Life and living the good life in St. Marys seems to bring out the best in people. Since taking up residence in Stonetown — it’ll be three years this summer — our relationship and experiences with townspeople generally and our immediate neighbours in particular, have been above and beyond our expectations.
Take, for example, the no-hesitation and willingness of our neighbour Rory to keep watch over our humble abode while we took an extended five-week winter vacation in Florida in February. Emails were exchanged periodically for updates on conditions and local news. This provided us with a sense of the safety and security of our home, considering the unexpected brutality of the ongoing Polar Vortex and the fact that we were 1,600 kilometres away by road.
For those readers who venture south in winter, they know that US television provides absolutely no Canadian news, except of course for the latest antics of Toronto’s infamous Mayor Rob Ford. The 100-plus pile-up on Highway 400 south of Barrie actually did get a few seconds on NBC news one day. Thanks, too, to the efforts of our successful Olympians, NBC TV had a remarkable amount of coverage that included Canadians. All those medals just couldn’t be ignored. Golden Canadian Hockey and Curling results were headline news.
When we finally arrived home in early March, we found our carriage house nice and cozy — in spite of a -20°C outside temperature — and thank goodness the kitchen water line had not frozen again. We were greeted with a delightful “welcome home” note along with a dazzling crimson flower arrangement placed on our coffee table. Now, how thoughtful is that!
Our newest neighbours, Noelle and Shane, also deserve our genuine gratitude for keeping our driveway cleared of snow and ice. To arrive home in the dark, tired from a 10-hour driving day and find a path cleared right to our door was a great and unexpected relief.
We were able to reciprocate with Rory this past week by house sitting and feeding Biscuit the Cat and Goldie — a.k.a Fish — along with a family of black squirrels, while she was off to visit family in the US. A large mason jar of my now famous, “Church Street Potato Leek Soup” will soon be arriving on Shane and Noelle’s doorstep. All that shovelling they did to prepare for our homecoming was no easy task, as every householder in St Marys would know, first hand, who was trapped by unrelenting snowfalls in February.
In recognition of our neighbourly good fortune, next week we’re hosting a “Let’s Celebrate Neighbours” party with a savoury Canadian “100-Mile Diet” meal. We’ll regale our guests with animated descriptions of our daily seashell-searching strolls along sugar sand beaches of the Gulf Coast; witnessing magnificent sunrises and sunsets over an emerald sea; a visit to “Seaside” — an eclectic new town where a rainbow of pastel colours personifies every home; a mouth-watering Snow Crab initiation at “Bubba Gump’s”; and hangin’ out at Jimmy Buffet’s newest “Margaritaville” (of “It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere” fame) at Destin’s Harborwalk Village.
It’ll be an excuse to wear my new lime green Margaritaville shirt. I promise not to wear gaudy shorts, or sandals with socks.
In the meantime, I’m anxious to get back into a daily routine of strolling our own Riverview Walkway and exploring the Grand Trunk Trail. If I seem to be having a conversation with one of our resident Bald Eagles or the ancient river Thames, feel free to get in on the conversation. After all, they’re neighbours too.