Sunday, November 27, 2011

Northern Shores, Iconic Stores and My Dear Friend, CA.

We've not had any snow yet in my part of southern Ontario, and November has kindly treated us to a number of unseasonably mild days. This means more walks and more photos to share with you.

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.

Through train window
I took this photo through the train window, as the tracks followed the northern shore of Lake Ontario.

autumn path ajax
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.

fallen tree on beach
Depending on your vantage point, Lake Ontario can appear small and intimate like like my own local pond..

driftwood and rays
or large and imposing like the ocean.

lake Ontario waves and rays
And always beautiful...

under the fallen tree
.. 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.

fish skeleton
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.

creek meadow
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


Cloudia said...

Gosh I purely enjoyed this post as if I had those happy working memories, as if I was on a journey by train through lovely country to see a true friend. Your sparkling particulars have something of the universal about them. That's what Art is, eh?
Thank you Hilary for sharing your eye, your inland sea, your self with us blog family. . .

fond Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

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Indrani said...

Nice catching up with old friends... growing up days were fun. :)

ADRIAN said...

A lovely wander but numbers four and five are beauties.

Anonymous said...

Ah - there is no treasure greater than friendship!

Lovely autumn shots. It's still mild here - but oh so grey.

I'd like to recommend this beautiful photography for a POTW award:

Anyes said...

The weather seems still quite nice on your side of the continent Hilary.

To cherish such a long friendship sure is a blessing, I wish you and Carol Anne many more years together :-)

Bob Bushell said...

A lovely time with CA, and some beautiful photos.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

Oh gosh, that shoreline is so totally gorgeous, even in late fall :)

CiCi said...

You mention sugar shack parties. As in maple syrup? Maybe you could do a post some time on sugar shack parties as you experienced them.

It was fun to learn more about your friend and your long standing friendship.

The photos are exquisite. Again, I learn about photography from people like you and I appreciate it more than I can say.

Brian Miller said...

wow they did not leave anything on that the fallen trees...they are like art themselves...

DJan said...

When I lived in Michigan we would sometimes visit Lake Superior and it looked a lot like these pictures. I love being by the water, which is why I moved to the Pacific Northwest. Right now we are in a major wind event so walking to the water would be very exciting.

As always, I enjoy your pictures and learning about your life.

Out on the prairie said...

What a lovely friendship, it becomes haerd sometimes to maintan them when you relocate. I have such a friend, and it is funny how we blend even after a long absence.We call that chain TAR-Jay, its french.

solarity said...

The fallen trees are even more beautiful by the water.
I had better find time to write my own version of CA as soon as the Thanksgiving rush at work (boarding kennel) is over.

Mary Anne in Kentucky

TexWisGirl said...

how wonderful that you keep the friendship going all these years! lovely scenery!

Liz Mays said...

I felt the same way when Macy's bought Marshall Field's. It's just never been the same for me. :(

Cheryl Kohan said...

What a nice tribute to your friend! The different photo perspectives are terrific, too.

So sorry about Zeller's being bought out by Target. I hate when that happens.

There's a campaign going on here called "shopping small" Patronize the small independent shops and forget the big box stores. That I can do.

Ruth Hiebert said...

Thank-you so much for inviting me to join you on this walk,it was lovely. The scenery is so gorgeous,I could spend hours just soaking it in.

Dan said...

A very nice and uplifting account of past memories leading us to the here and now.

Cherished memories and friendship are priceless. Thank you for inviting us in.

Anvilcloud said...

My mother was a Zellers saleslady clerk, first in Montreal, then in Mississauga -- at 2 different stores.

Rosaria Williams said...

I had anticipated your part of the world full of snow already, but glad that Autumn lingers on.

Frank Baron said...

Old friends are treasures all right. Kinda like barnacles stuck to the bottom of your boat. But shiny and interesting. Which is lucky. Because you can't get rid of 'em.

Love the perspectives illustrated by the fallen willow. And that last shot, the view, is the primary reason I bought the house. (As you know, it didn't hurt that I knew the creek was lurking back there as well.)

Carol Anne said...

