Lanark County Calling – Book Launch

Just like the title of the book, when Lanark County calls us back home, especially in the fall of the year, we are welcomed by a panorama of fiery oranges, blazing reds, sunny yellows and dazzling greens.

leaf quote

 

lanark-county-sign

 

Signs of fall were everywhere, and a flock of geese escorted us along the road, all the way to Perth….
geese

 

A sunny drive up historic Gore Street, then we arrived at our destination – The Book Nook & Other Treasures.

Book Nook

 

Shortly after our arrival, I received a lovely bouquet of flowers from Rideau Ferry resident, Carol-Ann McDougall, along with her good wishes for the book launch.  What a thoughtful gift!

flowers from Carol-Ann

 

Owner of the Book Nook & Other Treasures, Leslie Wallack, provided a delicious assortment of milk chocolate and dark chocolate cookies, and piping hot coffee for all of the visitors to the store.

Leslie

 

One of the first visitors to the book launch, was old friend, and former class-mate Dianne Tysick Pinder-Moss.  Dianne and I have a long history, going back to our earliest days, at S.S. #5 School, a one-room schoolhouse, at Christie Lake, then to the Scotch Line school, and next, Glen Tay Public School, before heading off to Perth and District Collegiate Institute. Dianne and I also attended 4H Club together, as did many of the boys and girls in our rural farm community west of Perth.  Dianne is writing an article for the Agri News, on the new book “Lanark County Calling”, so mixing a bit of business, with the pleasure of spending time together again.

Dianne

 

Another special visitor who came early to the book launch, was former Art teacher from P.D.C.I – Wynne White.  What a pleasure to see Wynne after so many years have passed, and to learn that she remains active in her artistic pursuits.  This talented artist shared many of her techniques and methods over the years, and inspired those of us who attended her classes.  She often played the music of our time, during class, on a record-player at the front of the room.  One of the albums I recall was ‘Magical Mystery Tour’, and a tune that was played often –  ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.  Mrs. White understood the connection between music, art, and inspiration, and with her gentle ways, and kind encouragement, had a way of bringing out the best in all of her students.

Wynne White

 

Two special visitors drove all the way from Kingston, Ontario to be with us for the book launch, cousins Marie and Yvonne.  Marie and Yvonne, like myself, are descendants of pioneers Tobias Stafford of County Wexford, Ireland, and Elizabeth McGarry, of County Westmeath, Ireland, who were among the earliest settlers to Drummond Township in 1816.

Marie and Yvonne 2

It was a special treat to have my brother, Roger Stafford, stop by, and spend some time with us.  Roger divides his time these days, between his home in London, Ontario, and his winter place in Fort Myers, Florida.  Like the geese we saw overhead earlier in the day, Roger will be returning south in the next few weeks.  It was great fun to have him at the book launch!

Roger

 

A book launch would not be complete without a visitor or two from the home soil, the Third Line, DeWitt’s Corners to be specific.  Elaine and Dave Morrow stopped by, and we had a lovely visit with them, and caught up on some local news.

Elaine

 

A great deal of research goes into writing the stories in any book, and one of the stories in “Lanark County Calling”,  is about the Soper Theatre, in Smiths Falls.  Jan Stepniak was a great help with the story, and he shared some fascinating, behind-the-scenes highlights of his many years as both Projectionist, and Manager, at the Soper Theatre.

Jan Stepniak

Another memorable guest, one who was tremendously helpful in telling the story of the Soper Theatre, was Violet Gariepy.  Violet began working at the Soper in the late fifties, right up to the time when the theater closed in 2012.  She shared her memories, stories, and some insights into the people who worked there over the years, and the special recollections that made her time there such a pleasure.

Vi 3

 

After a busy day chatting with special guests, and visitors, it was time to say good-bye.

Many thanks to our host, owner of The Book Nook & Other Treasures, Leslie Wallack.  Treasures indeed, the busy, cheery store is overflowing with unique gifts, and lovely items for the home, along with a huge assortment of books, for children and adults alike. Leslie carries all of my ‘Lanark County’ series of books, as well as many other local authors.

