Within the space of a couple of hours earlier today while tricycling along nearby Riverfront Park I came across (and chatted with) no less than six people whom I haven’t seen for a considerable length of time, in some cases as much as ten years or more. It is proof once again that life on this side of the river is propitious! As my partner subsequently observed, it’s an older part of town (where we used to live a decade ago before selling our house and moving to the other side of the river). With the exception of two who were I believe coming from a visit to the hospital, the others whom I encountered were all longtime residents of the immediate area. The other two live outside town on a country estate in Union Hall off the Wolf Grove Road.
Equally remarkable is that the views up and down the river are each day unparalleled. The river is a distraction impossible to ignore. Although the identical prospects have timelessly existed, because we were historically removed from the immediate venue, those wondrous spectacles shamefully escaped our daily attention. Even when crossing the Maclan Bridge in the centre of town as I regularly did when driving about, I manifestly couldn’t engage in sightseeing. If nothing else the limitation inspires walking (something sadly I have never embraced and which now is beyond my capacity).
Paradoxically one of my most substantive connections in town was with the late John Hawley Kerry who, like the late Mr. Justice C. James Newton QC and Stewart E. Lee, lived on the other side of the river on the very fashionable Elgin Street. Together those gentlemen were not only among my earliest acquaintances in town but are also among the most celebrated of our constituents. The paradox is that by chance today I received an email from Mr. Kerry’s daughter Mrs. Karen Hirst RN who is not only a longtime friend but also a nearby resident on this side of the river where she and her husband Kenneth live. She serendipitously wrote to inspire me in what she has cleverly discerned to be my burgeoning contentment with our settlement here. Although I am acquainted with other members of the Kerry family, my alliance has historically been with the senior members, all of whom with the exception of Mrs. Hirst have removed themselves from town. Mrs. Hirst and I share an undying affection for the Town of Almonte and for writing.
As I peer from my drawing room desk I am taken by the late afternoon image of a perfectly clear and undisturbed glaze upon the surface of the river, reflecting the increasingly burnished leaves of the shoreline trees. I confess to feeling like an old dog tucking into a cozy bed.