I recently took a trip to Toronto with the family. We crammed in as many things as we could into the days that we were there, spreading the choices of places and activities between the four of us...a visit to Ontario Place, a couple of trips to Silver Snail Comics, a walk at The Riverdale Farm (they have outdoor oven-fired pizza on Tuesdays!), poked around The Necropolis, dinner at Baton Rouge, and my personal choice - a visit to Kensington Market on a lazy, sunny Saturday.
It was a real treat (and a completely different experience/vibe) to have my kids with me as I strolled down the streets. We slipped in and out of the little stalls and store fronts, smelling spices, tasting foods - hot, sour, savoury, and sweet. Mmmmm...churros.
But what's a day in Kensington Market without a stop at Courage My Love?
I dragged my 12-year-old into the shop, proclaiming the virtues of vintage. After a nice browse around, I left with two hats and a sweet wooden ring. I wore the ring on my pinky most of the rest of the day, twirling it around as we ate vendor dogs and shouted out words for a street side rapper to incorporate into his mix. (He was pretty good...try lookin' cool while rapping about "artichokes".)
Later that evening, after we'd returned to the hotel and I was getting ready to go to dinner, I realized the ring was loose on my pinky. Not wanting to lose it, I moved it to my ring finger. It went on easily and seemed a good, snug fit.
As I put on my make-up, snug became tight. I tugged on it while we walked to the restaurant but the ring wouldn't budge and my finger began to swell. By the time we were ready to order, my finger was a lovely shade of maroon. Houston, we have a problem.
Of course, the problem was made worse because:
A. If you've ever eaten at Baton Rouge, you know you can't just get up a leave, not after you've dreamed of their BBQ sauce for months on end. (It's not Papa Joe's Smoke House, but pretty close.)
B. My book signing at Book Expo Canada was the next day at noon. Kind of difficult to scribble my name repeatedly when the fourth finger of my writing hand is the size of a sausage.
My dear husband (calmly) says, "we'll ask for a side of butter. Maybe that will work."
I thanked the server, scooped up a big pat of the stuff and stuck my hands under the table and started to slather away.
We were way beyond butter.
Husband (still quite calm) says..."OK. Emergency room?"
I could smell the glorious woody scent of the BBQ sauce as the server set my plate in front of me. I unrolled the napkin that was wrapped around the silverware.
"This steak knife looks pretty sharp. Maybe I can saw the ring off?"
Husband shook his head and sighed. "Give me your hand, I'll do it."
He made a good start, sawing a nice groove into the ring, but I couldn't stand watching the blade move back and forth so close to my fingers. "Thanks honey, I'll take it from here."
I worked at it, sawing away when I could, changing the angle ever so slightly when I came too near flesh, quickly hiding my hand under the table every time the waiter came by, or when the manager insisted on strolling around striking up conversations with us and every table within sight.
I may have lost a ring, but my finger was still in tact, my hand ready for BEC.
(Stay tuned for part two, Notes from Book Expo Canada)