Christmas day, I cycled up to the boonies north of Bloor Street after work, to share dinner with Vern's mum and her husband, Vern and his wonderful partner Helen, his sister and her fella, Hugh, along with four rather wonderful kids.
While the evening was not the most memorable I've had, it was more than pleasant. Debbie (the sister) and I reminisced about our bicycle trip across the prairies back when we were just 17
"Do you remember spending the night at that hostel in Saskatoon?"
"No, but I remember the jail in Yorkton!"
"You didn't see any jail! Hell, I didn't see the jail - just the holding cell."
"Well, I remember slicing open my finger after our tent got flooded!"
It's funny how such a hellish trip remains one of my fondest memories.
Hugh and I giggled anti-socially whislt perusing a Far Side book Vern gave him and, generally, the conversation was low-key, warm and perfectly suited to enjoying the naked greed of the three adolescent boys in attendance. The youngest kid, Madeline, who is 6, reminded me of just how god damned cute happy little kids can be. The boys, on the other hand, are entering the "awkward" stage ... 'nuff said.
We packed it in around 11:00 and I cycled down to Vern and Helen's for a post-party party, one which was more my normal cup of tea - conversation more intense and the alcohol continuing to flow. I finally said goodnight around 3:00 and somehow managed to make it to work on time.
Box Day, I took the street car to the ends of the earth in the Beaches, where resides my brilliant and beautiful 13 year-old neice's maternal grand-mother. Nuala and her mum were in town for the season and Nuala was her usual affectionate and ebullient self. She introduced me to her new hamsters, showed me some of art for her website (website! Lord I feel old when I think of how much our world has changed!) - and was modestly proud to tell me that she's going to be in a school production of Annie this spring.
The latter part of the evening was mostly a one-on-one with Laurel, my brother's ex. We did a lot of catching-up and more laughing, talked books and movies and politics, and even - for the first time ever - openly talked about a falling-out we had 7 or 8 years ago that has kept a barrier between us ever since, much to my regret. Not just because she is the mother of my niece, but for the simple, selfish reason that I have always tremendously enjoyed her company - not trusting someone you really like is a horrible feeling. I hope I am not making a mistake in deciding that (a) she has changed or (b) that I was wrong about her in the first place. In any event, we've finally talked about and that's a good start. I think we have a lot more we need to say, but I'm happy we've started.
Anyway, shortly before 3:00 AM I decided I'd better move along. Got home around 4:00 and didn't make it to work in time. In fact, I was 2 hours late, which is almost embarrassing. Needlessly to say, I slept like a son-of-a-bitch last night.
And so, on returning home from work today, I thought it was time to sample the opium(!) someone had given me as a wee gift a few days ago. Melted it down in a wee cup of hot water and ... Well, here I am, a little mellowed out, but not (I think - tomorrow I may read this and find that it is an incoherent mess) otherwise effected.
I know, I know ... yet another anti-climactic post from The Annals of Young Geoffrey, but there you go: this has been a largely anti-climactic year for me, so maybe that's appropriate.
Now it's off to The Rhino, to quaff an ale, read a few more chapters of The Lord of the Rings (I know I've read it (many, many, many times before! It's still a marvelous book, so get off my back!)
Yours &ct ...