Now, Elaine should know, having, like me, lived for many years in large cities before returning to her childhood home here. But of course I said (or thought) something along the lines of “Pshaw.” (“Pshaw” – now that’s a word one doesn’t get to use much any more, isn’t it?) All I wanted back then was to spend as much time as possible listening to silence and birdsong and peepers in Queensborough, away from the noise and bustle and frustration of Montreal. But Elaine, who is wise, said that every now and then we would want to spend a day or two in a place where there are museums and restaurants and bookshops and concerts and, yes, bustle.
Much as I adore the peaceful life in Queensborough, I am beginning to see her point.
A few days ago I made passing mention (here) of how it was kind of dazzling to be back in Montreal over the Easter weekend, after the rigours of a long, brutal winter out here on the edge of the Canadian Shield. Mainly what dazzled me were food things, truth be told. Raymond and I went to the Atwater Market to buy lamb for Easter dinner, and I found myself wide-eyed and slack-jawed at all the amazing foods that were available there. Here are just a few:
The thing I couldn’t get over as I ogled all those foods that are difficult or impossible to obtain here in the Queensborough area is that I had lived for so long in Montreal – 16 years – where all this bounty and selection was so readily at hand, and never thought anything much about it. Took it for granted, in other words. Apparently it is only when your mushroom selection is limited to white button mushrooms and light-brown button mushrooms – with maybe some sliced portobellos thrown in – that you realize how wonderful it is, every now and then, to be able to choose from a couple of dozen varieties.
But I want to end this post by telling you that, much as I appreciated the food dazzlement, and much as I now totally get how right Elaine was when she said we’d need that experience every now and then, I wouldn’t exchange my new life for the old one for anything. And here’s just one example of why:
A few days after we returned from that Montreal visit, I was standing in the checkout line at the Madoc Foodland, a big, bright supermarket that I like very much. While it doesn’t stock wild-blueberry juice from Lac-Saint-Jean, it has everything a person could need, and more. And suddenly there was a friendly, familiar face in the neighbouring checkout line, and a question: “Will we see you at the crokinole party tonight?” (It was the day of the monthly community crokinole party in the hamlet of Eldorado, which I wrote about here.)
And my answer to her was – of course – “Yes!” And I left the Foodland thinking that a trade of a vast selection of foods for a small, friendly community where people know you and invite you to the crokinole party in the checkout line at the grocery store is – well, a very good trade indeed.