This, That, a Walk and a Shout Out To Bronx

Last week, in preparation to try and capture the Harvest Moon, I took a few pictures a couple nights before. The partial moon was bright and my hopes were high because I am limited with the lens I have plus I have no idea what the hell I am doing. I Googled how to go about it and managed to get this one. It’s not as good as so many out there, but it pleases me anywah. Especially since the damn Harvest Moon was behind clouds by the time I got home and wanted to get it!

I am now officially counting down the days till the golf club closes. It can’t happen soon enough. All of us employees are tired and just done with seeing and serving these members day after day – even if most are nice and sweet.

This is the last day of September – yay! Which means in two weeks, or mid-october, the restaurant will be open for dinner (or supper, if you prefer) only on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Wooooo hooooo! And the other days cannot be later than, say 6-7 pm. Bliss. My feet are already starting to celebrate.

I laugh because many members ask what I do once the golf club is closed. My usual answer is: A whole helluva lot of NOTHING! We recuperate for the first month (when many of get sick coz, yanno, the letting go of all the tiredness, stress, et al). Mind you, we still work the Christmas parties so that means we work some weekends till mid-December. Still. January will be here in the blink of an eye and by then, I shall be putting myself out there to find something else to earn a living.

Friday was a beautiful day so Zeke and I decided – OK, Zeke had no choice but it matters not, as long as we go somewhere, he is happy – to go to Parc de la Freyère at the other end of Boucherville and see if we couldn’t capture something interesting. As I finally found my battery charger for my camera in one of my still unpacked boxes, I was good to go.

Did I mention that in another life, Zeke must have been a water dog? Bloody guy just waits for me to be concentrated on photographing a bug or something to hop in where I had just told him no!

Can I go in Mom?

And while Mom is photographing this

Zeke is doing this

Noooooooo!!! Thankfully this is duckweed (thank you FB peeps who know stuff) and just fell off as we continued our walk.

Zeke and I ran into many a wildlife photographer with their big-ass lenses and tripods. I just moseyed along with mine, sans tripod, and figured I’d get what I could. Many of them said the birds were all in hiding. Ah well. I don’t have the patience to sit and wait, all hidden in the rushes so I just smiled and kept on.

Walking along the shore, we came upon a gaggle of geese.

Then came upon a dock

So Zeke and I lay down to just be in the moment (and dry off Zeke before I allowed him back into my car!) and whilst doing so, a magnificent turkey vulture flew above.

Happy with ourselves, we made our way back and crossed the little bridge and to my surprise, there was a magnificent heron.

I have another great image but you’ll have to go to Sorryless’ blog on Wednesday to see it 😉

And speaking of Sorryless… The owner of said blog, a certain Marc Anthony, or Marco or Bronx or B for short as I call him. Well, today is his birthday! No way I cannot NOT acknowledge this wonderful ‘Murican I had the luck of meeting over the blogosphere.

This guy has come into my life and given me so much. He’s got the greatest laugh, the wittiest brain, a wicked sense of humour and a taste for music that has me diving into new stuff daily.

He is snarky and loving and do not ever mess with anyone he holds dear because that Bronx will come out.

His writing is what captured my attention way back in February 2018. And since then it has only gotten better (or rather, I have just learned to truly appreciate his art). Thanks to him, and his encouragement, I have let my own writing wings open wide.

I cherish our friendship and know that he has my back just as I have his.

Happy birthday, B! I love you!

Crap! Forgot my video!!

Advent Calendar – Day 20

In the spirit of Christmas and the Advent Calendar that has been revamped and re-purposed in myriad ways, I have decided to do one of another sort.  Instead of taking one chocolate per day (or wine or whatever goodie is in vogue) or adding one item into a box to donate for a good cause (a very good thing, indeed) I have chosen to send a little love to my favourite blogs.

Day 20 Sorryless

I met Marc through A Frank Angle’s (yes, Frank, this one is all yours) “If” Challenge last February.  It was a sign of things to come.  Miles and miles of comments back and forth, first on Frank’s posts, then on Marc’s, then on mine.  Can’t lie.  Didn’t take long before I was totally smitten.  In the relatively short time since, we have become the best of friends.  A friendship I cherish deeply.

