Monday, August 07, 2006

Lucky, lucky, lucky

Last year I was persuaded, in a weaker moment, to go door-to-door soliciting funds for a charity. It was a snowy March, and my buddy Oscar, the red heeler, was game for the expedition. I found out several interesting things: (a) it's a great way to meet all your neighbours, (b) there are a fair number of single older women--myself included--living alone on the street (c) the people with the fanciest homes are the stingiest (the converse applies, too) and (d) a surprising number of folks don't bother to shovel their front steps. All winter. Which makes the entrance as welcoming as a drawbridge studded with nails.

Some of the older women were starved for company, more so because of the winter, and haled me inside with offers of tea and a chat. There and then I decided that visiting was something I could do.

A loaf of home-made bread makes a handy Trojan horse. Since the first loaf was traded for a cup of tea I've been having a wonderful time; what started as a feeling of obligation has morphed into a slew of new friends. One in particular encouraged me to cross Canada by train, which I'll be doing shortly (I hope it wasn't a hint). She's a thirty-year-old trapped in a seventy-something body that's seen better days, but she's always on the lookout for new and interesting angles. One hot afternoon I asked tentatively whether she'd care for a swim in the river; I barely had time to draw breath before she was packed and ready, complete with a quickly-assembled picnic. We hit the road in the VW van, free as birds, delighted as heck not to be stuck in some air-conditioned, windowless room toiling for our daily bread and missing all this.

As June said, you can work all your life and not have the sense to stop when you should stop, and never get to live it up like this.

It doesn't get any better.

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