sunny, hot, temps 31
Stunning day!!! Full on summer. Noticing that the temperature in NYC is 36. Wow...bet it feels way hotter than that too. We're planning to pack underwear, and that's all. If we weren't bashful Canadians, we wouldn't even pack that. Off to NYC Thursday, back Sunday.
It's our friend Gary's birthday. Happy birthday, Gary!!!
His wife, and my great friend, Cheryl and I had breakfast outside at le Cafetier in Sutton. Sitting on the terrasse with bowls of cafe au lait, and each of us had the fresh fruit plate with yoghurt and honey. Yum.
Cheryl and I talked about 'The Plan'. I think many women have it...perhaps men do too. But while my prayer is to go before Michael, the fact is most women outlive their husbands. And most women I know I have 'the plan'.
Here's mine...and Cheryl's. We start a community. Each of us, by the age of 70 let's say (it's a vague plan), has a small home of our own design. But we'd be together in a community...with a central gathering place, a communal kitchen if we want, a place where all of us (there'd be as many people there as we'd like...all good friends...all relaxed, kind, thoughtful, tolerant people...stress on tolerant!!) We'd visit each other for dinners, or eat on our own, or go to the communal gathering spot and eat with whoever else was there. We'd see people when we want. And be alone when we want.
My home would be small, cosy. A living/dining/kitchen area. With a fireplace. Not grand. A place to curl up and be comfortable. One bedroom and a lovely, large bathroom. I would write, and listen to music and watch movies. Visit friends. Be visited. Travel.
My friends in the community would have homes of their own design. And live lives of their own design. We would support each other, but not impose. There'd be, perhaps, a small chapel - non-denominational...for prayer or meditation, or just quiet reflection.
Cheryl and I had a wonderful breakfast talking about that, and trying to decide where it would be. Anywhere in the world, presumably, since this is as much a dream as a plan. South of FRance? Italy? New mexico? Maine? the Cotswolds?
But we agreed we're daughters of Canada, and love to live here and would love to die here. So we got to thinking...we'd like to be within walking distance of a village. A place that was beautiful and peaceful. Where we could have a cafe au lait on a terrasse. We both stared into the distance...where, oh, where in Canada would be find such a place?
And then Cheryl started to laugh. She stared at me, clearly inviting me to join in, but it took me a full thirty seconds or more to get it. We already have it! And then we both laughed.
How funny....the thing we both yearn for, dream of, we already have. How perfect is that? How typical? I have all I want or need...I just need to be aware of it. And I think I am...until wake-up moments like that. Wonderful.
this 'plan' though was brought to the fore of my mind by a phone call we received Saturday. From Michael's cousin Marjorie, in Elora, Ontario. We visit her every year at least once. Amazing woman. Now 83 - never married...born and raised in Montreal but lived most of her adult life in New York City...worked at Fortune Magazine, and helped launch Money Magazine. A smart, funny, kind woman. A woman with a great gift for friendship. Who travelled around the world and took the time and effort to keep up with friends. Though she had two especially great friends in her life. margo and kay. Kay was a friend from childhood, and they did everything together...roomed together in NYC, traveled Europe together shortly after the war. When Marjorie retired she moved from NYC to Elora because that's where Kay and her husband lived. There she met Margo, recently widowed.
Margo's name was Morgan, but she went by the name Margo Oliver, and was famous in Canada as the food columnist for Canadian Living and was syndicated across the country for decades. Wrote many fine cookbooks. Marjorie loves, loves, loves food and Kay was indifferent to it...so when Marjorie met margo it was like a gift from the gods...for both of them.
Soon all three women, elderly by now, were almost inseparable. Except that they were all independent, in mind and spirit. Kay was the intellectual, the clipping service...who read the New Yorker, The Economist, the Manchester Guardian first, and highlighted the articles she felt the others should read. Margo and Marjorie traveled Canada and the US going to great restaurants. All three had seasons tickets together to the opera in Toronto, to Stratford festival...to the Elora music festival. All put up choristers for the festival and volunteered at the book sale.
Every time we visited Elora we got together with them - and I grew to be in awe of this friendship. to admire it. And even envy it. Indeed, in DEAD COLD/A FATAL GRACE, the Three Graces were inspired by Marjorie, Kay and Margo.
But, of course, there's a terrible price to pay for a friendship like that.
Marjorie called Saturday to say that both Kay and Margo had died. Suddenly.
They were both in fragile health, but still their deaths stunned Marjorie. And Michael. And me. I can't begin to imagine what it must be like for her, to lose not one, but both. To be the one left - the one to turn off the lights.
And yes, it is right and appropriate to concentrate on the great blessing of having that relationship - one I've seen a few people achieve, but not many. But, dear Lord, the price. Worth it, certainly. But I wonder if it's selfish to pray to be the first, not the last, to go?
Something else to add to The Plan.