Where to begin?

It has been a recurring theme of our recent transition from the other side of the river to here that I am positively tickled by the fortuity.  Today was yet another case in point. This morning as I rode upon my tricycle along Spring Street parallel to the river, I encountered an elderly lady hooked to a mobile walking device similar to my own Rollator.  She was accompanied by a younger woman.  I asked if they were related; and indeed they are, mother and daughter.  Immediately their respective beautiful and abundant gray hair sanctioned the relationship.  To my discredit, I slowly recalled that I already knew the daughter (though in my defence I had not seen her for a very long time). I mention all this because it was shortly thereafter upon my return home that I chanced upon my elderly neighbour with her similarly constituted daughter from British Columbia.

As you might well speculate, I then asked myself what will be the third event to complete the triangle?  Well, I hadn’t long to wait.  Because I insist upon expiating my ever-present athletic guilt by completing a daily cycle of not less than 4 Kms, and because my current physical condition following recent knee surgery prohibits me attacking the most moderate incline, I make a point of reversing my initial 2 Km purge along the flat, “sea level” Spring Street parallel the Mississippi River. As fortune would have it I then came upon two women at the corner of Gale Street and Spring Street opposite the home of the late Albert T. Gale. This was a serendipity impossible to fabricate!

The women – though not mother and daughter – were two of the daughters of Albert and Margaret Gale. I previously owned a house constructed in the “Gale” subdivision on Laura Crescent which was adjacent Evelyn Street (named after another daughter).

Margaret Beulah Gale (nee Caldwell) was born in1911 in Tatlock, Ontario, the eldest daughter of the late Bertha King and John C. Caldwell. She received her early education in S.S. No 1 in Darling and attended Almonte High School and Ottawa Normal School. On May 28, 1938 she married the late Albert T. Gale. They settled on a farm in Tatlock where together they worked hard on the rugged land growing apples and selling cordwood. In 1944 they moved to the 10th Concession of Ramsay where they continued to farm and raise their family. In 1948 they started their business, Albert Gale Real Estate Ltd. Margaret worked alongside her husband as a very able partner, helping him learn the business in which he became so successful. At the time of Albert’s retirement their business had grown from their home office to include 13 offices in Eastern Ontario. In 1956 they relocated to their new home in Almonte. Margaret was an active member to the Almonte United Church and member of the Fireside Unit. She also volunteered in other capacities in her community. Margaret and Albert loved to travel and spent many winters at Rivershores, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They were active in their community and enjoyed a vast network of friends in their winter home. Even after Albert’s death in 1978, Margaret continued to spend her winters in Florida, including the 1994-95 season. She was a devoted mother to her six children: Sylvia (Don Lea), Alan (Patricia Goth), Evelyn (Arthur Little), Margaret (Bob Boivon), Laura (Scott Douglas), and Linda (Philip Downey). She took great pride and pleasure in her 16 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Margaret passed away on Aug 21, 1995 at the Almonte General Hospital after a courageous battle with cancer. Besides her children and grandchildren, she is survived by Evelyn (Mrs Charles Tate), Earl (Marjorie Storey), Karene (Mrs Donald Maxwell), Grace (Mrs Kenneth Bowes). She was predeceased by one brother, Garth Caldwell. The funeral service, which was held on Wednesday, Aug 23, Almonte United Church and with interment at Auld Kirk Cemetery, was a celebration of her faith and life. Six grandsons: Daniel Lea, Paul Little, Bruce Downey, Christopher Lea, Mark Douglas and Gregory Gale acted as pallbearers. Another grandson, Sean Downey, read the lesson. Her family is honoured to have been left such a wonderful legacy of loving and caring by their cherished mother, mother-in-law and grandmother.

The familial association of the two sisters whom I fearlessly approached this morning thus completed the coincidence of not only my evolving Matins on a sunny Sunday morning in Almonte with related people but also included by association the developer of the entirety surrounding us from that critical corner of Gale Street and Spring Street to the end of Spring Street where our 3-storey apartment building has since been constructed on a crest overlooking the Mississippi River.

My newly recovered proximity to my former habitat also closed the circle on my introduction to Almonte almost 50 years ago when I first met Raymond A. Jamieson QC who was formerly counsel to Albert T. Gale.  By further coincidence our arrival here at the end of Spring Street was from property located on Jamieson Street on the other side of town.