Leaving our quiet little peaceful community Saturday afternoon was our first piece of bad judgement or should I say timing. We had forgotten that the Grape and Wine Festival was on in St. Catharines and the big parade was marching down the main streets as we were headed that way. This is an annual event that Nat and I try to avoid. Nat not being a big “parade” kind of guy, he’s never expressed an interest of any sort to stand on the curb of a major artery, wave to people you don’t know and smile at little precocious children dressed in their Sunday best and sitting on floats representing some sort of business, school, club or association that we never do business with. I, on the other hand, have enjoyed a few in my lifetime, but recognized the fact that, in my advancing years, can no longer stand for extended periods of time, can’t tolerate mothers, fathers and the like blocking streets with strollers holding even more precocious children, along with balloons tied to such strollers and bobbing up and down in your face as you try to pass. Don’t get me wrong – I love children – just the ones related to me!!
We had planned to slip into St. Catharines to finally visit Bonnie in her new home. We’ve been side-tracked by other things and felt it was about time we stopped by and give her our congratulations. As we were headed that way, our little brains realized what day it was and we slipped into town the back way, managed to avoid (to a certain extent) the teenagers, the parents, the strollers, and cars parked hither and yon until we arrived closer to our destination. As luck would have it, Bonnie found a nice character home somewhat close to the parade route, and as the parade had just finished upon our arrival, we only had to contend with one street of teenagers, parents with strollers and a few cars parked hither and yon.
Our visit was nice, albeit short and we both felt guilty that she was still in the throws of renovating her kitchen, getting some wiring up-dated, and trying to unpack amongst carpenters, electricians and the like, all of whom had flown the coup for the weekend. Hoping to relieve some of that guilt I at least came bearing gifts – homemade chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal coconut cookies and some chocolate covered cakes which her and I both enjoy. I knew she would love to curl up in front of the TV in the evening with a good drink and a plate full of goodies to at least ease the aches, pains and stress of trying to settle into a new home. She’s found a beautiful one and Nat and I both know she’ll make it her own.
We said our goodbyes in order to visit the Bartletts, but being short notice they had made other arrangements, so we headed over to a couple of stores to kill an hour before going to the Mandarin for supper. As we were headed down the street we noticed a police motorcycle pull up beside us in the next lane with every light on that bike flashing and pulsating like crazy. Right behind him was the Liberal Party of Canada bus carrying Stephane Dion and his cronies who were headed out to their next political rally. Our third bad judgement call. We had forgotten that Mr. Dion was going to be in town, and along with enough police and security to fill any arena, the streets were clogged every which way you could look. In our bad timing we had hit the thick of it, as possible voters were heading home or to the mall to mull over what Mr. Dion had promised, ridiculed or predicted, or to just forget the whole thing and go for a good stiff drink!!
I’m not too sure, really, why the Liberals in their infinite wisdom (cough, cough) decided to come to St. Catharines at such a festive time. Not really thinking that too many people were thinking politics on that particular Saturday afternoon. After all the wine was flowing, the hot dogs, hamburgers and other tasty treats were ready and willing to be ingested with gusto and it was suppose to be a time of celebration. The grape harvest was good this year and who really and truly wants to listen to doom, gloom and false promises in such a festive atmosphere. Talk about bringing things down!!!
So the last thing on our minds was looking up into the windows of the Liberal Party bus on its departure out of town. As it veered off and onto the exit ramp headed for Toronto I was tempted to give out a shout and a wave, but I thought better of myself. There was no chance in hell that any of the occupants were looking out the window – they were probably huddled in small masses around Mr. Dion planning their strategy and rehashing how good, bad or indifferent this past rally had gone. Besides, I’m seriously thinking this man and his party isn’t necessarily going to get my vote this time around. I decided to play it cool and be the independent, don’t ask and don’t tell who you vote for person that I am. Instead I watched as the bus blew away in a cloud of road dust while the words of Paul Simon‘s song (50 Ways To Leave Your Lover) came to mind: “… Hop on the bus, Gus; You don’t need to discuss much; and get yourself free”.