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Special thanks to those who shared their memories, stories, and special recollections for the story ‘A Night at the Movies: Soper Theatre in Smiths Falls:  Violet Gariepy, Jan Stepniak, the late Gordon Evoy, Scott Irvine, and Tammy DeSalvo.
Also, thank-you to award-winning country music artist Neville Wells, along with Marilyn Taylor-Dunham for sharing their memories and tales, for the story: “The Legendary Ompah Stomp”.

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This post is dedicated to the memory of Gordon Evoy, former Usher, at the Soper Theatre.  Gordon passed away before the book launch, and I was not able to thank him in person, for the many hours he spent sharing his memories, and insights from his years working at the theater.  I had many phone calls with Gordon, and he would always end them saying he had to go and walk his little dogs, in the park, near his home in Smiths Falls.  It was clear that those lively little dogs were very close to his heart. Gordon also shared two photos with me, one of his mother Phyllis Evoy, a former staff-member of the Soper Theatre; Phyllis worked in the ticket booth for many years, and it has been said that she called many of the local children by name, and was a friendly face during her many years working there.

Phyllis Jenkins Evoy

 

Gordon also proudly shared a photo of his grandfather, Harry Jenkins, former theater staff-member, an Usher at the Capitol Theatre, in Smiths Falls.   When Harry retired, he worked as a crossing guard, on Brockville Street, helping children safely navigate the busy streets.

Harry Jenkins

Thank-you Gordon.  Your stories and memories are captured forever in the book.  God Bless.  May you rest in peace.

 

 

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A Lanark County Kid at Expo ’67

Expo 67

Throughout the entire year, in 1967, there were special events planned all across Lanark County, to help get everyone into the spirit of the 100th anniversary.  There was even a special flag created that year.

Expo flag

It was a stylized maple leaf made up of 11 triangles, representing the provinces and territories. I remember that the Lions Club was selling these flags in Perth, and one of the first places to hang one was at ‘The Perth Courier’ offices.   The grade eight students at Queen Elizabeth School went one step further, and constructed a three dimensional version of the flag.  They had a special ceremony at their school, with some local dignitaries – Rev. J. Gillanders did a devotional service. The Principal Miss Jean Blair was there, John Scott, Mayor Burchell, and Jack Wilson.

expo maple leaf

The Royal Canadian Mint issued new coins for the centennial year.  Each coin depicted a different Canadian animal – the back of the dollar coin had a Canada goose, the fifty cent piece was a wolf, and the back of the quarter was a lynx.  The Bluenose schooner on the back of the dime was replaced with a mackerel, the nickel featured a rabbit, and the one cent coin had a dove. It was also the last year that pure silver was used in our coins.

centennial coins

 

Mother and Dad decided that they would like to go to Montreal that year for the centennial celebration called ‘Expo ‘67’.  This was a kind of ‘world’s fair’, and was to be held in Montreal, Quebec, from April to October that year.  There were 62 nations in total that participated, and they each had displays and ‘pavilions’ set up to showcase their countries.  It was held on Ile Sainte-Helene, and Ile Notre-Dame, on an already existing island, and some ‘created’ islands as well.  There were likely many discussions back and forth between Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson and the mayor of Montreal Jean Drapeau, to get everything just right. Canada would be hosting many nations of the world, as well as its own citizens celebrating their centennial.

Man and his world

Dad was delivering milk, door to door in Perth, working for Chaplin’s Dairy in Glen Tay at that time, and he would have his usual two weeks of vacation in July.

Chaplin's Dairy

 

It was decided that one of Dad’s vacation weeks would be spent at ‘Expo ‘67’, and Mother, who was the usual arranger-of-travels, began to look for accommodations. Mother read in the newspaper that there were families that lived close to the exhibition grounds in Montreal, who were renting rooms in their homes, and so she began making some phone calls, and writing some letters.  She found an English-speaking family who lived within walking distance to the Expo; they even had a little girl that was a couple of years younger than me, so that I would have someone to play with.  This seemed like an ideal choice.

