MEANDERING MEMORIES“Meandering Memories” was Previously Published in a 2011 Anthology, “Taking a Bite of the Apple . Revelations”; Dove Tale Press.
It was a delightful day – one of those that make you glad to be alive. The spring sun lit up the inside of our tenth floor home almost as brightly as outside the wide expanse of windows. I was colouring my hair, a mundane task made pleasurable by my anticipation of today’s plans.
First, off to an art workshop that provided renewed inspiration and enthusiasm. My ink drawings, overlaid with delicious (I hope) watercolour washes will, in the future, benefit and perhaps evolve somewhat as a result of this morning’s workshop.
I was excited to spend the afternoon in quaint, historic Elora with my son, photographer Greg Paupst and his friend, stylist Janette Ewen who were both driving in from Toronto. I headed out through beautiful, Waterloo County countryside with googled dining options tucked in my bag.
After greetings and hugs, and with restaurant list in hand, we chatted and meandered along the narrow streets, the scenic Grand River and the spectacular waterfall at the lovely, stone heritage mill. We passed homes and store fronts, looking for just the right spot to stop for lunch. We considered Cafe Creperie on Mill Street, but quickly discounted it because Greg wasn’t into crepes that day. We headed to Whispers Bistro, but Janette and I rejected that possibility because of its dark interior. We just didn’t want to hide away from the sunshine.
We continued our stroll up Metcalfe Street to CORK. It created just the perfect mood with its welcoming, reclaimed brick walls and antique tin ceiling tiles which were set, not on the ceiling, but along one wall. And the spring light was a cheerful addition to the trendy ambiance.
And the menu, oh my, what to choose? We went with exquisite Mango Coconut Cilantro and Truffled Mushroom soups followed by Pecan Coated Grilled Brie, Garlic Shrimp and Seared Local Mushrooms in a Red Wine Reduction, all made even better with nonstop conversation, laughter, and devine wine.
My only regret that day is that I did not snap a photo of Greg and Janette together – those two happy, energetic, young people who brought unassuming but trendy, big-city style with them. A moment-in-time stored lovingly in memory.
SCENT AND MEMORY
I read recently that our sense of smell is the most important of our senses, since it is so connected to our emotions and our memories. That was proven to be undeniably true when I visited my son Andrew and grandson Sam in Grimsby, Ontario. While there, I enjoyed a journey back in time. Drawn into Jordan’s Garden Center, I soaked up the promise of life offered by lush greens of every imaginable shade, and breathtaking hues of annuals and perennials.
I entered one of the greenhouses and embraced its sweet, earthy, moist, and mossy scent, so reminiscent of my father’s greenhouses. That earthy smell suffused me with memories of the love and sense of wonder that Dad’s glass greenhouses evoked. Scent allows us to travel back in time.
On one of the nursery paths, Sweet Alyssum scent wafted on the breeze. I closed my eyes and inhaled the sweet fragrance which awakened childhood memories of alyssum mounds undulating gracefully along borders of flower beds in Grandma’s garden.
Memories flooded into my mind when I spotted rows of old pots stained white by minerals from the damp earth. Dad had terra cotta pots of all sizes piled up under benches in his greenhouses. Some pots had delicate, spring-green Baby’s Tears nudging against them, evidence of the right combination of fertility, moisture, warmth, and love.
For 30 years I had a collection of Dad’s mineral-stained terra cotta pots. I had a potting bench and took joy in transplanting new house and garden plants into the old pots. About ten years ago, when we moved from our house to a condo/apartment, I sold them at a garage sale. This new trend of decluttering is overrated, I think. We throw away treasures that connect us to our past, to the love and comforts that sustain our spirit. Why didn’t I keep a few? They generated fabulous memories which enriched my soul.
Meandering through garden centers each spring is as necessary to me as breathing … and Jordan’s is a beauty. This family-owned business has been in Grimsby since 1932 and is filled with character. But I felt a wisp of nostalgia and sadness when I saw the For Sale sign. It brought back mixed feelings of pride and loss which I experienced when my parents sold Robertson Florist, Nursery, the garden center and four greenhouses in North Bay.
Life brings many unexpected pleasures. The memories wakened by this visit allowed me to relive times gone by.
CONFIT de PETALES de ROSE
I visited my daughter Carrie’s home in the Beaches of Toronto. Carrie, her husband Tim and their two boys, Jack and Charlie, had just arrived home from Paris, France. They brought with them many memories and several jars of Albert Menes ‘Confit de Petales de Rose’. For those of you with even less French language skills than moi, that is Rose Petal Jam. The jam is a delicate, transparent pink, interspersed with equally delicate, transparent rose petals. An exquisite visual. What is truly wonderful, is that the jam’s scent and taste are just as exquisite and delicate. Long after the jars of fragrant jam are gone, memories will live on in Carrie and her family. Each summer when they pass a scented old-rose bush, it will evoke nostalgia for their experiences together in Paris.
Our sense of smell equals memories, lovely memories.
Many of the thoughts and memories that we relive are a blessing. My mother lived to 87 years. She died three years ago. Yet now, without warning, memories invade my thoughts. She is here. I see her smile, her reaction to seeing me or my children and grandchildren. My family was fortunate to have her with us for so long, to enjoy her warmth, her positivity, her wise thoughtful counsel, her interest in everyone’s current projects, and her pride in self, in her appearance even with pain and decline. She was a Lady.
I often think I feel her near. But tears well up along my eyelids. My chest tightens. The recollections bring a bittersweet ache, a longing that causes small rivulets of tears to flow through my memories.
Stephanie, my daughter, and her partner Jeff bought a farm within the rolling green Caledon landscape. On the acreage is a lovely stone Heritage farm house. It has deep window sills and deeper vistas which invite you to sit and dream. This was to be a place to love, work, and build new memories. It sits there yet … waiting for them to return.
About the same time, my daughter Joanna was experiencing the end of her dream, her marriage. Happiness, sadness, upheaval.
Thankfully, hope and dreams are renewable commodities. New life, new home, new love.
ALL THAT GLITTERS
My husband Greg and I seem to be entering yet another of life’s stages. There is time now to experience the excitement and joy of grandchildren’s hockey, soccer, baseball, snowboarding, rowing, skating, skateboarding and driving achievements. The next generation are dipping their toes in the water of life, experimenting, growing, and acquiring their own memories.
Memories sweet, and memories poignant, are like life itself. They are comprised of ups and downs, ebb and flow. They are like clouds with a silvery lining.