Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Canadian Thanksgiving


The flight to Toronto from Montreal was actually wonderful! I found a Samsonite whirly polycarbonate suitcase at the Montreal airport, they're $450 in LA and I longed for one, but come on. Here they had them on sale for $120! So I bought one and put my carry-on luggage in it. The flight was only one hour on a perfect sunny crystal clear day and I got some super pictures leaving Montreal and descending onto Toronto Island. Short ferry to Toronto and there was dear Frank waiting! We drove to his spiffy new condo on the edge of High Park, Toronto looking really lovely and exciting in the fall sunshine, the pretty quirky old houses, colorful restaurants, lush green foliage and red trees.

Leaving Montreal in a small prop plane

Approaching Toronto

Getting closer!

About to land on Toronto Island

After a quick introduction to the lovely new condo, with its stunning panorama of the park and the city, we drove to pick up Tim, who is looking quite wonderful at 89. A bit hard of hearing, and like Peter he smokes and won't exercise, but as sharp as ever, with smile unchanged. We drove to a lovely Italian restaurant in Little Italy and Elizabeth joined us. So happy to see her! And the food...I had Gorgonzola crostini and some of Frank's calamari; then the special, osso bucco and risotto, followed by cappuccino and we all shared a tira misu. Delicious! Then back to the condo to catch up with my email and sleep...

With me cousins! Tim, Elizabeth and Frank

Me and Elizabeth

View de Frank

Monday October 13. Canadian Thanksgiving Day! OF COURSE what do you think happens if you have rich osso bucco and risotto and cappuccino and tira misu and strong tea before bed? Yup, indigestion and insomnia. Didn't sleep till maybe 5 AM, got up 8:30, was absolutely socially useless, on the very day there was all the family to see, much to my dismay. Still, at least I was OK in the morning and Frank made me cappuccino (very delicious, I'm sold on his machine (memo to self: it should have a pump, be Italian, and you should grind own coffee beans). We went to a famous deli, Caplansky's, for breakfast (bagels lox and cream cheese); and we talked and talked about the family's lives and trajectories and histories, as well as our own Choices and Decisions and Plans. Never got to know Frank so well before, as it was with Elizabeth I did all the research for my book years ago. It was just the best time - so wonderful to have such cousins and to improve our friendship! Then we walked in High Park for an hour, to Grenadier Pond. Lovely country-like wildness, and ducks and swans and a chipmunk, red trees and Black-eyed Susans. A delightful time!

Found my scene. Toronto coffeehouse.
Red Tree in High Park

Swan in Grenadier Pond.
Black-eyed Susans
Frank then dropped me at Tim's and we were joined by Elizabeth and went over family papers. They gave me Winnie's copy of John Whitcomb Riley that the author gave her, signed by them both, and as if that wasn't thrill enough, also a lovely decorated Chinese silk scarf that Winnie or more probably Doris owned in the 1950s, that I will frame. A lovely time with Tim and Elizabeth, and Frank picked us up at 5. Drove us to Katie's for the dinner.

At Tim's

Mementos of the past...

 And there were Jim and Katie and Ian and their boys, adorable charming Casey and Jamie,  Frank's brilliant son Patrick, his mom Shelley and friend Jan, and various other family friends. And the FOOD! Bruschetta and mackerel spread and cheese and salmon and shrimp - and then the TURKEY and stuffing and gravy and sweet potatoes and carrots with ginger and green beans and pie. Oh my! All excellent. That was a Canadian Thanksgiving dinner, indeed. Drove Tim home and then I collapsed to sleep by midnight.

At Katie's house for Thanksgiving:  Katie, Elizabeth, Tim, Jim

Jim, me and Elizabeth

Brothers: Jim and Frank

Patrick, me and Elizabeth

Jamie, bless him, has inherited the writerly "fairy germs" - our novelist grandmother Winnie's exact quote, in "Me: A Book of Remembrance," was this outrageously, characteristically narcissistic paragraph (but what do you expect from a woman who calls her book "Me"):

"Strip her of her glittering clothes, put her in rags over a wash-tub, and she would have been transformed into a common thing. But I? If you had put me over a wash-tub, I tell you I would have woven a romance, aye, from the very suds. God had planted in me the fairy germs, that I knew."

(Equally complacently and narcissistically) Jamie and I have both got 'em.

The feast

Thanksgiving, Canadian version!

Tuesday October 14.

Slept really well and Frank made me cappuccino and the very best lox eggs and onions I've ever had in my life, with a Montreal bagel of course! I packed, musician Frank practiced his bass, and then Elizabeth came at 10:30 and we went for a lovely stroll on Bloor, chatting like mad all the way, WHAT fun, as I rarely get enough Elizabeth. We had TWO cappuccinos, the first in a Second Cup garden, talking about my family and retirement dilemma and Elizabeth's life and love as well; we stopped in a shoe shop where I had a power nap, then a bookshop where I bought 2 books Elizabeth recommended (The Purchase by Linda Spalding and A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews), a pharmacy to score some aspirin with codeine; and I also plucked the most gorgeous ruffled jacket from a shop's outdoor sale rack - only $10 and see how pretty it is! Finally we rested in the last coffeeshop where we had cappi and a good cakelike nutty brownie each. Truly great fun. 

Frank's divine lox and eggs - and Montreal bagel

Walk with Elizabeth:  Perfect coffeehouse background for The Jacket
Then strolled back to Frank's, bid Elizabeth goodbye and Frank enormously kindly drove me to the airport. There I did internet, uploaded photos, bought an excellent Italian salami sandwich for the plane. And now we are descending into LA, I see the city lights, and we're a bit early so Paul and Pam may not be waiting for me yet, but oh how nice it will be to see them and dear Peter and the little Angel-cats! Oh there are so many wonderful things in the world. Hit plays! Friends! Food! Travels! Cousins! And now, my family and cats!
Back home with my dear Peter

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