15 April. April is the cruellest month. When I awoke this morning just after 5.00, the little park behind our house looked strangely light. Although the sky was clear, there had been a snowfall in the night! It will surely melt during the day, but it was Nature’s rude reminder not to think about Spring just yet.
And then, checking Facebook while having a first cup of coffee, there was the sad news that the husband of one of my former colleagues at Statistics Canada has died from COVID-19 and that she herself is in critical condition in the hospital. We had planned to get together after they returned from their stay in Toulouse and ours in Paris. We returned at the beginning of March but they seem to have stayed till the end.
14 April. And that exchange with my daughter sapped my energy for the week as I waited for a decision. In the end it was good news, for the time being, and she is at home with her husband and girls, tending her garden.
Now for a little recap of the week that was.
Fines for dawdling in the parks. Last weekend was quite lovely as mentioned earlier and people were out and about in numbers, but parks had already been closed except to walk through. Early in the week it was reported that a man had been fined $880 for walking his dog in one closed park, and a man playing with his autistic child in another park had been given a warning. There were some subsequent negative comments in the press about the harshness of the action, but the mayor noted that warnings were not working. Still, the communication about what is OK and not OK is as vague as the fines are steep.
Masks. One of my sister’s sons works for 3M Canada, a manager in the Personal Safety Division. He was slated for a new job just before COVID-19 came to Canada. Now he remains in his job, is one of the only workers in the offices, and seems to be working all his waking hours. As one of his self/US protective measures, Mr Trump invoked the 1950 Defense Production Act allowing the government to stop 3M exporting N95 respirators to Canada and Latin America. In response 3M cited global humanitarian issues as a reason to continue its supply to other countries. Canada noted that some of the materials used in the masks come from Canada. Eventually an agreement was reached after the sword rattling and subsequent diplomatic efforts. That nephew of ours must be learning a good deal about business in a pandemic with an overlay of politics.
Street cleaning. On Monday evening our street was posted with the no parking signs which usually signal that it has finally become almost impassable due to snow banks and the impressive show of heavy equipment would restore it, albeit temporarily, to its two-way status. Early the next morning there was a very impressive show of heavy equipment, this time to remove winter debris and all the salt and sand that accumulates over the course of an Ottawa winter. The usual routine of a truck with a sweeper and water spray proceeded up and down the sides and the middle of the street and all quieted down for a bit, then there was a heavy rumble that put in mind the parade of tanks down the Champs Elysees for July 14th festivities. The rumble was caused by a line of eight trucks spraying again, a sight never seen in previous years. Later a neighbour told us that it was chemical disinfectant that was being sprayed. Not confirmed by any press, but very unusual if true.
Easter. Easter Sunday was drab and drear, and we felt sad even though our dear youngish neighbour delivered home-made hot-cross buns for our breakfast. We had a long phone conversation with our daughter, and caught up with the girls who are at home completing their school years. The cheerful multi-coloured arrangement of tulips I had picked out to send to them was replaced by the florist with some blue bouquet of odd flowers. Perhaps it was a representation of the mood of all of us – a little blue.
On Easter Monday we had a Zoom session with a group of our neighbours who we used to meet regularly for dinner or movie nights. We are four couples, – all retired but one from interesting jobs, and we have a fine time together. We were immensely cheered by one couple who appeared in large pink bunny ears and related their morning walk wearing same. They had passed a mother with a little boy, at a six-foot distance of course, and the mother had said to the child “Oh look dear, it’s the Easter bunny. “Thank you for my chocolate rabbit” said the little child. The Easter bunny said it had cheered his day!