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I went to Roy Stewart's on Saturday to ask him if he's going to sing with the Tillsonburg Senior Centre Singers in the Christmas concert. Yes, we didn't know whether we were going to do another show until recently, but Rachel has decided to repeat the reduced program as we did last time.

We spent a pleasant afternoon and I left for home without a definite answer.

I stopped for some groceries at Mudford's on the way home. It came to my attention as I hoofed it indoors that summer is over! A chill wind was sweeping Straffordville. Got my mail and a Free Press paper with the Los Angeles Times crossword, anticipating a quiet evening.

Well, glancing out my window at the outdoor hose connection, it came to me. This is October! There well may be frost by morning. I pulled a winter jacket from the closet and went out to disconnect hoses. A self-draining spigot can't empty itself with the hoses attached. If it did fall below freezing I'd have a pond forming in my east yard, and some expensive hardware to replace.

Oh, my gosh! There are two hydrants in the back yard, one by the fish ponds and one by the shed. Both are galvanized pipe and taps, both will be spewing water if it freezes.

These are not so easily winterized as the self-draining tap. A stop in the basement has to be closed. A capped nipple has to be opened to let air in as water drains out. For that to happen someone must dig out a bib in a plastic pail with the bottom removed. Through the summer dirt finds its way into the pail. I'm hoping the someone will be a grandson.

I wrapped both hydrants with blankets to put off this chore for the night.

There are goldfish in the two ponds, mosquito control. The chill winds are blowing maple leaves across the lawns, across the streets, and into those ponds. If the fish are left in there the toxins in wet leaves will poison the faithful little creatures. Another chore for a grandson.

My shop, once a garage, has water pipes, water-based products, possibly some plants if I get them inside in time. I turn off the chromolox heater in spring as soon as I dare. My hydro meter spins like a top when that thing starts. I looked at the thermometer. It was safely above zero Celsius. I trusted the heat stored in walls, floors, machines to leave the heater turned off for a few more days.

I'm revealing my living in the past here. The smart meter that keeps tabs on when I use power doesn't spin. It gleefully flashes digital messages.

When I checked obits this week it was clear that more than maple leaves are falling. Any obit is important to someone. Three were linked with my past this week. Dr. Julien Versnik entered my awareness when he came to St. Thomas Collegiate Institute in the 1940s while I was a student there. He went from class to class in a gait that was smooth, only his feet moved. He absorbed two or three years learning in a matter of months on his way to becoming a skilled physiotherapist in Tillsonburg. It made me weep to see how life folded in on him during the later years.

I didn't know Murray Emerson, last of his generation in Bayham, but I did speak with him by phone not long ago.

Anna Nunn, daughter of my barber in Eden, Tony Salsak, married to a close friend, Bob Nunn, stands out most memorably as a nun in the musical production of The Sound of Music. Sharon Nunn, who has been a member of the Senior Choir for many years, was also a star in The Sound of Music. Sharon's face always raises a vision of her and Anna in nuns' habit when I meet her.

Isn't coincidence in life fascinating?


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