Thursday, 11 November 2010

As the eleventh hour approaches

November 11th, 2000: The Resident Fan Boy eagerly got us out of the house and down to the War Memorial for our very first Remembrance Day in Ottawa. On a finger-chilling morning, I calculated the costs of standing with two little girls, one with special needs, for two hours and vetoed the idea. Disappointed, the RFB retreated with us to Dunn's Deli a few blocks up Elgin Street as streams of poppy-wearing people flowed past us in the opposite direction.

We tucked into our blintzes and sandwiches as those around us chatted cheerfully and smoked. (This was in the days just before smoking was banned in eateries in Ottawa.)

As the eleventh hour approached, I comforted myself with the fact that the televisions in the deli were tuned to the ceremony taking place just a few blocks away. Then I noticed the increasing quiet. Fifty voices, twenty voices, half a dozen voices. At eleven, the silence was complete, save for two women talking intently at a window table, who suddenly noticed how well they could hear each other, shrugged in embarrassment and held their peace.

Only in Ottawa, I thought.

What's the time? Time for me to shut up...

1 comment:

Jane Henry said...

Was in a local supermarket yesterday at 11, and an elderly couple persisted in talking about Kingsmill the whole way through the silence. Unbelievable. I would have vetoed two hours in the cold with small children at the same stage in my life!