Now came the tricky part……..  Dad did not like driving in heavy traffic.  He did not like driving in Quebec. He did not like driving on freeways.  Hmmm……Mother was going to be asking him to drive on busy highways, in Montreal, to probably what would be the most congested area for traffic in the entire country that summer.  This was going to be ‘interesting’.

The months passed by quickly, like they always do.  There were lots of celebrations going on all over Lanark County, and so, because it was such a busy year, I think that the time passed even faster than usual. The big week finally came.  It was time for Dad’s vacation.  The weather was hot and sunny, and we packed up the old Buick with our well-worn suitcases, and we drove down the lane, turned left onto the Third Line, and headed for Montreal.

Buick     suitcase open  suitcases closed

 

We crossed over at Glen Tay, and turned right onto Hwy 7, and headed east.  It wasn’t long before we saw the signs telling us how many miles it was to get to Ottawa.  Mother said we’d be passing by Ottawa on the Trans Canada Highway, and then continuing on to Montreal.

Dad didn’t like driving on the Queensway; not at all.  By the time we passed Bayshore I could see that he was getting a little ‘hot under the collar’.  By the time we got into Quebec, and were getting close to Montreal, I discovered for the first time in my life, that my father was bilingual. No, he couldn’t speak French.  He had grown up on the 11th Concession of Drummond Township after all, on a farm, in the 1920’s and 30’s. No, there wasn’t really any French being spoken up there.  No, the language that he started speaking, just outside of Montreal that day so long ago, was a completely new one – one that he likely wouldn’t want to be speaking when he dropped Mother off at Calvin Church on Sunday mornings.

swearing

 

Mother was giving him ‘the look’, and for once, it didn’t seem to be having any effect.  Apparently, from what I could gather, Dad was not too impressed by the skill level of the drivers in our neighbouring province of Quebec.

heavy traffic

Once we got into the downtown core of Montreal, we were trying to find the house where we’d be staying.  Dad got lost a couple of times before we finally arrived, and once again he demonstrated his fluency in a second language.  He would not, under any circumstances, stop and ask for directions, and Mother was frantically unfolding and re-folding the city map of Montreal. I sat quietly in the back seat, and hoped that we’d be there soon.

montreal map

We finally found the house, and pulled into their driveway.  They were very friendly people, and came right out to our car to greet us.  Their names were Jimmy and Vicki Irvine, and their little daughter Sharon was there beside them.  Jimmy helped Dad carry the luggage inside, and they showed us the room where we’d be staying, and I had a nice little cot on the floor, on one side of their room.

Mrs. Irvine was very kind, and she already had our supper on the stove.  She and Mother chatted in the kitchen, and Dad and Jimmy went back outside so Dad could have a smoke.  Sharon took me downstairs to their basement, and wow, their basement was really something!  She had more toys than I’d ever seen in my life, and right smack in the center of all of the toys was a spring horse!!  It was a plastic horse, set on a metal frame, and suspended by big heavy springs, and you could climb on its back, and either go up and down, or backwards and forward.  I loved it!  I was going to ask if I could have one of these for Christmas.  I thought to myself that there really wasn’t much chance of that happening, so I’d better enjoy riding it while we were staying here.

spring horse

We stayed with the Irvine family for the entire week.  We’d take the short drive to Expo ’67 each morning after breakfast, walk around, and see all of the different pavilions that were set up to showcase each country.  We even got a little paper ‘passport’ booklet, and a new stamp was added each time we visited another country’s pavilion. That was a pretty cool souvenir!

Expo passport

expo passport inside

 

 

Another souvenir from that trip was a little notepad with a red plastic cover, with the centennial maple leaf design on the front, and even better still, I was given three four-leaf clovers.  Mr. Irvine had a patch on his lawn where there were four-leaf clovers growing, and he picked three of them for me to press in my little notepad, before we left at the end of the week.

