L. G. William Chapman, B.A., LL.B.
What lends itself more conveniently to the rigour of Saturday chores than the dawn of a gray and rainy Saturday morning? Further inspired by steel-cut porridge, two eggs and black coffee, I find the normally duty-bound agenda is by contrast nothing short of alluring. Walking or bicycling in the drizzle – as improving as it may be- is upon consideration effortlessly side-lined and without the characteristic frustration or personal vilification. The map of weekend respite is far less complicated without the corruption of choice. There is after all no need to compress too numerous activities into an already narrow allotment.
If you were to ask, I’d have to say that on the whole I can bear the deprivation of grocery shopping. When, however, one has committed oneself to the project, when one has the leisure to revel in the dalliance, it is rather an adventure given the luxury of examining the condition of the fruit, reading the labels, studying the source of production, even wandering purposelessly among the aisles. It is inevitable when shopping close to home to encounter a friend or neighbour, affording the additional opportunity to get caught up on the recent goings-on, again the civilized corollary of measured obligation.
The disadvantage of a rainy day is that it mitigates the utility of having the car washed, normally a mandatory detail on my list of Saturday things to do. Nonetheless there is the lesser chance to vacuum the interior, perhaps even to polish the interior plate glass (always an impossible task I find and one for which I am perpetually searching the secret). But if you have one of those “one wash a day for 90 days” cards, well then it only makes sense to indulge the pleasure however seemingly pointless and extravagant! A fleeting but longed-for catharsis!
Having no other imperative, and relishing as I do the simple pleasure of driving, I profited by the occasion to visit with my elderly parents in the City. Being confined to the indoors and having no other competing distractions immediately lent itself to drawn-out conversation and rambling recapitulation. Normally my parents are engaged in some preoccupation, doing this or that, getting ready to go here or there; but the weather put a lid on such worrisome anxieties. We had a good chat together.
Afterwards I motored homeward and wondered what further I would do to fulfill my day. But I wasn’t long in waiting. A rainy day, encouraged in its lethargy by the dawdling drips of water from the metal rails of the patio furniture onto the saturated cedar deck, reminds one of the virtues of an afternoon nap after one’s luncheon. The afternoon nap is a much ignored diversion in North American society though everyone knows of its popularity in Europe, especially the Latin countries. We mistakenly dismiss its purpose in the hurry to accomplish our appointed goals. But what could be more worthy of achievement than a refreshing break from the duties of the day! Succumbing I drifted off for an hour accompanied by the strains of a weighty Wagner opera on the French CBC radio station.
If the weather is not only gray but also chilly and damp, these features stimulate the desirability of a fire. Upon awakening my hurried glance at the fireplace reminded me it had been years since the brass fireplace implements had been cleaned. Here was the chance to address that nagging need. I rolled up my sleeves and set to work! I confess it wasn’t long before I resolved in the future to engage our friends at Ottawa Brass for the task, but for the time being the exercise expiated my guilt. The equally tarnished brass candelabra could await the attention of the professionals.
So here it is approaching six o’clock in the evening at the end of a rainy Saturday. The American standards are playing, the fire is roaring, and F. Scott Fitzgerald beckons me to my favourite comfortable chair.