Loving the unforgettable

It’s cloudy outside and the rain is cold, but I’m here sitting in our living room as Nat King Cole sings his classic Unforgettable in the background on the record player. It’s smooth, slow and romantic.  Today is a day that’s perfectly lovely.

Saturday often translates into cleaning. Cleaning day. Except that this morning my entire family (mom, dad, Zsolt and I) were positively knackered. Maybe it’s the weather. Well, actually, more likely it was all that dancing Zsolt and I did last night while attending a friend’s stag & doe party.

So we cut back this morning to focus solely on the living and dining rooms. They were covered with things from my grandmother’s apartment, which had been sitting around for weeks. Amongst the items were her record collection and record player.

There’s all sorts of ways you can know a person; going through their music is a particularly rich experience.

Zsolt wired everything up (it’d been disassembled during the move) and put a record on the player. The sound of Hawaii flooded into our living room with its hypnotizing sounds coupled with visions of women in bright coloured leis, gently moving their arms like the waves. I bet Lulu and Benoit used to play this music during their midnight parties.

We began to clean. Packing dishes, moving spice racks, looking at tea pots and serving trays. And as we cleaned, we kept on listening. Hawaiian songs were followed by a Starlight Concert and its incredibly beautiful compositions of Hungarian Rhapsody, Czardas, and something familiar from a Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Then I pulled out some Bing Crosby and was reminded of A White Christmas during this wet spring day.

And all the while, I was just so happy. So glad. Here we are with my family, enjoying each other’s company and doing trivial little things that are coupled with such lovely memories and emotions. Happy, healthy and cancer-free.

It’s for days like this I moved back to Canada.

Good times, hard times, stressful times, out-of-work times, simple times, lovely dancing times . . . all part of the journey, I suppose. And today is a good time. So I’ve got to be thankful for that.  And for Nat King Cole and his beautiful voice. And for the memories and impressions that come through music. For memories of Lulu. For my family. For good friends. For Zsolt. I guess, for a whole lotta stuff in general.

Long-distance Lunching

Today we celebrated my grandmother’s 19th birthday. That’s right – not 91, but 19. My aunt made lunch, my dad made cake, and everyone gathered in the backyard to enjoy the weather. The family passed around food and we chatted about upcoming weddings, jobs, friends, pickles . . . it was an easy-going Saturday afternoon.

We celebrated, despite my being 5,378 km away. And though I couldn’t smell the barbequed quail, and  didn’t run indoors when the bees came, and couldn’t help extinguish any candles – I did talk with my grandmother, and sing happy birthday, and enjoy the company of my whole family.

Being away from home becomes easier with video chat. It isn’t the same as really being there, but it’s the next best thing.  Long distance relationships (couples, families, friends) have had a hand up since the arrival of email, then icq, then msn, and now skype.  I cannot imagine living this far from my family without being able to still see, talk and relax with them.

Next we need virtual hugs. Maybe the creators of google can get on that. Until then Zsolt can step in with a squeeze and a kiss. (not that I snog my parents, but you know I mean . . . besides, who wouldn’t want a big kiss from Zsolt? Except maybe his parents . . .)

Joyeux anniversaire, Lulu! Il était bon de vous revoir.