Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – September 5, 2004
Summer’s Last Long Week-End
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – September 5, 2004 – This year has torn along at break-neck speed. I was just putting Christmas decorations away and preparing to start working with new clients on the third of January and now it’s Labour Day weekend.
School starts again on Tuesday and people are enjoying the last of summer’s long holiday week-ends – away at cottages, on vacation, on day trips or at events in our strangely quiet city. The weather is warm and humid with a welcome mix of sun and cloud. Outdoor patios are packed with people, cyclists line the Martin Goodman trail and sail boats are out on the water, eager for this afternoon’s CNE air show to start.
I spent the evening last night with Eric, Dorothy, Eva and Chris and we sat outside in my brother’s back garden and had dinner under the stars. Conversation ranged from politics, to books, back yard raccoons, travel, cottage life, relatives and lazy summer nights. Food and wine were exceptional – Dorothy’s best – and the company was superb. As I drove Eva to the subway station at Broadview, I thought about how fortunate I am to have such a wonderful circle of family and friends. I feel truly loved and appreciated.
Today Big and I decided to get out of the city for the day and enjoy lunch and a walk around Port Hope. We left about one o’clock and had a leisurely drive along the 401 eastbound to the Port Hope cut off. Door to door about an hour. We left the fast-paced city behind and entered picturesque small-town Ontario. We left my car in the “free” parking lot by the river and wandered over to the town centre.
Quaint little shops line the main street. The shop clerks welcomed us with a cheerful hello then left us to browse. How appealing is that? No high pressure sales just a pleasant acknowledgement that we were there. We decided to have a bite of lunch at Martin’s Family Restaurant. Not fancy but fast and good – leaving us more time to putter.
We found some great baskets – stacked in sets of four. Big bought a fabulous, patterned bowl for her dining room buffet while I nabbed a wonderful, red square wood tray made from a rubber tree and four small matching serving dishes. A silver cuff bracelet from Mexico rounded out my shopping and Big bought an orange shoulder bag. Prices here were a fraction of those in Toronto and we both decided that it was an excellent destination for Christmas holiday shopping. Great stuff at half the cost. We were back on the road again by five-thirty and in the city again just after half past six.
Even though I grew up in a small town, I can’t imagine living in one now. The shops and restaurants close at five o’clock and the town shuts down – quiet as a tomb. Even though I may not always take advantage of all the amenities Toronto has – I know they are there whenever I choose to explore the city and partake of her many offerings. Toronto is the heart of my life – my centre and my home. I’ll probably never live anywhere else. So as delightful as Port Hope is, it remains a wonderful day trip on a sunny, summer day.
I still have tomorrow to enjoy, before summer surrenders the last of her treasured holiday weekends. Fall leaves will soon usher in the colours of the harvest, September fairs will pop up in Ontario’s small towns, kids will be planning costumes for Halloween and the Royal Winter Fair will be in full swing.
Then the winter holiday season will signal an end to 2004. But just for tomorrow, I’m going to relax and spend some time being grateful for the many things that make my life full and rewarding. On July 23, 1894 the Canadian Government enacted legislation that marked the first Monday of September as “Labour Day” – a holiday well worth honouring in a weekend that caps off our Canadian summer season.