Friday, April 8, 2016


A fresh start is more than a carry-over from my law firm billing practice of latching onto a discernible alteration in the progress of a file as an occasion to render an account. It is a daily rejuvenation which permits me to start with a clean slate.  As trying as it might be at times to withdraw from the warmth and shelter of the duvet, the reward of the opportunity of a new day invariably kicks in.

No doubt the ceremony practiced by each of us every morning is different.  Some begin with coffee and a meal, others have coffee only. I have even heard of those who don't arouse themselves from the lair until almost noon (though I would never condone such poor behaviour). Beginning the day any time after nine o'clock is an outrage in my opinion.

The morning meal assumed especial importance for me during most of my professional career when I trudged every weekday morning to the Superior Restaurant on Mill Street in Almonte to join five others at our customary booth for bacon and eggs with toast and peanut butter.  Even the manner of eating my meal was ritual, the ceremony of arranging the ingredients on the plate, the sequence of lathering the toast with peanut butter and finally the order of consumption.  Without even looking at my watch I knew when the time had come to depart from the trough and head down the incline to my law office for another day.

After almost forty years of doing that I am now sitting at a dining table, staring at palm trees, a corner of a swimming pool and the glittering waters of Calibogue Sound on Hilton Head Island. Granted my open-heart surgery in 2007 abruptly ended my former artery-clogging breakfast but I still delight in the prospect of a toasted Ciabatta roll with butter and peanut butter. My regular breakfast now revolves around fruit and perhaps an omelet of Black Forest ham, cheese and chopped vegetables (green pepper and white onion). When eating out for breakfast in South Carolina I am particularly fond of "biscuits" which I enjoy sans gravy or even butter; and of course grits (a traditional food which can vary remarkably in quality from one place to another).

Almost without exception in my entire life, I begin each new day with fresh clothing, top to bottom and everything in between. The only time I might do otherwise is if I were ill or if I plan some immediate down-and-dirty task or sweaty undertaking but that is so rare that I cannot dignify it as an alternative.  It helps now that my wardrobe is so limited that I can readily launder it every day, including my bed clothes and night mask. I also routinely clean my spectacles (using one of those spray bottles) and also my "diamond" ring (which has a claw setting that allows accumulation of soap and oils).  For the ring I use a dish detergent which is not only inexpensive but very effective, more so than toothpaste or some industry standard such as Hagerty. While on Hilton Head Island I even wash my Crocs every day because I wear them bicycling and they always collect sand from the beach.

No account of morning protocol would of course be complete without including the rite of ablutions, the final act of matutinal purification. To begin with, I have always taken a shower not a bath.  The last time I recall having taken a bath was once in a failed attempt to lessen a back pain (with the addition of Epsom salts) and another at a spa in a Toronto harbour front hotel.  When I was in boarding school we didn't even have bathtubs, just showers. I much prefer the modern hotels which have only showers.  Bathtubs are nothing but superfluous and dangerous. The very thought of stewing in one's own juices revolts me.

Now that we have succeeded to escape the plague that is winter we have the decided privilege to bicycle every day. We normally don't get into gear (literally!) much before noon which in any event is my preferred time for the outing because the temperatures are warmer and the sunshine (hopefully) is brighter. This habit concludes the morning routine and begins the afternoon routine.

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