The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

A Cornucopia of Family, Friends, Food and a Train for Good Measure

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For the first time in several years, Nat and I are experiencing a very busy social calendar. September, for us, is usually busy because of family birthdays, the Fall Fairs (Marshville, Balls Falls) and prepping the house for Fall and Winter. This year has seen a few extra invitations to social events, which has been a real delight. We’re never ones to pass up a good social gathering with friends and especially with family, along with a good free meal for an extra bonus.

Our first extra event began in August with a renewal of wedding vows after 50 years of marriage. Nat’s buddy from his GM working days and his wife, renewed their vows in a quaint little church in Niagara-on-the-Lake on a perfect Saturday afternoon. We’ve been friends with this couple ever since Nat and John retired despite not being in constant contact on a weekly basis. The ceremony was beautiful but our ages were beginning to show. Linda’s hip replacement and other ailments of age were waiting to give her problems but managed to stay away at least for this auspicious occasion. Nat’s back aches were also keeping their distance even though they lingered after sitting on Church pews for an hour. The after party was relaxing as we sat with another one of their GM buddies, Connie and her husband, while munching on assorted cold cuts, rolls, salads, veggie plate and gorgeous celebratory cake. As John and his wife managed to make their rounds visiting guests, Connie and Nat got caught up on their lives since retirement. It was quite apparent every one was having their ups and downs in life, medical complaints, family situations, political tongue wagging and holiday excursions. It was great seeing these friends again after so many years apart. It’s probably going to be a very long time before we see them again, so Nat and I wish them each well.

Rounding out the month of August we were invited to a BBQ at Gail and Bern’s. They had celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary back in February with a meal at The Mandarin but they also wanted to do something in the summer months so everyone could enjoy the celebration (including Bern Jr.’s 50th birthday) in a more open and relaxed atmosphere. When Nat and I arrived it became suddenly apparent that this party was going to be a biggy. The Fritshaw duo invited their Classic/Antique Car Club to display their vehicles on the front lawn for all and sundry to oooh and aaahh over. Being GM people, naturally most of the vehicles were Buicks or Chevys and each one took you back to an era that we all felt was pretty special with a lot of great memories. This was also going to be a reunion of sorts by great neighbourhood friends that lived on or around our original family home in Beamsville. Gail has remained life time buddies with her girl friends from our street and school and it was nice to see them myself after almost 45 years. More catching up on life time events and reminiscing about friendly mischief. Nat and I had another fabulous time with family and meeting a lot of new people, along with enjoying a great meal selection of beef, chicken, cold cuts, rolls, salads and yummy desserts, and two celebratory cakes. This was going to be a “cheat” day for me with my diabetes and I had certainly prepped for the event by practically starving the days beforehand.  Trust me, it was worth it!!

This Saturday is the big wedding. My nephew, Dalton, and his lovely live-in girl friend, are finally going to tie the knot. The pair live and work in Edmonton, Alberta, but will be returning to her home in Smithville for the big Garden Party Wedding. This is the one I’ve been waiting for. This is why I bought that designer dress, along with the new shoes and purse, and this is why I had one last wedding gift to spend so much time on. What fun!! Nat and I don’t go to weddings any more, only funerals, so you can understand my gaiety. For once we’ll be all smiles and no doom or gloom.

During all of these special occasions, Nat and I have been kept somewhat busy on the house and yard. I’ve returned to baking a little. Managed to try out a new recipe for bread sticks after The Olive Garden. Eating at that restaurant leaves me craving bread sticks. This time I did some research online and came across a Better Than ‘Olive Garden’ Bread Sticks recipe that seemed so bloody easy it was too good to be true. Sure enough, it was. In addition they are delicious and hubby and I agree that they are better than the Olive Garden. I’m still having a rough time believing that this bread recipe literally instructed you to dump all ingredients (including yeast and water) into a bowl and mix. The only time consuming part was waiting for the dough to rise and to actually shape the bread sticks. Easy, peasy!!! I’ll definitely keep this recipe on hand for future use and even get-togethers.

The door wreath I’ve been working on is turning out half decent for a stumbling crafter like me. My patients for crafting has gone out the door, but this is one project I felt I could really complete and it appears I just might do so!! In fact, as I’m typing this I should be getting back to it while Nat is golfing and I have some quiet time on my hands.

Nat and I have also decided – on a whim – to book a 3 day trip on the Agawa Canyon Train Tour near the end of the month. We’ve not been on any sort of get away since our side trip to the Thousand Islands over a year ago. While both loving the train, this was Nat’s idea of a nice break before the snow falls, and we’re hoping the weather will co-operate and Mother Nature will display her fall colours throughout the Canyon when we arrive. The drive there will be somewhat tiresome (over 5-6 hours) but the end result will be worth the numb bum. Looking forward to this so much. A break from the ordinary hum drum of life.

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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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