This post will be a sort of guest post from Granma Ladybug.
Recently she has assisted me with our Fall Housecleaning. She has been reluctant to do so, not because of the labor, or the allergies, but because of the need to divest ourselves of many things which bring back strong memories.
Some years ago, when she was downsized out of a job, she took advantage of a government grant to return to school and upgrade her computer and English skills. To assess incoming students’ language abilities, the English teacher asked them to write a one-page essay. She recently came upon a file with hers, along with some other submissions.
The prompt was, “Write about something which strongly affected you, hopefully pleasantly.” Her mother died when she was only three, and she was raised by a succession of older sisters and an evil sister-in-law. When we engaged, my mother took her in like her own. Read how this affected her.
A SUNDAY AFTERNOON DRIVE DOWN THE
SOUTH SHORE OF LAKE HURON
“Welcome to Bruce County!” This is a sign that, over the years has come to mean a homecoming to me. Unfortunately, this spring my mother-in-law had a stroke that affected her short-term memory, and she had to be placed in a nursing home.
Every trip home means visiting my father-in-law, who still manages to live at home, and fitting in three visits with Mom over the weekend. This trip home, my husband and I decided to take Mom out for a Sunday afternoon drive.
After getting Mom settled in the car, our first stop was The Chip Shop, for French fries which we could enjoy during the drive. Our journey took us down the main street to Lake Huron, and a view of Chantry Island. We then travelled along Huron Street, taking a right onto Adelaide Street, down to Lake Street, left on Lake Street past the tennis courts, and another right to Beach Street.
At the end of Beach Street is Chantry Park, where the Long Dock was. You can still see the rocks which made up the dock, stretching far out into the water. We then continued down Front Street, which turns into Harmer Street, then becomes Harmer Road, paralleling Lake Huron.
The road winds along the shoreline, curving to accommodate Mirimachi Bay, where a lower water level reveals mud flats with pools of murky water that house bulrushes, and other aquatic life. We pulled over to the side of the road and watched two sailboats rounding Chantry Island, the sailing conditions being absolutely perfect.
As we continued down the shore road, the brightly shining sun made the calm water sparkle with diamonds….almost too brilliant for the eyes. On we meandered, past the miniature gauge railroad tracks in the lakefront park, past Port Elgin’s marina, up to the main street and to the Tim Horton’s, to pick up Timbits for Mom and her roommate, Christina Eagles.
Returning Mom to the nursing home was very difficult for Mom and us; however, Christina was glad to see Mom, as she has become very attached to her, and is frightened to be left alone for too long. We brought out the Timbits, which are Christina’s favorite treat, and had a small party to celebrate the end of an enjoyable day.
While it was pleasant to take Mom out for the day, it brought to mind past years when Sunday meant putting on a roast and loading the car with grandparents, parents and children, to take a tour of the Bruce Peninsula. We have, in past years, gone to the flea market at Mar, seen the spring and fall colors at Lion’s Head, and investigated many, many garage sales that dot the countryside during the fine summer weather.
Outings that were taken by the Smith family include a litany of small town names such as Chesley, Tara, Allenford, Wingham, Oliphant etc. These were memories in the making, something to bring out later, and to let the remembering heal the hurt that adverse changes can bring. To make pleasant memories is a very important detail.
This was the bitter-sweet last time we were all able to enjoy such a get-together. Mom remained in good physical condition, almost until her death from a virulent case of flu when she was 92. Soon after this day though, the mental light in her eyes faded, and there was almost no spark of who she’d been.
While we may be forced to jettison some of our physical things, we hold our memories dearly. They remain almost as bright and strong as the days they were created. They take no room to store and, not only can we pull them out and enjoy them at any time, but we can share them with others. 😀