Home is where … wherever
Back on Halloween, only two hobgoblins threatened to trick me and Dearest Duck if we didn’t contribute to the jumble of loot in their bulging pillowslips. Once upon a time hordes of spooks came rap-a-tapping.
To state the obvious: times have changed.
The population of the GPA — Greater Placentia Area — is shrinking. Take a walk, take a drive and you’ll see fewer children and young people than would have been visible a decade ago. More likely you’ll see old codgers and their wrinkled companions moseying along the roadside, or sitting in their lawn chairs, or, if you go inside, teetering in lineups at The Mall.
Only scattered kids are wailing for loonies at the plastic pony rides.
So, a couple of day after Halloween, I was not entirely surprised to discover Dearest Duck in the basement rooting through the bushels of snap shots she’s always intended to sort before we go to live with Jesus.
“Harry,” she said, “lug these boxes upstairs.”
I toted boxes up to the kitchen until both my aged back and legs ached.
Dusting her palms, Dearest Duck fisted in and dealt packages of photographs until our table top, strewn with snaps, looked as if a gaggle of gamblers had folded and hove in their hands.
I’m a sooky wuss, the worst of wimps. I walked away from the sight of Dearest Duck sorting pictures of the past — our kids as tots, Dearest Duck without a sign of silver in her honey locks, moi, my six-pack abs not yet sagged over my belt like Santa’s sack.
I turned to drink. A double cup — two packets of Tension Tamer in a king-sized mug — of herbal tea might soothe me in my chair as I pondered how the years have waned.
Or, p’raps, with a smidgen of luck, I’d fall asleep.
Perchance not to dream of the GPA’s declining population.
You didn’t think I’d forgotten that, eh b’ys?
Not only have the area’s grown children tally-hoed thither and yon for lives of their own, but also adults — retirees, pensioners, creaky ol’ curmudgeons such as I — have broken up housekeeping and shuffed off.
But neither I nor Dearest Duck have packed our trunks, stashed our family photos, and cast envious eyes towards The Capitol.
“Now’s the time to move,” says this one, and that one, and Buddy over there. “Seller’s market. Get top dollar for your house. Or rent it for a thousand bucks ‘cause times are good.’” “Nay,” say I. How can I leave all it is possible to survey from a tall window, or, considering the rapid soporific effects of herbal tea, dreamland?
Mature maples, birches and weedlike willows stand where once only loosestrife and thistles grew. Perennial flowers grow on the backyard graves of beloved pets. Years of wheelbarrow toil have transformed bog into a perfect Zen Ditch, its banks in summer smothered by a jungle of Japanese knotweed.
No, b’ys, I’m not going to up-heave and leave my rural domicile, for a postage stamp lawn and brand new sterile walls.
“Harry,” calls Dearest Duck from the kitchen table where, I s’pose, she has towers of snaps stacked according to age, or subject, or the devolution of my manly physique as it has morphed from youthful stalwartness to sexagenarian stoop.
“Harry,” she calls again. “Are talking foolishness in your sleep?”
“Not foolishness, my Duck,” say I, tilting my mug to read the dregs of my herbal tea. “Not foolishness, but steadfast truth.”
“Sounds like foolishness to me,” is Dearest Duck’s definitive response.
Here, let me sit up straight and review the circumstances.
Now is a good time, it seems, to leave the GPA. Vale/Long Harbour employees are looking for lodging. Houses are selling for treasure chests topped up with toonies. Rooms and apartments and entire houses are renting for buckle-your-knees bucks.
Now is the time to fold one’s tent — in a manner of speaking — and move to where the grass, or whatever, is greenest. Greener, anyway.
But not my Duck and I. We’re determined to stay here in the Happy Ever After until both our mortal coils are shuffled off. However… However, if someone were to say, “Harry, here’s half-a-million dollars for your house and land,” we’d be gone like double-barrel shots, like Wile E. in pursuit of the Road Runner. Meep! Meep! Thank you for reading.