So George Clooney calls me. He's coming to town (as in Montreal) and he's heard about this fantastic mystical place called The Cavendish Mall (a shopping Centre in a small community in Montreal).
He asks if I can pick him up at the airport and take him there.
So I step out into the fine season of winter that embraces Montreal in all its wrath and builds character in our tribe and I get into my car wondering what I am going to say to George when he walks through those sliding doors at the airport. Then I think about all the times I walked through those doors returning home from various travels and always having someone waiting for me on the other side - often with a kiss, a hug and sometimes even flowers. And then I thought of all the times I stood waiting for a loved one to arrive and of all the sad faces on the people who came through those doors having no one waiting for them on the other side.
Yeah so I get into my truck and it stalls and then it stalls again and George is on his way in. I can't be late for George Clooney. I have no choice. I have to call my parents.
My father answers the phone. He is eating a bag of chips. My mother has planted a bag of "baked lays" on him - Dill - his favourite flavour and by the sound of his munching he has not yet discovered that she cheated him of his regular saturated, valve blocking oiled ones.
"Yes Leeza (can't pronounce Lisa), what's going on?"
"Can I talk to Mom?"
And then my mother's name is hollered across the house as if she is wanted in 6 different states for murder. I lose the hearing in my right ear so I switch the phone to my left ear that is until my mother picks up the other phone (my father tends not to hang up but rather to listen or simply place the phone on his lap while he watches football and eats his baked chips) and my mother then starts to scream my father's name to hang up the phone - as if he is wanted in 15 states for murder and I now have no ears left to use for the phone call.
My mother's first question always is:
"Is everything alright?"
And before I can reply, the second question is:
"Are you hungry - do you want to come over for dinner?"
I have to cut to the chase because George is going to be waiting for me and also because you may stop reading this post (I would).
So I explain to my mother that I need to borrow their car to pick a friend up at the airport and I don't want to pick him up in a taxi because he is famous and then the taxi driver will tip off the paprazzi (who follow me every where it's just awful).
My father who has finished the bag of chips and is wondering why they tasted different is asking who the famous person is at the airport.I make the mistake of telling him it's George Clooney. The next thing I know, my parents are on their way to pick me up and go meet George.
They live 10 minutes away from me so 1 hour later they appear at my door as if they have just come from overseas. They are exhausted and they want to know if we have time to go to Snowdon Deli before picking up George. I inform them that we are late and we have to go and I have to take over the driving because my father drives by pressing his foot on and off the gas pedal non stop. I get into the puke colored Corolla (scratches on bumper painted over with liquid paper) that has wind up windows and I think it's made of some kind of plastic and the seats are covered in those seat cushions you put on a stadium seat at a football game and I don't know why but I don't dare ask.
We head to the airport and to arrivals and the doors slide open. My mother is talking to some woman about this book by Joan Didion about everyone dying and my father is eating jelly beans - sorting out the pina coladas - his favourite flavour and their appears George Clooney. He takes one look at me and then keeps looking because he does not know he is in this post so he doesn't know he is in Montreal or that me and my parents are there to pick him up and he never asked to go to the Cavendish Mall but stick with me because this is my story.
We hug and my father shakes his hand and asks him 100 questions in 5 minutes while my mother keeps talking to this lady about dead people in Joan Didion's book and how to make butterscotch brownies without butterscotch and I grab her and we all head to the Cavendish Mall in Cote St. Luc. We pull up and well more than half of it has dissapeard - demolished - ghostly. The part left intact includes Bureau en Gros - I have no idea who their clients are in Cote St. Luc, the food court (I know who their clients are in Cote St Luc - think people that bring their own cups and tea bags and line up at the concessions and ask for hot water).
There is a odd looking man driving around a train kind of amusement park thing and he is driving so fast he almost runs over George. There is a grocery store and some hair salons and there is Cantors Bakery.
I figure George must be hungry so I bring him to Cantor's and order him a kosher chocloate donut (the best) and then I am very dissapointed because for the first time ever the counter person at Cantor's does not ask the question I have been asked all my life in every Jewish bakery I have ever been to...."And Vat Else?"
Clearly this woman was not trained on how to "up sell".
