Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Split Screen

If evolving technology is a copper-bottomed indicator of anything, the "split screen" vernacular seems to be the latest rage. It is a feature with which I have only recently acquainted myself following the purchase of a 6th Generation iPad.  As with so many other technological advancements the split screen is not something I imagine will be of immediate persuasion or necessity to me in my comparatively diminished employment of computers but it will for the time being reside as part of my on-going hoard of detail.

What however did speak to me almost instantly was the coincidence that today I encountered elements of Canada which amusingly and unwittingly blended with our experience in the United States of America. I preface this remark by ornamenting with unqualified approval what I consider the vitality and sway of the bona fides which have long existed between these two North American countries. Though North America is relatively newfangled when put alongside Continental Europe, Canadians and Americans enjoy a long history of cooperation and exchange. Of more compelling significance for me is that for the past number of years we have spent six months of each year residing in the two countries. Nor do I hesitate to acknowledge that it is a convention I hope to continue.

My maternal grandfather emigrated as a young man from Massachusetts to Canada. On my father's side I have evidence that his clan was part of the British loyalists who traveled to New Brunswick after the clashes in 1776.

Information of which I am more certain is that my maternal aunt and uncle, and one of my nieces all emigrated to the United States of America (Michigan and California) from Canada. Naturally I have there as well a burgeoning store of relatives related to them. For my part my immediate family (parents and sister) once resided in Washington DC when my late father was a diplomat with the Canadian embassy. As a result of that ancient association my family continues to this day to have meaningful personal relations with Americans whom we met so long ago. I have also augmented my scope of Americans over the past forty years or more by frequent travel to Cape Cod whence I derive some of the most lasting and heartening relationships I have.

The events which transpired today during my routine bicycle ride along Gulf of Mexico Drive to Bayfront Park are not as intimate as what I have already recounted but nonetheless embrace a persistent element of conviviality.  As I parked myself upon the bench overlooking Sarasota Bay an elderly gentleman (who I subsequently learned was almost 100 years old) walked by and sat beside me. We began chatting and addressed the normal punctilios of tourist banter. Foremost he is a Canadian.  In addition he is from Montreal (my place of birth); and, originally he is from Poland whence my sister's husband's family emanates. We also have in common that we both lived in Paris, France for a brief period (I to study, he to work). Finally the foundation of our commonality is that we both winter on Longboat Key. I was pleased to learn that his wife (who is 96 years of age) is with him!

After we parted, I rode home.  En route I saw a French bulldog (Mac is his name as I discovered) which is stunningly alike the one (Monroe) we used to have, same colour, about the same size - and almost as delightful. The owner and I immediately engaged in a conversation about Mac, his provenance, his weight, his colour and his eligibility for showmanship (like Monroe, not good - a bit too heavy and a bit too long, features which I actually prefer in the breed notwithstanding what Mr. and Mrs. Westminster may opine).

I confess this isn't the first time we've cultivated an association arising from an interest in a French bulldog.  More years ago than I can now recall (perhaps four) on Hilton Head Island, SC we were introduced to a singular Frenchie by the name of Max.  It turned out his owners are from Ottawa.  We've since become fast friends!

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