2020 YEAR IN REVIEW | Wayne Olson, Pelham Councillor

Look beyond the next bend

One day last spring, I climbed down from the tractor to stretch my legs and walk a bit on a winding old sugar bush road. I hadn’t walked down this road in perhaps 60 years. Each bend in the road was like reading through the pages of a scrapbook. There were the big ruts made years ago by old tractors long since retired. There were the small trees that were now huge maples. The forest can be quite a noisy place in the spring. The more I walked the more I wanted to walk. I started was looking forward to the next bend in the road and what I would see next.

The old sugar shanty should be right around here. One of my favourite chores was to help Grampa Jones with the maple syrup. The best time was Saturday, when I got the stay up all night with Grampa in the shanty. It was like the best camping trip in the world. We would listen to the hockey on the radio and talk about the things we wanted to get done in the coming weeks. Gramma Jones always made the best chocolate chip cookies and brownies, the kind with a layer of marshmallow.

The other day a good friend said that he loved being in the barn when the cows were being milked. I had to think about that one a bit but he was right, as usual. There is something about smell that triggers memory. Grampa treated his cows and cats like people and they all had a name. There was a great sense of peace and calm when we were all there together. I came to believe that animals were placed here for the mental health of human beings.

WAYNE OLSON

The old sugar shanty is a ruin now but I kept walking because I soon had to get back to work. I didn’t want to retrace my steps, so I took a less familiar path that took me into a different part of the woodlot. I was getting closer to the place where the wild flowers grew. Gramma Jones and Mother made sure they went there every spring. And there they were, the most beautiful wild blooms. I had my cellphone and I took the accompanying picture. I hope that you like it.

The tractor beckons but gives plenty of time to remember and think about things. We are fortunate to live in a great, giving community. This year, let’s look beyond the next bend in the path and beyond ourselves. There are a lot of folks who are isolated. Pick up the phone and call them. My sister recently called an old public school friend and they talked for two hours even though they hadn’t seen each other in 50 years!

Thank you to the Voice for this opportunity to write to you. I hope that you like the flowers. My warmest wishes for the holiday season and hopes for a healthy future.