The Hollows

This week’s post was supposed to be about The Hollows, our favourite restaurant in Saskatoon where summer is celebrated on the patio with bite-sized dandelion fritters and rhubarb-pink margaritas. But our camera didn’t make it to dinner. Should we write a story on Magellan’s 50th high school reunion instead we wondered on the drive home to Vancouver early this week? Then, on a rainy stretch of the TransCanada, I was excited to see an email to jubilados@latitude65.ca from our prairie friends Greg and Gale. I began reading it aloud to Magellan, becoming incoherent at the first sentence: “I am slowly getting around to notifying people that Greg passed away on June 29.” So instead, this post is about the hollow reality for jubilados. The summer of our lives is casting its long shadow. Friends we’ve loved for years won’t make it for dinner ever again.

When the shock subsides, reflection and regret surfaces.

When last did we see him? Was it really dinner at La Quercia when the four of us drank three bottles of wine? Remember when we were in St. John’s together when Greg was representing Ranchmen’s? Remember how he negotiated a full payout on a cancelled contract for me at Perspectives? He was our lawyer when we bought our Vancouver townhome, shockingly priced (and he knew it) back in 1997! Wasn’t he a graceful skier—sailing through the powder on the backside of Paradise at Lake Louise? He lived his life the way he skied: with a quiet strength, competence and fluidity. Remember the story of how he met Gale when he was still flying gliders and how much they loved each other?

Why didn’t we call more often? Why didn’t we take them up on that invitation to come see the new home Gale designed in the Okanagan? Which reminds me: remember the Japanese bed she designed for us? Hearing they’d bought a snazzy motorhome, why didn’t we rent one ourselves and join them on a trip?

Then comes the paradox, feeling grateful but also guilty that we’ve been dealt a luckier hand in this solitary game of life.

I am reminded of the wistful tone in my mother’s voice when she tells me, quite often now that she’s 86 and living alone in the winter of her life, about the death of another of her friends. Gravid with unease, when a close friend dies I confess to a wash of loneliness and its egocentric partner, self-pity. Inevitably, that leads to imagining a future hollowed by the death of one’s partner. Then I know it’s time to twist the telescope to the present.

Jan, I’ll be calling you. Liz, let’s get planning for Cabot Cliffs. Neil, when are you moving to Coquitlam? Peggy, we have to do lunch. Slipper, where are you? Marg, you must visit us the next time you leave Halfmoon Bay for the “big smoke.” Big Lynn, come west. Arlene, it’s been too long. See you in a few weeks, Myrna.

Gone is our car—traded this week for an old Land Rover with a roof rack that accommodates a pop-up tent. In the autumn of our lives when leaves fall and rivers freeze, Magellan and I plan to blaze the trails, contented by wilderness sunsets and long views of the horizon.

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Greg

When in the city of bridges, do try The Hollows for both dinner and weekend brunch. Glynn’s favourite dish may have been the trout. Or was it the the gnocchi? Colleen especially liked the salted butterscotch pot de crème. When Lynn and Ward were there with us last summer, we coveted the pannekoeken they ordered for brunch.

15 replies
  1. Magellan
    Magellan says:

    Unfortunately, our paths were close, but didn’t cross in university. But they cross frequently now, as I search for my fade and you look for your draw. We can laugh at each other, together.

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    Wade Blaser says:

    Thanks for the review and information on the Hollows.. We weren’t aware of it.. Sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. Kerry’s idea of a Land Rover with a tent on top really stimulates my imagination. You guys are never short of ideas for adventures.. I love your blogs.. Thank you. Take care.. Wade

    Reply
    • Magellan
      Magellan says:

      It’s wonderful to have retained such a core of close friends from high school over 50 years ago even though we’re now spread out over western Canada, with an outlier in Michigan.

      Reply
  3. Avatar
    Barry MacLeod says:

    Sorry to fill more space, a thought on the name for the new ride, “VOYAGER”, after all is it not all about “Time Travel” ?
    I applaud your choice and journey direction, very awesome.

    As Roy Rodgers used to say, “Happy Trails”

    Reply
  4. Avatar
    Barry MacLeod says:

    Life is a soujourn.
    We all enter here the same way and we will all exit the same.
    What happens between the two points may be destiny, but that can be directed, or redirected by one’s self. The friends we accumulate and associate with will guide us on the journey, as long as we continue to learn from one another, life will prosper.
    Use infinity for a focal point but remember to actually see our world, do not just look, Mother Nature has much to offer, do not squander the opportunity, it’s just too valuable.
    The end is a time for renewal, memories, thoughts, visions, sounds will continue to awaken in us, like the four seasons, life goes on, embrace them.

    Reply
  5. Avatar
    Gin says:

    So, so true. Thank you for the reminder, and for being such kind friends for four decades now. May we all live our love for one another every chance we get.

    Reply
  6. Avatar
    Pat & Dallas says:

    So appropriate…….We just attended a “Celebration of Life” for a dear friend yesterday ( Cathy Budd ). The stories told of how she lived every moment – was a constant personal and spiritual inspiration to so many – was an exceptional athlete – double black diamond skier / OLYMPIC caliber swimmer etc. We did see her in her personal care home most weeks over the past couple of years and are so glad we did. Two weeks ago we attended a reunion in Alberta for 74 of my wife’s family. Many of these people she had not seen for 50 years. We were so glad we went. Great post – Thank you guys!

    Reply
    • Spice
      Spice says:

      Thanks U2. Start thinking about a name for our “new” old Land Rover—maybe wait ’til we buy a pop-up “bedroom.” Aerie? Nido?

      Reply

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