Dear Diary – I did my back to school shopping…
Dear Diary – While it was super awesome and super entertaining watching Eldest Son fell a tree, there was one problem: how to deal with a felled tree.
On Saturday, Dad loaded up the truck with the first pile of brush for a run to the woods. The “woods” is a small patch of scrubby woodlands near what was the family farm. As we bumped along in silence, passing familiar farms and villages. There were more houses than I remembered, but for the most part, all remained the same.
We passed the house where my grandmother grew up with an older couple who “adopted” her. She went to live with them following the difficult birth of another sister and her family’s move to the city. She found her own household too chaotic, and she was happier growing up in the quiet household. She quit high school and worked in a store so she could care for this couple in their golden years, before she married grandpa and moved into her in-law’s home…where she cared for them in their golden years too.
We also passed the large, old cemetery my Dad would drive by slowly because I would hold my breath going past it.
I don’t know why I wanted to go with my Dad. Sure, it was to keep him company, but there’s also something special about this patch of land, like something calling me back to it. It’s a connection to the past and I feel a kinship with the families who came before me.
My great-great-great grandfather, Patrick, arrived in Canada from Ireland in 1837 with his wife and 8 children. They cleared and settled their crown plot by 1840. In 1843, his lawyer began petitioning the government for the title that was promised. The land passed from Patrick to Edward, who died in 1917. When he died, his wife walked across several fields to these same woods at the south end of the farm. She dug up and planted a small tree on his grave. I can remember looking for this evergreen tree in the cemetery (holding my breath), which could be seen from the road on the way to the farm. It came down in 2005. The farm then passed from Edward to John, and from John to my grandfather, Roy. The farm was sold in the early 1980’s, but we still own the woods.
These woods were used in WWII to train the Royal Canadian Electrical & Mechancal Engineering units in camoflauge and equipment recovery and repair. The pigs at the farm soon learned that big trucks might mean delicious scraps, and they would run to the fence every time they heard a truck. Once, my grandmother was taken on a tour of the camp and an young officer went ahead to remind the lads to watch there language and behaviour because there was “a lady in the camp”.
The roadways used by the trainees are nearly indiscernable around the trees, but Dad had no difficulty wending his way through the gap in the wooden rail fence and into a clearing not far from the road. We spotted this puffball mushroom on the way.
The only sounds were crickets and the occasional lazy bumblebee. I saw dragons flies and ants, but no other creatures. I know that there are deer and bears, and smaller critters around. We were surrounded by cedar and pine, prickly ash, sumac, juniper, and plenty of moss-covered rocks.
On the way home, we took a different route, one that led down dusty roads and over hills. When I was a kid, my Dad knew just how to hit those hills so that my stomach would roll and I’d laugh out loud. It was better than any scary roller coaster!
We stopped in the last village at a bakery in an old limestone building. The windows are low with deep sills to display the store’s wares, and the door is bright yellow…with an old, sticky lock.
We bought 3 kinds of bars to share: maple walnut, peanut butter-chocolate, and nanaimo! We earned them (or rather, Dad did)! A yummy way to end a busy day!
Life is uncertain….eat dessert first!Unknown
Dear Diary – It felt like Fall had arrived by the flick of a switch. On Saturday afternoon, Mom and I enjoyed a lovely, warm swim in the pool. On Sunday morning, I was reaching for a sweater and regretting not packing more than sundresses.
Monday was our last day together, a bonus day since school was starting later than expected and I remained at my folks with Youngest Son longer. Determined that Youngest Son was NOT going to spend it sleeping all day, as has been his routine for the month of August, I insisted he get up and go out with us for lunch. He was cranky, but he came.
Being a holiday Monday and a small town, our dining options were limited. It’s been years since I dined in MacDonald’s. Growing up, it was the only fast food restaurant in town, and one we usually frequented on Sundays after church. If Dad was working, we’d take it to the Fire Hall. We eat in front of an old black and white t.v. and play tag on the trucks.
After lunch we played board games until Mom needed a nap. I think Youngest Son did too.
We arrived home on Tuesday and I have been unpacking bags and boxes ever since. It’s amazing how much stuff accumulates over the summer, and how well I can pack it in my tiny car!
I’m always sad to see the end of summer. I like the sense of freedom from obligations and deadlines that it brings. I know if I didn’t have routines that I would literally waste precious time, but it’s delicious simply to know that I had the space to do so. Every season has its place and like it or not, the next one is beginning. It’s time for activities to start, jean buttons to strain, and pumpkin-spiced crap to appear in every coffee shop across the land!
The morning had dawned clear and cold, with a crispness that hinted at the end of summer.Ralph Waldo Emerson
Dear Diary – I didn’t sleep well last night: ‘Twas the Night Before…
This morning, though the sun shone brightly outside, inside the mood was somber. I did my best to stay out of Youngest Son’s way as he finished making his lunch and gathered his belongings. It’s the first day of Grade 12, a year whose outcome will determine the next step in his life journey. And having attended virtual school for part of Grade 9 and all of Grades 10 & 11, thanks to covid, it feels like the beginning of Grade 9. Again.
Also, he had to get dressed!!
He wore his new jeans today, the ones I bought and exchanged for a smaller size. Though a 27″ waist, he still needs a belt. (Once again I’m reminded mine used to be 24″ and I start singing The Way We Were).
I dropped him off at the corner. I figured the day was tough enough without the long early morning walk. That walk will have to become part of his routine in preparation for Uni next year. Mama’s not living in his dorm (actually only in spirit).
Thus begins a new chapter in his life, and in mine. I was just beginning to settle into a routine at home, having quit my job, when covid shutdowns hit. Now, after 2 years I suddenly find myself in the same place I started the pandemic: home, alone, and wondering just what it is I’m supposed to be doing with my life.
So I’m doing just what I did then…starting a routine. I had breakfast. I had my quiet time with the Lord. And now I’ve said hello to you, dear diary. Time for me to begin my next chapter. Lord, have mercy!
BeginningDanny Gokey, Tell Your Heart to Breathe Again
Just let that word wash over you
It’s alright now
Love’s healing hands have pulled you through
So get back up, take step one
Leave the darkness, feel the sun
Cause your story’s far from over
And your journey’s just begun