When I hear Donald Trump talk about closing the borders to Muslims, and I see how many Americans agree with him, I tell myself it’s because they’re American. Canadians have always cared more, we are a caring society after all. Many Canadians feel the same way though, and that disappoints me because I know we’re better than that.
The news depresses me. “Toronto the Good” has stabbings, murders, robberies, and more, happening on an increasing basis. A spoiled rich boy drives drunk and kills three small children with their grandfather, and now they’re talking plea deal. A random woman who worked in the financial district walks into a drugstore downtown and stabs an apparent stranger, who later dies. As a society, we’re going mad it seems. I read about a man who died alone in his apartment, undiscovered for weeks. No family or friends. Completely alone. I feel so sad for this man I didn’t even know. Nobody should be alone.
I put Christmas music on in my car and headed out for dinner, for a brief reprieve from the tragedies of the world. For an hour, I seek quiet music, good food, and relaxation.
We ended up at a restaurant called Jacx on Woodbine Avenue, just north of Newmarket, Ontario. I haven’t been there in years, since it was called the Ladle. I was happy to see it quite busy – the business is doing well and that’s good. We sat at a small table beside a couple with their child, and ordered. When our neighbour’s meal came, it was huge – she had ordered the lamb shank. She saw us looking at her plate, and started telling us how good the lamb was there. Then she asked us to give her our bread plate, and she’d give us a piece to try. A complete stranger, offering to share her food – amazing! We declined though as neither of us really likes lamb.
A solitary keyboard player sang songs that nobody under the age of forty or maybe even fifty would remember. He played well, although some songs were a bit fast. His singing was unfortunate – I’ll just leave it at that. The lady at the table beside me got up and walked over to an elderly gentleman sitting in a booth, pulled him to his feet and started to dance. It was incredible to watch the friendliness and warmth of this complete stranger.
It doesn’t matter what I ate that night. I met a woman from Newmarket named Fran, her husband Dave and son Christopher, and I realized that not everyone has closed their hearts. I learned a lesson from Fran last night – to always talk to strangers, always be willing to share good things, and don’t hesitate to dance!
Maybe there’s hope for us after all.