How did we get here? (sequel)

It isn’t often I receive such an ample response to my narratives as the one below written by Suzanne.  Quite apart from the delightful nature of her account, I am flabbergasted by her ability to perform with the combination of such memory and acuity at the age of 92 years. And when I say perform I don’t just mean writing.  On a computer. Hers is get-up-and-go! Physically too she is a wonder, slim, great posture, mobile. And, yes, she drives.

There are however in particular two features of her email account below which captivate me; first, the overall rustic nature of the tale; second, the serendipity.

The rustic nature of her writing is evident, stimulated by the fact that she and Tony lately lived in the Village of Clayton (which I consider a jewel in the crown of Lanark County). The serendipity is of course little more than chance conjunctions between the two of us as longtime residents of the area. Nonetheless I attach significance to these intersections because they speak so volubly to matters which are of critical importance to me (in this case, Jimmy McGregor my dear first friend in Almonte; and, Galligan & Sheffield, Barrs &c who first agreed to employ me in Almonte).  Say what you will, I count those convergences (among all the others there might have been) as serendipitous. Agreed it may be nothing but a fluke.  But from my perspective it enlightens the chance encounters to the point of mysticism. It has always been my conviction that, “There is a reason for everything!”  While I employed the adage predominantly in the practice of law (to force me to investigate something “where I just knew it was wrong”), it has time and again proven to be of more strength than a mere proverb.  Latterly it has become a supplement such as, “Believe what you see!” which I have found to stimulate insight both good and bad.

But here I am, overtaking the central theme of this entry with my usual verbiage. Suzanne’s narrative below is in my opinion a chronicle as enthralling as the smell of freshly baked apple pie on a cool morning in a country kitchen. These are stories about us, the people we know and the community.


Email to L. G. William Chapman, B.A., LL.B.
May 30th, 2024 @ 10:45 pm

Bill, not only did Jimmy Macgregor die in that tragic accident but his female passenger spent years in and out of hospitals because of her serious injuries. I am sure she was a volunteer in AGH and that is how I knew her, but once more I cannot recall her name. I think Jimmy’s father lived on the other corner of Farm and Brae St opposite where we first lived for a few months after arriving in Almonte. Strangely enough, 2 days after the accident , my mother and I were having lunch in a small “Tea Room” in Lanark, when in walked Jimmy’s wife and I thought her mother with a few other family members. Before leaving there, I was able to offer my condolences, which were gratefully accepted. Jimmy’s wife was obviously still in “shock”, but still smiled at me, holding my hand.  For a long time I didn’t like passing the dangerous rocks on Wolf Grove Rd where the accident happened.

Upon returning to Almonte after 23 years in the peaceful Village of Clayton, I now realize so many old  memories. Another set is of the family Sheffield. Heather was for years volunteering in AGH; she also organized house tours every second year and dances in the Old Hall on the Fair Grounds; both of which raised a lot of money for equipment etc @ AGH. Their older daughter Sarah Gray I met again after Tony died, where she works @ Gamble’s Funeral Home in the office.  The youngest girl, Jenny Sheffield is at Almonte High School, directing plays every Spring, I forget if she teaches. She and Graham are about the same age and when beginning school, they played together with a few other friends and would come to Graham’s birthday parties.

I meant to send you part of this last night but at 11.30pm I just had to go to bed.  Shortly after 9am this morning John Dawson arrived with a locksmith to repair the lock on my front door. After much checking it was decided to replace it with a new one. At least I won’t have to change keys. It’s a little stiff but should become easier fairly soon.  Those doors are so heavy to navigate with parcels, shopping cart and handbag over my right shoulder, I just have to drop it all on the floor, then once said door is open, a second struggle to bring it all in! Once any frozen items are in the freezer, I put the kettle on, make myself a cup of tea, then sit down with my feet up on the stool for at least 20 minutes. Hopefully by that time
I’m ready to work again. I really miss Tony’s help, he was always there for me, even when he had trouble with his legs. I can see nowadays how fortunate I am compared to some of the other “inmates”!

The afternoon was warm and sunny, I spent a long time on the balcony, trying to look after 6 of my plants that had grown great thick clumps of grass  around their roots, poor quality potting soil . Once done all had to be carefully watered and the floor cleaned up. It was good in the warm sun.  I shall sleep well tonight.  Friday afternoon is quilting time in Clayton again; I usually take sewing of my own or something from the church that needs repairing.  Sunday morning will be a FIDDLE SERVICE. I think I should remove my hearing aids so I won’t hear the screechy fiddles. They certainly are not violins!  Then a lunch afterwards, Hopefully there will be between 60- 80 people . Lots of sandwiches, cheeses, small cakes, coffee ,tea and cold drinks. Another fundraiser to keep St. George’s alive and donate to worthwhile communities.

Bedtime once more!  Enjoy a few sunny days and great driving.