Ahhh ... Those were the days, my friend! ... And these are too.

How lucky we are to have a friendship based not only on remembering old memories, but also on making new ones. Beautiful pics as always, Hil.

La la la LA la la,
La la la LA la la ... ...

Linda at To Behold The Beauty said...

I was so excited to see that CA's comment contained a link. I thought sure that she had finally begun her own blog. But, alas, disappointment. She's a step closer, though. Maybe soon. And what IS that tune she's humming? It sounds very much like "It's Howdy Doody Time."

messymimi said...

Glad winter is holding off a bit, letting you get such nice shots.

Carol Anne said...

Read my post again, Linda. You will find the answer to your question there. Sorry for the earworm when you do!

Frank Baron said...

*cough* (mary hopkin) *cough*

Hilary said...

• Cloudia, you are such a sweetie. Thank you so much for such kind words, my friend. I love the idea of a "blog family." I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for letting me know. :)

• Indrani, "growing up?" Surely not! Growing old, perhaps but up.. not so much. ;) Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thank you, Adrian. I'm glad you think so. :)

• Very true, Lady Fi. I will indeed include the post with Wednesday's POTWs as your recommendation. Thank you. :)

• Anyes, it's rainy today but I'm not complaining.. it's not snow. Thank you so much for your kind words. :)

• Bob, thank you kindly. Much appreciated. :)

• Gary, not bad for a big city, eh? :)

• CiCi, yes - maple syrup.. "sugaring off" parties, they were. What I remember most about them is dinners with maple syrup on everything and partying afterward with a more than a bit of drink. Not too much more than that but perhaps Carol Anne has a blog post about it in her (I'm trying, Linda!). Thank you so much for your always, kind words, CiCi. They mean so much to me. :)

• Brian, nature doesn't let too much go to waste. Thank you so much for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, DJan. I'm sure that Superior has very ocean-like qualities to it. I've seen parts of every Great Lake except that one. Don't venture too close to the water on this windy day. Then again, you are a daredevil. ;)

• Steve, that kind of friendship is a treasure. CA and I are lucky to have each relocated near enough to one another. And of course now with Skype and the like, nobody need be farther than a video call away. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

• Mary Anne, I look forward to your friendship post. Thanks very much for your visit. :)

Hilary said...

• Tex, we're lucky that circumstance has allowed us to stay in close touch. Thanks for your kind words. :)

• BlueViolet, we've had buyouts here also.. including Zeller's on both ends of that deal but it's different when the buyer is a huge chain from a different country. Walmart charged in 17 years ago to give Zeller's and other businesses a run for their money. They're still standing.. but a lot of small businesses are not. I'm not keen on the idea of Target taking over our very Canadian Zeller's. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Cheryl, thank you kindly. I love the idea of your local campaign. Too many Mom and Pop shops just don't stand a chance against the big stores and yet their individual quality just can't be beat. Sadly, we can't go backwards.. at least not far. Thanks for your visit. :)

• Ruth, I'm so glad you came along for the walk. I'm lucky to always be in such fine company. :)

• Thank you kindly, Daniel. I'm glad you enjoyed reading about it. :)

• AC, that's cool. I'll bet she was working in one of the Montreal stores when I was at their head office. And there weren't too many locations in the city at that time. Perhaps we even crossed paths. :)

• Rosaria, we're not always this lucky to have such a mild November. We're having lots of rain for the next few days and I'm very grateful that it's not colder.. or whiter. :)

• Frank, you sentimental old fool! ;) Enjoy watching the game with Barnacle Bruce today. ;)

• Carol Anne, I couldn't agree more.. right up until you put the song in my head. ;) Of course our "tavern" was the Irish Lancer Pub.. so really, it's a very fitting remark. Thanks for the visit CA.. and I love that you now have a profile pic. Linda's right.. we're getting you closer to a blog of your own. ;)

• Linda, I'll work on her.. maybe we can start her off with a guest post. ;) I had to laugh that you heard the Howdy Doody theme in that because that was the first tune that came to my mind as well. Then I immediately realized that the tune was indeed part of Carol Anne's comment. Then I smacked my head. You might do likewise when it hits you. Of course, please smack your own head and not mine. ;)

• Thanks kindly, MessyMimi. :)

• Carol Anne, it's STILL worming its way around in my brain. ;)

• Frank Googled.. I can smell it! ;)

Barb said...

