Jazz and The Blues
(A lovely guest blog by Crabby)
We strolled along Queen Street last night, enjoying Jazz Fest, and Eventually made our way right to my sad and dilapidated marital home. The first place I ever lived in Toronto. The first home I shared with my new husband. The place where I grew to love the loveliest friends one could have. In that home I learned how to be married, and consequently learned more about what is and what isn't important to me. Such a heartbreak now, that little bungalow - the lawn is full of weeds and is in desperate need of a cutting. The ancient tree is mostly dead. The adorable elderly couple next door has moved to a care facility and their house has been replaced by two McMansions. My gorgeous lily garden is obscured by elbow-high weeds. Ok, ok, the reality is that I have never had nor will I ever have a gorgeous garden of any kind, but I tell you looked better under my care than it does now. Even the holly bush, which I raided every Christmas to fill our small, drafty rooms with cheer, knows the love is gone. It's droopy and overgrown all at the same time. Standing on the sidewalk, gazing at what was once one of my favourite corners of the world, I felt the same way.
We loved that little house. All the windows have since been replaced with decidedly un-romantic, non-wooden white plastic things. The old backdoor that used to let snowdrifts in, and through which Bigkitty could stick his paw has also been replaced. It's also white, but metal, with no screen. Coach lamps have been installed. All of this made me sad and lonely for our dumpy little house. The wooden sash windows were not efficient, but so generous and sturdy that they once trapped my kitten between glass and screen. The effort and the sound of pushing open those windows was almost as satisfying as the cool lake breeze that they let in. Yes, it was tiring to have to shovel the snow that blew in that back door, but that old door had such a huge clear window that I liked to keep sparkling clean. So clean that the same kitten thought she had discovered her escape route. If you've ever been inside and seen a bird fly into your window, imagine being outside barbequing, and seeing a kitten fly smack into the glass and drop unseen onto the floor. That was the magic of that house. The most fun things happened there.
Later, we walked home to our less dumpy, slightly newer home, soaking wet from the rain. At the top of our street we were met on the sidewalk by Phil Who is Not Dead, and Skinny Kitty Big Head. It's good here too, I reminded myself. My garden is only a wee bit below respectable, with very few weeds. Abby came barrelling towards us for a cuddle, with Huckle in hot pursuit. It's good where we live now - we're so lucky, really. We still have the same and loveliest friends, and the fun times continue. Maybe it's not one's environment that matters as much as those who create it. I've always been sentimental about places I've lived. One day, when we move from our current home, I'll be devastated. If we ever come back to visit, maybe my heart will be filled with the memories of Christmases and barbeques and our lackadaisical approach to home renovations. I'll remember this home very fondly, but never as fondly as that first one.