As you can probably tell by the title, this is a bit of a scrambled post. Earlier this month, I boarded a commuter train so I could spend the day visiting my friend, Carol Anne. We've known each other for just about 35 years now and I can scarcely remember what my life was like without her in it.
Over the decades, geography and circumstance occasionally dictated various gaps of time between our getting together - sometimes, weeks or months, though I doubt a full year has ever passed without a visit. No matter how much time passes, ours is the kind of friendship that instantly picks up where it left off, with the comfort and laughter that can only be shared with dear friends who have seen each other at their best and at their worst - and love one another in spite of it, and because of it. We've lived as far apart as 565 kilometers (350 miles) and as close as same-floor neighbours in a small, old apartment building.
We met when we both worked at the (then) Montreal-based head office of Canada's largest retail chain, Zeller's. Carol Anne worked in one of their buying departments, and I handled a chunk of their suppliers in the accounts payable office. We had a few mutual friends in other departments and soon we were all hanging out together evenings and weekends.
Zeller's had a pretty good handle on company morale. About every month or so, their Better Relations Committee organized events such as car rallies, sugar shack parties, sample sales, dances and of course their Christmas parties every November. It was a fairly close-knit group of 300 employees and we had a lot of fun together through the years.
Eventually our immediate gang of about 10, each moved in different directions, geographically (some as far as New Zealand), and Carol Anne and I were no exceptions. After working for ten years at Zeller's, I moved from my native Montreal to settle in Ontario. Shortly afterward, Carol Anne and her family did the same and we each took up residences in towns on opposite sides of Toronto. She has recently moved a bit farther away than that, but her home is still less than an hour away from mine by car and just a couple more by bus and train. And as a bonus, she's only about 20 minutes from Frank's place so I get to see her there too.
As for Zeller's, their stores have been around a little longer than I have, but sadly, their time is coming to an end as they have recently been bought out by an incoming American chain - Target. They'll be changing most of the stores over pretty soon and I'm not looking forward to that.
Back to the photos. On this lovely autumn day, early in November, I boarded the GO Transit (GO stands for Government of Ontario) and headed east across the city of Toronto to visit Carol Anne.
I took this photo through the train window, as the tracks followed the northern shore of Lake Ontario.
Before darkness fell (it does that so early these days), we decided to go for a stroll near her home. There's a lovely walking path which follows the lake's shoreline and in turn, it beckoned us to follow it.
Depending on your vantage point, Lake Ontario can appear small and intimate like like my own local pond..
or large and imposing like the ocean.
And always beautiful...
.. no matter how you look at it.
After our lovely nature walk, we headed over to Frank's place for a yummy dinner. Carol Anne returned home after the meal and I stayed at Frank's for a few days.
This wasn't dinner leftovers, but rather a migrating salmon picked clean by the local birds. I snapped this shot on my walk a few days later, along the creek shoreline.
And just in case you wanted to get a look at the area just before sunset, here it is. This is right outside and across the street from Frank's front door.
Thanks for joining me on my walks. Carol Anne, Frank and all of you are such great company.
"A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked." ~ Bernard Meltzer