Now… onto why I’ve added this blog to my Advent Calendar!  This guy can write.  I mean seriously WRITE.   He has a way with the phrase that just flows and meanders and roars and soars.  It can punch you in the gut and make you cry.  He is passionate about the subjects he tackles and is not afraid to put it and himself out there.  He’s funny, snarky, rude, romantic (though he’ll deny this one), smart, witty and ironic, to name a few.

And I am far from alone in singing his praises.  His followers all say what I do:  that his skills as a writer are exquisite.

Now, if I can just convince him to write and publish a book…

There’s Nothing Wrong With Me – A Prompt

Karen Craven, over at Table for 1 really loves to send us (Sorryless and me) some crazy things to work with.  Now she’s been a tad busy with her new job and all and is not posting nearly enough – yes, I am complaining – though she did finally share  a few lately.  Anyhow, she overheard this woman on the train the other day and this was part of the one-sided conversation she heard:

“Yes, I really like my box of macaroni.
Give me all my expired things.
I need you to get a job.”

And issued us a challenge to use this.  So, being just the right amount of crazy, we accepted.  Here’s my submission.  Sorryless’ fantabulously wonderful answer to the prompt is here.  Karen’s wonderfully fantabulous submission is here

 

There’s Nothing Wrong With Me

It was a regular Friday commute as folks boarded the 6:02 train towards home.  People jostled, trying to find seats or at least a pole to hang on to while others, as I, just leaned against the back doors or sides.  Books were taken out as well as iPods and cell phones, earbuds firmly in place.  A wall erected by those wanting to remain in their own world, not interested in their surroundings, not inviting exchanges.  I, on the other hand, love to people watch, see what they are reading, guess at what is going on in their lives, create whole scenarios in my mind based on what they are reading.

The students take out their books and papers to try to catch up on homework, business-folk break out the laptops and furiously crunch numbers because the days of doing work at work are over; you are now expected to work on your own time as well to get ahead.  A sad state of affairs, really. Everyone absorbed in their own microcosm.

Suddenly, a cellphone rings with an old-fashioned rotary phone ring.  “Dring, Dring!”  I look around to see who it belongs to and find myself eavesdropping, barely subtly, in fact.  The woman is seated in the single seat facing me, is in her late seventies, maybe early eighties.  She’s slight, her clothes hang on her frail body, two sizes too large and look like they’ve been rescued from a garbage bin.  Her stockings have runs in them and her shoes are laced up and seem the only thing she owns that doesn’t date back twenty years.  Her hands are those of a woman who has worked hard; they are overly large for her wrists with knobby knuckles and jagged nails that haven’t ever seen a manicure. Not that she would ever waste money on such a thing.  Between her legs are a trio of bags, filled with who knows what.  Her purse rests on her lap.

She digs into her purse and pulls out an old Blackberry.  “Hallo? …  “Oh hi, Doris. … Yeah, I’m on the train now.  Should be home by seven-ish.”

“What do you mean, you’re at my house? Why are you at my house?  Who let you in?”

“Right  I forgot you had the key.  Still, I don’t care, nothing is yours to touch.  Those are my things.  I don’t care what the neighbours say.  What smell?  I don’t need you to clean out my stuff.”

“Yes, I know I have lots of cans of beans and boxes of macaroni. They were on special.  And yes, I do need them all.  Yes, I really like my box of macaroni.”

What do you mean I don’t even like the stuff?  Of course I do!  What do you care, anyway?  It’s none of your business.  And no, they don’t go bad.  Don’t you dare throw any of them out. You wait until I get there.  And stay out of my fridge!”

The older woman closed her eyes, a mixture confusion and frustration lining her face.  I couldn’t help but wonder what was really at hand.  There was a feeling that this was not the first time this type of exchange had taken place.

“Just give me all my expired things…they’re still good. Expiration dates are a bunch of hogwash,” she almost whispered.

Voice raised:  “No, it’s not true.  Best Before does not mean no good after!” … “What, three years old?  It’s friggen boxed macaroni, Doris!  How bad can dried macaroni with powdered fluorescent cheese get?  The expiry date is obligatory by the government.  Just stop, already.  Don’t even think of throwing anything out.”

