Small town friendliness and politeness

sunset from the train #67 Montreal to TorontoI am just going to say it outright “I love small towns”. Why? Well, for the simple reason people are friendly and polite. Having just returned from visiting middle child and the teenage boy who attend university in Lennoxville, Quebec, I found people said “good morning and how are you”. If you are about to cross the street where there is no crosswalk or stoplight, cars and trucks stop immediately. When I left my motel yesterday, I asked the owner if he could call me a cab. After asking where I was going, he went on to say, he was just about to run some errands in town, so he would drive me to the bus station.

I live in Hamilton, Ontario an absolutely beautiful city, “the City of Waterfalls“, but on friendliness and politeness we still need some work. My husband walks to and from work, up and down the Jolley Cut. He is always full of smiles and good mornings but he finds most people have their heads to the ground, or their ear buds in, ignoring the world around them. When he does say good morning, people are surprised. Now not all of them are surprised, there are the regulars who are friendly. In regards to crossing the street, I wouldn’t try it, unless you are at a crosswalk or stoplight, because chances are slim cars and trucks will stop for you.

When I returned from Quebec yesterday, one of my stops was in Toronto, Ontario where I had to catch a connecting bus to Hamilton. I probably picked the wrong day to return home, because there was a hockey game and a baseball game last night, thus Union Station was a complete and utter madhouse plus the streets around the station are under construction. Trying to find the correct signage or someone to assist me in the correct direction was near impossible. At first I thought I was going the right way, as two friendly drunks people decided they would help me by carrying my luggage down a flight of stairs, only I wasn’t suppose to go that way. I managed to take back my suitcase from them, and then realized I had to walk up another flight of stairs. With all the people around, you would think, that maybe someone would offer to help the pretty lady up the stairs but no, so there I was with a ridiculous heavy knapsack on my back, purse around my neck, cane in my right hand and suitcase in my left. One stair at a time, with the help of my foot, I kicked my suitcase up the stairs, far too many stairs. I finally made it outside, where the streets are wooden planks instead of concrete, thus pulling my suitcase was even harder. As I tried to lift the suitcase off the curb, two not so friendly people started laughing and making fun of me. Enough said, I don’t like Toronto.

I made my connecting bus, arrived safely in Hamilton, where my best friend, who had driven in from Ancaster, took me up the mountain and home. This was exceptionally grand of her, especially since it was after 11 o’clock at night and she had to work the next day (hubby was on night-shift, else he would have been there). Upon entering my house I was greeting by a yapping beagle who sounded more like a yelping seal than a dog and a bouquet of lovely flowers from my husband. The day had ended well.

Cocoa with a slice of toast

My bouquet of flowers
Cocoa our beagle Flowers from my husband

Views of the Eastern Townships, Quebec

Here is just a sample of some of the different views we see when driving through the Eastern townships of Quebec. We make the drive several times of year ever since our middle child decided to attend Bishop’s University in Lennoxville. Now that the teenage boy is attending the university, the drive will continue for a number of years.

The mountains

Mountains

View from the van

The closest I will ever get to skiing. Can you see the runs?

Ski runs in the distance

Downtown Sherbrooke, I love the metal work.

Metal work (1024x656)

Lennoxville

Hotel de Ville Lennoxville

Bibliotheque Lennoxville Library

My trip to Lennoxville, Quebec

Yesterday my morning started with the alarm going off at 6 a.m., for my trip to Lennoxville. Anyways, I got dressed, did my face, packed the rest of my stuff and headed for the local bus. The first train I took was a GoTrain. It would have been nice if the ticket man had bothered to tell me that cars 22 & 25 are accessible when I purchased my ticket. Instead I lugged my very heavy knapsack and large suitcase (4 day trip but middle child had a list of stuff for me to bring) up into the train. Oh well, I did spill my coffee all over the ticket agents kiosk.

Within an hour, I arrived at Union station in Toronto and a very nice lady tapped me on the shoulder directing me to the elevator, I was in the line for the stairs and she knew I would have tumbled down probably bringing the rest of them with me. Okay, if you have never been to Union station in the morning rush hour, well it is a zoo and of course there are ‘under construction’ everywhere making matters worse. Luckily, I finally found the right direction to go for my next train ride on Via Rail, but it was on the upper floor and apparently there was no elevator to be found according to some guy I asked. I stood at the bottom of the 20 million stairs and gasped as I looked up. I lugged my heavy knapsack which is tied to my very large, heavy suitcase and lifted it up one stair and stopped. I am never going to make it I thought and of course murmured my favourite word fuck. As I stood there bewildered and sort of blocking the stairs, a nice gentleman looked at me and asked if I needed help? I smiled my biggest smile and said oh yes, thank you. My knapsack and suitcase are now at the top of the 20 million stairs.

Next I am in a short line for my ticket for Montreal, then on to gate 17 which has a long line, but this is when I do not mind being disabled – Preboarding! The Via Rail agent takes me to the elevator and next thing you know, I am the first one in my car and I have first choice of a seat. Yes! And coffee soon comes. My morning is getting better.

No surprise here, the Via train was late getting to Montreal. Apparently a freight train was on the track in some sort of ‘emergency’ situation. I was expecting to see flames but nothing, instead we just sat there for twenty minutes. It now looks like I will be late for my next connection. Crap.

I arrived in Montreal and the Via stewards are all very nice wanting to assist me (looking for a tip) so I let the steward take my luggage and he says he will meet me upstairs under the red ball in two or three minutes. Another ten minutes go by, I am not happy, his tip will be crap. Off to my cab and I told him he has fifteen minutes to get me to the Central Bus station, yes, in rush hour. He gets a nice tip, even though I gained more grey hair with his driving, I make my bus.

Immediately I fell asleep on the Montreal to Sherbrooke bus and before I knew it, I was hauling another cab to take me to my daughter’s apartment.

The bonus, she has made stew in the slow cooker (without a recipe) and it tastes good.