What a fabulous landscape - a feast for the eyes. I'd love to walk that trail to the lake. I have a friend like Carol Anne. We visit each other several times a year now that we live farther apart and reconnect instantly.

Maggie May said...

Love looking out to the water through those trunks and that salmon skeleton seemed to just match the shapes.
Lovely set of photos.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Anonymous said...

Friends like that are priceless! Glad you got to spend time with yours - and thanks for sharing the beautiful photos!

Red said...

I accidentally put northern and stores together so I was wondering what was going on in this post.
So I got it about a wonderful friendship, beautiful shores and iconic stores.
Now northern stores to me were the Hudson Bay northern division which traded furs. These were like no other store.

photowannabe said...

Isn't it wonderful to have friends like that?
Your pictures are so inviting. I really wanted to take that Lake walk too. Love the sun's rays coming down to the water.
To answer your question, I think it is sagebrush.

Pseudo said...

You are such a talented photographer. I love and miss the Fall colors.

lime said...

so wonderful to have a friend like that. i don't know what i'd do without mine. thanks for taking us along on the walk too. the great lakes truly are a magnificent sight.

ds said...

There is nothing like a BFF who really is forever. Thanks for sharing your story, and your walk. Beautiful.

Linda at To Behold The Beauty said...

My slow brain did figure out the correct song...later...but at least I didn't smack my head. :)

Joanna Jenkins said...

There is nothing better than a long-time friend-- The kind you can go for ages without seeing but the minute you do, you pick up right where you left off.

It sounds like you and Carol Ann are those kind of friends.... and you had a gorgeous day together.

xo jj

chariskalee said...

What a great post! I seriously feel the strong need for a getaway now. Thanks for sharing!

Slamdunk said...

Glad the weather cooperated for you and Carol Anne.

And, of course, we were rewarded with the lovely photos (well minus the salmon skeleton--harsh fact or life there).

Ruby said...

What a great blog!Enjoyed reading it and loved the quote. And a very beautiful sunset shot of the vegetation and Lake Ontario!

Dave said...

Thanks for sharing this part of your life Hilary. Glad you enjoy each other's company. I liked your photos, specially the last one - Dave

Zuzana said...

Dear Hilary, these are some beuatiful fall shots.;) I feel that the colourful time is so very short...
We have had a very mild November too, it doesn't look like snow here at all, but then again, all can change suddenly. Last year at this time we were under a heavy blanket, but that was also highly unusual. Snow arrives here rather in January and February, when we long for spring.
How lucky you are to have such a good friend nearby.;))

stardust said...

Your old friendship made my heart warm and made me want to see my old friend again soon. Your photography made me want to walk that trail to the lake in person.

Thank you for your visit and a lovely comment. I like your photography and narratives. Let me visit you from time to time as your newest follower.


Anonymous said...

So much life and positive energy in this post. Great photographs, I particularly like the pictures from the beach. So beautifully captured.

Elizabeth Grimes said...

Your friendship with Carol Anne sounds like a treasure. What a breathtaking view in that last shot.

Sharon Wagner said...

I love the gnarly tree by the water. I'll be making a trip to Target this week. You are lucky to have such a special and long lasting friendship.

Leah J. Utas said...

Wonderful walk. I love those lake shots.

ellen abbott said...

What a beautiful place and how lucky to have a friend like that. My friends, dick and Kathy, the glassblowers, have a friend named Carol Anne in Canada. I wonder...? probably not but it seems unusual that two people would have the same name and use both of them instead of one or the other.

the Bag Lady said...

Fabulous, as always, Hilary! Glad you've had such a nice autumn, mostly because it's allowed so many lovely photos!
Thanks for taking us on your visits.

DWei said...

Yeah I heard that about Zellers. I haven't shopped there in ages but I have been to Targets in the States and they seem ok?

