Thursday, October 11, 2018

1000 Islands

Our departure this morning went remarkably smoothly.  We only omitted to turn off the water heater. A hurried retreat from the garage resolved that small oversight. Then it was a mechanical performance of our initial plan which included gassing up the car, putting it through the automatic wash and translating the few remaining Petro-Canada points into what we fully anticipate to be the winning lottery ticket for a reported nine hundred thousand dollars. From there it was an unrestricted launch southward along Highway 416 through a very agreeable autumnal corridor to Prescott. As we sank to the St. Lawrence River and traced its meandering shore through to Brockville and onto the Ivy Lea Parkway to Gananoque we passed by street signs like Mud Creek, Blue Church Road, Apple Blossom Drive, Dunham Bay Lane, Tumledown Road and Shipman Point Road. The spectacle was enhanced by the yellow and red changing leaves, the historic riparian stone mansions and the inescapable military flavour of the erstwhile garrisons.

By mid-afternoon we had checked into the hotel. Typically the place appeared deserted though hours later the parking lot was filling by the minute with new arrivals. Meanwhile we sauntered down Main Street to a bistro which served a superb espresso, cappuccino, pulled chicken salad, brisquet sandwich and pecan pie. The youthful servers reminded us of our age but they were otherwise efficient to a fault. Afterwards I swam in the pool and chatted at some length with a gentleman from Atlanta, Georgia. He and his wife were traveling with their teenage daughter who had a week's holiday from school. The conversation was not long in addressing Donald J. Trump whom the wife described as a national embarrassment. While the gentleman agreed he was quick to add that the family lines of disagreement were powerful. Oddly he characterized the animosity as not arising among those who feared losing job opportunities or educational advantages to immigrants, criminals or international competition but rather as the plight of wealthy white people who regretted their loss of superiority and privilege, something which is arguably consistent with the old white men of the reigning Republicans. When however the gentleman asserted that President Trump's playfulness as an entertainer was what had won him votes, I disagreed, saying instead that while I like a circus as well as another, I am not about to entrust my guardianship to the ringmaster.

In the early evening we strolled along the quiet cottage-like street to the River where we sat on a wooden bench and watched a tour boat returning to harbour. The entire dock was peaceful and virtually uninhabited except for the boat passengers who upon disembarking evaporated like gnats from the mist.

The balance of the first evening of our journey was spent wrestling with an inextricable “described video” setting on the television.  Our rancour and frustration escalated to the point of driving us to bed.

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