How is it possible we have been at our Nova Scotia homestead for more than two months? The time has come to clean up the house…again, pack up and leave bright and early Monday morning. I think I will sleep in my clothes, because I will nod off as soon as I stumble into the car, and wake up five hours later near the New Brunswick border.
The house will be empty for mere hours because our son, Jeremy, Dana and Greta will arrive at our little yellow home beside the ocean late afternoon. They will appreciate the water in the well this year. Last year the well went dry in July and stayed dry until October, but that did not stop them from having fun.
I have been pondering who and what I will miss about Lockeport:
A MORNING WITHOUT COFFEE? UNTHINKABLE
I thoroughly enjoy morning coffee at “The Bayman” with Rita, Molly, Bill, David, Kevin, June, Charlie, Connie, Mark, Sue and many others. The conversation can be about absolutely anything from Sutherlands’ Store, Fish Plant Leg Syndrome (FLS) to Viagra. One thing I know for sure — we spend most of our time giggling. Fiddlesticks! I should have kept a running list of topics for your reading pleasure.
The kind folk at “Lockeport Pharmachoice” could not be more helpful. Bevin, Tatum, Amos, Marg, Karen, Joyce, Roberta and Maisie offer top notch customer service. Without fail, we run out of prescription medications and need to contact our home pharmacy. Amos gets on the phone right away and, poof, we pick them up in a few hours. Last year I got into a bit if a pickle. I ran a few days short of a drug that an ER doctor would not refill. One of the pharmacists arranged for a local doctor to help me. Phew!
Many of my school friends from the 1970s still live in the area. We enjoyed many “remember when” laughs. We also acknowledged losses and tough times that visit each of us. I failed to get around to hosting a get-together this time. I’ll save that for the fall or next summer.
A KITCHEN PARTY WITH OUR NICKERSON COUSINS
Our whole family had a wonderful supper and gabfest with our Cape Island cousins — David & Janie, Paula & Randell, Jeanne & Michel, and Patti & Nelson. We heard lots of funny stories about grandparents, aunts and uncles. Even better, we were not together because of a funeral. Best story of the night went to our cousins, David and Jeanne, and Great-Uncle Harry’s 1964 Dodge:
When Jeanne was sixteen, she and her brother, David, bought Great-Uncle Harry’s 1964 Dodge for the grand sum of $150. Each one pitched in $75. The old car had the push button transmission. Their Dad gave it a paint job with a brush and they learned to drive in it. The car provided transportation for Jeanne’s first job. When they no longer needed it, someone bought the old car and took it away on a flatbed. They got their $150 back. Shrewd business people, those Nickersons!
Picturesque Pleasant Point is home to the friendly printer at Seeblick Printing. Ulrich knows how my mind works. One small project morphs into many. One little idea leads to something else or ten something elses. Some funny stories led to a blog, the blog led to a book, the book led to storytelling in schools, hospitals, fundraisers…Pictures in the book led to bookmarks, note cards and postcards which led to craft shows………
GLENN’S ANNUAL ROAST BEEF DINNER
This year we brought a 23-pound beef roast from Bobcaygeon’s Strang’s Valu-mart with us. It took three family dinners to eat it. We picked on each other’s favourite sports’ teams. Glenn tried to start a war by mentioning Bluejays’ Coach John Gibbons and former Bluejay, R.A. Dickey. I wish I had recorded the conversations. After dinner, we told and retold our family stories. Funny how Dad made an appearance in every story. I think I have enough “Dad” stories to write a book.
The fine folk at Lockeport Baptist Church welcomed us to their congregation. I have known most of them all my life. I admit, I am partial to one member: my very first Sunday School teacher. Rita Williams Brown will always have a special place in my heart.
Lockeport (Brighton) is home to the “Lock Stock and Barrel Store” which is an experience in itself. It is the 2017 incarnation of the general store. And, bonus, they sell gasoline which is a big deal when the closest gas is 16 km and 30 km away. I consumed many scoops of ice cream, alternating between coffee and orange pineapple. Glenn could not stay away from the baking department. Carrie’s lemon and coconut cream pies with homemade meringue, browned ever so slightly, kept calling his name. It was also Glenn’s “go to” hardware store. We rarely had to drive to Shelburne because if Tim was out of something, he could have it in a few days. The store has been a great addition to the community.
And the Post Office is like no other. What? You’re kidding? Nope. Karla, Shirley and Ruth are fabulous ambassadors for the community and Canada Post. Preschoolers visit each day for a sticker — cultivating new customers for Canada Post. The staff insists on doing everything possible for the customers. Genuine, old-fashioned customer service.
We played many games of “Rook” with Francis and Wendy. I will not miss how Francis and Glenn dissected every blasted hand. I’m convinced they were talking across the table – bunch o’ cheaters.
OUR FIRST HUMMINGBIRD
For the first time, we put up bird feeders for hummingbirds, finches and other small birds. Camera in hand, I waited patiently for the hummers arrival each day. Yes, I spent a lot of time waiting. I got a few pictures and one video. You can bet that as soon as I sat down, the hummers came every few minutes. Unfortunately, sea gulls, crows and pigeons thought we invited them. And now, we have been asked to take our bird feeders down because of the spread of a disease that is spreading rapidly.
I enjoyed the gentle breezes, gusts and gales of fresh Atlantic air and the occasional rainstorm that blew across my face each night. I slept with my window raised all the way to the top.
We took advantage of the fresh offerings of seafood, fish so fresh that it fell apart. My brother, Myers, blessed us with a feed of lobsters. Creamed lobster — Yummmmmmmmmmmmmm. Thank you, Myers, for your generosity.
Since our arrival in May, we have gone to Halifax every three weeks with Edsel and Ruth for Edsel’s chemo treatment. Despite the reason for the trip, the four of us enjoyed our time together, especially the accident waiting to happen — the Armdale Rotary, the Halifax Shopping Centre and Bayer’s Lake Shopping Centre. We managed to hunt down a hundred-pound Bible for Edsel. He was like a little boy on Christmas morning. A WORD OF WARNING TO THE WISE: Hook up your utility trailer if Edsel asks you to take him shopping.
DING! DONG! THE CANCER’S GONE
By the time you read this, Edsel will have had his 6th and final treatment. It is customary to celebrate by “ringing the bell.” We shed tears of thankfulness. Glenn and I are grateful for the opportunity to have shared in this experience with Ruth and Edsel. Each trip was an adventure of its own. Thank you, Glenn, for doing all the driving. You’re a good man, Charlie Brown.
I’m not one to languish in the past. I know it is time to go home — plain and simple. Glenn and I are eager to see Edison, Isaac, Maddie and Greta and their parents, of course. After all this time, they are probably taller than I am. A true Grampy, Glenn has a good supply of sugary marshmallows, raisins and other sticky treats for them.
Applying the logic I used to tease my Grade 4 students: we must go home. But why? Because if we don’t go home, we cannot come again. So long for now, Lockeport, the little town with a big heart. We hope to see you in all your glory in October.