Monday, October 12, 2009

Thanksgiving Monday Snooze

Shortly before noon today we drove from Ottawa where we had earlier been recapitulating with my parents the events of yesterday's family turkey dinner, a tradition of copiousness and excess which my elderly mother insists upon hosting every year in spite of her advancing age and all the work and preparation it involves. Following our brief but blunt dissection of the social components of the gathering (always a source of contention in our clan, compiled as it is of so many strong willed and opinionated characters), we reclaimed the chafing dish in which we had transported the leek concoction (our small contribution to the feast, along with the red and white wines) and then departed fairly abruptly, seeking with some gusto to remove ourselves from the heat of the reignited embers of the fray and frazzle of immutable family politics and economics.

Zestfully putting distance between ourselves and the scene of the crime (and metaphorically washing our hands of its effects and vowing once again to avoid it in the future - though we seldom succeed), we skirted the edge of Lanark County into the pacific and wide open regions of Renfrew County, then westward along the highway through the sun dappled countryside to the corner two-storey cottage, a renovated white clapboard derelict which now houses an intimate beanery where the food is above average (at least judging by the breakfasts we've had there recently). To my surprise there weren't many people. We concluded that the rural population, rather than spending the time today to see the Fall scenery, was engaged in enjoying their own family celebrations mid-day. We both ordered the daily special, which was a corn chowder soup, hot beef sandwich with gravy and vegetables, followed by rice pudding and whipped cream, all washed down with a large glass of refreshing milk.

Small wonder the day afterwards quickly overtook us and the inviting prospect of an afternoon snooze began to gather momentum. We determined to return home immediately, but not without taking the long scenic drive on the back roads, through the Villages of Appleton and Blakeney, which only added to the soporific effect of the meal. In my mind (as I drove) I had already begun to orchestrate the prostration of my body and soul on the green leather couch in the fireplace room, buried in a blanket, bathed in the drowsy afternoon sunlight, soothed by the chorus and cadences of Arvo Pärt's haunting music which always reminds me of an empty grey house in a vast and otherwise empty snowbound Lappland.

At home, it was the work of a moment to get myself undressed and into my more comfortable lounging clothes, then I simply collapsed onto the couch, pulling the blanket upon me. The yellow sunshine from the adjoining deck was manifesting the rich colours on the walls about me, the burl walnut picture frame that housed the unique coasters displayed on a royal blue suede background, the kitten painting in the Japanned appliqué frame with red border, the dark hardwood floors, the brass lights and fixtures, the paintings. Connecting it all were the three manual clocks, the desk, the mantel and the Ship's Bell, all ticking on their own time, creating a temporary dissonance when you listened for them, but which soon became as soothing as the sound of a surf, and before I knew it, I was gone.

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