Expo notepad

4 leaf clovers

 

Mother and Dad kept in touch with the Irvine family for many years.  We never returned to Montreal, but they sent Christmas cards back and forth each year, for many years, until one year when Mother didn’t receive a card.  It had been many decades since our trip, and Mother wondered at the time if one of them had passed away.  The Christmas before that was the last time we would hear from them. It was sad to have lost our connection with the Irvine family.  Whenever we’d receive their Christmas card each year it always brought back the memories of Expo ’67, and of all of the centennial celebrations.

1960s christmas card

 

I fondly recall all of the special events in Perth that year, and in different parts of Lanark County.  When I think of the 100th anniversary of confederation, and of Expo ’67, I will always remember the Irvine family, and how they graciously opened their home to us, strangers from another province, that they welcomed us as if we were old friends, and made us feel a part of the big celebration going on in our country that year.

It serves to remind me, even today, that there are good folks everywhere, not just in our own back yards, but all across this great nation of ours.

canada 150

 

 

“Patriotism is not short, frenzied, outbursts of emotion,

but the tranquil, steady dedication of a lifetime.”  

                                                                       Adelai Stevenson

 

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(story is an excerpt from ‘Lanark County Kid: My Travels Up and Down the Third Line”  ISBN 978-0-9877026-16)

http://www.staffordwilson.com

 

 


Settlers’ Heritage Day & Lanark County Plowing Match!

Plowing match jpg for blog

They came from Scotland and Ireland, strangers in a new land.  Some came to escape persecution, and some came in search of a more prosperous life, far away from the harsh economic realities in the old country.  Some young men came alone, and they were the adventurers, and explorers, eager for fresh experiences, and new challenges.  Many brought their families, wives, and young children on the long ocean voyage, leaving behind parents, and grandparents that they would never see again.

Whatever their reasons for leaving their faraway homelands, they all brought their hopes and their dreams of a better life, and a brighter future for the generations that would follow.  One of the earliest settlements was Tay Valley Township in Lanark County.  It was an area rich with fast-flowing rivers, and picturesque lakes.  Early settlers cleared the forests, farmed the land, built mills on the banks of the rivers, and laid the foundations for future generations.

2016 marks the 200th anniversary of Tay Valley Township’s earliest settlement, and events and celebrations to mark this milestone will be held throughout the year.  One of the most exciting events will be the Settlers Heritage Day, combined with the 2016 Lanark County Plowing Match.

On Saturday, August 20th, beginning at 7:00 a.m,. through to 4:00 p.m., there will be activities for the whole family, including a maple-syrup pancake breakfast, fence building, sheep shearing, blacksmithing, genealogical research assistance, antique exhibits, and the popular plowing match. In addition, there will be presentations of Legacy Farm anniversary certificates, and lots of activities for the children, like wagon rides, a miniature animal farm, a puppet show, and story corner to name a few.

Don’t miss this special event celebrating 200 years of this historic township and the contributions made by the founding families!

Share in this historic celebration at 2677 Scotch Line, County Road 10 in Tay Valley Township.

For more information:  www.tayvalleytwp.ca   or call 613-264-0094 or 613-267-5353 ext. 133.

 

 

http://www.staffordwilson.com

 

Groundhog Blues in Lanark County

mr-groundhog

January always seemed like the longest month on the calendar. It was still cold and dark when February arrived, and there were so many months ahead before we could ride our bikes to DeWitt’s Corners, or Christie Lake.

Each year, we  waited patiently for Groundhog Day.  Would he see his shadow? Would there be an early spring, or would there be another two months at least of these cold, grey days?

Punxsutawney Phil had predicted the onset of spring since 1890 in Pennsylvania, and his Canadian counterpart Wiarton Willie began his annual forecast in the 1950s. At our house we listened closely to both forecasts, hoping that at least one of these rodents would offer some hope of an early spring.

