Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Despite the Hair in My Hummus

Our wedding anniversary plan for June 6 had been rained out, so on one sunny September day we  headed for the Toronto Islands. I was pleased to see the bronze memorial sculpture for Jack Layton near the ferry docks, and especially touched when I watched two people reach out toward it, one fondly stroking Jack’s arm, the second patting his shoulder.

On the boat packed with excited tourists, I noticed a young Japanese woman. Her t-shirt read, “Hug Me”. Old women like me can get away with just about anything, and I asked her, “So should I hug you?” She looked confused and was apparently not a native English speaker. I pointed to her shirt. She looked down, read the words on her shirt and grinned at me. I spread my arms out. She giggled and reached toward me. It was a heart-warming hug between generations and cultures.

While we were still crossing the harbour, a student from a large group wearing back-packs and matching tees,  approached and asked me to go to a club with him that night. Before I could do anything more than grin he said, “You don’t have to come, I just have to invite you.” He was a foreign student attending the U. de Quebec in Montreal. He and his fellow students were part of an unofficial “Amazing Race”  that would take them to Niagara Falls and Chicago as well as Toronto. 
As we talked, his friend filmed the evidence so that they could check off another task on their list. We chatted about their home countries and which Toronto club they were going to that evening. 
Although I knew he had just been playing and wasn't sincerely inviting me to appear at their evening party, it took me until later to understand that the prescribed task had  been a disrespectful poke at old age. It was meant to embarrass the students as they ridiculously pretended to invite some unattractive, doddery oldster on a date to a dance club.
Nevertheless, their sweet, polite approach and my willing participation produced another moment of friendly connection. 
And by “participation” I don’t mean that I showed up that night at "Cube". But I might have.

After the ferry ride we ate lunch on the treed patio of The Rectory, just off the boardwalk on Ward’s Island. The server was not only efficient but playful, telling us that we had chosen the “ghost table”. Somehow the table where we sat keeps sending orders and bills to the cash register computer program. We laughed with her and ordered a luxurious meal, celebrating our 40 odd (and I do mean odd) years of marriage. 
Imagine the Maitre D’s chagrin when I motioned her over to show her the black hair I’d found in my hummus. She gasped with apologies, snatching away my plate and asking if I’d like a replacement. Since I’d already eaten about as much of the appetizer as I wanted, I thanked her but refused. Our server came to ask if I’d like some apple-squash soup instead. Oh well, now… YUM. As we lingered in the lake's breeze, my husband with his beer and I with my thrifty one glass of House white, the Maitre D’ arrived with a bottle to refill my wine. Bonus.

After lunch we wandered around the leafy lanes between charming cottages until the ferry arrived to take us back to the city.

It was one of those days when all you can do is sigh with delight, smile blissfully, and whisper “Thankyou!”