She pulled the phone away from her ear and held it on her purse.  I could hear her daughter’s voice raised in anger, “You are confused, Mother.  I’m worried about you living on you own.  You need to leave your apartment and move into a home for the elderly. I have already found the perfect place for you.  Mother?  Mother?  Can you hear me?”

I couldn’t help but feel for the poor woman and, at the same time, for the daughter.  Experience had taught me that early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s meant there were very lucid moments but also very confused ones.  I imagined the old woman had become a hoarder of sorts and the daughter had a helluva job ahead of her.

The woman put the phone back to her ear.  “Yes, I hear you. No, I don’t need to move into a home.  I visit people there, I don’t live there!  There is nothing wrong with me!  I need you to get a job.  You obviously have too much time on your hands to find  yourself rummaging through my personal belongings.  Get out of my house!”

She threw her phone into her handbag, rearranged the ones at her feet, patted her hair in that comforting manner women do, and placed her now trembling hands upon her purse.  She stared straight ahead, a mutinous expression on her face.

We arrived at the next station and a large bulk of people disembark.  The seat kitty-corner to the old woman becomes free so I make my way there.

“Good evening, Ma’am.  Mind if I sit here?”

She smiled, “Oh hallo.  No, no, please do.  Do you need more room?  Are my bags in your way?”

“No, not at all and thank you.  I’m fine and have lots of room.  How are you?  Are you okay?”

“Why yes, I’m fine.  There is nothing wrong with me.  Why do you ask?”

“You seemed a tad upset with your phone call just now.  I didn’t mean to eavesdrop…”

She looked at me with confusion, “What phone call?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woodstock For Real – Wait, What?

This is the way to hear music, I think, surrounded by rolling hills and farmlands, under a big sky.

– Michael Lang (Co-creator of the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival)

As promised… here’s the next installment of our Woodstock Wander in Mid-July.  How can it be almost mid-August already?

Wednesday morning was THE day.  We were finally going to visit the site of THE Rock Concert of all time!  To say we were excited, is to put mildly.  Two Fifty-somethings all a-giggle, I tell ya…  By now we have watched countless videos about Woodstock, totally immersed ourselves into the whole experience as much as two born-too late-to-have-been-there peeps could be. (And if we had been there, would have been too young to remember and would have had beyond-cool (or crazy) parents… Just sayin’).  One hour, some 60-ish miles away.  I swear, we are still trying to wrap our heads around a Woodstock that never took place in Woodstock.  I think B’s wonderful intro post to our adventure says it best here.

But first, we needed sustenance.  I had brought my crêpe mix so of course I had to make those.  But then, I pimped ’em up.  We needed to fuel up, after all!  A little bacon, some Swiss cheese and a fried egg on top was sure to do the trick – add to that some Québec maple syrup and we had ourselves a breakfast of champions…

No matter how many videos we had watched – and we watched many there (not to mention tons more since our return), we were still amazed to drive through the winding country roads towards Bethel.  We tried to imagine all those thousands of cars simply left willy-nilly to block the road for three, almost four, days.  Insane.  Did you know that 37 rental cars were lost?  Thirty-seven!!  Just one of those little snippets of information discovered…

We finally get to our destination…

… and there are huge, I mean HUGE parking lots… now 😉  We chose a shady area to park the car and made our way to the main building.  How did I manage to NOT take a picture of the outside?  I dunno… So I have nabbed the one on the site…

I don’t know how to explain the myriad emotions this place evoked.  Maybe it was just us.  But I don’t think so.  Maybe we had created an expectation by reading about it, seeing movies, documentaries, listening to the music.  While neither one of us had this destination at the top of our bucket lists, we were still thrilled and awed that our desire to meet had directed us to this place.  Just how did the Universe sneakily direct us here?  Our love of music, culture and history might have had something to do with it.  Whatever it was that did bring us here, we felt we were on hallowed ground.  Or we gave it that descriptive.

Or maybe, just maybe, we each have a little Hippie in our Hearts.

We purchased our tickets and entered, looking forward to – we had no idea what!