So, we had two possible groundhog predictions, and two different radio stations. There was CJET in Smiths Falls, and Mother would often tune in and listen to Hal Botham after we’d left for school, while she did her ironing. CFRA was her usual early morning station and we’d often hear Ken ‘General’ Grant shouting, “Forward Ho!” as we ate our puffed wheat, before walking down the lane to wait for the school bus.

I could tell that Mother was also growing weary of the long, cold days of winter and if the ‘General’ didn’t report the prediction she wanted to hear then she’d likely turn the dial to CJET hoping that Hal Botham would have another version of the groundhog’s forecast. If it was cloudy, and the groundhog didn’t see his shadow, we’d have an early spring – just six more weeks of winter. By the first week of February we didn’t want to hear any other forecast. Six more weeks of winter would be enough to bear, without the possibility of the season being any longer!

When I came downstairs for breakfast that Groundhog Day morning so long ago, Mother had already set up the old ironing board and was busy ironing a linen tea-towel. I asked her if she’d heard the groundhog’s prediction yet, and she didn’t look up, but continued to iron. “It’s just a myth, just folklore”, she said, and she folded the tea towel neatly, and started on the next one.

ironing

“So, he saw his shadow?” I asked. “Yes they both did.” she responded somberly, still not looking up from her work, and folded the next tea-towel.

I sat quietly at the old kitchen table, ate my bowl of puffed wheat, drank my orange juice, and took my cod liver oil capsule without even being asked. Six more weeks would have spring starting sometime in the middle of March, but now it would be even longer.

I finished my breakfast, put my dishes in the old porcelain sink, pulled on my boots and coat, grabbed my wool hat, mitts and lunch pail, and headed out the door.

little-girl

As I trudged down the long, snowy lane-way to the Third Line, I felt defeated. It was sad how a couple of groundhogs that we didn’t even know could make Mother and I feel so depressed. I didn’t even understand how they could have seen their shadows that morning, because it wasn’t sunny outside at all. I couldn’t see my own shadow, and that meant that our local groundhogs wouldn’t be able to see theirs either.

school-bus

I didn’t really know where Wiarton was located in Ontario, and didn’t have a clue about Pennsylvania, but I was sure that none of the groundhogs in Lanark County saw their shadows on that cloudy, grey morning in February. Maybe the other groundhogs were wrong! Maybe there would be an early spring after all! Maybe the snow would be gone soon, and I could ride my bike up to Christie Lake again. I had to stay positive. I had to keep hoping. I had to………………

 

 

 

 

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(an excerpt from ‘Lanark County Calendar: Four Seasons on the Third Line
ISBN 978-0-9877026-3-0)

l-c-calendar

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An Easter Tale from the Third Line

Easter Bunny 2

I’d heard some pretty far-fetched claims from my brother Roger before, but this one had to top them all. One spring morning long, long ago, he tried to tell me that our Mother was the Easter Bunny. He’d better be careful saying things about the Easter Bunny, I thought to myself, or he won’t be getting anything at all in his Easter basket.

It was still cool outside, and I could feel the wind from the north make its way into my coat, as I jumped rope on the sidewalk in front of our house. There really weren’t many flat surfaces good for skipping in our yard. The brownish spring grass was still wet and mushy, and the driveway was nothing but puddles all the way down the lane – soggy remnants of the melting snow. The old concrete sidewalk was definitely my best bet that day for skipping, so that’s where I was. Jump, jump and swing the rope around; jump, jump and swing the rope around. Skipping was a pleasant activity to do when I was deep in thought, and my mind was racing a million miles a minute that day so long ago.

It was right after Mother left the room as we finished breakfast on Saturday morning when Roger had leaned over and said in a hushed voice,  “She is the Easter Bunny!” Roger was older, and he knew a lot more, about a lot of things, than I did, so I tended to believe him most of the time; but this seemed pretty crazy. He had told me the summer before that I wasn’t born in the Perth Hospital like him, and that the family had found me in a cardboard box near the railroad tracks, back the side road. I was very upset when I heard that because I’d always thought that I was the same as everyone else.  I felt ashamed, ran outside, sat on the rope swing and started to cry. I was still crying when Dad got home that night, so I didn’t wave at him when he drove up the lane. I was angry because he hadn’t told me the truth.

