An influential Canadian broadcaster, Moses Znaimer, bought a pair of radio stations and the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP). With the purchase came an insurance company and a magazine. Znaimer brought to the package a visionary’s view of the Baby Boomer generation as Seniors… or, as he has dubbed them…Zoomers. He has been rewriting the image ever since.
One of the products he added to the mix is a conference culminating in a “$how”. I was at the show yesterday, and will be today, representing Louisiana tourism. (Booth 3211 if you are planning to attend.) My job let me talk to a great number of people about a State I know and think of as a second home.
When the day began it was them versus me. What did I have in common with a group of old folk, beyond a desire to travel? Somewhere between the biker riding a motorized mobility device, wearing his colours and a do rag, and the ladies of the Red Hat Society, I began to question the chasm I had assumed separated us.
Music heralded epiphany. The main stage began at 10 AM, with a performance by a young opera singer. I enjoyed from my booth vantage point. So did the early risers who were in line when the doors opened. The afternoon line-up was cover bands; Guess Who, Billy Joel, and Supertramp. Bands I followed when I began to develop a taste for Rock and Roll. Typical Seniors fare? Now that Zoomers are retiring, you bet it is. All the musicians, from the Canada’s Got Talent tenor, to the ersatz Supertramp, were welcomed enthusiastically, pulling people from the show floor to the main stage concert seating.
During that last soaring chorus of Stand Tall, I realized I too am a Zoomer. The curtain of denial has been lifted. I am Zoomer, hear me roar.
The Octogenarian and I have taken to the road once again. We’re spending a night in the third of Ontario that isn’t defined by the Canadian Shield. This is farmland where tobacco museums depict the life of a transient picker. Some of Ontario’s distinctive breweries are open for tours. It is Festival country. And it is insurance. I don’t know why London became the home to head offices of large insurance firms.
We’ve missed the touring company of Cirque de Soleil by one night. We arrived in time to find hockey on the front pages. Dale Hunter resigned as head coach of the Capitals. He is returning to London, where his brother and son are involved with London Knights.
We have some exploring to do this afternoon. That is if the Octogenarian recovers from the 2 hour drive. Traveling is a challenge.
The Octogenarian kitted for birding
The community in which I live is blessed with a multi-purpose park that includes a man-made wetland. Many of the paths are negotiable by folk in wheelchairs or using walkers. Some wind through the wetland.
The Octogenarian and I visited the park today to enjoy the richness of spring. Slopes of dandelions, orchard blossoms, and birds raising young or building nests.
This small wetland is home to a Great Blue Heron. He seems to be without a partner, as I have only ever seen him standing alone up to his belly in water. Perhaps his partner is hunkered down on a nest out of sight. I like to think so.
The red-winged blackbirds were partnered, aggressively defending territories from invaders. Swallows flitted above our heads. Bachelor mallards stood side by side on the shoreline, while a flotilla of their friends paddled from one end of the pond to the other. As we passed the waterfall, we discovered half-a-dozen fluffy Canada geese chicks grazing with their parents among the dandelions.
We didn’t travel far, but we traveled well today. May all your journeys be rich, no matter how close to home.
Glenora (Prince Edward County), Ontario, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We’re home, having curtailed the road trip due to an illness that caused me to spend 1.5 days in bed in our lovely Prince Edward County hotel. Although it wasn’t how I imagined the trip to unfold, for the octogenarian the slower pace was a bonus. She lounged in the leather tub chair with a view of the vineyards and a spring sky. Her toes pointed to the gas fireplace that took the chill out of the air. A lamp strategically placed lit her book perfectly. She dined a short stroll from the room. The room and my incapacitation provided a freedom she had missed.
I missed the countylicious dinner. [I did not eat for 24 hours, unheard of for me.] The octogenarian was delighted with the braised lamb shank and perfectly crisp asparagus on a bed of mint and lemon tabouleh. The meat was tender and plentiful. Prince Edward County chefs have a garden of delights with which to cook – locally grown beef, lamb, cheeses and vegetables.
Not locally grown, but equally tempting were the range of loose teas available from Miss Lilly’s cafe. We took home the green ginger. The lack luster name belies the ingredient list – green tea, peppermint, lemongrass, lavender flowers. Aromatic and delicious.
Upon our return, the octogenarian was surprised that we had only been away two days. That is what I call the Brigadoon effect. Prince Edward County is seemingly separate from the mundane. The landscape is pastoral. The people are country-friendly. The pace is slow enough to savour. The roads wind and the speed limits are low. The county is human and humane.
Image via Wikipedia
For Good, a song from Wicked, is haunting me tonight. I should be drifting off to sleep with a lullaby. Insomnia refuses to sing that tune.
I have lived a life during which people have come and gone. I can count the folk I’ve known consistently on one hand. I cherish the ones who have shared my foolishnesses. The ones who have witnessed the changes and are still here to remind me who I was and who I have become.
Yet there are the transient souls who came and went, leaving me forever changed. I have forgotten the names of some, but not the lessons they taught. Some left me to keep their secrets. Some left me scarred. Others left me with regrets. All gifted me with stories that are the chapters of an unfinished life.
Tonight I think of them.