I don’t do a lot of travelling, so it is not the islands I have visited or the hotels in which I’ve stayed that make the measure of a great summer for me.
There are lots of reasons for the not travelling thing – primary among them is my fear of flying – the literal kind, not the Erica Jong version. But that is a story for another day.
Great summers, for me, are measured by the people I see, and the connections I make. Laughs, embraces and meaningful conversations, and the summer of 2018 was full of all of those things.
I had mentioned in an earlier post that I don’t get to see my family very often as they are scattered around the globe, but this year I was lucky enough to have a cousin from England come to visit us here in Canada.
My bubbly, daring and compassionate cousin came to spend 2 weeks here and just let the wind direct her sails with regard to what she was going to do any particular day. She bounced from the bustle of downtown Toronto, to the suburbs of Whitby and Pickering, to the rural landscapes of Newtonville and the awe and spectacle of Niagara Falls in those few days.
Before she left we went to Niagara Falls, because, that’s what you do when family comes from out of town. (We will go again in a couple of weeks when my aunt visits from South America) We had a wonderful day and as you can see, she hammed it up a bit for me while I snapped some pics.
The last time I saw her I was about 12 years old, so we had a lot to catch up on by the time she came to spend some time with Random and myself in Newtonville. From TV shows to relationships, food and adventures, we ran the gambit of topics and we got to catch up on 2 decades of goings-on in each other’s lives. Though it wasn’t nearly enough time, it was a wonderful reunion; and as she regaled me with stories of places she had visited, it struck in me the need to really address this travelling thing and get out there to see my family, and the world.
I hope to get to London next year so we can continue our conversation. Til then, there’s always the internet.
The summer also brought barbecues and parties where we spent wonderful evenings with friends and family laughing about old jokes and new ones. We ate marvelous cheeses and sipped delicious wines. We sang off key – loudly and often. Birthday cakes tumbled from pedestals and somehow stayed upright with candles remaining lit.
We learned Tide To-Go pens fail more often than they work. We ate funky ice cream cones and laughed, and held each other close and laughed some more. And we watched the kids run and play and marveled at how fast they grow up.
This summer, for more reasons than I can list here, we did not entertain as much at the house as we normally would and I felt we could not let the summer go by without hosting at least one event.
Last year, to cap off our summer, we hosted a seafood boil. We live in rural Ontario, so a seafood boil is not something that would typically happen here, but I was determined. I looked up recipes and pitched it to Random and he thought it would be cool. We put on a seafood boil for an intimate group of friends and it went over quite well. So well in fact, that I decided then and there that it would be our annual Labour Day weekend event.
This year, given that we hadn’t entertained all summer, I thought it would be best to extend the invitation to everyone we would have invited over the season to join us for a seafood boil and bbq (not everyone likes shellfish).
September 1st was humid and sunny. The hammock swung gently in the slight breeze and as late afternoon descended upon us, the music started to play and the tone for the night was set.
Our guests began to arrive and settle into comfortable conversation. Hugs and welcomes abound and the feeling love and sense of community was palpable. Sangria and appetizers abound and just as everyone began to settle down, the piece de resistance, platters of seafood were served. Dinner was followed, of course, by so many wonderful desserts you would get a toothache if I described them!
As night fell, torches and candles were lit for ambiance – okay they were actually lit to ward off mosquitoes – but the subsequent ambiance was very nice. A huge shout out to my neighbour who saved the day on that one….I may have forgotten to pick up fuel for the torches…
Later on, inside the house there was dancing and outside there was the roasting of maple marshmallows over a hypnotic fire.
Quiet conversations and stolen kisses were shared in the glow of the firepit and, all too soon, goodbyes were exchanged. It was a wonderful evening and I cannot think of a better way to say goodbye to summer, than to be surrounded by family and friends, good food and music.
While summer doesn’t technically end until September 21st, there is always a change in the air after Labour Day. Our minds turn to work and school, Thanksgiving and cooler temperatures. But for now, let’s hold on to summer. Just a few moments longer.
Random and I wish you all a Happy and Restful Labour Day!