2000-12-27
Dear Diary:

I have Montreal bagels and you don't.

Neener neener neener.

There are two things Paul and I do each visit to Montreal. One is to buy fresh bagels and the other is to pillage several ethnic grocery stores in Jess' district (Nôtre Dame des Graces or NDG) which have stuff we just can't get out here in the boonies.

Bagel guy--that's a technical term, eh--loading bagels on paddles while behind him in the wood fired oven several paddles full of bagel goodness bake away.  Yum. Montreal bagels are one of the great wonders of the universe. If I could write poetry, I would be writing poems about these bagels--

"Oh how I love thee, let me count the ways ...

I love thee with a schmeer

Of cream cheese and lox, m'dear ..."

Um, nevermind.

The bagels are baked in wood-fired ovens on long wooden paddles that are wet down with a sponge just before they are graced with those heavenly bready delights.

Our bits of hot bagel goodness being picked up for us.  We love poppyseed, eh. The bagel makers get such a great rhythm going that by the time they fill the oven with paddles, the first paddle is baked and dumped down a stainless steel chute. These wondrous bits of bageliciousness have an ever so faint smokey taste, are crusty on the outside and wonderfully chewy on the inside.

*Insert Mr. T voice here*, "I pity the fool who has never tasted a Montreal bagel."

Well, I think that's enough channelling of semi-obscure TV characters for one day, huh?

I don't know why exactly, but winter seems especially brutal to me in the city. The wind that tore down Sherbrooke St. yesterday seemed to slice through our winter clothes like a razor. I hear that with the wind chill it was about -35C in Montreal and I believe it.

We had to get up stupidly early to get Jess back into the city because she had to work the day after Christmas. The four of us bumbled around here in a sleepy haze gathering up her and the boyfriend's Christmas loot for ski-dooing down the hill.

That sleepy muzziness left us about two seconds after we stepped outside into the -20C (about 0F) of cold, blustery Quebec winter morning that waited outside our cabin. Oh yeah, those temperatures snap your eyes wide open, let me tell you.

The drive in to town was passed in silence. The kids fell asleep in the back seat almost instantly. There wasn't much time to say more than a quick hello to her kitties and a quick good-bye to the kid before Jess was off to work and we were back out the door of her apartment.

The two hour drive back home was a quiet one, the car fragrant with the hot steamy wonderfulness of fresh bagels, jars of various curries, chutneys and seasonings rattling in the trunk. Both Paul and I were a bit sad because it felt as if the holiday had left with our kid.

Being a parent makes no sense, eh. One moment you're dragging this screaming kid in full temper tantrum out of a shopping centre, devoutly promising your eternal soul to any gods that might be out there in the universe if they would only make this kid grow up a little ...

And the next moment you're wishing the kid wasn't quite so very grown up and independent.

Take it from me, cats are simpler, eh.

--Marn

Old Drivel - New Drivel


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