“We were ready to rock out and we waited and waited and finally it was our turn … there were a half million people asleep. These people were out. It was sort of like a painting of a Dante scene, just bodies from hell, all intertwined and asleep, covered with mud.

And this is the moment I will never forget as long as I live: A quarter mile away in the darkness, on the other edge of this bowl, there was some guy flicking his Bic, and in the night I hear, ‘Don’t worry about it, John. We’re with you.’ I played the rest of the show for that guy.

—John Fogerty recalling Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 3:30 am start time at Woodstock”

There were so many things to see, notes to read, we could have stayed in there for hours on end.

It’s funny… I didn’t take the picture of the sign explaining the fence but felt this other sign said it all.  This concert was going to be way bigger than anyone could have anticipated (Imagine how parties have gotten out of hand with the advent of Facebook?  Could you even imagine?)  People were not going to let some fence stop them from getting in…  Might as well give in.  And they did!  In the name of peace.  And debt.

So many details, so many stories, so many things to see!

There is a small theatre within the museum that shows a 20-minute movie about the event.  So, of course, we watched it!

So many acts played in those three days, that spilled into part of the fourth.  Sha Na Na?  Really?  John B. Sebastian wasn’t even scheduled to play.  He was a “filler” and, according to Ira Brooker from “A Talent for Idleness” Sebastian was the ultimate hippie.  I dig, I dig.  And, I didn’t know him.  And now I do.

Time to go outside and see just where this party took place.

The grounds around the museum are beautiful and a stroll was in order.

Though he never made a sound, I could sense B was itching to get to the site itself and I quickly snapped a couple more pics before joining him.

I don’t know why I never realised how much of a hill it was!  You see the pictures and there are masses of people but somehow, I just never focused on the terrain itself.  This sign gives you such a perspective of the size when you are in front of the field.  I purposefully left just a smidge of said sign in the second pic showing the road (we felt it would be disrespectful to walk on the grass itself – at that time, anyway!) we took to get down to the bottom to show you a portion of it.

As we made our way down, we could see, right in the middle of the field, a huge Peace sign cut into the grass (like a crop circle 😉 )  Too bad they have been suffering from lack of rain because it is a tad difficult to see, no matter how much I enhanced it.

We, of course, went to the official memorial monument (which bizarrely is NOT where the stage was…)

The stage is left of and further down from the marker when looking up the hill.  It was confusing to us at first but then I could see the demarcation of the sort of square where the stage was.

Standing on the “stage”, looking up I could not imagine 500,000 people.  I’m sure the 600 acres Max Yasgur rented out spilled out beyond… Plus, I do not have a wide lens… but still.  It takes your breath away.

I’m a farmer. I don’t know how to speak to twenty people at one time, let alone a crowd like this. But I think you people have proven something to the world–not only to the Town of Bethel, or Sullivan County, or New York State; you’ve proven something to the world. This is the largest group of people ever assembled in one place. We have had no idea that there would be this size group, and because of that, you’ve had quite a few inconveniences as far as water, food, and so forth. Your producers have done a mammoth job to see that you’re taken care of… they’d enjoy a vote of thanks. But above that, the important thing that you’ve proven to the world is that a half a million kids–and I call you kids because I have children that are older than you–a half million young people can get together and have three days of fun and music and have nothing but fun and music, and I God Bless You for it!

— addressing the crowd at Woodstock on August 17, 1969
Peace and Love…

We made our way back to the car, our souvenirs in hand (of course I got a Tye-died shirt) with new memories created and oh-so happy we had made the trek.  We may have missed out on actually being part of the whole Woodstock experience 49 years earlier, but walking those grounds sure brought us closer to the feeling that we would have fit right in.

Joni Mitchell didn’t make it either, but all say she captured the feeling exactly.  I was torn between the video where Joni explains why she wasn’t there – with a little catch in her voice – or the one she did right after the concert… So I put both!

