Sunday we go to check out the Rockabilly Brunch at the Dominion on Queen. It’s afternoon by the time we get out the door and we’d already had a late breakfast but we thought we’d partake in rockabilly sans food. The temperature is dropping but the sun is out, and it’s a fun walk I hadn’t done before.
Later, we're sitting there chatting and admiring the pretty and slightly dive-y (in a good way) joint and enjoying the music, when Ceri points out an old soul that has stopped at the window in the street behind the band and is staring in, mouth open, as if she's never seen anything so bizarre as four musicians standing in a window playing rockabilly.
She stands there agape, then stomps over to a different window and stares in some more. She's got the hood from a hoody underneath her coat pulled over her head. Her face in the corner of the window, mouth only closing long enough to take a drag of her cigarette and release the smoke in a frigid cloud that hangs sluggish around her head.
I wonder what's got her so taken with the Sunday afternoon happenings in the bar. She looks like she's probably a neighbourhood resident, and certainly music is a regular event at this spot; not as bizarre as it reflects on her face.
Okay, she's not in possession of all her faculties, but I still wonder what's captured her attention so. I think maybe she's remembering a past life, in which she’d frequent a place like this – maybe even the Dominion on Queen – and enjoyed music in the company of a circle of other locals. Or maybe she was even a singer once. Or fancied a young bloke like that singer in the rockabilly band.
Maybe she would come here on a Sunday afternoon, a warm place to go on a cold day.
I'm imagining all this and writing the moment down and when I look up she's gone. And I think, whatever the story, I like the idea of residents old and new being so much a part of their community’s fabric that they are in tune with every nuance; take interest in every whisker of activity. I think that it’s most likely that old lady was just participating in Rockabilly Brunch like the rest of us.
Community – in all corners of a city – beautiful thing number eighty-seven.
As I've done for the past ten years or so, I spent this past Canada Day long weekend up on the Manitoulin Island with my family. Spending this time together at my father's cottage has become a tradition for us, and every year we look forward to the events the tiny community of South Baymouth puts together: the parade, the community fish fry, the silent auction of donated items to benefit of the local museum, and the fireworks at the mouth of South Bay, begun just as the last ferry of the day departs for Tobermory.
I have experienced Canada Day celebrations in the large city in which I live, and it’s wonderful; particularly down in the Harbourfront where I live. There is action and music and tall ships and people sporting red and white everywhere you look. And back home we used to love to experience the magnificent international fireworks display over the small span of river between Windsor (Canada) and Detroit (USA), celebrating both our countries' birthdays.
But nothing makes us feel prouder and luckier to live where we do than the community festivities in a corner of that island where my father’s family settled generations before us. Small is beautiful. And with our family around us, we’ve got everything we need.