On Meeting an Old Friend for the First Time
Several years ago, on a now largely defunct social blogging site, I met Eleanor through the words that she writes. Over the years we have had a stimulating series of conversations in blog posts and comments, and we both long suspected that we would like each other a great deal if we were to meet.
Meeting is not nearly as far-fetched as one might think. Eleanor lives in Quebec, east of Montreal, and we go up to Montreal frequently to visit our daughter. The issues for me were whether I would take time away from family to visit with a friend, and whether I would gird my loins and drive in Montreal. Once I decided that yes, I very much wanted to meet El and yes, I can drive in a busy city with cut-throat drivers, I emailed her with a possible date. She was available that weekend, and we settled on meeting in Granby, halfway between my daughter’s apartment and her home.
I drove out of Montreal successfully, into a landscape that never fails to enchant me. This is good, level farmland, with well managed fields growing various crops. The flatness is broken up by isolated little mountains rising from the plain, much like I imagine the Lonely Mountain in The Hobbit. The trees in the hedgerows and on the mountains were all at peak fall color, and Quebec forests glow with all the shades of red, from scarlet to burgundy, mixed with yellows and oranges.
My wonderful and generous daughter loaned me her cellphone, with GoogleMaps’ wonderful voice GPS. This was a very good thing, because Granby has closed a major route into town for reconstruction, and I would have had great difficulty finding my way to our designated meeting spot without help from a GPS.
We met at a Tim Horton’s and agreed it was no place to tarry. We found a place on the street to park our cars, and walked in search of a congenial restaurant to eat lunch. We found a lovely vegetarian restaurant where we sat for more than four hours, eating, talking and knitting.
The first thing that struck me about Eleanor is that she is petite. I am not a big person in any of the 3 dimensions, but she makes me feel almost tall.
We had both decked ourselves out in knitted items that we knew the other would admire. Eleanor wore a gorgeous lace sweater, a scarf, and lace stockings to die for. I wore hand-knit socks and my beaded Aeolian shawl in midnight blue, an item that she had commented upon on its Ravelry project page.
Together we enjoyed a delicious lunch and more than four hours of conversation and knitting. Fortunately the restaurant was not busy, and seemed not to mind our prolonged use of the facilities. We made sure to buy dessert and tea at intervals. I loved hearing Eleanor speak French, and was very glad to have a companion who knew the language in a town that is not bilingual.
It’s not surprising to find that two people who have found sympathetic voices in each others’ written words would find they have much in common. We talked about our children, married life, books and films, the death of the blogging site where we met, what the Internet means to us, and, of course, knitting.
We will meet again. We both feel like we are life-long friends.
And on the way back to Montreal, there were hot-air balloons in the sky, providing a last touch of magic at the end of a very good day.