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And then there were four

It's a chilly grey day in Grey County. It's supposed to rain on and off all day.

We had Barb's memorial yesterday. Lots and lots of friends and family turned out for the occasion. We were very happy - in a sad way - that so many who knew her wanted to pay their respects.

The original five Harris siblings are now four. We are all retired or semi-retired from our careers. There are husbands and wives and a bunch of kids and grandkids. Some of us have drifted apart over the years, and that's how it goes sometimes. Nine years separate the older three from myself and Sandy.

A part of what remains is our collective memories. Barb's ashes are buried in the cemetery at Frome church, which, for all of us, was a mainstay of our youth. Both our parents were devout church-goers. Mom was very active in the United Church Women (UCW) and latterly, Dad joined the choir.

We've long since been gone from the community but what I remembered while we were there yesterday was how much it was a hub in our lives. Besides the regular Sundays, there were gatherings - turkey suppers around Thanksgiving, Irish stews at St. Patrick's Day, big anniversary celebrations and annual meetings to keep the business of the church going. Along with the special events for holidays, of course, including the Christmas pageant, with the Sunday schoolers recreating that night in Bethlehem.

When we were young, Sandy and I even cleaned the church, since we lived just a stone's throw from it on Highway 3. And we cut the grass in the cemetery. Mom often pitched in with that job.

The picture on top was taken yesterday and the one on the bottom was from 2008 at Mom and Dad's 60th wedding anniversary. The three in the middle are now gone.

The remaining Harris siblings are all a bit older and greyer, and we've had our share of high points and low points over the years. But I think we also recognize how much we draw on the strength of the ties that bind the family together. Until next week.

Gratuitous cat photo courtesy of Fred (outside the box) and Bea (inside the box), who cannot resist the siren song of the cardboard.


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