Every year I know on Groundhog Day that it’s my BFF’s birthday. We met at the age of nine, when my family moved to Nairn from Kitchener and I was off to East Williams school. On the teeter-totters we became best friends and 41 years later we still are and with her living in beautiful Victoria we decided to celebrate in Toronto (on her way to Mexico), meeting her mom from London and her daughter who goes to University in Toronto. Yes, Joanne will lead us into our 50th year first. So I left the bustling, beautiful train station, bright and early Saturday morning. The train was late and I was early so I went for a quick 1.03km walk (according to my app) and on that short walk did 22 flights according to my Fitbit. Needless to say the hills around the train station are steep! When I got back the station was full with travellers and we boarded the East bound train. It was met with more delays but I was not on any real schedule and Joanne was able to adjust her morning run to meet my delay. I figured she would be noticing the contrast in the -12 harsh Ontario air compared to her mild Victoria winters air.
I must say everytime we meet up, it is as if no moments have elapsed,. picking up where we left off with the comfort of a 41 year friendship. We subwayed it back to her inlaws’ apartment for our stay. I love the subway system and the change from small town (3 stop lights) to underground subways carrying hundreds of people to uncountable destinations. We had lunch at a tiny restaurant that was noted for their fried chicken and waffles. Who knew that hot sauce and maple syrup could be within the same meal? But it was awesome! So an afternoon of catching up and visiting with dinner at a BBQ your own supper place with Molly and her university friend proved to be a flamingly interesting experience. I have never have the BBQ turned off under my table before (beside my knees) or cooked raw meat with 4 others with limited utensils! But it was a blast!! (Actually not literally, I was a little concerned for real blasts and food poisoning/ cross contamination) but if the university kids liked it, we could do it too! Then after lots more walking and a few more subways it was time for the main event! A Gord Downie Birthday Fundraiser, put on by his core fan group, and Joanne being a die hard fan this was the perfect way to celebrate her birthday too! We decided to cab it this time and that is always exciting. I think in Toronto, Montreal and New York the game is, how close and fast can I skim by another vehicle without impact? (Actually the Montreal cab did hit someone ((but that’s another story)) So off we went, at 10 pm, which is now, like when we first met, past our bedtime again. But we braved the night and the cold and found our way to the Adelaide Hall which we found, like the guy on the street said.. down the alley and through the white door and into the basement. (Directions I’m sure we would warn our children not to follow) but as Vets of the rock scene we thought it sounded about right! So yep there below ground in a black room with 200 or so other Hip Fans we celebrated Joanne and Gord Downies birthdays! The band Strictly Hip flawlessly performed the music of the Hip and the sold out crowd sang and rocked out to the music! It was a little tricky as the floor was so sticky I could barely lift my feet! But that made it all the more reminiscent of the old days. (Minus the two hundred people smoking in the overcrowded black basement). I did do some safety checks for the exits, as the over crowded thick air, reminded me of my desire to get the hell out in the event of any faulty wiring, so I decided that the green sign with the stick man running and the arrow pointed into a hallway was the exit sign… since the other sign like that pointed to the way we came in. So the weekend maybe did not meet all of my safety requirements but it was an adventure. And looking back from grade three, who would have ever thought we’d have been here. Through all of life’s twists and turns and growing up (well maybe still working on that) and realizing the true value in life is the experience and friendships we have and will continue to have. We didn’t know we would get here minus her dad and my parents with Isobel being our sole parent, but she is just nutty enough to do the job for us! Our kids are grown or almost out of the house and a new chapter arrives as 50 hits and who knew that it would start at a basement concert in Toronto? Well we have six months til mine… and so far it looks like fun!! I’m thinking more bands and a trip to BC is in the works!