Tag Archives: social issues

Loads of Gravel

Ninety years ago from her farmhouse window she would see the loads of gravel being sold from my grandpa’s gravel pit. Every load moved by horse and cart was marked down on a tally on a calendar beside her party line telephone. With all the typical work to do in her house and around the farm she had time to do this. This neighbour had a husband but no children. She was a topnotch housekeeper, cook , quilter and kind soul.

When you went to visit her, even in her later years, she could put together a great homemade meal in no time flat. Bam! She was amazing. The visit would last well into the night because there was a lot of ground to cover with respect to catching up on all the news of the neighbourhood and adventures of those farther afield.

My neighbours are close at hand.

An older couple has moved into a seniors apartment but they are still involved in the local activities at the church and coffee shop. A new person has taken over their place and has a very old dog and a very young dog as well as some horses boarded somewhere which are part of a business venture she manages.

Another neighbour is constantly on the go with his trucking business and his wife is a devoted daughter, caring for her parents.

The folks beside me are busy night and day caring for children and others, often in emergency situations. Quite possibly, these people are angels.

Across the street are lovely folk involved in teaching,books, music, art, food and cats. They are either on their porch with herbal tea or off to watch the swans. Music from the sixties floats through the air, sometimes.

Directly across,a relative resides. Family sports events, community and social activities, planning such events for her wide range of friends and recently some kitchen renovations occupy her time. She seems to keep tabs on me as well.

Further along, another relative lives a bachelor life of hobbies, friends and travel. He is also very fond of his amazing ginger coloured cat. He sends me emails about his cat, often.

Across the street is a young family with several children that liven up the neighbourhood, attracting the other kids down the street and they all get together as “The Chicken House Gang” and happily go off to the local park to play. All of them are sweet and polite. I should know because I see them go by back and forth a couple of times a day and they wave or say hi. Quite possibly, these kids are angels too.

Around the corner is a gentle and dignified grandma that rides her bike or goes on walks with her grandchildren.

At  the end of the street, another couple, distantly related, reserved and respected.

On the corner, in a huge restored old house a busy family, a tiny dog, teenagers in the house.

More neighbours, further along, as the streets and lanes wind in and out. New grandchildren are the news of these folks, or so I hear. They have been away to visit this new baby but are home again as I’ve been told as we gathered on the porch.

A toad is happy to be in my garden and follows my footsteps as I water the plants. The big tree across the street has a racoon carefully moving along the bigger branches.

At night, when I can’t sleep I think of things like the neighbour of my grandpa’s watching and tallying his gravel business and then I blog a bit to boost my stats. I’ll count them in the morning.



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Something At the Door

Last year, no winter really, so no way to write

anything decent with feeling and meaning.

Creativity joints seized, worried just enough to seek nutrition and rare light.

Some scattering of emotion, distracted.

Winter is roaring again and nothing human walks by.

Half hoping to hear a frozen beat at the door

last hope crashing

yet still expecting renewal.

Support needed, a reminder,


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Butter,Sugar and Flour

Today the biggest purchase was a tin of authentic Scottish shortbread. Yesterday, it was something home crafted which will remain a secret for the time being. Budget wise, shopping for Christmas takes some forethought and restraint. There is lots of stuff out there to buy and some of it quite useful and practical. The other commercial pile of goodies may be ok as well but after awhile it becomes obsolete and ends up in a garage sale, donated or tossed. However. let me really loose in a bookstore and watch the spending spree happen. Books are often my gift of choice and sometimes I think I choose the right ones for others but it is risky. In these cases, a gift certificate is ideal. A guilty pleasure, those books.

I’ve been shopping the outlying fringe of town something like a wily coyote. Anything deep in town, forget it. Parking and traffic hassles turn me off. Some excursions are as local as possible and I’m usually back safe and sound before dusk darkens the country roads leading home. Anyone wishing to do up the town and buy out the store has my support as well. I remember doing the same thing and I had my reasons why I did. Now, my efforts at Christmas shopping are much different. Giving is still important to me but it has taken on a different style, like Countryline instead of Townline.

Longing for the simple things, that is what catches my interest. Donating to my causes takes on more importance. Being confident about just slowing down ,avoiding the pressures of what might be expected of me and taking Christmas as it comes seems to be ok enough for me. Reflecting on what Christmas has meant to my family, neighbours and friends throughout the years seems to be my focus. Wondering about others, the unknown .Being grateful and hopeful.

Think of me with my still brightly lit outdoor tree and my tiny indoor tree decorated with simplicity. There are some assorted geegaws draped with recycled decorations on the porch. Some nativity ornaments are on top of the fireplace and a few other dodads are grouped for effect here and there throughout the house. Some little gifts ( still unwrapped, of course, that never changes!) accumulating on the corner bench in the entryway.  It is no show. It’s simple . Like the real Scotch shortbread my sister makes just like my mother and grandmother did but I on the other hand, buy.


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A Spell In Maycomb County

Scoring a ticket from a neighbour with an extra one to share I was included in an evening of community theatre at The Palace, London, Canada. The production was To Kill a Mockingbird. The large refurbished old theatre was packed and the ages were varied. Everyone there already some knowledge of the story or was prepared by their companions for a very special evening.

Recently rereading the book by Harper Lee, I considered myself something of an expert on how the story should be interpreted. The production was well done and performances rang true. So much of this wonderful book in a stage presentation has be reinterpreted, shortened and adapted. To capture the essence of the story is quite a challenge.

There is so much to learn from looking back and trying to sort out what  circumstances, instinct and wisdom play in our lives. I appreciate that this production renewed  interest in a fine story. At different times of our life, from childhood to maturity such lessons need review.


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