Wednesday, August 23, 2017
About the Quebec license plate. Je me souviens. I got local commentary to the effect that it means “I remember every time the English screwed us.” I wouldn’t be surprised. Adam Symansky, our National Film Board Producer friend, made a documentary about it. You can find it at the NFB website https://www.nfb.ca. You can see the English online just by searching there for “A license to remember” and clicking through. His wife, Judy, wrote “In my totally unbiased opinion it is a very interesting film for anyone interested in Quebec, and it has some really funny moments, too.” It might be hard for anyone who has not lived here to understand, but I found it spot on – if there’s a spot to be on.
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
We had a quiet day at the Holiday Inn. I wanted Elvon to rest up for the big trip to Cornwall. I washed and ironed and wrote that last blog you got. For dinner, we met Marilyn and Ted Salhany at Le Sirène de la Mer. Jo-Ann joined us with the Gascogne order for Cornwall. I have known Marilyn since she was six, and she’s always fun. The usually great restaurant disappointed, though. The waiters had a little too much attitude, even for my taste. I appreciated that they would not serve us Kebbe Nayeh, because they did not have a high enough quality of raw meat. Too bad they didn’t tell me it was oyster night and I could have had a dozen, on the half shell, for $15.99. The deep fried kebbe was good, mind you. Ted had the fish and chips, because he had heard it was good, and I should have had it, too. As it was, I had octopus, on the waiter’s recommendation, and it was no roaring hell. The French fries came without the mayo I had ordered, and that took 10 minutes to get, while the fries got cold. The restaurant was filling up and he was busy taking orders, but he could have got rid of us with a little bit of attention. Then it came time for the bill. There were five of us, but, as only Elvon and I had had dessert, and we had both had wine, and Elvon had shared in the fatoush (Lebanese salad), I figured we should pay a bit more. So, we asked the waiter to divide by 6, give us three shares, Marilyn and Ted, two, and Jo-Ann, one. Is everybody following me? Well, the waiter wasn’t. I explained about 3/6 being the same as ½. I did the calculation for him. No sign of intelligent life Finally, Ted took over in Lebanese, and it still took another ten minutes before the guy got it. Oh well. We still had fun, because we brought our own wonderful company to the table.
Thursday, we were up at 6:00 am, a most ungodly hour, and on the road by 7:45 am. There was just a bit of construction along our route and we arrived at John’s office at 9:05 am, for our 9:45 am appointment. John’s 9:00 am had not shown up, so Elvon was in the hygienist’s chair by 9:15 am. We were both out by 11:00 am, with clean teeth and clean bills of dental health. Next stop, the LCBO to buy wine. I decided to be silly with the whites and bought Hungaria, a sparkler, in honor of Rosemary’s and my Hungarian mothers, Monkey Bay, because I am one, Gato, an Italian cat, and Mateus, okay, so it’s a rosé, for old time’s sake. The reds were better, Meiomi pinot noir and Sterling cab sav. We got to Rosemary and Nick’s around noon, and manhandled Elvon up the two steps into their lovely flat house, the only private home I dared. Susan Sidorchuk arrived just a few minutes later, with her eight-year-old Jenny. We hadn’t seen her since she was a baby.
Gascogne’s croissants married Rosemary’s lobster salad, for a delicious and very welcome lunch. A flock of Canada geese lighted on the lawn. I took this picture and brought it back in to show to Nick, who taught me everything I know about composition. His comment was “The heron’s plastic.” Their neighbor put it there to keep the geese off their lawn. It looks like it’s working.
After lunch, Elvon needed to go potty, so I put the toilet riser, that Jo-Ann had so kindly saved from last year, on to the john. When he went to get up, he still couldn’t do it, without a grab bar. So, three of us wrestled him off the thing. That took a lot out of him, more than we realized. We should have presented him with Grampa’s Captain’s chair, immediately. We elected to walk him to the bed instead. He didn’t make it. Luckily Susan and I were still hanging on to him, and were able to lower him softly to the ground, when we could no longer hold him up.
