On Thursday I had a gig with Highschool Friend Paul. We prepared a six-song set, beginning with a cover of « Still In Love With You » by Steve Earle and Emmy Lou Harris. I just love this song. The next five songs were our own: One Night Stand, Catholic Thang, Already Stayed Too Long, Guess I’ll Live Another Day, and Any More Trouble. It was a pub opening for a friend of a friend. Friends and family of the owner only. We were psyched.
Our first gig!
As we began to play amidst the loud din of talking and laughter of the crowd, we caught the attention of perhaps ten percent of the crowd. Ha! It was funny. We were literally like the hired help. For me, for a first gig, I was somewhat relieved and eased right on into it. No matter what, the practice was good for us. Are we going to give ourselves a band name or something? I suppose we’ll have to eventually. We need some sort of percussionist…one that plays that soothing, slow galloping beat so indigenous to bluegrass music…I just love it! Because Paul plays Way Too Fast. We played out our set and then left.
Thanks for the free drinks!
The next evening on Friday, I had to drop by to see The Amazing Michael C. He and I went to elementary school together. He is an incredibly talented clothing designer and he is gay and he told me that he I was the only girl he ever had a crush on. I consider this one of the biggest compliments I have ever received in my life. I had to see him to pick up a dress he was altering for me.
This wasn’t just any dress. My paternal grandmother, who was also an amazing clothing designer and maker, had crocheted herself a stunningly beautiful ankle-length, cream-coloured, long-sleeved dress. When I was a child and she and my grandfather were still alive, I saw a picture of her in it, taken during their trip to Mexico (they visited over fifty countries together during their fairy-tale love story). « I love this dress so much, Grandma! » I had told her. Without a moment’s hesitation, she responded: « Well when I die, you can have it. »
Oh. Uh. Okay.
It was a bit of an awkward moment but the deal was made nonetheless. And when she did, sadly, pass, eight years ago, my grandfather remembered without reminder and gave me the precious gift as promised.
It sat in my closet for eight years. From time to time I tried it on and admired its gorgeousness in the mirror but then put it back in the closet. There was just no appropriate occasion to wear such a materpiece. I would basically have had to have waited until I was grandmother-age to wear it.
Then I saw the movie « To Sir With Love » with Sidney Poitier who plays Sir and Judy Geeson who plays Pamela, the admiring student of Sir. At the end of the movie, she wears this stunning dress…a sixties mini-version of my grandmother’s dress!
The plan was set.
The only, only, person in the whole wide world I would trust with this extremely delicate and dangerous and important task of tampering with my precious grandmother’s dress is The Amazing Michael C. When he had me try it on to take the measurements, and saw the beauty of the dress, he basically refused to accept the job of changing it. He almost convinced me to not do it. But then I thought: it has been sitting in my closet for eight years. I want to use the gift my grandmother gave me. She would want me to. She would approve this decision. I just know it. And so he accepted.
And so on Friday I dropped by his work to pick it up. He made me try it on to make sure all was done to perfection. He had handstitched the embroidered finish onto this shorter version and it was flawless. Invisible. A miracle. I can’t wait to debut this beautiful creation from my grandmother and my cherished friend of thirty-one years, The Amazing Michael C, in Paris this summer.
Thank you from every part of my heart, The Amazing Michael C! Your Holt Renfrew gift card is on the way! Just a token of what can never be fully expressed. (When I dropped the dress to him originally and asked him about price, he dismissed me and said « You’re family. » This compliment, too, I will always hold dear to my heart.)
The only sobering part of seeing my new amazing dress was my little pudge of a tummy sticking out. So that, along with still feeling a bit rough from the drinking I did at the gig the night before, I decided to stay home and Not Drink and get to bed early and start a concentrated Prepare For Paris Health Regime. This would include running forty-five minutes everyday, eating no fried foods and next-to-no carbs, and, get this, No Alcohol. The calories I save from that last point alone are probably enough to make me look anorexic by the end of the these next three weeks.
And so I stayed home Friday night, got up Saturday morning, and ran with the rising of the morning sun. North on Yonge, east on Sherwood, then through the trails, and past a sighting of a prolific Toronto tag that reads: tout est possible. What a lovely and uplifting piece of graffiti, wouldn’t you say? Forty-five minutes later I was home, then it was off to my weekend job which I have been working for the past two months, saving saving saving for my upcoming and heartfelt, long-awaited summer in Paris.
After work on Saturday, same thing. Straight home. To bed early. And this morning, Sunday morning, exactly three weeks to the day until I leave for Paris, with the just-awoken sun shining straight into my eyes, I ran the same route again. I love that feeling, the sun shining right in my eyes. I can barely see a thing and I feel absolutely rich and beautiful. The city still sleeps and I remember how good life is.