Heading south from Tweed we spend an afternoon and evening in Belleville, catching up with friends from my libertarian days in Toronto, Karen and Herb, and my friend Nancy from my school days, when we both attended Grade 13 at Albert College here in Belleville.
Forty years of catching up with Nancy takes all afternoon over coffee at the bookstore, leaving Bridget off in a corner with plenty of time to sink her teeth into “Fifty Shades of Grey,” borrowed from the huge stack on display at the front entrance.
The highway takes us west to Toronto and north to Shelburne to spend a couple of days with family – my Uncle Ernie and Aunt Dolly and two of their kids, Debbie and Richard. It’s a short visit but includes a day at the beach – Wasaga Beach, where the bathing beauties are out in full force. Debbie resists, but Bridget and I don’t: I indulge in my first Bubble Tea – a sickly sweet drink complete with tapioca balls. Man, you don’t want to be having too many of these and still hope to fit in the bathing suit.
Along with the Bubble Tea and the pies and cakes and all sorts of other great food that Aunt Dolly has prepared for us, we leave Shelburne a few pounds heavier, determined that the diet starts now.
Toronto is our next stop, and a few nights with my niece Sally and her husband, Lindy, at their home in Parkdale, in the west end of Toronto. Bridget and I make good on our efforts to shed our newly acquired pounds by taking a walk along Queen Street over to Kensington Market to check out what’s happening there on a Sunday afternoon.
Before we leave town on Monday, we get to spend some quality time with Dennis’ daughter Cayley and catch up on all her news. It’s remarkable how the years have flown by … I remember Cayley in her pretty purple summer dress as the flower girl at our wedding. And now she’s a grandma. Time does fly. As do we.
We’re off to Burlington to spend a few days with our friend William. Time to relax, get off the road for a few days, catch up on work and emails and blog posts, and it’s also time for Bridget to get set up with a new laptop with all the fixins, courtesy of William.
The days fly by, and soon enough we’re back on the road for our final stop in Ontario – my cousin Anna and her family in St Marys. It’s wonderful to meet Clare for the first time and their grandkids, Anysha and Atom, and we get lots of playtime in, including a visit to the carnival in town for the weekend, which is set up in a field next to the river that runs through town.
Bridget and I take an afternoon to visit nearby Stratford, home to the summer-long Shakespeare Festival, but no theatah for us; instead we stroll about town and down by the river, stopping in at an Internet cafe for afternoon tea and some time with our computers.
All in all, it’s been a wonderful two weeks in Ontario, visiting with family and friends, catching up on our respective lives – the ups and downs that have taken us to where we are today. Bridget has been to parts of her family tree she’s never been to before; and me, well, it’s just like old homeweek, always a good thing.
A self-professed live music junkie, Shannon is the author of Astral Weeks Live: A Fan’s Notes, a book about her year on the road attending singer Van Morrison’s epic live performances of his widely acclaimed album Astral Weeks. To find out more about the book or to order a copy signed by the author, click here.