We got him to the bed, and Nick helped us get him on to it. After a good nap, and Nick found a transport chair in the garage, he was ready to join the party. It was a good party, too. John and Joanne and Sarah came over. Sarah had to miss our dinner, as she had her very first baby sitting job to go to. We had hors d’oeuvres on the deck, with the Hungaria, the Monkey Bay and an Oyster Bay, that snuck in. Then we moved in to the dining room, and opened the Mateus. It wasn’t all that bad. I had been prepared to pour it down the sink, but we drank it. We had corn-on-the-cob, the best in the world when it is in its very short season, and lasagna, and drank another Oyster Bay and both reds. That’s seven bottles for seven people. On boit, aussi. I wheeled Elvon into bed, and we called it a night.
The next morning he was still shaky, so I wheeled him to breakfast in the chair. I wasn’t feeling all that great myself. I brought my computer out to charge in the dining room, and he spent a good half-hour explaining his 80th birthday slide show to Jenny. That’s the most he has said to anyone, in a couple of years. Good on you, Jenny, for bringing him out.
After breakfast, which was brunch, really, we took advantage of Joanne’s being there, to wheel Elvon out the door and into the car. Joanne is a physiotherapist, you see. The drive to Montreal went well, and we were soon back in our room at the Holiday Inn, having stopped by the Gagcogne in Pointe Claire for all we needed for dinner with the Dedichiks.
Peter and Janet Dedichik used to be the Symanskys’ neighbors on Chesterfield. We often shared a bottle of wine and Gascogne’s goodies before dinner. More than couple of times, we actually made dinner out of them. The Dedichiks live in the Eastern Townships now, near Knowlton, and miss the Gascogne as much as we do. JoAnn, who was brought up on Chesterfield, joined us, but had to bring her own picnic. Such are her allergies that she can’t eat a thing they make. We had a ball, Janet’s smoked, salmon mousse, rilettes de lapin, mousse au foie de volailles, three wonderful stinky French cheeses, some bleu l’ermite, a good old cheddar, two baguettes, four bottles of wine and one of Pelligrino, heaven for us. The Dedichiks walked us home and Elvon was fine.
Saturday morning, he wouldn’t get up and join Winnie Walker. Luckily, I had had JoAnn pick up a urinal and a bed pan on her way over. The urinal got used. I tried to get him to get up every hour or so until I gave up around 1:30 pm, and started looking for a wheelchair. The Holiday Inn would have been happy to provide one, but theirs had been stolen. They went out and bought one, but it won’t be delivered until about Wednesday. I found the phone number of the nearest Jean Coutu, and found they could rent us one for a $325 deposit and $20/week. I hopped in the car and went right over. That took longer than it should have, because Google thought I was on foot and led me down a cul-de-sac, where I could see the Jean Coutu, but could not drive there.
They loaded it into the car, because it was too heavy for me, and Pasquale at the Holiday Inn got it out. I gave him a shower, right in it, and he was dressed and ready, when Roslyn and Real arrived with fabulous Chinese duck, Singapore noodles, Hong Kong noodles, beef and rice, and six daan tarts. We wheeled Elvon down to the breakfast room, and had us a god Chinese feast. Again, Elvon ate like a horse and was quite talkative. He also had three of the daan tarts.
This morning, Sunday, he walked to the wheelchair, and we had Holiday Inn’s good breakfast. After another rest, he walked Winnie to the bathroom. We’re getting back to normal.
I relish every sentence as an ex-Canadian. My first book THE CANADIAN SHORT STORY (1971) Holt, Rinehart and Winston, highlighted the talents of Hugh Hood and Richler. Sadly they are both gone. and Leonard too …..
Helen Megan said:
I lived around the corner from Leonard Cohen on Belmont. in the eighties.
Marge Mapp said:
Returned from David and Catherine’s block party to find your most recent blog post. Wow, it sounds as if it would be better for Elvon if we stayed at the Holiday Inn tomorrow night for dinner, yes?. What do you suggest?
We’ll be babysitting David & Catherine’s gang of four tomorrow, but should be back by around 4:30. If you need to reach us before then, you can reach us on Chris’ cell after about 11, and mine pretty much all day—except when we’re here at home, in which case we probably won’t hear the ring.
C cell 514-234-2567
M cell 514-702-6232
Looking forward to seeing you!