Friday, August 7, 2015

Family Life, Hay Bay, Ontario

It was good to visit family at Hay Bay, near Napannee, Ontario.  My brother Ron and his darling wife, Adell, bought a lovely lakeside house and acreage at Hay Bay last year.  They still own another house in Ottawa where the kids grew up.  But now this house is as much a lodge and summer cottage as much as year round home.
With the lawn mower tractor for cutting grass, trees being chopped up for wood for the fireplace, canoes, sailboats and dock and beach it’s a really active place.  When I was last there Ron had just planted his large garden. Now the stalks of tomato plants were full of green tomatoes. The apple trees were bearing fruit as well. .  All the flowers he’d planted seemed in bloom. A real pretty yet quaint place with all the modern amenities.  Wifi comes in off a dish lakeside.  The house is well insulated and has an excellent water supply.
"It’s milder than in Ottawa.  Winter snow only lasts  three months though last year was unusual,” Ron told me. .
Velma and Melvine, Adell’s relatives were visiting.  We keep meeting on visits. I remember their names because they’re like a clean fun Thelma and Louise!.   Velma was a librarian cartographer archivist.  We've talked maps and navigation. She’s keenly interested in history and ancestry.  A deeply religious Christian she reminds me in many way of my much loved Baptist Aunt Sally.  They both live their love of Jesus. The grace of God is reflected in their lives.   Melvine is the older sister and worked for years with the child protection services. We share a lot of the battle weariness that comes with front line work with people and bureaucracy.  Their education, experience and character makes for  lively discussions at time.  Sometimes I just enjoy listening to Adell, a phd retired school principal and these two ladies.  It’s even more entertaining when one or all of my nephews gets involved in a discussion.  Politics, with the coming election, made some interesting fodder for the grist mill.
I was glad that Velma and Melvine were there. We all made our way to the Napannee Baptist church on Sunday.  I had a wonderful nostalgic moment remembering church services with my Mom and Aunt Sally.  Adell is a lovely soloist soprano. Singing hymns with her, Thelma and Melvine was a joy. Great Baptist classics with blood on the cross for this eucharist Sunday.
Another time Adell walked with me up to the local church on Hay Bay which their neighbour Reg and his wife attend.  I’m hoping to get to that church one day.   I met the minister with Allan.  On that walk Adell pointed out a very impressive pear tree.  I was also introduced to their neighbour, an engineer in winter,  who  market gardens in the summer. He hunts so we discussed the Ontario hunting regulations for a while while Adell got fresh eggs his chickens had just laid. While there we ate delicious corn.
Adell is a also great chef. I don’t know how she does it.  She, mostly, with help from Velma and Melvin, had some excellent meals made.  Grand breakfasts sausages,  eggs and waffles with Canadian Maple Syrup to  steak and goulash creations for dinner. I confess I didn’t do any of the preparation and was never ‘allowed’ to do more than clean my plate and put it in the dish washer.  Smoothly, like a stealth military kitchen, Adell had the whole extended family well fed.
Allan the youngest son is doing his masters in child psychology at University Ottawa.  He was working on a presentation over the weekend while visiting.  Andrew, the middle son, is married to Tanya. Tanya was with her family that weekend so I missed seeing her. My cockapoo Gilbert absolutely loves Tanya.
Mike, Andrew’s really terrific best friend from childhood was visiting with his girlfriend Tonya.  I met Mike at Andrew’s wedding.  Right from the get go Mike is a great guy. Andrew, having worked as a geologist, is now doing a master’s program in robotics and industrial applications.  He showed me an amazing magnetic scanning robot he’d developed adapting various technologies for searching for metals and other uses underground.  The ideas have been used for searching for IED’s in warzones but he’s adapting this to civil uses..  Mike and Andrew were the intrepid sailors this weekend providing lots of entertainment for their cheering fans as they got out in the Albacore’s on the lake.  They also had the quad helicopter camera out zooming about without losing it in the trees as had previously happened.
Mike’s girlfriend is Tonya and Andrew’s wife is Tanya.  What is the coincidence factor for two best friends to meet two great girls called Tanya and Tonya. Tonya absolutely made Eva’s weekend by bringing along a little fluff mutt which became Eva’s BFF.  Allan’s girlfriend is Megan but she wasn’t there this weekend. I met her on my last visit.
Graeme, Ron and Adell’s, oldest son, a chemical engineer, previously working with the waste fusion project, translating garbage into fuel with the aid of focused sun rays is now starting a new position with a nuclear plant in the north.  He visited with his girlfriend Eyse, the two heading off Florida for a two week vacation with Elyse relatives.  Graeme hadn’t seen the Kennedy Missile Centre.  Having been there I sang the sites praises and encouraged them to read Carl Hiiansens’ Sick Puppy or Bad Monkey while they were in Florida. Also to avoid walking near any ponds where there were no ducks on the water.
At some point there was 11 of us but mostly there were 9.
Mike, Allan and Andrew had me playing board games.  I didn’t win.  I don’t think the object of board games is winning. A lot of laughter and camaraderie occurs instead.  There was a croquet game too. I think I missed out on that because Ron went for a nap and I thought that an even better after lunch idea. I really am coming to appreciate the simple afternoon nap as one of life’s great pleasures.
With Ron I did minor home repairs and with Adell and him began the assembly of a weed catcher.
In the evening we all read novels in the living room or watched Murdoch Mysteries on the tv. We had various outings to town. Allan and I had a shopping trip to Canadian Tire and Walmart so I could get a fishing and hunting license and buy some walkie talkies for the boats.  Then Ron and I visited the Loyalist Cove Marina in Bath to see the yachts that ply the local lakes.  Outings naturally involved stops at Macdonald’s for burgers and fries.
Adell took Velma and Melveen on a tour of local antique shops.  Meanwhile Ron and I were buying pear trees which we later planted with Adell’s last minute adjustments.  I loved this.
Throughout the visit, Eva the Cockapoo was forever nearby ready to roll on her back to get her chest rubbed. She was precious.
The big event though was a trip to the Napannee Fair with the mini tractor races and demolition derby.
I find when I visit Ron and Adell there is a whole lot going on.  This property reminds me of their Fort Garry house by the University. The lawns there came down onto the red river.  Andrew and Graeme were rug rats and they had the dogs Tartan and Rainy. That had been a pretty busy household with Mom and Dad visiting and me staying over after my time in India.  With the kids all grown and with girlfriends this is a whole other level of complexity.  Grand central station in the country.
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