And enjoy your lack of snow while you can. It's not as nice over here on the Western part of Canada.

Gillian Olson said...

Beautiful pictures.

Glo said...

Wonderful post and photos as usual :) I've only seen Lake Superior, but it definitely looked like the ocean ~ with course sand. Lovely to have such a longtime favorite friend.

Daryl said...

So nice to visit with friends .. and to get some lovely photos ... I am loving the autumnal paint job those trees got

Unknown said...

What a wonderful post Hilary.
The words , photos, the sentiment,
and the inspiration.
Belated gratitude for your noting my blog post.. so long ago now it seems:).
I just had my daughter here for the American holiday, so that was fabulous.
I don't know where the time goes lately. Between the usual, the hard, the trips to 'home' to see my mother, it's all just so strange.

hugs to you friend,

Redbush said...

Love your autumn shots, Hilary! We have snow, so, our area looks much cooler although the last few days we've had rain, and a lot of grass is showing up again. But, along with milder weather comes ice!

Gail Dixon said...

What a wonderful post. Good friends are hard to find...and keep. So many life changes...I know I've lost touch with so many. With FB and internet it's easier, though! So glad you have that special bond and are able to keep it going for so many years.

Dawn said...

Oh! I love your walks:)
That trail looks like one I want to run down...over and over again! Just beautiful.
Thank you for sharing!

Pauline said...

Walking with you is always such a pleasant experience that I find myself wishing such expeditions were longer!

yaya said...

It's wonderful to have a close friendship that is like family..or even better than family! I always feel bad to see a company having to sell out. Target will not have the same cozy, friendly employee parties I bet...I loved the pics and I also love train rides! The path to the lake made me want to join in..thanks for letting me come in picture form anyway!

Carol Anne said...

Ellen, no, I don't know your friends. While I was working at Zeller's back in the day, I was in a department of 3 people - and 2 of us were Carol Anne (though the other had no 'e'). Now that was a very unusual situation ... Maybe SHE knows Dick and Kathy. "Ya know, anything is possible. Unlikely, but possible.", to quote my dear friend, Hilary. :)

Hilary said...

• Barb, it would be a pleasure to have you along for the walk, I'm sure.. and your Carol Anne-like friend too. Thanks always for stopping by to comment. :)

• Maggie May, you have a keen eye. You're quite right.. I never noticed that before. :)

• Barbara, thank you kindly. :)

• Red, you made me laugh. And of course Hudson Bay Co. has owned Zeller's since back in the day when I worked there. That was another of their party events, by the way. Thanks for your visit. :)

• Sue, indeed it is. I was glad to have you along for the walk in spirit. Real life would have been better though. Sagebush was appropriate for that S post of yours. :)

• Thank you very kindly, Pseudo. I'd miss them too. I can't imagine autumn without these hues. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, Lime. You're always a welcomed friend to walk and talk with virtually. ;)

• DS, thank you. I couldn't agree more. :)

• Linda, I'm glad you didn't smack your head.. or mine. But I can still hear Howdy Doody in that la la la LA la la emphasis. ;)

• Joanna, my sentiments exactly. It's always nice to see you drop by. Thanks for that. :)

• Chariskalee, thanks very much. I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

• Slamdunk, thank you. Our weather is still cooperating for the most part. And yeah, the salmon isn't pleasant but I'd rather see it picked clean by birds than left to struggle and die by uncaring fishermen. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Ruby, thank you so much. I'm glad you like it. :)

• Dave, thanks very much. I'm always happy to see you stop by. :)

• Zuzana, we were very lucky, this autumn. The change seemed to happen quite slowly and the season was quite warm and lengthy. It still feels very autumn-like, although trees are mostly bare. I'm hoping that it will be a mild and pleasant winter as well. Thanks always for your warm words. :)

Hilary said...

