Monday, September 24, 2012

My Short Cruise

This weekend I was on a cruise.  Of sorts.

Last spring, Dad had said that he wanted to go on a cruise.  One that he had been on in the past and wanted to do again. An East Coast cruise that docks in cities such as Quebec City, Boston, Halifax and ports in between.  Being 92 years old, it was thought that he needed a travelling companion and I was chosen.  Fine by me.

A deposit was paid in early spring with  the rest of the  money due mid July.  As summer approached, Dad talked less and less about the cruise and  I began to suspect that he was having second thoughts.  And so he was.  While in Hearst I received an email from him, in his typical staccato style,  that read something like this.  "Not feeling well.  Nothing serious.  Just feel  more like 93 than 92.  Have cancelled cruise."

I responded with the suggestion that we substitute the week-long cruise -  complete  with the hassle of major airports and crowds -   for a weekend in Toronto to hear some jazz. 

And so Saturday morning saw me driving south, while Dad trained it in from the west for a noon meet-up in Toronto.  Dad stepped out of  the cab wearing the jazz-lovers vest I knit for  him several years ago.
Our first music stop was to hear Danny Marks at the Rex.  Danny  never fails to entertain and even, this time, gave me my 15 seconds of fame.  I approached the stage thinking to buy a CD but they were all sold.  Apparently  I looked so disappointed that Danny invited me to join him on stage and cajoled the audience  into feeling sorry for me until one gentleman offered to sell me his CD.  Lucky me.

Following the Rex we were off to Grossman's Tavern.  The first time I ever went to Grossman's, Dad suggested   " If you have to p - -,   go now.  They named the tavern after the condition of the washrooms."

Lucky for me, they have renovated and  the ladies loo now boasts granite counter tops.  The rest of the tavern still has that no-frills feel which provides a great venue for their Saturday afternoon show featuring The Happy Pals.  A lively, fun, raucous band playing Dixie Land Jazz favourites. 

Niece Katie   - she of the red felted hat -
joined us for an hour on her study break.  And son Peter arrived to join us for a dinner at a Thai restaurant.  Spicy Thai food.  Dad's favourite.

Sunday, we were back at the Rex to hear the Excelsior Jazz Band.  Same instruments and  same songs as The Happy Pals but a smoother, less raw sound.

 Shortly before the band started to play,  an elderly lady entered, pushing her husband in a wheel chair.  They sat at the end of our table.  She gently removed his jacket and the foot rests from the wheel chair - the better to feel the vibrations of the music.  Periodically she would get up from her chair and hold a glass of water to his lips so he could have a drink.  She ordered him a grilled cheese sandwich, then cut it into small pieces, so he could feed himself. When all that was done, she took him to the men's washroom.

The couple were  known to the band and  part way through the  afternoon, the band leader introduced them.   It was her birthday which was the reason for the outing.  The band leader went on to say that  the husband was in his 90s and a World War Two veteran so they played   It's A Long Way  To Tipperary.  All of which brought tears to me eyes.  My Dad is in his 90s and a WW2 veteran.  He came a 100 Kilometres by train, then cab  to join me for our 'cruise'.  Saying  good bye to him Sunday afternoon I watched  him toddle across Queen Street in downtown Toronto, waving his cane at an approaching cab to get a ride to the train station for his trip home.  He had booked first class - a sale on tickets he said - which offered him a choice of meals. He chose Hindu.  He had never eaten Hindu and wanted to try it.  I am very lucky.

But when I 'travel' there isn't much time for knitting.   I managed to finish the last few rows of sleeve #1 for Vignette before dozing off in my chair last night.
 Details tomorrow.


Needles said...

That is the most charming post ever. We were at my husbands parent's 65th anniversary on Sunday. Mom, who is in the home, kept sneaking dad's beer so they finally gave her one. She drank it with a gusto which hasn't been seen for many years. We were thrilled. Dementia is such an odd thing. It is always surprising what comes out now and then.

Sel and Poivre said...

Fabulous Story. Fabulous Story Telling. Fabulous Jazz Sweater Knitting. But then it all makes sense as he is clearly the patriarch of a Fabulous family! Thanks so much for sharing!

LynS said...

Thank you for your wonderful post. How fortunate you are to still have your father with you and to be able to share his tastes and pleasures.

Zieknits said...

What the others said. Thanks, Brenda.

Now, where's that darn Kleenex got to? :sniffle:

Sandra said...

give your dad a virtual hug for me. Had cancer not intervened 17 years ago, we'd be celebrating my Dad's 82nd tomorrow. He was a Korean war vet, loved jazz, and intro'ed me to Ella Fitzgerald (a big part of my playlist). H would have been that guy that forwards all the "funny" emails, and I wouldn't have had the heart to tell him to stop.
You are a lucky girl.

Anonymous said...

That was a great alternate outing you had, Brenda! Your dad is something! And your felted hat looks wonderful on your niece. Lovely family story.


Yarn and Ivories said...

What a great story! Jazz lovers and more memorable than a cruise!

pattie in Geneseo said...

Loved your story about the old vets and the music, and the love between the couple. You're lucky to still have your dad, and I loved hearing how much fun you had!

Pattie(Julia's friend in western NY)