So there we are - my father - eating a cherry danish - George - eating a kosher chocolate donut - my mother in the dollar store looking for oven mitts and me not sure why I am at the remaining half of the Cavendish Mall with George and my parents.
And then George turns to me and he says: "Listen your parents are swell and this is the ugliest mall I have ever been to but the donut is great and why am I in this post?"
To which I reply, "George - If I include your name in the title of the post and in the labels - chances are whomever is searching for stories about you - may end up reading this very post."
And then he says, "Yeah but I'm not really here."
So now I'm all uncomfortable and I'm not sure what to say so I look over at my father and gesture to him to do something.
So he stands in front of the on coming train that is not really a train and all the 3 yr olds riding it with their grandparents start to cry. I'm not sure if they are crying because my father has most of the cherry from the danish he devoured on his shirt and it looks like blood or if they are crying because they are on a fake train in a fake mall that isn't really going anywhere.
My father takes George on the train and then they are gone.
This is my dog reading this blog and indicating that it makes no sense
My mother is off in a corner talking to some lady about some book about some girl with dragon tattoos and there I am alone - alone in half of a mall - realizing this post better end soon because it's getting way too long.
In the end, George returns to my parents house with me and my mother makes roasted chicken, roasted potatoes, stuffing, salad, knishes, egg rolls, apple crisp, brownies and then a few more dishes just to be sure there is enough food.
After dinner I take George out back to Wentworth Park (the park in back of my house where I grew up playing sports with my brothers and friends) which is sort of like the mall in that something big is missing - the shack is no longer there. It's cold but one of those amazing winter nights when the sky has a purple, yellow hue and you can see the stars and the air is crisp.
I turn to George (who is still here or not there or never was there) and he looks me in the eye and he says "And Vat else?"
Aaahhh good times, good times for me and George.
The mall, the train, the donut, the corolla, my parents, George, cherry danish and all the things that really don't matter in comparison to the sliding doors at the airport that some people walk through with no one waiting for them on the other side.
Hands up - Baby - Hands Up!
Barry Zbar, Lisa Audrey Cohen and Gena Ray (of Group Ideal Travel)proudly announce the Very First MONTREAL MEMORIES CLUB MED EXTRAVAGANZA.
THINK...All - Inclusive (yep booze too), tropical Cancun on a private peninsula, lots of Ocean, the Montreal Memories Folks (you), laughing, dancing, eating (while talking about eating because hey we are Montrealers) all together in one special place for one special time.
Who is BARRY ZBAR? Founder and Fearless Leader of Montreal Memories.
Who is Ideal Travel? Montreal based - 30+ years - Quebec's Largest Independent Travel Management Company.
Who is Gena Ray? The official Montreal Memories Travel Professional.
Who is Lisa Audrey Cohen? Writer in Residence - Montreal Memories - 20+ years in Adventure Travel.
THE RESORT ROCKS!
All - Inclusive (meals, booze, welcome cocktail just for MM, airport shuttle, membership, all sports and boating, etc.)
Located and built on a Private Peninsula
Fully renovated air conditioned rooms with Flat Screen TV and all other comforts and amenities.
4 Bars including a Pool Bar (in case you want to drink a Pina Colada while doing the Breast Stroke)
2 Pools, Fitness Centre, Tennis, Boutique, Spa, Excursions
Water skiing, Kayaking, Wake boarding, Circus, Sailing, Snorkeling, Windsurfing and Latin Dance Classes (and the first Montreal Memories - So You Think You Can Dance)
WHERE'S THE BEEF?
You want shtick? You've got it. Get ready to reminisce. The rest is a secret. I love secrets.
WHEN: October 6-13th, 2012
WHERE: Club Med Cancun Yucatan, Mexico
$1849 per person based on double occupancy
$2089 single occupancy
Includes Direct Flights from Montreal or Toronto
From $999 Land Only
There are Limited Spaces - Call us - We'll take care of the rest!
Gena Ray - Ideal Travel - 514-342-9554 x 312 or Toll Free 1-800-342-9554
MONTREAL MEMORIES BRINGING GOOD PEOPLE TOGETHER FOR A GOOD TIME
I wonder if they have smoked meat Burritos? Hmm... I'm hungry.