The Historic Distillery District, Toronto
I met a woman in a writing group. We found it so very odd here in Toronto, Canada, that growing up we had lived a couple of miles from each other in Cork City, Ireland. And never crossed paths. We knew people in common, small cities will do that to you. One degree of separation.
And we like each other’s writing.
I invited her to my annual Ladies’ Brunch but we really didn’t get to know each other there, too many people. And now she invited me to dinner in her place. A lovely place down by the old Distillery District in Toronto. She lit a log fire and had made pasta and salad and apple crumble. My dog was invited too. And her dog and my dog had dinner together out of the same big bowl. My dog has never done that before. It was like something out of The Lady and the Tramp as my dog is rather glam in appearance and her dog is a wheaten terrier.
We talked ourselves silly for seven hours. Life stories: relationships, our adult children, our failed marriages, our evolution as women of independent thinking, as writers, as mothers, as entrepreneurs.
Somehow, when you hear your own life in your ears and can touch and smell and see it for someone new and you in turn embrace theirs, it becomes like a meditation. You think: holy crow, I did all of that? You think: I survived that? I, a woman raised to be a mother and a wife before all else accomplished so much more? On my own I forged a different path? Where on earth did I get the gumption? What a hell of a nerve I had. To think I would succeed. To think I could have it all.
And we sit back and look at each other at the end of the night. And we recite Padraic Colum's “The Old Woman of the Road” * to each other and say: “Now let’s take the dogs for a walk at midnight”. And we do.
O, To have a little house!
To own the hearth and stool and all!
The heaped up sods upon the fire,
The pile of turf against the wall!
To have a clock with weights and chains
And pendulum swinging up and down!
A dresser filled with shining delph,
Speckled and white and blue and brown!
I could be busy all the day
Clearing and sweeping hearth and floor,
And fixing on their shelf again
My white and blue and speckled store!
I could be quiet there at night
Beside the fire and by myself,
Sure of a bed and loth to leave
The ticking clock and the shining delph!
Och! but I'm weary of mist and dark,
And roads where there's never a house nor bush,
And tired I am of bog and road,
And the crying wind and the lonesome hush!
And I am praying to God on high,
And I am praying Him night and day,
For a little house—a house of my own—
Out of the wind's and the rain's way.