We decided that we just had to meet that very day. Problem was, he had a dinner at his best friend’s house (André) that night. He said we could meet after supper as his friend would totally understand if he had to leave earlier than usual. He then suggested we go to the movies. Movies? Now he lost brownie points! How do you get to know someone if you are sitting in silence in a movie theatre?
I agree anyway and we checked the listings. Batman Forever was playing at the Loews, downtown Montreal, at 10:00 pm. We decided to meet there around 9:00 so we would have a chance to chat a bit before. “I’ll be wearing cut-off jean shorts, a white blouse and red shoes”, I told him. It was not like it was the first time I met up with a blind date and there was something exciting about this one.
I stood by the west-side entrance of the now defunct Loews movie theatre and saw a nice-looking guy walking towards me. I just had a feeling it was him so I stuck out my right foot and wiggled it, showing my red shoes! With a big smile he walked towards me. Someone cut in front of him and stopped him. After talking with her for a few minutes, he motioned me over and introduced me to Samantha, a friend from high school! He told me later on he was so worried I’d think he was some kind of player! Too funny. If you knew Mick, you would know that there is no way in hell he could ever wear that title with comfort. Sam left and we officially introduced ourselves to each other! I suggested we go for an ice cream cone as we still had time to spare. He agreed and we walked around looking for an ice cream parlour. He first tried to bring me to one in one of the parks off Peel Street but it was closed; we then ended up going to some other little joint ~ the one detail I cannot for the life of me remember. (I found out much later that ice cream was the last thing he wanted to eat as his friend had served him a “Jurassic-Park-sized steak” and he was so stuffed, he could barely breathe! No wonder it took him so long to eat it that the ice cream was melting faster than he could eat it. Gave me a chance to scope out his hands…
We slowly made our way back to the Loews, watched the movie, and then decided to go have a coffee. We were in no rush as neither one of us was working the following day so we walked towards Dunkin’ Donuts.
We sat on a bench for hours just talking, drinking our coffee. It gave me the opportunity to see what a generous man he was as he handed out cigarettes and coins to various homeless men. It was almost 4:00 a.m. and I told him it felt like we were teenagers staying up all night at Prom! Then I said, “Hey, if we were at Prom, what would we be doing about now?” “Go up to the Mountain to watch the sunrise!” he exclaimed. So we did. We walked up Peel Street, through the walkways, where we held hands for the first time. It was so quiet and we were the only ones up top on the Belvédère Kondiaronk, (a wide piece of land annexed to the Mount Royal Chalet) over-looking the City of Montreal. Some view! It was cloudy and muggy with no sun to be seen! Perfect place to share our very first kiss.
It must have been around 8:00 am and we were getting hungry. Not only that, our cars were parked on the street and we were in danger of getting parking tickets! The holiday was officially on the 24th (a Saturday), so companies had the option of giving the Friday or the Monday off. We both had the Monday. He asked me if he could make me breakfast. I accepted, so down the mountain we went to our respective cars and I followed him to his place. He got busy in the kitchen, making me an omelette, bacon, coffee… It was delicious! This guy was a keeper!
After breakfast he showed me a video of his shark dive in the Bahamas and then, because it was so hot, I asked him if he was shy about meeting my sister. She had a pool…. Well, guess what? He was all gung-ho and off we went to my sister Lisa’s where we splashed around like little kids and laughed and laughed until our bellies ached. I think I was not the only one who considered him a keeper…
He never slept in his apartment again.
It was basically the date that never ended. All thanks to that first phone call.
This was the plan: Have breakfast, wait for the morning rush hour to be over, pick up my dishes at my clients from the last catering job (and hopefully see an old friend or two who work there) and then take Zeke up to Mount Royal as the client’s biz is in what is known as the “Plateau Mont-Royal”, a walk from said Mount.
Made banana waffles for the boys, made their lunches, sent them off to school, drank my coffee, ate my waffle topped with Greek yogurt and blueberries with just a splash of maple syrup, got dressed, grabbed my camera and off Zeke and I went.
Timing was perfect ~ no traffic whatsoever! Drove through the alley to Elixir’s parking lot and buzzed myself in. Oh happy days! Hélène was there and on top of that, it’s her birthday! Hugs, kisses, a little bit of catch-up with promises of having lunch soon and we were off!
Drove a little ways and decided to go up to the Mount Royal Cemetery as I remembered there were nice woods to walk in… Spotted an old abandoned house and decided to walk up a ways to take a picture. On my way back, had a nice view of one of the entrances to the Cemetery.
Entrance to Cemetery
Of course, when a dog must “go”, he must “go”! So, as any good pet-owner does, I reached down to pick up the poop and RRRRRIIIIIPPPP!
Pants gone awry
Dammit! Though much warmer than yesterday, the thought of traipsing through the woods ~ which are quite populated with hikers, cyclers, joggers ~ with my arse hanging out did not appeal to me! No, seriously, I was not exposed at all, they were just right to become future Daisy Dukes were I 30 years younger. No matter, let us just say that a draft was now a sure thing.
So, sorry Zeke, no long walk in the woods for you today. As I was just around the corner to the Camillien Houde Belvedere, I did stop there to let him get a tad more air whilst I took a couple of shots of the City.
The Big “Owe” Olympic Stadium
Jacques Cartier Bridge
Yep, sometimes going with the flow, really means listening to the Universe! Just yesterday when I put on same pants, I noted to myself: “Gee, these are getting quite thin. I may just have to go shopping soon.” Be careful. The Universe is ALWAYS listening!
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