I’ve always tried to live by the golden rule: do unto others as you would have done unto you. Sometimes it’s challenging; especially when you know when someone’s not being kind or fair to you. Just being cordial is difficult.

But this weekend we experienced the beauty of true friendship. Reciprocal kindness. Camaraderie. Makes me feel good about our world; the world we live in.

It started Friday night with an evening out with friends. Three couples enjoyed a social event at Rudy’s golf club. All the guys are members. We had some great laughs and enjoyed each others company. Followed by a few extra glasses of wine on our patio with the fire table. A gorgeous summer evening with tons of stars and a pleasant breeze.

On Saturday we drive to Hamilton and pit stop at our friends Sandy and Leo. These two low key lovebirds are so hospitable. They opened their cozy cottagey home to us and Molly. After a quick hello we piled in the car to head for our dinner bbq with other friends.

Since it was Sandy’s birthday we secretly arranged to have a little party with cake st the bbq. When we arrived at Jim and Betsy’s place the back deck was in Birthday theme complete with banners and balloons and accommodation for Molly. (This is such a generous gesture for nondog people … ❤️) Jim and Betsy put on a fabulous steak dinner and were such gracious hosts. After dinner we piled back into the car and I dropped the gang off to the TiCat football game.

I returned to Leo and Sandy’s with Molly and we enjoyed a lovely evening walk at Dundurn Castle. I reflected on the city’s vibrant culture and how many big cities have very distinctive neighbourhoods (the haves and have nots) but in the Hammer it all blends. You’re hard pressed to find exclusive enclaves. It’s hot and gritty and real. It’s also very cool; I love how the human landscape flows.

At half time I do the pick up and it appears like the fans are partied out! The rest of the game is watched on tv as we fade ready for bed. Sandy’s bed is a giant king that’s so comfy and Molly is fast asleep in no time.

The next morning I’m the first one up. It’s funny how you have spunk and energy when you don’t imbibe the night before! Molly and I enjoy the morning glory with a walk through Dundurn. Complete with others strolling and those who may have camped out on the grounds and a guy taking a leak. It’s all fair game in this town. I pop Molly in the car and head to Grandads Donuts for coffees and (surprise!) donuts. Located in the north end this diverse neighbourhood is so typical with every sort of character on full display. The donut shop is busy; it’s an icon. I have frequent flashbacks to Rudy’s parents when I’m in Hamilton especially buying coffee since that was the tradition when visiting. I hear Grampas voice and see his face tasting the coffee. It was never sweet enough. I even bought a Boston Cream donut in his honour. That was his favourite.

I return with the goodies and the household is awake. We venture to the backyard oasis for our coffee and enjoy the tranquility among a carefully tended garden (it’s hard to believe we are a few short blocks from city centre) with Shasta daisies and herbs and veggies and phlox and do many other pretty blooms. Leo makes breakfast and we head indoors. As we munch on tasty home grown tomatoes we chat about world events. As though we will make a difference or solve any crisis. It’s entertaining nonetheless. Perspectives are varying and most interesting. I love that we can debate and challenge each other. Stimulating.

We are off to our next pit stop: brunch with Rudy’s sister Marilyn and cousin Shannon. They have chosen a place that’s got a dog friendly patio. Luckily the weather is ideal for a meal outside. The place is called Sasso and I read the reviews ahead of time. They rave about the Caesar salad. When we arrive the girls are already there and sipping on the most delicious looking Caesar cocktails. Yes please!! These concoctions are garnished with asparagus, olives, pickles and a spicy rimmer. Delish! The salads were great, too. We talked about tons of things but with Shannon it always comes back to food. Shannon is a whiz in the pantry along with her hubby Lenny. They create the most delicious treats that we are lucky enough to enjoy regularly. Shannon got her skills from her mom. Love it!

We are off again; this time to Stratford. Mom and dad are waiting and we bring some donuts with us. My dad takes a knife and immediately sampled a slice of each one. His favourite is the walnut crunch; the most popular one they sell. Dad knows his stuff! Shortly after our friends Leah and Brian arrive. My folks love Leah but this is their first meet up with Brian. We gather at the dining table and chat over compulsory drinks. Right on cue (her internal clock is punctual!) molly gives me the signal. Leah comes for a short walk with me. When we return the guys are deep in conversation. Well, let’s be honest. My dad is talking up a storm while Rudy and Brian listen politely. Dad is educating them on … wait for it …. yup. Bearings. Dads favourite topic. It’s making mom crazy. When we sit down moms st the end of the table by herself and she latches on to Leah’s arm while bickering that dad should stop. Every attempt to divert her results in continued bickering about dad. Dad is oblivious

We head out eventually in search of dinner in town and leave mom and dad and Molly behind. But not before Brian shows dad the engine of his new M5. The thing is a beast and dad loves it. Better yet when we pull out and Brian revs the engine. Dad is grinning from ear to ear. Music!

I can’t help but direct Brian on a short your around town where I point out a few landmarks and interesting trivia. Stratford is lovely (to visit) and particularly when it’s sunny and warm. We end up downtown and I suggest The Hub. It’s a new establishment that’s gourmet foods and butchery on the main level and gastropub on the second floor and outdoor patio. They have a separate beer menu which we all appreciate. We order and our keen server is happy to share her favourites and the specials. The menu is extensive and includes some interesting choices. Rudy and I opt for nachos to share since we’ve been indulging it seems all day. The food and drinks are as great as the venue. But it’s the company and conversation that’s tops. It’s so refreshing to have meaningful discussions. Leah’s dad is in long term care. We talk about that as we had the same experience.

Leah wonders who will take care of us? We have no kids. I tell her that I believe in karma. We do our part now and when our time comes there will be someone for us too. Rudy says he believes in big pharmaceuticals; when his time comes he’s taking a pill.

Whatever the outcome, today is still for doing unto others. Enjoy the moments. We are so lucky.

Pics courtesy of WordPress.

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