Part 1

Part 2

Search For the Perfect Q-Ban – This Ain’t Easy – Take Two

This past week – and I mean FULL week of seven days, we have had weather to rival any Caribbean country – say, like… Cuba!  I’m talking a most disgusting average of 35°C (95°F) with that humidex factor making it feel like 45°C (115°F).  What’s a girl to do?  Continue on her search for that perfect Montreal version of the Cubano sandwich, of course.  Her partner in crime, Julie, ever the willing participant, agreed to meet me today, Friday, on my day off.  So what was today’s temp? 22°C (72°F) and it felt downright chilly!  Now for us Quebecers, who start wearing shorts when it hits 15-16°C (60°F), – sooner for some locos – this may seem silly.  But it has been hotter and muggier than the inside of Hades mouth so, this cool-down was quite the shocker.  And me, wearing a sundress…

Now I know Linds B. and Marc, over at Sorryless are done with the whole Cubano Sammy thing but they did encourage me to keep on it.  They apparently like when other peeps crash their party…

Right.

On my way to destination number two, I was struck by the sheer amount of garbage everywhere.  You see, here in Quebec, the official moving day is July 1st.  That means peeps are moving from one apartment to another and leaving shitloads of stuff behind.  I’m thinking garbage day in the area I was driving through still had not come…

Destination number two was suggested to me by a friend whose boyfriend just so happens to be Cuban.  He says other Cubans go there:  Café Cubano, still on the outskirts of Little Italy but now, on Beaubien East Street.  Traffic for Jules was horrendous, so I sat outside on a park bench in the sunshine (it was still warm, then).  Then I took a few pics in preparation.  Cute little brother and big sister skipped by.  I was amused as it seemed everyone who passed by sounded French from France.  Had me wondering what area I was in after all.  Very residential with little business like this one on the ground floor and apartments above.

Julie arrives and we pick a table.  Always a good sign when the other patrons speak the lingo.  We get the menus and I see that the Cuban Sandwich is NOT there.  And yet, when I Googled it, it was.  Hmmm…. I ask the waiter if they do do Cubanos and he says, get this:  “Not today”.  What?  “I am sorry, tomorrow you can have some.  Today we cook the pork and it takes hours. There are none today.”

Fuck.

Looked at Julie and said, “What to do now?  I am on a Cubano Sammy search.”  She agrees we need to find another place so here we are sitting in this restaurant, with our glasses of water we dare not touch, Googling for other restaurants in the vicinity.

We come upon La Bodeguita de Montréal on St. Laurent Street, a 7-minute drive away.  We decide to go with just my car – why look for two parking spots?  While I’m driving, Jules says.. “Hmmm.. their Facebook page says it’s closed.”  Dammit.  On the Google page, it says Fridays it is open from noon.  We keep going, not knowing who to trust.  We get there.  Door is locked.

Fuck.

More Googling, and by now, our stomachs are starting to auto-digest and we need us some grub.  We do NOT want to drive to downtown as that will take us a good 23-40 minutes.  Julie finds one on Park Avenue – but it’s a Mexican joint!  BUT the comments on whatever site she is looking at says you MUST try the Cuban Sandwich.

We need no further reason.  What a fabulous find!  Lemme tell you, Linds and Marc, if I decide to crash your taco party, Imma go back to this spot called Ta Chido on Park Avenue.

Colourful, joyful, smell of fresh bread cooking, kitschy as all get-out, we are charmed immediately.  Screw the Cubano, if we must.  By now it is quite cool and we choose to sit inside.  Then move to outside.  I did NOT know there exists some Mexican Heavy Metal… Thankfully it was playing pretty low (so wish I had Shazamed it 😉 )

I have to share some of the decor with you…

Okay, I’ve made you wait enough, haven’t I?  Let’s get to serious bidness.  As we were starving, we ordered a bowl of guacamole with the usual chips and chicháronnes. We stuck with water for today.

I explain to our waitress – sweetest gal ever – that I am on a Cubano mission and though I realise that this is a Mexican place, they do have what they call a Cubano… She says:  “Well that is what WE call it too.  But.. I am so sorry to tell you, we are out of jamón.”

Sigh.

Julie suggests we get two different sandwiches and share.  And frankly, that is a great idea.  So, Jules gets the “Tinga de pollo” – pulled chicken sautéed with onions and chipotle peppers, mayo, black bean spread, avocado, tomatoes, sour cream and feta cheese.

