Sunday, July 15, 2018

Pillow Talk

Sometimes the most unexpected things happen.  Take this evening for example.  We were dining on this brilliant and steamy midsummer night with my sister and her husband at their very agreeable residence in Ottawa South. Earlier we had visited my elderly mother at her nearby retirement residence on Colonel By Drive.  The entire project had accordingly a decidedly familial tone to it.  After having reminisced about the general nature of our sojourn with my mother, we discussed preparations for the upcoming holiday of my sister and her husband at a cottage in the Upper Ottawa Valley. When I dared to compare the preparations to those we similarly make when going south for the winter, my attempt was cut short by my sister who insisted that we haven't the same volume of goods to transport.  We did however both agree that when travelling outside our immediate digs (whether for six months as we do or for two weeks as my sister and her husband do) we brought along our favourite pillows (the specific details of which subsequently ensued). Seemingly the study of pillows is a varied one and one which is of an inspired nature for each individual. The racy topic engaged us in all manner of curiosity and animation.

But here's what's strange. Shortly after we had abandoned our enthralment with the pillow talk, and while concluding our hors d'oeuvres of cheese and smoked salmon, the telephone rang.  It was my niece calling from California. Though there may be a tradition of Sunday evening calls which already exists, it was instantly apparent that the thrust of this particular call was that my niece's husband had recently suffered the indignity of an uncomfortable miscommunication regarding his overnight visit with a friend in San Francisco - not to mention the real killer that he had in his haste to remove himself from the guest apartment (and the preposterous proposal to sleep on a couch in the kitchen) forgotten his favourite pillow.  My niece was noticeably enraged by the mere repetition of the unpleasant account.  I believe she was on her way to a nearby store to purchase another pillow for her husband.  I naturally took the liberty of interjecting (while we all listened to my niece on the speaker phone) that there were worse things in life to report than the loss of a pillow en route to San Francisco (a proposition which momentarily froze my niece - who hesitantly adopted the thesis).

It just so happens that the matter of pillows - aside from being of an elemental personal nature - is one which only recently arose in our own lives too.  It has been about four years since we sold our house and moved into our current apartment. Among the things to improve over time were our pillows.  For reasons I cannot now recall, the recondite subject arose with my brother-in-law and we took his advice regarding a new pillow.  He had suggested a product sold by Hudson's Bay Company called Glucksteinhome Down Wrap pillow (the "triple-compartment, double-stitched pillow, designed for side sleepers"). We did some preliminary on-line investigation and ended by ordering four of them.  To speak plainly, the pillows are beyond compare!  Of any I have ever owned, the Gluckstein product is nonpareil.

We recovered ourselves from the gusto of my niece's impromptu telephone call by removing ourselves to the patio outside.  There we exchanged random information, made hackneyed observations about the sultry weather, then mindlessly watched my brother-in-law fulfill his ancestral ethos at the Weber barbecue.

It wasn't however until dinner that we engaged in the in-depth analysis of aging, retirement, waning materialism and the difference between money and things. The level of chatter was to my thinking oddly buoyant this evening. Perhaps it was my palpable pleasure with the afternoon congregation with my mother; perhaps it was the expert preparation of the food we were having; perhaps it was the serendipity of my niece's telephone call and our own discussion of pillows.  Whatever the reason, the casual talk of pillows or otherwise lubricated our time together and we realized it was almost four hours since our arrival.  We judiciously brought the rally to a conclusion and slowly drifted towards our vehicle.

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