I kill the lights and turn off the ignition. For a November evening, the parking lot is bustling, in part because we have chosen the boat launch parking lot as a meeting spot for our group’s outing. We have chosen to take advantage of the recently enhanced lighting around Lamoureux Park’s paths for a pre-dinner promenade. There is nothing like a brisk walk to whet one’s appetite.
We are surprised by the number of boats traveling to and from the launch, especially since the seasonal docks have been disassembled. Keen fishermen seem far from deterred from casting their lines into the black void beyond the shoreline. If anything, perhaps the additional challenge heightens their experience.
Two by two, by the light of the modernized lampposts, we follow the path along the shore heading east towards the marina. The illuminated docks appear lifeless without their moored summer occupants, but the darkened liquid at their bases is dominated by hundreds of Canadian Geese slumbering peacefully, perhaps relieved to finally have the place to themselves.
As we approach the Port Lands the light emanating from the new high-rise condominium and the Cotton Mill building near the foot bridge brighten our way.With the added lights flooding down from the college on Windmill Point and reflected in the river for added effect, it appears very festive.
We return by the higher path past the beautiful clock tower with an extended loop through the Rotary Eco Garden. We hear rather than see the small cascades below the trail as the lighting does not extend to this oasis. By the beam of our headlamps, we circle back to the gazebo all aglow in its candy-cane-coloured lights.
By now our tummies are rumbling in anticipation of the meal to come at the iconic Cornwall Bar-B-Q Restaurant. Renowned for its thick cheese-covered pizzas and rotisserie chicken, its classic fare includes soup and a choice of rice pudding or gelatin for dessert, a tradition that has likely existed since its opening in 1972, and one that its loyal patrons have come to expect. In fact, this restaurant has such a devoted following, that its shelves exhibit a multitude of chicken statuettes gifted by its fans throughout the decades.
In the warmth of the restaurant, conversations weave their way over bowls of hot chicken noodle soup ranging in topic from upcoming winter activities to past events. The legendary location, likely responsible for influencing our thoughts, reminds us of the good old days. By the time our generously portioned main courses arrive, we have caught up with each other’s news and learned a little more about each others’ interests outside of our club activities. Our appetites satisfied, the reunion ends with a simple dessert and the promise to meet again very soon.
I pull into the driveway and switch off the headlights. I feel sated, both from the meal and from the company of friends. The modern lights at the waterfront and the classic meal from the old-style restaurant make a delightful combo. We will have to do this again in the spring.
For more information about the Cornwall Outdoor Club, visit our website at www.cornwalloutdoorclub.ca or follow us on Facebook.
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