The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

Another Fall And Life’s Realities

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This past week turned out to be pretty damn nice, with a couple of exceptions. Both Nat and I had a chance to sit out on the new deck, enjoy a lunch or two and just relax. Nat’s also finally had a chance to get the little garden going at the bottom of the deck in order to soften up a few edges. We’ll also be looking for a couple of lounge chairs, small round table and an additional stand-alone umbrella as a separate sitting area.

With the gorgeous weather upon us, we were finally able to get out on our bikes. Monday morning saw us heading down the Friendship Trail in full glory. We were only gone about a half hour, but it was enough to loosen up the old bones, shed off a few cobwebs and make us feel like we’d accomplished something. The weatherman was calling for some more rain on Tuesday, so we decided to stay put and get a few things done around the house. As it turned out, the weatherman threw us a curve ball and another nice day was wasted somewhat.

Waking up Wednesday morning to what looked like another nice day, Nat and I decided to head down the Trail again, only this time we’d go the other way, towards the Village of Ridgeway and beyond. Up at at ’em, we were sailing along pretty good. Crossing over Ridge Road was pretty easy – the construction guys were back and doing the final touches on last year’s renovations and beautification, so the road was blocked off to traffic. As we approached Gorham Road – the main road heading out of town – we had to be pretty careful. It has a constant flow of traffic and it always takes some time to get across and continue down the Trail headed towards Port Colborne. We managed to make it okay and off we went for about another mile. We then turned around and headed home as my knee (damaged from my last fall a couple years back) was starting to act up.

We approached Gorham Road again and Nat shouted the “all clear”. As he headed across the road, I began to struggle with my bike. I couldn’t get co-ordinated enough to get going, but managed to somehow make it to the middle of the road, when suddenly my bad knee gave way and down I went. Thud. The bike was now on top of me, the chain jabbing into my left leg and my elbow began to throb. Nat ran back to pick me up as traffic began to stop and wait for the old broad to “move it”. I hobbled to the park bench nearby, took off my cardigan and put my head between my knees as suddenly I was feeling faint. It wasn’t long after that, once my eyes began to focus, that Nat noticed the big gouge in my left elbow. He grabbed a towel from his bike bag, wiped off what he could of dirt and debris and checked my leg for more damage. The chain from the bike had made bear-like claws on the inside but nothing major. After resting awhile and making sure I was okay we rode the rest of the way home and headed straight for the First Aid kit. Nat noticed that the gouge in my elbow was pretty bad but managed to clean the wound and wrap it up in gauze. That afternoon Gail and Bonnie were coming by and I re-assured Nat before he left for his golf game that I would be okay.

Once Bonnie and Gail arrived we had a great time. I re-converted Rose’s tapes for her in an MP3 format while the two gals sat out on the deck having a drink and munching on some home-made cookies. As always we had a nice time and they headed for home just after Nat arrived with our supper – pizza.

Thursday morning when Nat removed my bandage he was worried that gouge and we both decided we should have the Doc look at it. We headed down to Douglas Memorial Hospital, and once the Doc took a look at it he advised he couldn’t stitch it up. Apparently that needs to be done six hours immediately after any major wound. He did, however, reassure us that it would, in fact, heal and that I would definitely have a scar. That wasn’t anything new to me, as I’ve scarred all my life.  He had the nurse re-clean the wound, bandage it back up with the good stuff, gave me a tetnus shot and we were on our way.

Thursday evening we had a funeral service to go to. Our old neighbour next door at Green Maple in St. Catharines, had his best friend pass away a few weeks previous. Nat and I also knew Norm, but not as well as Nick. The three men – Nat, Nick and Norm – use to attend most of the woodworking shows together and always had a gay old time. Nat had also golfed with Norm’s father in past years and we had attended a couple of barbecues at their home. Norm had suffered for nearly eight months with throat cancer and even had parts of his tongue removed. Our hearts went out to him for the suffering he endured and to Nick for the constant companion that he was to his friend. As Norm was a member of the Masons and Shriners (he was “Toot” the clown in the Shriner parades), a full Masonic service was given along with an honour guard at the end. We picked up our other old neighbours and friends, the Bartletts, and headed to the service in one vehicle. A small church and even smaller parking lot. Despite the humidity in the Church we enjoyed the service and, with all funerals, got to know the deceased better than in life. It’s a sad state of affairs, but think back to any funerals you’ve attended and I’m sure you were surprised to hear a few things about the deceased that you never knew before! After the service we headed back to the Bartlett’s for tea and treats and got caught up on each of our eventful lives. Home by 10:00 PM and off to bed I went – it was an eventful day.

We had heard Thursday evening from Nick’s brother, John, that Nick had suffered a minor stroke and was in hospital. As we would have been looking for him at Norm’s service and naturally wondering what happened to him. Nick still had the sense of mind to tell John to give us a call to let us know what happened. We were shocked, naturally, and told John we would see him that evening and that we would try and get by to see Nick as soon as we could. The hospital would be transferring him to Shaver Rehabilitation Centre for therapy and he’d probably be there for three or four days.

After hearing the news this past week that I had also lost an Aunt (aged 92) and her service was being held Friday afternoon in Exeter, Ontario,  I reluctantly declined attending with the rest of my family. I had a Doctor’s appointment in Beamsville that I really didn’t want to break and I was still sore and achy from my fall. I was unsure whether I could endure a three hour drive there and another three hour drive home. The family brought me up-to-date with how things went on Saturday and it sounded like, despite the sad circumstances, the cousins and one remaining Uncle were thrilled to see each other.

Friday morning and off to Beamsville. I was extremely pleased with my Doctor’s appointment, so Nat and I headed to our usual lunch haunt, had a bite to eat and decided to return home via St. Catharines and visit Nick at The Shaver. Once we arrived, we were told he was at lunch so we had a seat until he returned. He was extremely glad to see us and we were extremely glad to see that he was looking pretty good despite what had happened. We had a great visit and brought  him up-to-date with Norm’s service. He said that Norm’s lady friend would be by later that afternoon and let him know the rest of the story! He would be starting his physio on Monday and hoped to be home by mid-week. We stayed for an hour or so and then headed back to Niagara Falls to pick up a few groceries and then head home.

For having been pretty uneventful these past few months, we managed to fill in two days pretty well. Nat and I now realize that we’ve come to that junction in life where it’s funerals we’ll be attending along with hearing of illnesses and diseases that come out of nowhere. I suppose we probably arrived at that junction a few years back, but this week somehow reminded us of that fact. My Aunt Lil lived to be 92 but in her last years didn’t recognize anyone and had suffered mental anguish soon after her loving husband died. Norm’s life was full until he caught cancer and suffered a horrendous death. We believe death came as a relief to the two of them and even their families and friends, and I’m sure they’ll be missed by everyone they knew.

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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