It wasn’t a reasonable day, but rather a responsive one. I didn’t do dishes or set up Christmas decorations. I simply indulged, starting with breakfast at the Belmont Town Restaurant. It’s only open on weekends and the buffet is immense. Never in my life had I had baklava for breakie dessert. Poppy kept plying me with coffee and the Toronto Sun sports section lured me in. Plus Chrystal, the owner of the beloved Diner just down main street, was sitting at the next table with her hubby, daughter-in-law and granddaughter. Mid-baklava my friend came up to announce that she’d bought my breakfast. “Chrystal – no! Chrystal – thank you.”
What’s next? Well, my friend Jane was hosting a booth at a gigantic Christmas craft fair in London. What the heck? Go up there and surprise her. The event was at the Bellamere Winery, the same venue that welcomed Jody’s friends at her celebration of life two years ago. I walked into a flurry of festive humans, some selling and some buying. A band was playing. A little girl stamped my hand. And there was Jane. Surprise! We hugged and chatted. After a bit, I wandered over to the front of the room, where a stone fireplace rose to a vaulted ceiling of reddish wood. Lovely. At the fireplace, I turned around and faced the throng. All this colour and movement. And I remembered. The rows of chairs, the Kleenex boxes, the songs of love, the words spoken by so many. My whole being stopped. Two very different experiences, in the same space. And both were perfect.
Now zooming back to Belmont to the United Church, for a 50s Christmas performance by Frankie and the Fairlanes. Elvis songs, California songs, Hawaii songs, reindeer, Santa and “O Come All Ye Faithful” – mostly rockin’. And we the audience boogied in our seats. I flirted with the 80-something woman in front of me. We both loved singing along. Behind me, Sterling, a former compatriot of mine in the Port Stanley Community Choir, sent and received some good-natured barbs. Great fun. Plus some of my new condo neighbours showed up and snarfed banana bread with me during the post-concert festivity.
Two of those neighbours – Bill and Eileen – invited me in for a glass of wine. We laughed at each other’s stories. I recited “Twas The Night Before Christmas”. All was calm. All was bright.
Back to London to the Cuckoo’s Nest Folk Club, to hear Boreal. They’re a trio of harmonizing women from Guelph. Tannis Slimmon was one. I approached her at the break and said “You are responsible for one of my finest musical memories.” And that’s true. Years ago, at the Home County Folk Festival, Tannis invited audience members to come up on stage and sing “There’s A Lift” with her. Such an anthem.
There’s a lift that I get when I sing this little song
There’s a lift that I get dum dee dum
There’s a lift that I get when people sing along
That’s a lift I’m getting right now
Jude, Katherine and Tannis finished with “Silent Night”, offering us exquisite harmony. And we fifty souls offered it right back. No instruments, just the voice.
I’m so glad to be alive.