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Late Summer Afternoon

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I live on a dirt road on the outskirts of the largest city east of Montreal. It is a fishing village by some standards, an artists colony by others, and a tight-knit community all around. An evening stop into the one store within a twenty minute drive will get you all the gossip you need for weeks, and then some.

There are five houses on my road, including mine. Today, one neighbour, a woman studying for her PhD, invited myself and the women from two of the other houses over for afternoon tea. This is not a regular occurance, but she thought it would be nice to have us over before school began and things became hectic again. Her house is an architectural wonder of the world. Beyond my ability to describe, but needless to say, it has been showcased in television shows and architecture magazines. Her husband is an art historian who teaches at a local college. They are warm and welcoming people, with two children.

I arrived with my son, who quickly took off with theirs, scurrying into the basement to do who knew what.

The next woman to arrive is a Sunday school teacher, a deeply religious woman who has a daughter packing to leave for university and an autistic son who is going into junior high. She is a delightful and warm person, someone you can talk to forever, listening to her calm soothing voice. She brought her photo album of the things that they had done over this past summer.

The other woman to arrive is recently separated from her husband and it shows. Bitterness dripped from her being for the first two hours she was there, but it slowly slipped away, and her honesty came to be a breath of fresh air. Her children are teenagers, and staying with her husband for now. She is an artist, with a studio set up in her house.

We ate sweets and drank cupfulls of coffee and tea. Every one of us has children moving into new stages of their lives...this will be the first year of elementary school, of junior highschool, of University. We spoke of art and travel, of family and the relevance of different aspects of education. We watched the children as they swooped in to snatch a cookie, our friends' autistic son, who without notice, plucked a banana from the woman's kitchen, practically sat on top of me on the couch and munched loudly while we talked.

The children ran on the beach, finding crabs and countless other treasures, my son slipping in and getting soaked to his waist.

I certainly don't miss the suburbs. No, I certainly don't.

  1. Blogger Jase said:

    ...hey there Cathy, sounds like a nice day. I think you are cheating on the descriptions though. Montreal hasn't been Canada's biggest city since the 1970s.

  1. Blogger blackcrag said:

    Sounds like a wonderful afternoon. Can I come over for tea at your place, Cathy? then I can peek over the fence at your neighbours' architectural marvel and enjoy your company at the same time!

    I like architecture. If I was more math-minded I might have pursued that as a career.

  1. Blogger Cathy said:

    Halifax is the biggest city east of Montreal, which, of course, if further east than the big TO.

    So, when is the wedding?...:)

    No fences in these parts, so spying on the neighbours is not hard to do; hard to avoid, perhaps!
    You would like this house, but many people in the area don't because I am sure they don't understand it. I can't say that I completely understand it myself.

  1. Blogger Stephanie said:

    living in the city, we just don't meet out neighbors like that. it's such a shame. i'm still hoping you'll run into my favorite comic-book writing couple who live somewhere up in your neck of the woods :)

  1. Blogger Pat Paulk said:

    Cathy I envy you your dirt road!! Enjoyed reading!!

  1. Blogger Chloe said:

    that is why i love women. we can relate and talk for hours, there are so many things to say and share.
    talks with men are very good and enlightening but there is something between women, i can't pinpoint.

  1. Blogger missy said:

    Sometimes I get the urge to sit on people and much loudly. It seems fun! :-)

  1. Blogger erikku said:

    Who would love the 'burbs? They're so suburban.

  1. Blogger Connie and Rob said:

    That was a really nice idea that your neighbor put together. Sounds like you have a lovely time.

    Take care,

  1. Anonymous Anonymous said:

    That sounds like a great day.

    Today my daughter found what was left of my wind chime down on the next block. Somoen had stolen it in the middle of the night.

    I wish I could move.d

  1. Blogger Berlinbound said:

    Beautiful story of a special afternoon. Thanks for sharing a bit about what it is like to be a woman in your world.

  1. Blogger Oun said:

    What if all the people of this world could share just one day of peace?

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