Friday, March 25, 2011

You say Goodbye and I say Hello

Emma came to Buffalo for less than 24 hours. She just pulled out of the driveway to venture back to Toronto. I'm lucky that she lives close enough to make a quick trip. But, saying good bye is always so difficult.The hugs are hard and tight and I don't want to release my grip. I'm not a crier, but my tear ducts have been sorely tested since the kids have gone away to university. There is an emptiness in the pit of my stomach that really doesn't get filled until their return.

I remember when I was their age and my dad used to tell me that he hated saying goodbye.He used to say that every goodbye was like "a little death". I also remember thinking at  that time that he was overly melodramatic. And, that he needed to get over himself.

Now I understand him.

How do we all manage through these goodbyes, these separations?   I have a really hard time.  But, living in a community like Buffalo makes it easier. The best part of Buffalo is that you always run into someone you know. Being married to someone as gregarious as Bill has helped me to get to know a lot of people I wouldn't otherwise meet.  And saying 'hello' to others makes me feel part of the community. That's big for a transplanted Canuk.

Last night at the Purse Party, there must have been 400 (mostly) women. I knew a bunch of them. How is that possible? It's Buffalo. When I was lining up to pay my (large) bill, I stood behind a woman who looked very familiar. As she looked my way I told her that I thought I knew her. I asked her where she worked. "I'm a server at Chef's". Of COURSE! She has waited on our birthday lunches a bunch of times. And, she said I looked awfully familiar, too.

Deep Singh the owner of Taste Of India. We were introduced by
our mutual friend Jeffrey Freedman - who also loves this restaurant
Tonight, I called Taste of India for take-out. I know I eat there a lot, but I don't take advantage of their take- out. I recognized the waiter's VOICE on the phone for crying out loud. I knew exactly who he was and HE remembered how I liked having cumin scented white rice: "I will make it for you", he said. The last time I was there for take-out was during Diwali (Festival of lights). I had asked one of the waiters what he was doing to celebrate. He looked bored and replied:  "Nothing .... working I guess". I turned to the other waiter (the one who knows my penchant for cumin and whose voice I recognized on the phone) and asked him the same thing. "I will pray". He turned to his fellow waiter:  "And you should, too, my friend". And then he gave me a lovely smile. That smile told me we were friends.

Unfortunately, because I always run into someone I know, I feel compelled to brush my hair and wear a decent pair of pants (i.e. not my ripped and bleached- stained sweats) when I leave the house. Even when I go to TJ Maxx. The last time I was there I ran into my hairdresser - who gave me the once over - twice.  

And bigger venues? Forget it. It's a given that you'll see someone you know. Ralph Wilson stadium parking lot, Buffalo- Niagara Airport, HSBC arena,  Kleinhans, any fundraiser - you will know someone.

So while Emma and Will are separated from me, I, at least, have the great fortune of having familiar people around me. That emptiness in the pit of my stomach? It's not so empty when I venture out and rub shoulders with the people in the City of Good Neighbors.

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