Party of 4

We don’t get out a lot. It’s apparently not an uncommon affliction of aging. Or maybe it’s just a preference for doing otherwise.  But today’s congregation was much anticipated.  And it proved to have been equally rewarding.

Smiths Falls is a town in Eastern Ontario, Canada, 72 kilometres (45 mi) southwest of Ottawa. As of the 2021 census it has a population of 9,254. It is in the Census division for Lanark County, but is separated from the county. The Rideau Canal waterway passes through the town, with four separate locks in three locations and a combined lift of over 15 metres (49.2 ft).

Smiths Falls is manifestly changing.  And in my opinion, for the better.  Gone are the days of regret following the withdrawal of the Hershey Company to Mexico for cheaper labour. We conveniently parked on the primary commercial street running through town. Not only had we the benefit of handicapped parking (for me); but significantly, the dignity of not having to fuss with parking meters which were gratefully (and judiciously) nowhere evident.  That small latter distinction immediately promoted the desired business activity.  Parking charges are best reserved for hospitals where people are already dying to get in.

Gossip naturally filtered and dispatched our chatter. Nothing malicious, just reconnecting ourselves with the history of those whom we share. There were of course divergences onto ancient territory; comparative recollections and abbreviations of real estate holdings (residential and secondary); innuendo about the affect of time and nefarious commodities; buoyant references to casual commonalities (including a patently exact discussion of martini recipes which shamefully and abruptly paused the other dalliances); and, most nutritiously (that is, apart from the food which was nonpareil), acknowledgement of fortuity and promise. Our combined joint and several affiliation approaches 100 years so there was lots to talk about.

By the time we redirected ourselves to home (and attended to some Saturday grocery shopping and had the car washed) it was mid-afternoon.  Coincidentally, following upon our discussion at table earlier in Smiths Falls, we ventured into a local hardware emporium and succeeded to overcome our erstwhile patio furniture dilemma (though frankly not entirely without a measure of jeopardy which by the application of perspicacity we skilfully avoided). The unpredictable avenues of fortune!