Sunday, September 10, 2017

Cabbagetown Festival

What a weekend. I see that Angelina Jolie is in town at the film festival with all her beautiful children, the wonderful Helen Mirren too and George Clooney and all kinds of other stars. Somewhere over there.

Here, it was the Cabbagetown Festival on the most gorgeous weekend for it I can remember - hot with a touch of chill. The streets were packed with garage sales, music, street food, thousands of people ... today, walking down Parliament Street marvelling at the diversity of the huge crowds, I ran into a firetruck with, sitting on the back bumper, five firemen in a row, relaxing in the sun. What a wonderful day, I said, they concurred, and we talked about the peaceful mixing of people from around the world in this blessed neighbourhood. Need I say these firemen were handsome? A great moment, surpassed only by a moment not long before, sitting outside Riverdale Farm listening to a big band play my favourite song in the world, Macca's "When I'm 64." Hot sun, great music, all around booths with a curated show of artisanal products, jewelry, painting, weaving, food ...
 Fresh oysters on Parliament Street.
A transgender stiltwalker, very popular. Where else, O lord, would there be a transgender stilt walker in sexy frontier clothing walking down the middle of the high street?

So yes, it was a good weekend. At the garage sales I found exactly what I was looking for: a red bicycle for Eli for when he visits here, rubber boots and Crocs also for him when he comes, a giant bag of Fisher Price animals for $10, a set of Paw Patrol sheets, and a glow in the dark skeleton Hallowe'en costume for Ben. (I consulted with their mother, who's in Nova Scotia, before all these purchases by text. "@#$# yeah!" she'd write back.)

Some artisanal dark chocolate with almonds and a notebook, of course, for me, and some pretty cards painted by a local artist. And then I discovered a woman on Gerrard Street selling her own shoes - a big-footed woman who runs drumming classes and whose husband lives in Africa - and bought just what I need for fall, two pairs of boots, for $20 each. Hardly worn. In my enormous size. @#$# yeah!
Just one glitch - I registered, as always, for the fundraising mini-marathon on Sunday morning, a gruelling two kilometre run through the 'hood. Sunday morning, I got ready, stretched, and headed out at 9.40 to run at 10. Couldn't understand why a big crowd was gathered and prizes were being given out beforehand. The race, I discovered, starts at 9. As it has for the last 25 years that I've done it. Oh oh, the brain is toast already. So I missed the run, which meant that my legs didn't hurt for the rest of the day. What a shame. Otherwise, fun.

I know, the rest of the world is in such dire straights, it beggars belief - hurricanes, floods, the Rohingya, North Korea. Here in a little corner of the planet, a weekend of bargains, street food - my fridge full of pad thai, tacos, Chinese noodles, Afghani leek and lentil patties - and fun. Thank you.

My friend Gretchen just came over - she'd read the manuscript and had a few pages of thoughtful commentary, nothing too drastic, places where the timeline or the structure were confusing. After we'd talked about the book, we talked about our young lives, where she was and what she was doing in 1979 when I was having the adventures described in the book. Another great thing about being a writer - when what you write triggers memories in a reader, a need to delve into, explore, and understand his or her own past.

@#$% yeah.


  1. Oh wow, are those Blundstones? How lucky!

  2. No, fake Blundstones, but for $20 they're close enough!