I am out of breath as I write this. I’ve only just got home after a most disturbing incident. I feel I have to write and tell you about it.
The day started calmly enough. I did my early morning yoga class, and then as I sipped a morning coffee I watched Ali, my gardener, picking figs from a tree I have in the garden. He really is a treasure, and as I went out to check on my bees, who are prodigiously working away producing honey, I could hear him humming a strange tune.
I am finding these summer mornings delightful. It’s my usual practice to wear something simple – a plain tennis skirt, some wedges, and a pastel top. I like to keep things very simple. My brightly colored nail polish sets it all off rather stylishly.
Ali glanced round and saw me in the garden and then fell into silence for a moment.
“Good morning,” he said cheerfully, and carefully selected a juicy fig and handed it to me. “Such a health food, and a perfect one for you.”
“I do appreciate healthy foods, Ali,” I mused as I bit into the succulent fruit.
“That must be how you keep so trim,” he continued. “And is it not written that it is easier for a fat man to enter the kingdom of heaven, than to pass through the eye of a camel.”
I frowned and said, “I don’t think it is written. At least nowhere I’ve read it.”
I do wonder about Ali’s English. He was a professor of botany in Syria, before the terrible crisis over there. However, since coming here he’s been studying English. I’m not quite sure where his difficulty with English begins and his sense of irony ends. I added, “However, that is a perfect fig.”
It really is peaceful in my garden. The ripe fruit and soft early morning sun on my face reminded me how very fortunate I am to live here. Canada is truly a blessed country.
Picking up my bag and cell phone I decided to make the most of the morning, and took Hannibal, my dachshund, for his morning walk. As I strolled down Huckleberry Close I got a call from Sylvester, who has been learning to drive the Zamboni at the local ice arena. He’s really becoming quite skilled. He called to ask if I wanted to have breakfast with him at a café nearby. Naturally I agreed. They do the most delightful croissants, orange juice and coffee. The mother of the family that runs the café keeps bees and brings in her own honey. It’s really most delightful.
And so as Marjory was leaving for work, rather than drive I asked for a lift and rode with her the three miles to the arena, where she dropped me and decided to join us for breakfast. I think that after some years Marjory is warming to me. She still finds me a trifle odd, but she’s been a lot more settled since she started dating my wife’s childhood friend, Amanda.
Marjory and I walked into the huge ice arena, and there across the rink was Sylvester driving the Zamboni. The cool air wafting off the ice was a welcome relief from the heat. When Sylvester looked up he recognized Marjory and I and stopped the big ice grading machine.
“Come on over,” he shouted across the ice. “You want a ride?”
I’ve never been on a Zamboni before, so Marjory and I gingerly stepped out on the ice and tottered across to the vehicle. For those not familiar with the Zamboni, it’s a vehicle driven on an ice rink to resurface the ice. We do this so that the hockey games are played on a very flat surface. Ice has small crenelations if not properly smoothed making it unpleasant to skate, and the Zamboni does the job very well. Sylvester has been learning the skill recently, and now does the occasional turn at the arena cleaning up the surface for the skaters, and preparing it for the ritual slaughter of foreign hockey teams that keeps Canadians so amused. Really, it does. And they just keep coming back for more!
I stepped up onto the vehicle, my little tennis skirt riding a little high as I did so. Marjory followed me, looking a little bemused, and then Sylvester was off and driving around the ice, leaving a smooth glasslike finish behind us.
Now, keep in mind this was very early in the morning, and through the large windows out in the deserted car park I could see Marjory’s solitary car. As we rode around the ice I noticed someone was doing something to Marjory’s little car. The next thing I knew, the car was pulling away toward the exit of the car park.
“Marjory,” I said. “I think someone’s stealing your car!”
She looked out of the window, and sure enough, she shouted, “My car! My car!”
With remarkable composure Sylvester swung the big machine around toward the huge doors of the arena. He hit a remote control and the doors slowly began to open. I have to say I was most surprised at the turn of speed the Zamboni then displayed. Accelerating toward the opening doors Marjory and I clung on to our swarthy friend as the Zamboni flew off the ice and started out across the car park.
“Don’t worry,” said Sylvester, his hair swept back in the morning air as we raced across the car park. “I’ll catch him!”
The little car was exiting the car park and moving out into the slow moving morning traffic. Sylvester piloted the Zamboni skillfully out into the road and we shouted after the car thief, who was becoming increasingly ensnared in the traffic as we maneuvered between lanes, to the surprise of other drivers.
While Marjory called the local police, I hung on to the Zamboni and Sylvester steered us skillfully between cars with startled drivers looking incredulously at us as we navigated down the road in the ice smoothing machine. It’s really not the sort of things you expect to see on the morning commute in 32 degrees of heat (89 degrees Fahrenheit).
As the cars ground to a halt at the traffic lights ahead, a police car appeared and started cutting through the traffic. Marjory was talking to the emergency operator, who relayed her instructions directly to the police cruiser.
A moment later the traffic stopped, police car on one side of Marjory’s car, and Zamboni halted flush with the drivers side. Marjory’s little car was completely boxed in. It was at this point that I decided it might be wise to make myself a little scarce. With a smile to Sylvester and a polite wave to the car thief, who was trying in vain to open the car door, I slipped of the Zamboni and made my way to the sidewalk.
As I left I could hear the sound of other sirens. Likely this would turn into a dogs dinner of police and press and god knows what.
At that moment the appalling Amanda called my cell.
“What on earth’s going on with Marjory? I’m trying to phone her and it just rings and rings,” she said sounding both annoyed and annoying.
“Ahh…. Her phone’s probably in her car.”
“So?” came the reply.
“Well, nothing really…” I wasn’t going to get into that with Amanda.
So, next time someone asks you if you’d like a ride on a Zamboni, keep in mind it may not go the way you planned. So much for breakfast! I’m sure Sylvester and Marjory will be occupied for a while there. I felt it best to hurry home to my kitchen, where I am writing this to you now.
I hope you’re enjoying the site. If you’re not, just come back a couple of days later and you’re likely going to find a whole lot of different content!
Have a lovely week,