We hit the road a week ago yesterday for London Ontario for a quickie overnight visit. This was the fulfillment of an idea that we should mark the last week that my niece would live in Canada before she left on an extended Rotary trip to Germany. We did so – there are new memories now – coffee and a discussion about letter writing in Chapters during her dental appointment; some new shoes for us (I will wear them this year and think of her); gelato (or was it frozen yoghurt?) soup with multi-coloured chunks of candy floating in – ew; a brief and almost innocent water fight in the washroom of said gelato place; later Master and Commander, “the lesser of two weevils”….
We returned home by the back road route, through scattered showers and brilliant sunlight -did our best to get lost, but couldn’t – there are great lakes everywhere around here….
It was 1:30pm by the time we arrived at Mom & Dad’s to help set up for the post-concert reception with ice, wine, flowers and balloons in hand. Reba the dog bounded & leaped around us on her spring-loaded legs, snapping at the air with joy, jumping in the car and out of it as we unloaded – I SO love her, I SO love all dogs….
5 hours until concert time & plenty to do (though Mom had it all entirely organized): veggie tray, fruit tray, make room in the fridge, there will likely be 60 people, get the parking sign from the church, make sure the solar lights mark the path from the parking place, let’s have tea, wait I need to register our TIFF choices at 2pm or our Sept schedule will be shot, Dave Thomas is on the phone from L.A., maybe we need more sweet nibblies, Renee is coming to warm up, let’s do a quick drive in to Metro, yay we found little tarts there, oops we forgot to eat supper, time to go….
The (sold out) concert was performed by Kati Gleiser (piano), Renee Krusselbrink (piano), Sebastian Ostertag (cello), and Emily Aquin (violin) – all recipients of the Donna Steinacher award for post-graduate studies in music. It was held at the incredibly lovely Historic Leith Church, which has near-perfect accoustics. Everyone there felt personally blessed and honoured to hear the solo and ensemble music these people played (in honour of my good friend Donna Steinacher who so deserves it). The experience was a perfect illustration of healthy give-and-give in a small-but-mighty community: everything flourishes, everyone benefits, we are all enriched. I was in tears much of the time – I’ve played many times with Kati, Sebastian, Renee and Emily, and each of them is so very dear to me.
Duck out before the encore and drive home to prepare for the reception, keep Reba contained, here are the extra wine glasses, punch glasses, can you keep an eye here, oh here they come.
It felt more like 100 people in the house – characters, bulldogs, sirens, keen and sharp musicians, parents and politicians, teachers, composers, performers, producers and loyal supporters of the arts – a powerful, highly charged melee. By gum it was a good time.
Kati left the next day to teach and play in China. Sebastian back to his lucky students and Symphony in Prince George BC, Emily back to her freelance work in Texas, and Renee to continue her work in Montreal.
I had rehearsal the next morning with david sereda for his gig this coming Friday at Tone Yoga. I love playing with ds, love singing with him, rehearsing and performing with him. It’s been some years since we’ve done this – he’s been away in Regina, and lives during the week in Port Dalhousie. I’ve had my head and fingers deep into the classical world in that time. So when we riffed through the Blue Moon songs on Sunday morning, we were both crying tears of pure pleasure. If you are here in town, you really should come – it will be special.
Anna is 17 – a very strong, capable, resourceful and smart person. Her goodbye into her new life in Germany away from family and us was supercharged. I am very very glad Dom and I were there. Ah. The bird has flown.
We toasted her take-off with my oldest friend Marcus, who writes marvelous things here, is a consummate musician, and whom Robert Downey Junior modeled his Tony Stark character after (or this is my theory). Then we crashed into a lovely space made for us by Fiona, who is like my sister.
Value village for 3 hours the next day (half-price everything). Supper. Home. Sleep.
I wake in the sun-bathed grass and the wind-tossed morning glories to find that home includes so many people, so many places. Which is why I needed to write this.
I feel…. big.