This winter has been different. It was an adventure for several reasons.
The main reason is that Jenny's parents Bob and Jean Young, ages 90 and 92, lived with us for over two months arriving just before Thanksgiving and staying until the last week of January. They live in Combermere, Ontario and finally agreed to come South for a while, to have an adventure late in life. They had not been here for several years. They used to make regular trips South to visit friends and family since moving to Canada in the early 1980's. We have made regular trips to visit them as well. Our most recent trip north was in late September to help celebrate Bob's 90th birthday. The
party was held at the home of Jenny's older sister, Terry and husband Jack who have lived next door to Bob & Jean for over 30 years. Plans were solidified for them to come here for a lengthy visit to give Terry and Jack a much needed break from being daily care givers for the past several years.
So this winter was a time for us to help in the effort to see Bob and Jean through comfortably as they both gracefully move closer to the end of their long and rich lives. Some adventures included visiting three times the Wild Goose Uprising, a weekly gathering of Christians who love sharing food, mountain music, and worship in a relaxed atmosphere in a small country church building. I have been a part of the effort to keep 'appalachian' music a major part of what makes this gathering distinct from others for about 3 years now. Visit wildgoosecc.com for more info.
Attending the monthly Floyd Radio show at the Floyd Country Store with its wonderful variety of musicians and humor was another. Floydcountrystore.com Root beer floats were in order for Jean and me when we attended.
Jean, almost daily, kept busy knitting and working on a rag rug for a commission job while Bob worked at least a dozen 500 - 1000 piece jig saw puzzles. Reading books, naps and daily walks helped fill up the time when we weren't eating or sleeping at night.
By being here in Virginia, visits from certain family members was more possible and Bob and Jean
had some great ones with certain nieces and nephews and children. Our own children, Ben and wife Lisa, as well as our new grandson, Beau, as well as Hanna and Poest came from afar and visited. So Christmas was a wonderful time indeed.
Since Bob and Jean became rural Canadians in the 1980's wood heat has been a fact of life for them every winter. To get back to basics ourselves, Jenny and I purchased a new wood cookstove just before Bob and Jean arrived. We had only small fires in it due to the unseasonably warm temperatures but, by end of January, we had bigger fires due to the late arrival of 'real' winter. BTW, Bob was my main assistant in my annual effort to get fire wood. He loaded and unloaded my pick-up truck 3 times during his stay. Having spent winters in Canada living a country lifestyle he has moved literally 100's
of truck loads of wood from outside stacks to his own basement routinely over a 30 year period.
Our first real snow storm of 2016 yielded only a foot of snow. It finally seemed that a normal winter was about to begin. And of course it did. Bob and Jean followed thru on plans to go home as they were not obligated to stay with us the entire winter. They wanted to get back to a normal Canadian winter it seemed.
About a week before their planned departure, I caught a basic cold and unfortunately gave it to Jean. At age 92, such a respiratory ailment can be scary and uncertain to recover from so, she spent the last part of her visit in the local hospital and later in local rehab. The trip home to Ontario got delayed of course. Jenny's younger sister Polly agreed to come from Seattle WA
and help in the effort to get them home via air travel. So with much effort Bob and Jean made it back to their home before the end of January. Unfortunately, with Jean's health problems they were not able
to live independently in their house together like they did last winter. So moving forward a contingency plan is being enacted as of this writing for them to continue on together if possible.
They are embarking on yet another new adventure to live in a local facility in their home community where their essential needs will be met.
The local nursing facility called "The Water Tower' in Barry's Bay, Ontario will be their new home. It will so easy for family and old friends to visit while staff helps them live on in comfort and safety.
They are well loved so they'll have plenty of attention via visits and phone calls.
As of this writing, things are not quite settled but the hope is for a smooth ride for the forseeable future.