On the Beat

A Rocky winter walk on Bathurst

Where’s Talia Shire when you need her?

It’s –15 and I’m bundled up like Rocky, grey hoodie and all, ready to run around the Bathurst and Lawrence area.

I could use some extra heat.

But instead of running up the steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, I’m hopping up the steps of United Bakers Dairy Restaurant to fetch myself potato latkes. Something I’m sure Mickey Goodmill would call me a bum for doing.

Inside voices burn through the air, people taking lunch, noshing on kosher meals.

While I await my order of tuber indulgence, a young mother chases her son from display to display looking at the pastries and treats. She smiles, apologizes and notes she’s not in line.

After a little wait, my order comes from the kitchen. I pay, slide my headphones in ears, and “She Sells Sanctuary” sends me on my journey.

I’m using the latkes as the drive for my walk. Something to keep me motivated — much like Burgess Meredith on Stallone — on this frigid day.

As I saunter south along Bathurst St. a large menorah greets me, then a small plaza featuring the Kosher Grocer and Haymishe Bagel offer me more food for thought.

Perhaps I should have sat down to eat the latkes at the United Bakers — a neighbourhood staple since 1912.

But I’m pulled out of my hungry stupor at a busy intersection, and a young gentleman garbed in a woolen rekel, Homburg and tallit with tzitzit sidesteps a mound of ice at Caribou Rd.

And the snow is everywhere, clustering along the road in thick chunks.

Hot Hot Heat blisters on my headphones, but even they can’t block out the incessant beep, beep, beep of a bulldozer ridding the sidewalks of excess white stuff.

To avoid the noise, I hang a left onto Shelborne Ave., passing the Joseph Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Learning.

Suddenly George Thorogood tells me to “move it on over,” so I continue my pace noticing boxy modern homes shuffled in with old cube-like cottages.

I catch the scent of latkes again, and I question if the dog Thorogood’s bunking with in his song belongs to Pavlov.

Still, I shrug off my hunger pangs, and observe a pleasant-looking home with Juliet balconies all around the main floor windows to my left.

They stand out more with the sea of untouched white snow. It’s so bright my eyelids are left ajar. I forgot my Oakleys.

As I forge ahead on Glen Rush Blvd. I notice three cars fail to hold up at a stop sign. Matthew Good sings, “Hello Time Bomb”, and I can’t help but smile wryly — somebody’s going to get T-boned there at Glengrove Ave.

Accident possibilities aside I notice a collective of icicles that are getting long in the tooth on many of the homes. Two-foot-long fangs grow from the eaves of one home while another home sports an icy beard over top its garage.

A tendril of latke aroma penetrates my nose, taunting me.

But I sack the thought of eating, as I come up to a home that has wrapped its junipers up in burlap. I pause for a moment, and spot another home with a large kitty condo sitting in the front window.

The carpeted home inside the house provides two windows and an entrance, but it looks like no felines are in.

Crunching along a marbleized pattern of snow, salt and sidewalk, I hear a man shuffling his feet along the road, grating on my nerves and overpowering the Texan heat of ZZ Top’s “La Grange”.

And finally I’m starting to lose my willpower. The latkes’ scent has finally thawed my resolve. Unfortunately for the ornery Mickey, I ain’t no bum. So, I’m gonna fly now and dig into the rich spud goodness that had been assailing my olfactory senses throughout my journey.

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