• Welcome, Stardust and thank you very much for such kind words. I do hope you'll be able to catch up with your friend soon. :)

• Munchow, thanks so much. Your kind words are very much appreciated. :)

• Elizabeth, CA is indeed a treasure. Thanks for your visit and your always kind words. :)

• Sharon, thanks very kindly. I hope I'll come to like Target but I know I'll miss my Zeller's. Thanks for your visit. :)

• Thank you, Leah. I'm sure you would enjoy the walk. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Ellen. Ya know, anything is possible. Unlikely, but possible. ;) What part of Canada is your friends' friend from? (Say THAT three times, fast!) :)

• Baggie, thanks for coming along, my friend. I suspect we would have quite a blast if you joined us for real. :)

• DWei, I'm sure Target is okay.. I've been in their stores, also. But it's not our Zeller's. And calling themselves Target Canada does not really make them Canadian. Kind of like Walmart. I'm enjoying our weather as much as I can. I hope your winter won't be too harsh. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thank you, Gillian. :)

• Glo, Superior is the only Great Lake that I've never seen but they all have that ocean-like quality, I imagine. They're such huge lakes. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Daryl. We got some very lovely autumn colours this year.. and long-lasting as well. They're pretty much gone now, though. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Deb, so nice to see you! I'm glad you had time to share with your daughter. That must have been a real treat for you. I know how quickly time passes when matters come up. I'm glad you were able to surface for a bit to say "hi." Hugs right back at you. And thanks for your always-kind words. :)

• Redbush, thank you kindly. It sounds like your weather hasn't been too pleasant. You usually get the snow long before us and long after ours is gone. Geesh, I'm glad I live here and not there. ;) Thanks for your visit. :)

• Gail that's so true about the internet helping to reunite and stay in touch with friends and family. It's been a great tool for so many, including bloggers. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Dawn, thanks for joining us on our walk. You can run the trail if you like, but really, don't expect me to keep up. ;) Thanks for your visit. :)

• Pauline, thank you kindly. Not to worry, we'll be walking again soon, I'm sure. :)

• Thank you so much, Yaya. I'm thrilled to have you along on our walks. They just wouldn't be the same without my bloggie people. :)

• Ahh, Carol Anne, I forgot all about the other CA. She wasn't the nicest CA in the department as I recall. I'm sure Dick and Kathy's CA is much nicer than that. ;)

SandyCarlson said...

What a great story of a wonderful friendship. I am glad you got a chance to spend some time. Thanks for taking us along, too. Lake Ontario looks like a sea!

Anonymous said...

Lovely views! Dear friends that last the test of time, along with newer friends that have special places in our hearts, are my favorite ways to spend time.

L. D. said...

It was a great walk of an area that I have never visited. Thanks for sharing.

Mage said...

Ah, Tar-jay. I used to shop there often but now the quality is gone down while the prices are up. So sorry about Zellers, but now sorry about your friendship. Friendships make life whole.

Betty Manousos said...

ah, i so believe in friendship! nice catching up with odgood friends.

gorgeous photos, every single one of them.

i thoroughly enjoyed your wonderful post and photos!

Betty Manousos said...

oops! i meant to say...old good friends!

Geraldine said...

What a lovely, heartfelt post. And what gorgeous photos, loved the path one most of all. I remember gazing out at Lake Ontario many times, living in Toronto. Such a beautiful sight. So peaceful to be walking along Kew Beach. Thanks for the nice memories brought to mind too.

PS: I'm sorry to see Zellers close too. Much better than rival Walmart.

Lisa said...

To wonderful walks and wonderful friendships; Clink:)

Don said...

Great looking fish!

Hilary said...

• Thank you, Sandy. I'm always happy to have you along. Thanks for joining us. :)

• Karen, I couldn't agree with you more. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Larry, thank you. I'm glad you could make it. :)

• Mage, I totally agree. Where would we be without our good friends? :)

• Betty, thank you so much. You never fail to bring a smile to my face when you stop by to comment. :)

• Geraldine, thank you so kindly. I'm glad that you were able to relive a few fond memories of the area. It's such a beautiful spot, isn't it? Thanks so much for your kind words. :)

• Lisa! Clink, clink! (we're entitled to two drinks). Thanks for stopping by, my dear friend. :)

• Don, I'll bet it once was. ;)

Lisa said...

Beautiful. They all are . I love the water.

Hilary said...

• Thanks, Lisa. :)