And I had the “Cubana” – breaded beef cutlet, pulled pork and ham (though there was none), mayo, cheese, black bean spread, avocado, tomatoes and caramelized onions.

Julie found the chicken needed some oomph and was glad to pour on the jalapeño sauce that was brought to the table.  I agree.

The “Cubano” had nary a Cubano element… but was very tasty for me.

We are 0 for 2 in the authentic Cubano search.

However.  After some discussion, and poor Julie still has no idea what a real Cubano is…I give it a solid 6/10.  Why so high when there were only two elements in the sammy?

That bread.  That bread was so bloody divine, I cared not one whit that it had never seen the inside of a press.  So good, in fact, that Imma go aaaaalllll the way there to buy some to make MY OWN Cubanos…  And for my celiac friends, they also make gluten free… though I would check out the facilities to make sure there is no cross-contamination.  I didn’t go look, to tell the truth.

The pulled pork was tasty, as was that piece of beef and caramelized onion.  Avocados are a favourite ingredient of mine and pretty much end up in all of my sandwiches.

The chicháronnes were light and crunchy and addictive.  the guacamole was delicious with just the right amount of smooth and chunk.

We felt we had made quite the discovery after all the shenanigans of finding a bloody place to eat.  Plus, Julie still wants to be my cohort for the next run.  Win-Win-Win.

As a result…

A little extra “blah-blah-blah” as our day was not done…

Traffic was gonna be crap for both of us, so we decided to go to the Marché Jean Talon to browse all the wonderful produce, get inspired for supper – right, like I was gonna eat supper – and maybe flirt with Frank from Birri Farms.  (What?  He’s gorgeous, Italian, single and such a flirt…)

On our way there, as we were approaching a stop light, I was pointing out a restaurant we had talked about when BANG!  I got hit from behind.  WTF?  Both of us were stunned.  I got out of the car and the guy behind got out of his apologising profusely.  First thing he asked was if were we hurt, then we checked our cars.  Mine had nothing, his, a cracked bumper.  I asked him if he wanted to fill out papers and he declined (I might add his car was a clunker).  Asked again if we were okay, apologised again and we were on our way.  We turned at the next street and pulled over to really check.  Nothing.  We both felt it in our necks – a light case of whiplash.  I know we are going to feel it tomorrow or the next day.

 

Magnolia Overture

Karen and Marc are at it again.  They have these little chat sessions and next thing you know… it’s prompt time!  I could definitely NOT refuse this one.  Somehow Magnolia became the object of their desire to write.  OK, OK… when you read Karen’s beautiful post, you’ll understand.  Just so happens, that when it comes to flowering trees?  My ultimate favourite.  Marc’s wonderful story is here.  I honest-to-goodness don’t know how they do it.  But they do it so bloody well.  Instead of telling myself I just can’t play with the big girls and boys, I shall simply strive to do my best.  Now I am quite late to the party but there was no “write-by-date” so…

Magnolia Overture

She loved to walk.  She had her favourite destinations and usually decided on the spur of the moment which one she’d take.  Turn right? Turn left?  Go straight?  Either one would end up bringing her joy.  On this day, she chose right.  Once past the residential houses, she ended up in the first park.  In winter, a hockey rink would have a few people passing a hockey puck, or, depending on the time of day, a solo skater, practicing his shots. In summer this would be full of kids splashing in the water games.  But today it was spring.  The air was warm but now and again a breeze came by, teasing with a hint of cool – just to let her know that it was not yet summer.

She walked across the first park, through a walkway, across a street, through another walkway and bingo!  There it was.  A  huge magnolia tree planted in the middle of a field.  How did that happen?  No way the city would plant such a tree in a park.  It must have been some good Samaritan or lover of spring blooms to have donated such a gift for all peeps to enjoy.

It was an older tree with a good-sized grouping of trunks, the flowers starting just high enough for her to sit beneath.  She had brought a blanket and her book but instead of reading, leaned back and let her memories loose.

They met just as the first magnolia flowers appeared.  Each on a two-week solo vacation, no plans, free to do as they please.  Both expected to spend that time reflecting, visiting, ambling.  One particularly warm day, she was sitting at a table on a terrace, sipping a cool drink watching the passersby.  He arrived and chose a table next to hers and ordered himself a beer.  They smiled at each other and continued their individual reveries.

