Oh, but I do have a sentimental conclusion: I had a great, great time. I enjoyed myself from the moment I arrived and my enjoyment continually increased as the weekend progressed. I will probably be writing about different aspects of the Ale over the next several days, as I attempt to make sense out of two and a half days of jam-packed activity. For now, I'm just reliving some of the weekend's moments: Moments in the middle of dances, moments at pub singings, moments of conversational fragments with lovely folks from Canada. I'm even reliving the glorious moments of spreading out in my hotel bed in my large private hotel room at the end of each exhausting day, drifting off into the land of Nod and feeling at peace.
When I say sentimental, I mean sentimental.
There was one stupendous moment when I felt ready to burst with ease and pleasure. On Sunday my team, Ramsey's Braggarts, toured through the Greek neighborhood of Toronto along with Charles River Sword (an all-female team from Boston) under the leadership of the Toronto Morris Men (aka TFMM-the-f-is-silent). "Touring" in Morris parlance means finding different public spaces to dance. In Toronto you insert "stopping at a pub between each tour site." When you are with the Toronto Morris Men you add "singing chorus songs of various folk traditions while drinking your beer." The Toronto Morris Men are, as they say, a singing team.
By the time we got to our second pub stop on Sunday we'd had a morning of subway travel and a fair amount of great dancing. We all got our pints and stuffed ourselves into the Black Swan and, it seemed, each member of the Toronto Morris Men led a song in turn. Some other folks led songs as well, including me, and also our team members Rick and Bob who are absolutely stupendous singers (even though we are not really a singing team). I was sitting on a stool, pretty much in the middle of it all. At one point, surrounded by a score or more of people singing their chorus harmony with unselfconscious delight, I was overcome with the wonder of it all. I had to close my eyes. I couldn't stop my smile. I was lost in the moment and I was absolutely happy.
I'm thinking about another fine moment, on Sunday morning. Since occasional-Braggart Rick moved out to Wisconsin I have not had many opportunities to sing with him, and Rick is a man who loves to sing. Rick and I spent a lot of time this weekend sitting at a table at mealtimes and just starting a few songs, usually for our own benefit. But on Sunday morning we started to sing and gradually others joined us until there was a lovely intimate singing session. As it happens there was a Squire's meeting scheduled for about this time, when the team Squires meet to get all the logistical details of the day before heading out on the tours. Now, my team knows how much I love the singing, and how rarely I find this opportunity, so a few of them, sitting a few tables over, discussed this and sent Russ over to tell me that he would go to the Squire's meeting for me if I wanted to keep singing. I did think it best for me to attend the meeting myself, but I was absolutely touched by this gesture.
There were many advantages to staying at the hotel up the road from the Tranzac Club, which was Ale central. One of these advantages was that each night, about 1 am or so, after hard dancing and an evening of beer, it was nice to have a small walk down Bloor Street to unwind before slipping into bed. When I mentioned this to Douglas he said, " Yes, like walking back to your tent at the Midwest Ale." "If there were an all-night pizza place halfway back to your tent," I said.
I did indeed enjoy the city of Toronto.