Sunday, March 6, 2011


Last evening as we herded out of the Old Town Hall following the concert performance, the snow had begun in earnest. In typical March fashion the snow was wet and driving forcefully, almost horizontally. Walking across the bridge to our car, careful to avoid slipping on the icy surfaces, we mused ruefully upon the plight of those who were obliged to travel further than the mile we had to go to get home from the Judge’s residence where we had dined hours before and left the vehicle.

This morning upon awakening a glance out the window told us we were snowbound. The house and street in front were padded in white Marshmellow Fluff like a huge duvet. Overnight the temperatures had dropped. We knew it would be hours before the Town crew and our own man would arrive to plough the street and our drive. We resigned ourselves to spending the day at home in pyjamas. Besides it was a Sunday so the day was not entirely incompatible with being delinquent as much as I normally dread inactivity.

Puttering about the house is, however, occasionally not a lost cause. It is perhaps propitious that I had on my plate a certain domestic chore which though one would have thought it to be fairly simple turned out to be annoyingly protracted and challenging. As a result of having disposed of one of my paintings in the piano room, there was a cascading effect upon every other wall hanging in practically every other room in the house. I began by retrieving from the dining room a piece which as recently as Friday last I had taken from the office after I had consigned another painting from there. I placed the dining room painting where the other painting had been taken from the piano room. When this didn’t work I pilfered a print from the upstairs hallway and decided to take the other back to the office where its survey-nature seemed more appropriate for a law practice. Aside from leaving a blank in the upstairs hallway (a blank which of course was the more pronounced by the continued presence of an unseemly and purposeless picture hook), the piano room spot was not happy with the replacement. I decided to put the upstairs print in the dining room to block that hole. Desperate to find something for the piano room I searched the house frantically before settling upon a piece which though attractive, because of its place at the foot of the main staircase, was largely obscured in any event. It ended in the drawing room. Now the staircase wanted attention. Cautiously and without much hope of success I trundled below stairs to investigate what if anything may have been relegated there during a previous era’s purge. Luckily I found two paintings, one which would suit the staircase and the other which would be happy in the hallway upstairs, though both were only moderate victories.

Sometime later I revisited all these decorative modifications to verify whether I was indeed comfortable with my choices. To test my hypotheses I swapped another painting from the drawing room with the one in the piano room where all this kerfuffle began in the first place. It turned out to be a mistake, a case of “leave well enough alone”. In truth it satisfied my inherent resistance to change not to have to disturb the drawing room which is perhaps my favourite room in the house. One can only cope with so much revolution in a day!

That intention accomplished by early afternoon I allowed myself the exceeding luxury of reclining in my big green leather chair in the drawing room with my legs extended upon the ottoman. Within moments I was drifting in and out of the material world. I awoke moments later, remarkably satisfied with my cat nap, smelling the tantalizing aromas of a roast beef Sunday luncheon which His Lordship had been preparing in his usual unobtrusive, noiseless and efficient way.

Except to the uninitiated I hardly need observe that nothing happens in a vacuum. Deliberation is at the root of almost everything apart from the unintended and unfortunate events which sometimes afflict us. In this instance, however, what transpired was part of a larger and unfolding scheme. This recent business of unloading certain items (the paintings, for example) had precipitated between us a discussion of the many other items we possessed but which for some inexplicable reason we seldom used. As if experiencing an epiphany it was the work of a moment to unearth from the bowels of the upper shelves of the pantry our entire stock of Crown Derby china, dinner plates, side plates, soup plates, salad plates, tea cups and saucers. Then there followed the sterling, knives, dinner forks, salad forks, dessert spoons and coffee spoons. Of course such display beckoned the Bartlett prints, the linen table napkins and a new ivory candle for the stick. We were at last prepared to dine! And what an excellent meal it was! Even as I write I recall the smell of the gravy and the roasted vegetables. And there was homemade sweet potato pie for dessert!

The day wore on to such an extent that finally the driveway was cleared of its mass of snow by our faithful contractor employing his Bob Cat with cavernous shovel. For our part, after enjoying a cup of hot tea, we gathered ourselves together and set out in the car for a Sunday drive. It was a bit of a mistake because the highways and byways in particular were far from cleared of all ice and snow. However we pressed on, determined to exercise the remaining day of our 90-day car wash card at Petro Canada. Upon arriving at the station we noticed a large vehicle exiting from the car wash still covered in residual soap suds. Upon questioning the driver, he told us not to use the wash because it was temporarily defective. Not to worry! For those of us who are conversant with the local car wash scene it required a mere moment’s reflection to identify the next closest touchless car wash, only a mile away at most. There we attended presently and satisfactorily completed our objective.

We are now safely returned home, wrapping up the schedule of the day. The sun has set. The CBC French station is playing its usual popular songs.

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