Sunday, October 12, 2008


I'm sitting in my daughter's dorm room at Queen's University, exhausted but happy. My daughter is back at home in Toronto. She's no fool. She's not about to spend her time walking around the countryside with her loopy mom. Off she went to spend time with her dad and siblings, who remain in Toronto awaiting my return. I miss them all terribly. My daughter has pictures of them all on her desk, all smiling at me. Her room is filled with things that are so dearly familiar to me - the stuffed monkey I gave her when we adopted her in Brazil, the funny switchplate her dad brought back from one of his business trips, the plants I didn't quite manage to kill before my daughter rescued them.

The day's travels began in a morning fog. Dewan had started before Rita and I arrived. Rita has taken to following Eddie's example and stuffing mailboxes along the way with flyers, so she basically keeps up with us but never gets ahead. As the sun burned off the fog, I had this notion that I was walking into the sunshine. So far, we've been walking pretty steadily eastward, so the day's journeys begin walking into the sun, passing underneath it and leaving it behind at night. Another way of looking at it is that my face gets burned in the morning, and my neck at night and I spend all day wondering why it is that I imagined that in October I wouldn't need a hat.

We all stopped for breakfast in Westbrook, where John, the kind Greek man who ran the restaurant in Napanee where we lunched yesterday, walked in for a coffee as well. Apparently, he lives on a farm nearby. Dewan, who paid for yesterday's lunch, tells me that coleslaw at John's restaurant in Napanee is only 89 cents. It's quite good, too.

As we walked on towards Kingston, we were greeted by a growing welcoming party - two of Dewan's cousins and Glenn and Soo Luen from Ecosanity. Soo Luen had made us a beautiful banner for our walk. We were ahead of schedule and walked on ahead before our lunch, which was provided by Weais and Ali Afzal, Dewan's brothers, at their beautiful restaurant, Curry Original. To all those in Kingston, you need to try this. I'm going to send my daughter here for a treat sometime. Dozens of Dewan's relations joined us for lunch, along with Sandra Willard and Glenn and Soo Luen.

After lunch, we took some photos and headed down to the park in front of City Hall, where speeches were made. It was good to see a lot of local politicians out in support. These included:

Sandra Willard: NDP candidate for Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington
Peter Milliken: incumbent Liberal candidate for Kingston and the Islands
Rick Downes: NDP candidate for Kingston and the Islands
Eric Walton: Green Party candidate for Kingston and the Islands
Mark Gerretsen: Deputy mayor of Kingston
John Gerretsen: local MPP and provincial Minister of the Environment

I imagine that the Gerretsens are related, but I didn't ask. All candidates were supportive. It was a big relief to me to hear the local NDP and Liberal candidates both speak of the need to work together after the election. Both recognized that if on nothing else, on this issue the parties needed to come together because there just was no time to waste politicking this issue to death. I didn't mind the gentle sparring during the speeches. The atmosphere was pretty genial, and it's refreshing to see candidates share time anywhere.

I need to thank Michelle for helping to organize from Kingston, the Council of Canadians for bringing out their crews, and Rick Downes for the bullhorn.

Afterwards, we had more walking to do. We walked north well past the city, back into the land of fields and cows, produce stands and dead animals by the roadway. At dusk, we were waiting by the roadside for Dewan's cousin to pick us up. The setting sun was unspectacular, a sign of good air. Apparently it's all the chemical particulate in the air that makes Toronto sunsets so stunning. We had to turn back into Kingston for the night - Dewan to his relatives, me to my daughters, Rita and Rene to a beautiful stately inn. Kingston is beautiful. But then, so are a lot of the towns we pass through. Tonight I sleep with my daughter's monkey.

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