November 6 2021. There’s not a lot of point in going to bed early because you have to get up early, if you end up blogging at 3 am, but here I am, 3 am on the 7th, actually. The 6th was a great day. I had slept well and just had time to clear email and write the first installment of this. Just before I hit ‘publish’, I checked the time. 11:56 and my lunch date was due at noon. A quick call told me Rose Marie Ray was outside, and I had best get moving. Rosie is a friend from Tandem days. When I joined, she was the number one salesman in the entire company, and I consulted her on how to sell our NonStop computers to banks, for their automatic tellers and point-of-sale terminals. It was the eighties. There was a glass ceiling for her, too, but Tandem’s commission was so far ahead of IBMs that she did just fine. As did I. I was number 2 in Montreal, to Number 2 in whole company, Marc Chabot, who sold the Lotto Quebec account. Those were the days. The last time we had seen each other was when she visited Hong Kong, which had to be about 1991.
Rosie is 80 and she’s a triathlete, bike, swim, run. She’s coming to Montreal on June 20, when I am flying out to Copenhagen. Talk about timing. I’ll introduce her to Nancy Nelson, who swims at the world level, in the female old farts category. Those two will have a great time together. If you guys think I am high energy, you have to meet them.
We started out with lunch at Seasons 52, a farm to table kind of place, across the street from the Westshore Grand, but a trick to get to with a car. We should have walked. Lunch was delicious; butternut squash soup, a crab cake for Rosie, and ahi tartar on mango and avocado, for me. The desserts were something else. Here’s Rosie, her empty one and my full one.
I had been googling ‘COVID testing near me’ because that was our next stop. It had to be within 48 hours of sailing, so my Montreal negative test wouldn’t do. There was a Walmart across the street that looked promising, so we walked over there. The pharmacist was very nice. He only did PCR tests, but he was pretty sure I could get an Antigen test at the city outlet in Al Lopez park. He even called over to check for us.
We got back in the car, I got directions on my phone, and off we went. It was pretty scary, as the directions included a number of freeway entrances and exits, some of them on the left and often with half a mile to cross four or five lanes. God bless her, she got them all done in her honking great SUV, with its nervous passenger.
Al Lopez Park is beautiful and the testing went smoothly. While we were waiting for the results, we took a walk in it. I found this sign amusing,
particularly as the pond wasn’t all that large and twenty feet away, these alligator appies were dozing:
My phone vibrated. The test was negative, mission accomplished. Return to base.
That was easier said than done. Google is a perfect ass sometimes. After another merry ride, just like the first one, it dumped us at the wrong hotel. Somewhere along the way, we misfired and it promptly forgot where it was going. So, I punched it in again and the intrepid Rosie followed its new set of instructions, which worked this time. It was fun to be working with my very quick-witted friend again.
When I got into the hotel lobby, Willie and Isabel Gray were waiting for me. They had driven up from Cape Coral to have dinner with me. Yes, I know, this blog is all about eating. Off we went, this time to Byblos, a Turkish restaurant, that Willie knew. I had last seen the Grays at Elvon’s celebration of life in Santa Rosa, CA, in January, 2018, when Willie got to tell the canoe story to his largest audience ever. We caught up over bubbly splits, humus, kibbeh neyah, gyros and scallops on a set-up of peas and corn on avocado. Finally, veggies I could eat, plus a chocolate dessert, of course. It was all wonderful. We got the front desk clerk to take this photo when we got back to the hotel.