Saturday, November 17, 2007

Starbucks, Vincenzo's, and my life partner

My niece got me thinking. We're both sentimental types, so when she blogged about getting the Christmas bug a little early this year, I thought, "Yeah, that's a little too early for me." But then this morning, as my wife and I prepared for our Saturday morning errands and glanced outside at the dusting of snow on the bushes, I started to catch the same bug.

We began with a trip to Canadian Tire for a new kettle, thinking warm thoughts, then on to Starbucks for even warmer thoughts. While there, we purchased a Starbucks Entertainment compilation called Stockings By the Fire. Then, sliding the new CD into place, and sipping our café latté and bold Yukon, we started listening to what will almost certainly become one of our favorite seasonal albums and heading off to our very favorite specialty grocery/deli store in the entire Waterloo Region - Vincenzo's.

Steadily, over the last few weeks, we're spending less money at our regular grocery store and more at the specialty grocer. If you take a peek at my profile photograph, you'll see I betray no evidence of an Italian heritage, but I'll never forget the time, about twenty years ago, when my parents joined my wife and me at the old location for Vincenzo's and Vincenzo himself spoke to my father implying that they both shared an Italian background. My Dad was amused. All these many years later, though, we still go to Vincenzo's to buy garlic-stuffed olives, falafel, salsa, fresh bread, deli salads, expensive chocolate, and tasty treats of all kinds.

Saturday mornings with my life partner are just about us - no children, no pressing demands, no urgency - just us, a few things we want to do together, and time to be in the moment, entertaining sunshine, rain, snow, clouds, traffic, falling leaves, whatever happens to be going on around us. Just us. It's a time and a season when I already know the answer to the question Rufus Wainwright asks, "What are you doing New Year's Eve?"

Maybe that day will involve Starbucks, maybe even Canadian Tire, even more likely it will mean a trip to Vincenzo's. But one thing is absolutely certain; it will be the two of us, and that's a very good thing.

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