“This is going to sound ridiculously corny, but, have you been here before?” he queried, smiling.

She laughed in return, “No, actually, I’m on vacation.  You?”

“Same.  Where are you from, if I may ask?”

“Canada.”

“Canada is pretty big.  Care to specify by province, at least?”

“Well now, I am impressed.  Most Yanks don’t even know we have provinces,” she grinned.  “Just teasing.  I’m from British Columbia, more specifically from Victoria.  How about you?”

“The United States of America,” he smirked.  She raised an eyebrow.  “My turn to tease — I’m from Seattle, Washington.”

“Jeez.  We live so close to each other yet meet here, so far from home.  Are you travelling alone?”

“Yep.  I always dreamed of coming to New Orleans, to be here in the spring before it gets hot and disgusting.”

“Nice.  I have never been here in the summer but I have heard it is brutal.  I’m also on my own.  We were supposed to be four girlfriends à la Sex and the City, New Orleans-style but they all flushed me last minute.  I decided that I still wanted to come here.”

He dragged his chair closer to hers.  “You mind?”

“No, not at all.  Why don’t you just join me officially?”  She held out her hand, “My name’s Charlotte.  Most of my friends call me Charlie”

His warm hand clasped hers, “Pleased to meet you, Charlotte.  Such a beautiful name.  I’m Dante.”

“As in inferno?” she could not help but ask, tongue firmly in cheek.

“For you to find out!” he laughed, eyebrows wiggling up and down.

She smiled, ever more curious about this handsome stranger.

Afternoon turned to twilight, turned to evening.  Soft jazz played in the background.  Their conversation never waned, food was ordered, eaten, neither remembering what they ate.  They left the restaurant and walked the streets of New Orleans, hand in hand, their conversation ebbing and flowing as if they’d known each other forever.

They spent their two-week vacation wrapped in each other.  Loving, talking, sharing, eating, laughing.  One room got cancelled and their solo vacations became a couple one.  They visited whatever took their fancy and come evening, visited each other.  Listening, touching, tasting, feeling, whispering.  Every day, as they left to explore, they marvelled at the magnolia tree planted right outside her Air BnB.  The blooms so much larger than either had ever seen in their hometowns.  “So beautiful,” one or the other would comment. and off they’d go.  Museums, Bourbon Street, French Quarter, City Park, Garden District, they played it by ear, deciding as they went along.

On their last day together, a sudden wind swept through, blowing most of the blooms off “their” magnolia tree and sending them in all directions, save the ones that swirled around them, encouraging them, embracing them as they held each other close, loathe to separate.  They swore they would return.  While neither of them was married they laughed and said it could be like Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn in Same Time, Next Year.  Both film buffs, they needed no explanation.

However, that also implied they would only see each other once per year…

 

 

Birthday Dinner

I swear, those two! Karen and Marc have done it again. This time they’ve dragged Frank in as well. Will be interesting if he plays with us this time. You see, Karen read an article, shared it with Marc, they extracted 11 words then emailed me, sending me a copy of the text that inspired this craziness (no, you cannot read it). Karen’s story is here. Marc’s is coming tomorrow, he said. Mine follows. And yes. It is my birthday today so, I went with that 😉

Birthday Dinner

She was invited to join her friends at the Clubhouse Bistro Bar to celebrate her birthday but declined, choosing to stay quietly at home, in her new comfy chair, with a TCM movie, a glass of wine and a burger picked up from the drive-thru. No cooking today. However, on her way out, she ran into that busybody Ethel with her passion for Jesus. What she would give to dunk that self-righteous Dinosaur‘s head in a bowl of Holy Water! Desperate to get away from Ethel, she quickly retraced her steps.

Sans burger, it looked like the Twinkies, sent by her friend, Marc, who was trying to bring her to the dark side after all their joking around about the merits of the “cake”, would be her meal. She couldn’t be cross with him now could she? She even gave him absolution now that she had nothing else to eat.

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Now, I know this was shortlived, however, it did traumatize certain, peeps…