Dad was smiling as he walked over to the swing, and asked why I was crying. When I told him what Roger had said his whole face turned red, and he walked straight into the house. A few minutes later he returned with Roger and made him apologize for lying to me. What a relief to find out that I hadn’t been found in a cardboard box and was born in the hospital, and that I was related to everyone else. Maybe this latest story about Mother being the Easter Bunny wasn’t true either.

I continued to skip, and once in a while the water on the sidewalk got swept up with the rope and splashed on me. We’d had piles and piles of snow in the yard that year, and there was water everywhere, including the sidewalk, even though I’d done my best to sweep it off. I kept hoping that the story was just made up, and I tried to think of how it couldn’t be possible for our Mother to be the Easter Bunny. There was no way that she could travel all over the world in one night delivering chocolate. After all, it took twenty minutes just to get to Perth. It took ten minutes to get to Cavanagh’s store at DeWitt’s Corners. It took at least ten or fifteen minutes for her to drive to Glen Tay School and drop me off whenever I missed the bus. There’s no way that she could cover that much territory in one night. Maybe I should just ask her, I thought to myself, but what if she is the real Easter Bunny? Would she be mad at me because I’d found out?

Just as I was wondering if I should ask her, Mother opened the door, and told me that we’d be going to town soon to pick up some things for Easter. I hung my rope over the handrail beside the steps to dry, and came into the house. Mother already had her purse in hand, and her car keys in the other. As I headed back outside she closed the door behind us. We stepped around the puddles in the driveway, got into the car, and she started it up.

It was a wet, mushy drive down the laneway, and the Third Line wasn’t in much better shape. Big puddles everywhere on the way to Perth, and cars splashing each other as they passed. This was the dirty part of the year; not quite winter and far from summer; just lots of mud, water, and small piles of murky-looking snow.

We drove up to Wilson Street, turned right, and in a few minutes we were parking in front of  the IGA store. Mother had read in ‘The Perth Courier’ that they had their Easter Lilies on sale, and she wanted to pick one up for Aunt Pat because we were having Easter dinner at their house. We walked into the store, and the lilies were right up at the front. We picked one up, paid, and drove back out to  the Third Line.

The days passed quickly, and soon it was Easter morning. There was a little yellow wicker basket at the end of my bed, filled with small chocolate eggs wrapped in foil, and one tall chocolate rabbit sitting on shredded green tissue, just like always. The wrapper on the rabbit said ‘Mr. Solid’, and I peeled back the top of the wrapper and took a little bite off of his ears. It tasted so rich and creamy that I took another little bite, wrapped him up, and set him gently on the green ‘grass’ in the basket.

I put on my new Easter dress, which wasn’t really new, but was new to me, and next I put on my little white shoes with the strap across.  I took my small white stretchy gloves and slid them on my hands.  They were a little tighter than last time I’d worn them, but they would still do. I took them off and carried them downstairs.

Mother had our breakfast on the table, and she was also getting ready for church. She had her good dress on, and was wearing an apron over it to protect it. After breakfast we headed up the Third Line toward Calvin Church.

When church was over we stayed in the churchyard for a few minutes talking to our friends and neighbours, then headed back home, and had our usual bowl of soup for lunch.

Later that afternoon we headed into Perth, drove up Gore Street and turned off onto Halton Street where Uncle Peter and Aunt Pat lived at house number 48. Mother had been holding the Easter lily on her lap in the car, and carried it up the steps to Aunt Pat’s house.

Aunt Pat was busy in the kitchen preparing the ham and scalloped potatoes. We always had the same thing at Easter – ham, scalloped potatoes and fruit cocktail for dessert, and it was always tasty. Everyone went ahead into the living room, sat down, and Uncle Peter was telling jokes, as he often did, and kept everyone laughing.

