Welcomed to Belleville

I had never been to Belleville before.  But I’ll be back.  People were so kind to me.

It started with a phone call weeks ago to reserve a room at the Place Victoria Place Bed and Breakfast.  This fellow Gord was so … conversational.  This is good.  I’m going to enjoy this.  And I did.

Gord and Danielle are clearly proud of their home.  Danielle’s tour was done with such pleasure.  I loved the 12-foot ceilings, the white duvet in my white bedroom, the claw foot tub and clamshell sink, plus my own private sitting room.  But it’s people who make the world go round.  I was looking for a purveyor of liquorious fluids for Thursday’s supper, and Danielle recommended The Beaufort Pub.  The woman who served me at the bar (Valerie?) clearly enjoys Belleville, and I enjoyed her roast beef cradled in the world’s biggest Yorkshire pudding.  And my barmates were happy to talk.  We covered the NHL playoffs and the sad demise of the Bulls.  It didn’t matter that I was a stranger.  Nobody gave me the “Do I know you?” look.  Just folks.

Chatting at breakfast each morning was awfully fun.  On Saturday, I wanted to write a blog about my Friday walk, which took me way east on Dundas St. to a carwash and a convenience store.  I was obsessing about the name of the carwash.  I really wanted to include that but my brain wasn’t co-operating.  Gord took off to his computer and tried to find the name.  No luck.  And none with the Yellow Pages.  Danielle and Gord were even willing to get in their car and drive over there for me, but I asked them not to.  I wanted to write my blog and then get out into the Belleville world.  So the car wash remained anonymous.  But it’s coming to me now … I’m sure it’s called “Sammy’s Shiny Sudsy Car Wash”.  Yes, that’s it.

My hosts told me about the wonders of Sandbanks Park.  I’m definitely going to experience the dunes when I come back.  And Gord helped me locate a little strip of Belleville park near Great St. James St.  It turned out to be a wild place!

Still in the spirit of “We’re glad you’re here,” on Friday evening, after the performance of Jake’s Women, a guy in the theatre’s lobby asked me if I’d like to meet the cast.  “Yes, I sure would.”  This was Phil, who I later found out was the director.  He led me into a room off the lobby … and I’m confused about what occurred next.  It all happened so fast.  I think he looked at the cast members in the room and said, “This is Bruce.”  Then all these bright faces were turned towards me, smiles and hands heading my way.  I was known.  I was appreciated.  And I was welcomed into their dramatic world.  So touching.

Now I’m back in Union.  But Belleville is still vibrating in my heart.  My thanks to you all.

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