"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Friends Found, Friends Lost

Regular visitors know what a softie I am for sunsets. Here's the one I was admiring from the window of our suite on Tuesday evening.

Each day of our Montréal trip was one more perfect pearl added to a growing string...the last one was no different, but it had an even richer luster. The Chap and I were privileged to meet Beth and her husband J. We spent a morning together, starting with coffee and nibbles in a notorious park an easy walk from our hotel, and culminating in an amazing dim sum lunch, also nearby.

Because we have several special friends in common, we're writers with cameras, and I'm a devoted reader of her beautiful blog, it wasn't at all like being with strangers. There was already a connection. We'll always be grateful for their enthusiastic sharing of their city and look forward to our next encounter...on our turf as well, so we can return their lavish hospitality towards us.

As I was escorting them to the elevator, the doors opened and someone exited with a pair of fluffy white dogs on leashes. I didn't realise the hotel permitted canines. Not that we travel with ours, except to our other house, but it got me thinking about it.

Away we drove in the early afternoon, headed south. We stopped at a new-ish outlet mall near a ski mountain, and luckily it included a Tim Horton's--an opportunity to stock up on our favourite type of timbits, roussettes au miel.

My artistic homage to timbits:

Their advertising department needs to hire me, don't you agree?

I was equally admiring of a many-petaled rugosa rose at the edge of the car park.

We reached the border in good time and trawled the Duty Free for interesting items. The Chap came away with some Martinique rum. I found a nifty Montréal souvenir mug decorated with my favourite views. And a very spiffy handbag (oh, dear, that's two I bought in Quebec), plus a birthday gift for a longtime writer friend, who of late has become a fellow blogger (I won't say how old she's about to be, but most people consider it a milestone).

I snapped the inevitable photo of the sign outside the Duty Free Shop. Most people translate it to mean "No Dogs!" but we think it means "No Lola!" because it looks so much like her. Only she's got a nicer, longer tail.


There was no line for autos (only 18-wheelers) at the border (miracle!), and no one behind us, so we quizzed the nice Customs official about what documentation is required to travel back and forth across the border with dogs. Not that we're definitely planning to.

We broke our journey at St. Johnsbury, Vermont, with a return trip up to Dog Mountain--deserving of its own posting.

On reaching the Capital Region we left the interstate and passed very near the church of my priest friend who died. I cried a little bit. (His death was caused by a rare congenital heart defect that went undetected throughout his life, discovered only in the autopsy.)

At the supermarket, we ran into a friend and fellow parishioner from our own church.

Much closer to home, a wonderful meadow into which my friends the deer wander at dusk, and where I've seen groundhogs and mice (though not together) has been freshly carved up for a driveway and a future house. The old stone wall that the deer easily walk over has been breached to allow for the earth moving equipment, there's a deep, unsightly scar that will be the driveway, and hideous mounds of builders' fill piled up. It's a painful sight and I suppose it will continue to be. I've got used to seeing houses built in forest lots, but there's something about developing that wonderful broad, open space that tears at my heart.

On arrival our Lodge seemed so quiet and still (i.e. dogless), oh, so clean (doubtless a temporary condition), and the weather grey and cool. And roses are blooming.

This morning after the Chap headed off to work I collected the mail and the dogs from their kennel. Apparently they behaved very well. (Our friend the kennel-keeper always says that.) Jewel was happy to see me, as I expected, but wasn't freaked out by her first incarceration--she's so well-adjusted.

Soon as they got home, the fenced portion of the backyard was a blur of black and white as the three dogs raced around and around and around with dizzying speed. Lola was joining in the fun, and despite her fourteen and a half years managed to (almost) keep up with the two-year-olds. There was a lot of in-and-out at first--"We want to go outside and run! No, we want to be indoors with you! No--out! Now in!" Until eventually they collapsed here in my office--Ruth under the cavernous kneehole of my desk, Lola nearby, and Jewel crammed in between her and my chair, snoozing with a chew toy still clutched in her paws.

The expected news of a death came after all, I heard of it this morning. Nearly a month after his automobile accident, my friend's brother died yesterday. I wasn't acquainted with him but after all these weeks of praying for him and her and their family, it feels like another friend lost.

I have the very happy Montréal memories for comfort, and keeping busy is no problem--catching up on all that mail and return phone calls.

No comments: