I am recovering from my trip to the Toronto area. My friend Lynne made me promise I would not make her the subject of my blog entry. I wouldn't do that. "A gentleman never kisses and tells." All I would say is that we had a lovely time and it was nice to see her after all the years.
I travelled south on the train. It went surprisingly well, taking only five hours instead of six plus. CN is on strike so we had no freight trains to wait for as they share the tracks with the Ontario Northland's Northlander. I tried to read as we moved south but I found the scenery as we passed through the Almaquin Highland too fascinating.
Getting into Union Station in downtown Toronto was a bit of a challenge for me. It has been years since I comfortably moved around the city. The Station which is a central transportation hub connecting with the Government of Ontario trains and buses and Via rail the national passenger service. I was lost. It turns out I was on the wrong level. I was directed to the lower level for the GO train service.
It is a vast food court full of people leaving the city for the weekend. I couldn't find the ticket agents but spotted an automatic ticket machine ( some relative of R2D2 of Star Wars fame). I caught myself talking to the machine. "Do you take paper money", "What coins do I needs". the girl at the machine next to me heard me and said, "It is better than lining up." A light went off in my head. "I want to line up." "Where do I line up I asked her." She pointed the way.
Finally, I stood before a person, a ticket agent. I said, "I am lost and confused." She said, "I will take care of you." Bless her. I said I wanted the train to Mississauga. "Which one, she asked." The last time I was here there was just one. To Port Credit. That will be the west bound train for Aldershot and Hamilton. She gave me a ticket and said I should watch the screen on the TV monitor for the announcement of the train in two hours. "TWO HOURS!." I called my friend about three times and gave her the news and hoped she would just come and get me in Toronto. That wasn't her response.
I felt a little hungry and thougth I might get a bagel and a coffee. Whoo! bagels are over $5.00 and coffees are $3:00. The day hasn't arrived that I would spend that kind of money for a 10 cent cup of coffee and a 35 cent bagal. I went without.
Suddening I spotted my train on the monitor, an hour ahead of what the ticket agent said. Another call to my firend to say I will be earlier at the Port Credit station. I could have walked to her house from there but she said she would come with the car to pick me up.
I followed the crowd and managed to get on the train going west. I am at the far west end of the train when they announce I will have to exit from the far east end car at Port Credit due to construction. I have to walk the length of the seven or eight car train. I think I am being tested.
Well I got there! Country bumkin I have become.
For my return trip I arranged to drive a friend's car back. I had to pick it up in Caledonia, an hour west of Toronto. My friend, Lynne, who was recovering from jet lag after just getting back from China did not jump at the chance to go for a ride.A old friend of mine dropped by and I shamed him into taking me there.
I was able to go, after picking up the care, see my friend Carrie, near Hamilton. She is the closest I have to a daughter being the daughter of a woman I dated for nine years while she was growning up. Last Christmas she gave birth to a little boy her second child and it died at birth. It's lungs were full of fluid and they could not get him breathing. It was very sad and almost unheard of in a hospital birth but there were no signs of problems ahead of time. It should have been routine.
I was glad to see her. I am always glad to see her. I love her dearly. She had adjusted to this sad event but I am sure this Christmas will be a sad reminder. She assured me she and her husband would try again for more children.
It seem I spent the weekend just talking and eating. I am good at both.
I did take a tour of the old neighbourhood. It has changed. When I was growning up it was a post war working class area. Largely rural. We were in the first wave of people to move to suburbia. It is now an upper class area. Many of the more modest homes are gone and larger more stylish homes have replaced them. The two homes in the area my parents lived in are gone as is the home of my oldest friend. It seems the neighbourhood is dominated by two income professional families. How else would they pay for the million to two million or more dollar homes.
Being a person surrounded by forests I was more interested in the trees in the neighbourhood . They are large, very large and mature. They seemed large when I was a child some 60 years ago. Apparently, the trees can only be cut down with a permit. Rules, rules, rules is what the suburbs is all about. I remember my dad having to get rid of his dog because it barked. We always had a struggle parking our company van in the driveway at night. This is not allowed. "Working class not welcome!" I guess. I was looking to see if anyone hung their laundry out. Apparently, there are those fighting back over this rule of no laundry on a line.
The trip home was uneventful. I was very tired and almost fell asleep at the wheel. I guess if I had it would not have been uneventful. I finally stopped half way home at Huntsville. It is near here that the G8 meeting will be held next year. It is a small town which has many more residents in the summer. The mall area where I stopped outside the historic downtown area had lots of shops closed up . I guess they are seasonal businesses. After trying the Wendy's which was closed as it was for sale. I found a nice little coffee shop and tried to revive myself.
I got home OK but just as I turned the corner toward my place there was June in her car leading the two sows home. They apparently went for a walkabout. I guess I got home just in time. Chasing pigs is not June's thing. It turned out she had dropped food for them on the wrong side of the electric fence. "How could she be so stupid!" They tested the fence and found it was not on. Now they know they can get out after me fooling them all summer. They got out the next day too. I brought them back. They got out this morning early and I put them in a pen in the shed. That should hold them.
My dog Heidi was not as happy to see me as I was to see her. I think she is punishing me. I guess we will make up. I took her for a ride to the feed store. She seemed to like that as she could put her head out the window and enjoy the cool breeze.
All seems well. I am even thinking of another trip south soon. Our trip to Belgium has been put off as my Lynne's brother is in Toronto getting some medical treatments. While he lives in Belgium he has Canadian health insurance and keeps an apartment here. I look forward to going soon. With a little more practice I might master the transportation system with ease.