Sunday, October 31, 2004

Winding down the weekend

Happy Halloween, Small... :)

Friday, as I got in the car on my way home, my thoughts were of Jody, and I was wondering if he could ever make himself known to me from... y'know... the Other Side. There were a couple of things I needed to pick up, so I got off the 404 at Steeles. At the off ramp, waiting to turn onto Steeles, I stopped behind a car with a license plate that read NVRFRGTU... "never forget you". My first thought was, yeah, Jody... I'll never forget you. But then as I turned into the parking lot of the shopping centre, I suddenly realized if maybe this wasn't a message for me. Something Jody wanted me to see. Yeah, yeah, I know... the human mind is an amazing instrument for exaggering trends and inferring patterns that aren't there. But who can say for sure? It sure would be sweet to find out I was gently nudged, somehow, to be given just the quietest of whispers, if I would only listen.

Yesterday, Saturday, the weather was great here. Got to about 20 degrees. I broke out the sandals for the first time in weeks. Early in the afternoon, I decided to head to Lick's for a turkey burger, as previously mentioned this this journal. On my way there, I passed this little park I've passed a hundred times now without stopping. This time, I decided to have a look. I pulled into an adjacent parking lot and trotted down into the valley. This part of the city was built in the mid-to-late 1960s. The bridge I had just crossed had a plaque announcing it was built in 1968. I knew for aerial photos I have that a smaller bridge had once been here, though what purpose it served (since the road I'd just come down wasn't built till 1964) I can only imagine. So I thought I'd take a look.

I noticed a stone building, the roof all caved in. I decided what the hey, and took off my sandals, and indulged myself in one last, brief, barefoot hike before winter sets in. I wandered up to the building. It was covered in graceless graffiti, and had two rooms. One houses some sort of giant container. The other was just some kind of utility room, I guess. I wonder what purpose it served? It couldn't have been anyone's home; it was way too small; smaller than my master bedroom, or no larger. Padding off through the grass towards the river, I followed a foot path to the water. That old bridge from the photos was gone, but I did find a pair of concrete bank abutments where it must have once been. The banks have been heavily re-engineered. No evidence of the road at all exists.

As I headed back, I noticed another small building, across the gravel path. I went up to investigate it. It was a tiny thing, almost built into the hillside. If two or three people could fit into it, that would be the limit. It concrete, flat on top, but had a weird, almost gothic look to it. What in the world was it for? All kind of mysterious.

I called P-Doug and G when I got home. I was bored, and I rememberd this Irish shop down on Kingston Rd. I went to a couple of years ago when I got my Irish citizenship. I wanted to go back there. They reminded me where it was, so I set off. It was pouring by then. I have a pair of 4-CD sets of Canadian music, and I put on one that has Ahead By a Century by The Tragically Hip, a song I found I've had the video to for nearly two years now. I listened to the song about half a dozen times as I drove south. I can't believe this song's been around since 1996 and I'm not familiar with it. Shame on me.

When I got the place, it was locked. There was this woman inside, smiling at me. When she realized I meant to come in and couldn't, she jumped up. She explained, in an Irish lilt, that she'd been using the facilities and had locked the door and forgotten to unlock it. I bought an Irish flag for my car to go with my Canadian one (okay, a bit demonstrative, I'll admit, but not what I'd call flamboyant), and an Irish-European Union patch that I'll eventually iron on something. I was looking for just such an item for my car window, actually. Why is it so hard to find a blue bumper sticker with twelve gold stars and IRL in white in the middle? Every other fucken immigrant from the EU has such a sticker from their country on their jalopies. I feel left out. Anyway, she told me she and her husband had been in Canada 38 years (I didn't say it, because it would have sounded insincere, but she looked to me to be in her mid-to-late 40s... obviously she wasn't 10 when she moved here, so I'd say she's doing very well!). We got to talking, and she told me she had two children, and her daughter, a single woman 29 years old, had moved to Dublin two years ago and loved it. She told me that there was a lot of work in Ireland these days, but prices had gone through the roof. Times were, she and her husband went home every year and scooped up bargains to bring back to Canada. Not anymore! They still go home every year, but there are no more bargains when the euro's worth about a buck and a half Canadian. She told me she and her husband were heading back in a few weeks and staying till March! Dodging the snow. Good plan! I wish I could do that. A job that wintered me in Dublin and summered me in Toronto would be awesome. :) She urged me to go see Ireland and suggested April, when the weather's really picking up. Fares are inexpensive. It's something to think about. Next year, I'll have three weeks vacation. Maybe I should make some plans. I do have a friend in Dublin; it would be awesome to see him. Thing is, the guy works. I can't just show up and expect him to lead me around for a week, a week and a half. It's an exciting idea, though.

Today was cooler, more like 12 degrees. Socks and shoes weather, sadly. Lick's gave me a coupon on my visit yesterday for a free Nature Wrap. Well, I like the sounds of it... joking aside, I decided to indulge myself again. Hey, free's free! Turns out it's kind of like a burrito. Rather small for three bucks and change, I think, but maybe once in a while. It was pretty good, just kind of small for a main course, IMHO. Anyway, I brought my camera with me and took some shots of the park, the buildings, and the little bridge abutments. I'll compare them with my aerial shots and see what I can figure out.

I guess it was right around this time last year that Jody started getting that pain in his side again, and was diagnosed with his cancer back. It was around this time last year his doctors told him he probably had about two years to live. You know, he didn't even have two years to live from the time of his first diagnosis. He started having trouble with his blood clot in his knee in May of 2002. He died in June of 2004. That's your two years. Retroactively. Jody started his own live journal around this time last year. I think he suspected he wasn't going to make it to thirty or much past it. I guess he wanted to record what was going on in his life so there'd be some record of his having been here. Something tangible that we could still point to when he was gone to remind ourselves that he really lived, he really loved us, and we really loved him. And, for those of you who are interested, here it is... <--click on the link...

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