I read that they’ve just repainted the iconic Abbey Road crossing in London. Apparently, it’s often hard for city workers to have a chance to do that uninterrupted during regular work hours because the pedestrian crosswalk made famous on the cover of the Beatles album Abbey Road is usually crowded with tourists. Not anymore. The self-isolation of Londoners ordered by the British prime minister and the dearth of tourists in the city these days made it easy for workers to repaint the lines.
We went grocery shopping for the first time since our isolation ended. We arrived at 7:00 in the morning when most grocery stores are open exclusively for seniors. A young man at the front door invited us to use the hand sanitizer dispenser while he disinfected the handlebar of a cart for us. Folks in the store gave one another a wide berth. We lined up for the cash register on big X’s marked on the floor that kept us the proper distance apart. The clerk was behind plexiglass. I also went into a drug store where I had a similar experience, except here between serving each customer the cashier wiped down the counter and the credit card machine with copious amounts of disinfectant and she was wearing a mask and gloves.
I did some coloring. Lisa, a talented colleague of mine at the Winnipeg Art Gallery is creating freehand drawings of classic pieces from the Winnipeg Art Gallery collection and posting them on the gallery website. Since the gallery is closed and you can’t visit in person, you are invited to print up one of Lisa’s drawings and experience the paintings vicariously by coloring them.
I colored Lisa’s version of this work called The Farmer’s Daughter by Quebec artist Prudence Heward. Prudence was a contemporary of Canada’s famous Group of Seven and like Emily Carr was one of only a comparatively few women who tried to make a name for themselves in the male-dominated Canadian art world at the turn of the century.
We had a long Face Time session with our son and his family in Saskatoon. We told our grandsons stories again. Dave told them a story about how he missed watching Neal Armstrong walk on the moon on TV because he heard a loud crash outside just as Armstrong was about to take his first lunar step. Dave ran out the door to see what had happened. His older brother Paul who was driving their family car had been hit by an oncoming vehicle as he turned onto their farmyard. Paul was fine although the car wasn’t. But in the ensuing drama, Dave missed watching the moonwalk.
I told my grandsons some stories about my grade two year at Sir John Franklin School in Winnipeg. How I was late for my first day of classes because I was chased by a big dog on my way to school, how I cried when I got 7+7 wrong on a math test, and how one day when I came home from lunch a car had driven right into the living room of our neighbor’s house.
Our grandson told us he is going to be continuing his violin lessons virtually with his teacher starting this week since it looks like the music studio where he normally goes for lessons will have to remain closed for several months yet.
In the last couple of days, I have been watching the Netflix series Unorthodox about a young woman who breaks away from her conservative Hasidic religious community in New York to find a different life for herself. Unorthodox brought to mind a book I read called Breaking Free by Rachel Jeffs which is her memoir about escaping her life in a Fundamentalist Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints sect. Unorthodox also reminded me of the book Women Talking by Miriam Toews which tells the story of a group of Mennonite women in Bolivia who are trying to decide whether they should leave their very religiously conservative colony. We think we are living with restrictions on our freedoms right now but many women have experienced restrictions far more troubling and challenging imposed by their religious communities.