Thursday, 28 August 2014

Thursday, or Thereabouts - August 28, 2014

The Last Long Weekend of Summer

For far too many the weekend perched on the doorstep heralds the end of summer and much moaning and lament flows in it's wake. But I am a stickler for precision - summer does not end until 22:59h EDT on Monday, September 22, the Autumnal Equinox.

Get a grip people! Summer has MORE than 3 weeks left to go!

In my story, these weeks are full to the brim with memories and celebrations.

In 1975 the Labour Day Weekend was my last weekend of single life. I went to the EX with my cousin Claire, who had come over from England for my wedding. We didn't know each other well when she first arrived but in no time at all we became bosom buddies. So the new best buds set off for a full day at the CNE. Bus, subway then streetcar let us off at the Dufferin Gates. We took in a hunter jumper competition in the Colosseum then worked our way through the Midway of rides, side shows, and games of chance. Claire did something I have never done, neither before nor since. She won not one but two prizes: at a shooting gallery she got all her ducks in a row and won a plush purple mouse a bit larger than a football; and then at a coin toss won a humongous plush polar bear. That bear was an armful.

Done with the Midway - there was no way I was letting her win anything more and we couldn't get on any of the rides with the thing either - we hauled the bear and the mouse over the bridge to Ontario Place.

Two attractive single women in their early twenties, one hugging a white bear and the other carrying a purple mouse walk into a bar...  Let's just say we garnered a lot of attention, many offers of free drinks and a few visitors who felt impelled to join us. From the savoury to the unsavoury, from the tailored suits to the stubble-faced sleazebags, we met them all. We refused all come-ons politely, then firmly then when pressed too hard, we packed up the bear and mouse and moved on to the next bar.

At the third tavern, though it might have been the fourth, after a parade of lonely, hopeful hearts club members, each one rebuffed with increasing intensity, the barman appeared with two scotches on the rocks, our tipple of the day, "Here you two lassies get these down ya, then move along before the dogs get ya."

It took us another twenty minutes to follow our protector's instructions, twenty minutes during which he ran interference for us while we downed the scotches we already had and then knocked back the two freebies. We made good our escape leaving behind empty glasses and a very large tip. We ambled, after a fashion, through the marina, took in an IMAX show at Cinesphere, and had wine with dinner in the restaurant with white table cloths. We oohed and ahhed loudly and giggled all the way through the fireworks.

From that very night in 1975!
My Dad, Claire, Whiskey & Mousey-mouse mouse, 1975

By now the bear had acquired a name, "Whiskey", as had the purple mouse, wait for it... "Mousey-mouse-mouse". Yeah, well we lugged our menagerie back across the bridge to join the boisterous crowd heading for the streetcars. Whiskey continued to bring us more attention than we wanted but now it was he not us that was the main attraction. We hung on tight to the big bear and made it to the subway, but missed the last bus home and had to walk from Kipling Avenue. As my late mother told it, she heard us long before she saw us. I personally have no idea what she was talking about. Mousey-mouse-mouse and Whiskey of course, know it all.

Happy Labour Day Weekend folks. Be safe and have fun.

©2014 April Hoeller

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