Sunday, June 17, 2018

I don't go to church on Sundays

Given my lifetime of habit it tickles me to contemplate a possible change. The momentous change of which I speak is the day on which I visit my elderly mother at her retirement residence.  I have chosen Sundays as the most convenient day for this event.  Initially (when my mother moved to the retirement residence in the summer of 2015) my visits were more often than weekly.  Two things changed. One, I realized my visits were more frequent than necessary (and the traffic during the week was always worse). Two, I'm getting old myself.  Actually I am regularly feeling run-down. Walking even the shortest distance from the car to my destination is never a pleasure. Naturally I'm becoming more than a bit fed up with myself but regrettably that does nothing to improve my lack of energy.

It helps moderately to recollect that we accomplished as usual our morning bicycle ride today. Shortly after eight o'clock (and a pint of black berries and a cup of Yorkshire tea) we scurried along Country Street, Rae Road, 8th Concession and the Old Perth Road to fulfill the estimated 10 km ride. I blame this display of strength as the reason for my exhaustion later this afternoon.  But I didn't relent to the comfort of the green leather couch before having driven to the Mississippi Golf Club in the Village of Appleton for breakfast. Because today is Father's Day I was expecting the dining room to be bulging with activity.  In fact the waitress whom I called at the Club insinuated as much.  Yet my arrival at the trough was early enough to beat the late-morning bustle.  I was even able to secure the preferred raised table and chair overlooking the first tee.  There I settled while awaiting the arrival of my exquisite breakfast, sipping hot black coffee and feigning intelligent activity on my iPhone.

One of those habits of mine is the celebration of choral or liturgical music on Sundays. After breakfast I drove my car to the city and listened to Sirius XM. This morning the host was playing Bach (1685 - 1750), something reminiscent of the Brandenburg Concertos, maintaining as always the classic Baroque elements which instantly betray their Northern Italian roots.

The highways into the city and the boulevards along its periphery to my mother's residence on the Rideau Canal are invariably pleasant - especially as today on a warm, sunny morning.  The balmy weather did not however stimulate my physical condition which I find increasingly emulates any number of old fogeys whom I see bumbling about.  But my despair wasn't sufficient to culminate my objective.  My old mother and I spent an agreeable hour together, chatting about her knitting mainly.  This was a matter which I subsequently followed up with my sister to ensure I am not ignoring a maternal plea for more wool.  It appears that something was missing from the original account by my mother (who was forgetful). Not that that matters, it's just a question of keeping current with her needs.  Regrettfully I (and her physicians) have been unable to discover a remedy for mother's perpetual hip pain.  She's already taking numerous pain killers and it is the general consensus that any more would be harmful.  But I know how wearing pain is, how utterly limiting it is.

Meanwhile we're preoccupied with the fulfillment of our domestic duties - primarily medical matters and some travel insurance and financial matters. Our lives have become clouded with these concerns. But we won't permit ourselves to languish until these affairs are concluded.   The scope of our six-month sojourn in Canada is constantly subject to timing issues.  We've only been back since April 6th last (during which we've seen doctors, neurologists, heart specialists, audiologists, dentists, dental hygienists, orthodontists, accountants, insurance agents, car dealers, financial advisers and bankers).  It has been such a rigorous campaign that we are inclined to feel in limbo whenever there is nothing immediate to which to attend.  I am nonetheless always quick to add that these compulsions do nothing to diminish my affection for Almonte and the surrounding area.  As earnest and excited as we may be about Longboat Key we know there is nothing to surpass the appeal of our hometown and adjoining environment.

There was a time when I went to church on Sundays. It was a habit about which I was as obsessive as any other. I like to think my commitments are all-consuming. But clearly they are ephemeral to a degree.  The transition is at first mildly disturbing. What takes over is not necessarily purely curmudgeonly but also formative.  In some ways we've released our ties to certain customs; in other ways we've altered our behaviour to include new options. I must confess as well my personal augmentation of some of my more poignant historical preferences.  It pleases me to narrow my focus while at the same time brightening the view.

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