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An Oasis of Calm

It's a cool morning on the farmette. Nice change from the blisteringly hot weather we experienced last week.

The world outside our little enclave feels like it's gone completely insane. Cops killing innocent black people. Peaceful demonstrations that turn into riots. The orange crazy in the White House fomenting violence. And through the middle of it all, the ever-present pandemic. Whew! Had to get that off my chest.

Not much happening in our little corner of the world. Planting, weeding, spring cleaning, and keeping the wheels on my freelance writing business.

This morning, the kittens had another 'gift' in the form of a dead mouse on the kitchen mat. YUM. It's what you get when you live in a house that's been around for a century and a half.

If these walls could talk. Just a week ago, two of the Glass brothers dropped by and asked if they could tour around the property - outside. Now in their, ahem, later years, they grew up in this house, played in the yard, got through the flu, celebrated birthdays and became men. The Glass family was here for 60 years.

That got me thinking about the sweep of history this house has witnessed. How this has been a haven for generations of families who lived, loved, cried and laughed.

Imagine in the 1860s when the house was built. There would have been nearly no one in Grey County. This was probably the only house on the road - although our next door neighbour Joanne's house looks kind of like a twin. Horse-drawn buggies, grist mills churning away at the side of the mighty Saugeen and farmland for miles around.

Then, the turn of the century, with the introduction of the camera, rail travel hit its prime and, later, cars and trucks. The front page of the Durham Review on February 21, 1901 is telling. It documented who was visiting whom, reviewed the latest theatre production (it was Queen Esther), and advertised medicine to relieve the pain of grippe and piles (!) Our local library has actually microfilmed all the old newspapers. Cool, eh?

World War 1 hit and many Grey County boys were sent overseas. We, like many small communities throughout Ontario and Canada, have a war memorial statue in the centre of town at which the fallen are remembered every year. The Depression and WW2 followed way too quickly, and the chaos of not knowing when it was going to end was all too real. But end it did - eventually, and at great cost.

The booming 1950s saw many overseas families coming to Canada to seek out a better life. David and Margaret Wilson and their family were among them. This photo of the four children - Iain and Rob in the back, Anne and Bill in the front - is of an earlier time, when they were still in Scotland.

Then the groovy 1960s - which were, indeed, groovy, with the Beatles, the Stones and many, many amazingly talented artists. But it was also fraught with race riots and the oppressed feeling the need to be free. Women, minorities, people who are LGBTQ - all wanted to be treated fairly and equitably. Many of the powers that be had different ideas.

Which brings us to today - 50+ years on, and I can't believe how we're living through the same issues - AGAIN. It seems we just cannot learn from history. We can and must do better.

The world will get through this pandemic. We'll even make it through the current societal upheavals. At the farmette, we'll make our way just as so many generations of families have done before us. At the end of the day, the wee yellow brick house will remain - standing strong and keeping us safe.

Until next week.


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