Letter from Joy
July 24, 2017
Well, here we are again. Hope you’ve been experiencing better weather than we have here in Toronto, where it's continued to be very wet and unsettled. (Of course, there is no such thing as climate change! Yeah, right!) Anyway, it’s been one or two nice days a week and the rest either rainy or about to be. Plus one day it’s hot and humid and the next cool, so you never know how to dress when you leave the house. That hasn’t stopped me from shopping, of course. The clothes for the coming fall and winter season - unlike the past several seasons - are gorgeous. I want to buy everything I see. But the prices are outrageous. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a dress I’ll wear once or twice. I saw a cute little skirt the other day and was about to try it on when I noticed the price tag: over $4000!!!! Really? Who’s buying these things?
July has been a pretty busy month, although I’m hard-pressed to remember what I’ve been doing. We had my gorgeous grandchildren for the first week. They didn’t sleep over; my daughter brought them to us on her way to work in the morning and picked them up on her way home. So we had them all day, and they were a blast. Every day was an adventure. We went to the park and fed the pigeons several times; we went to see Despicable Me 3, which they enjoyed but I found only so-so; we bought stuffies and played many games of cards and Candyland, as well as several games we made up; read stories; ate ice cream, and generally had a great time. They’re the best. And I haven’t slept that well in years. Once I hit the pillow at night, I was out! Didn’t even wake up to go to the bathroom!
The next week was our long-anticipated road trip with friends. Unfortunately, it wasn’t one of our more successful trips. The weather wasn’t very cooperative - if it wasn’t raining, it was hot and humid, neither particularly pleasant for driving or walking around. First off, we went to Brimfield, a small town in Massachusetts that hosts a huge antique and collectible fair every July. We stayed at the Sturbridge Inn just outside of Brimflield - for a photo of our beautiful room, check out my Instagram at @fieldingjoy. It poured our first night so when we went to the fair the next morning, the grounds were very wet and the skies still very threatening. We walked around for the better part of the day, then visited all the local antique stores before having dinner and turning in for the night. The next day, we drove to Great Barrington. We had dinner with my cousin that night in the town of Lee. Dinner was so-so, but it was wonderful to see my cousin and his wife. I’m very close with all the cousins on my mother’s side, and we’ve managed to stay close despite not seeing each other for years at a time. My cousin and his wife live in Lenox (very close to Great Barrington and Lee), so I was thrilled for the opportunity to connect. The next day, one of our traveling companions wasn’t feeling very well, which put a bit of a damper on things. She was a trooper, however, and went with us to the Clark Museum in nearby Williamstown where we saw a special Picasso exhibit, as well as their permanent collection. It was fantastic. Then we drove into Lenox and walked around their charming downtown - in the pouring rain, of course. Did a smattering of shopping before our ailing friend called it a day and we drove her back to our hotel. We returned to Lenox for a wonderful dinner at a charming restaurant called Zinc and then went to the concert in Tanglewood. The concert - given by The Knights, an orchestra from Brooklyn - was fabulous. It was just a shame that because of the inclement weather the normally crowded grass section beyond the pavilion where we had seats was all but empty. Only a dozen or so brave souls chose to sit on the soggy ground, no doubt praying there wouldn’t be another downpour. Then it was on to Boston, a wonderful city and the setting of a number of my books, including the one I’ve just begun. We stayed at the Eliot Hotel on Commonwealth Drive, only blocks away from Boylston and Newbury Streets. We spent that afternoon walking from store to store, enjoying the surprisingly blue skies. The next day we took one of those hop-on, hop-off bus tours. I find them a great way to get to know a city. And our driver-guide was very entertaining. Afterward we explored the charming antique stores along Charles Street, and had dinner at the waterfront. The next morning we left for home.
Which is when the good times stopped.
We were doing all right, making great time, aiming to arrive home before seven p.m., the men taking turns driving, when just outside of Batavia, which is outside of Buffalo, we got a flat tire. I’ll spare you the gory details, but speaking of spares - our car doesn’t have one! Instead it’s one of those “run flat” tires that you can supposedly drive for fifty miles. (Yeah, right!) We managed to get it to a garage, but it was after five o’clock on a Sunday, so our options were limited. To make a very long story short, we had to leave the car in Batavia where the garage had to order in the specialty tires required, call friends who (conveniently for us) live in the area, and they picked us up and drove us to the airport in Buffalo, where we were able to rent a car. (All other places were closed because it was Sunday.) We got home at almost midnight, and the tires didn’t arrive till the following Thursday! We had tickets for the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake on Friday, so we tried desperately to figure out a way to return the rental and pick up our car either before or after the play, but it was impossible. Even though we were in the general vicinity, Batavia was still an hour and a half away from Niagara-on-the-Lake and you never know how long it will take at the border, which we'd have to cross twice. So we decided not to stress and just enjoy the day. We drove to the Festival with friends - thankfully, they drove - and had a fabulous lunch at The Two Sisters Winery before seeing a delightful production of “Me And My Girl.” I greatly recommend both the winery and the play. We took a day’s break to play golf and then drove back to Batavia on Sunday to pick up the car. A special thank you to Annette at the garage for going way above and beyond the call of duty and taking such good care of us.
Home in time to see the thrilling last nine holes of the British Open (a repeat showing) and then episode 2 of “Game of Thrones”, which was one of the best. There really aren’t enough superlatives. I also saw a surprisingly terrific movie - “WonderWoman.” Is it possible that there are two more gorgeous people in the world than Chris Pine and Gal Gadot? (Okay, well, maybe my grandchildren.) I’m also reading a very good book called BE READY FOR THE LIGHTNING (not crazy about the title) by Canadian author Grace O’Connell.
And speaking of books, my new book, THE BAD DAUGHTER, will be out next February and is available for pre-order now through Amazon. I know February is a long time to wait, but time passes so quickly these days, it will be here before you know it. And I’ve already started work on the next book, which everyone seems very excited about. Way to early to talk about it, however. Just know it’s on its way.
And that’s about it for now. Stay well, keep reading, and most of all, be kind to one another.