yesterday, a doubleheader of the distinctly unfortunate kind – not one, but two friends’ obits in the local rag, the times-colonialist (yes, this city stuck in Empire I’m afraid). 

the first, a friend killed on his motorcyle on a placid, late summer early morning ride. 

a cup of coffee at a favourite spot, back on the bike to head home. no traffic. no rain. just nice straight road, the light of 7 a.m. august (soft/crumbling at the edges). an SUV from out of nowhere. too fast. done. and a coward that couldn’t even stop to look at what he had destroyed. now there’s an 11 year old out there without a father.

the next night another phone call. I didn’t return as it was too late and was still in shock. but bought the paper yesterday to read my friend’s obit and saw Jimmy’s. oh crap, now I know why G. called me and left an urgent “call me”. another gone. and Jimmy, always one to put a smile on my face. this kind of person, pure gold.

so last night. I prepared a feast. good food. wine. good company. laugh and cry. my daughter played her new fiddle – a beauty of Manitoba maple made by the great Metis fiddler John Arcand, one of our country’s national treasures. what else can we do in times like these?

and this morning. I pick up an old companion for sad times. E.B.White’s The Points of My Compass. Letters from the East, the West, the North, the South. “Dispatches of a self-appointed foreign correspondent who elected to stay home”. sure to cheer me. I unpacked it just last week, finally getting to boxes packed before we left for Edinburgh 4 years ago, and left in storage. unpacked and fortunately, mouseless.

so I’m off to mid-1950’s New England for the morning. Fred, the smelly dash-hound, the chickens, the storms off the Atlantic, the world before air conditioning, laptops, television actually…

little escapes in 5000 words or less.


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