I stayed behind in the kitchen with Aunt Pat, and waited until no one else was around.  I asked her the question that had been bothering me all week. “Aunt Pat, is my Mother the Easter Bunny?”.

Aunt Pat had been checking the ham in the oven, and she turned quickly around and looked surprised at my question. “Who told you that?”, she asked. When I explained that Roger had told me, she laughed and shook her head and said, “Your brother is full of beans! Sometimes boys make up stories, and you shouldn’t pay any attention to him.”

What a relief! I finally had my answer, and now that I did the question seemed ridiculous. My hunch was right all along that Mother wouldn’t have time to deliver chocolate to everyone in the world. It was just another crazy story from Roger. I would be more careful in the future not to believe his wild tales.

…….

So that’s how some of us became skeptics. It wasn’t something that began when we bought our first car from a crafty salesman in a plaid jacket. It didn’t come to us out of the blue when someone borrowed money and didn’t pay it back, or when someone in a store told us that something was guaranteed only to find out later that it wasn’t. No, it didn’t happen overnight. Healthy skepticism develops slowly, gradually, and usually begins as a response to a sibling’s tall tales, or a class-mate’s misguided claims.

My particular form of skepticism began with an older brother who liked to tease. It began with a story about a baby being left in a basket near the train tracks. The next attempt was a false claim about our Mother’s secret life as the Easter Bunny. The attempts to mislead me became more creative as the years went by, but as his talent for telling tales grew, so did my ability to spot holes in his stories. When all is said and done we have these pranksters to thank for our skepticism, and the way it shields us from modern-day predators……. so much bolder and more cunning than the early ones we encountered on the Third Line.

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Late June in Lanark County and the First Cutting of the Hay

Korry's farm

By  late June each year, the hay was tall enough for the first cut of the season. When early summer is upon us, I’m reminded of the sweet, green scents of the fresh cut hay lying in the fields.

boy in hayfield

By this time in June, the delicate pale shades of spring had come into their full summer greens.

old fashioned tractor

The heat bugs, crickets, and bullfrogs sang their songs back in the lowlands, behind the old house.

kids at the creek

The hot sun warmed our bones, and the long, hazy days were rich with humidity.

country flowers

boy moving hay

Days were always busy this time of year, and local farmers hauled their wagons, and chugged up and down the Third Line, like a great hay parade passing by.

holsteins in field

We were often tempted to stop by the local general store for an icy cold bottle of pop, or maybe buy a popsicle and split it with a friend.  Owners, Jim and Helen Cavanagh were always there to greet us with a kind smile, and have a chat about the local news around DeWitt’s Corners.

Cavanaghs store for book

Sometimes it was so hot by late June that even Shep, Cavanagh’s dog, would curl up beside the millstone outside the store, and take a break from the heat.

Shep with the Millstone

The unmistakable fragrance of the newly-cut-hay was all around us.   For anyone who has ever lived in farm country, it’s a fresh, green scent that could be bottled-up as perfume, and called ‘Summer’.

farm tractor

It was always nice at the end of a long, hot day to cool off in the Tay River, at Carl Adams’ swimming hole.

Carl Adams

kids in the water

Just a quick ride on our bikes, and we’d be there in no time at all, jumping in, splashing each other, laughing, cooling off after a long, hot day in the Lanark County sunshine.

old bike 2

Or sometimes, we’d ride our bikes up the Third Line and jump off of Jordan’s bridge, into the cool waters of Christie Lake.

fred and ethel0001_4

Now that summer is officially here, it’s nice to remember the sights, smells and sounds of the farm country, and how the longest days of the year seemed to go on forever……………

country lane

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Photo:  Korry’s farm –  farmed by Andrew, Ethel Korry and  their son George and his wife Merle.
Photo: Cavanagh’s store and their dog Shep – JoAnne Cavanagh Butler

 

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