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Here we are in a brand spanking new year. Presently it bears far too great a resemblance to the last two years, but my friend Gwen Layton pulled this quote from Lucy Maud Mongomery’s “The Golden Road”. Lucy lived in the Leaskdale manse during the epidemic of 100 years ago. “There is something very solemn about the idea of a New Year, isn’t there? Just think- 365 whole days, with not a thing happening in them yet” In other words, a blank slate, and we decide what to write, despite what happens around us. Happy New Year, everyone!

Sunday Church services in Zephyr finished with an upbeat message from Pastor Laura Kay and some rousing music by Ruth Baker and her granddaughters on violins. Those girls have improved tremendously, and they obviously love to play along with grandma. The Christmas Eve service was poorly attended as the protocols had just come out, and a couple of families and others decided they should not meet. However, it was a lovely service led by our own Adele Boy, with Ruth and Alanya providing great music.

On December 26th, we were invited to listen to the Danforth Mennonite service in which Carol O’Neil was giving the message. It was quite interesting, and the service proceeded much as our own does. In-person services were supposed to resume on January 2nd at Sandford United Church. Leaders were organized but, with discussion, it was felt we would be safer to close once more. Hopefully, this will not be long, but we know it could be several months again.

Many people seemed to have chosen the end of December in which to be born, starting with Shelley Dick, wife of Bruce and a doting grandmother. Bruce grew up in Sandford. Elaine Cordingley also celebrated a birthday early on. My great-nieces call her Auntie Laine! Happy 14th birthday to Isabelle Clark, another farmerette in the making! Hardworking Derek Kokkenin also enjoyed a birthday, especially since his girls were home. Dorina Meek is the wife of David Meek, son of Sally and Bob, and she celebrated a birthday. Bob now lives with them. Bob is also Derek’s grandfather!

Derek Hackner is another hardworking young man who loves tractors. He enjoys being part of the high school group that assists with activities for our veterans. He is the son of Barbara and Barry. His cousin Stephanie, one of Rev. Jim’s lovely girls, celebrated a few days later. Then along comes Gloria Ross, who enjoys retirement but still keeps her hand in, as does her semi-retired hubby Donnie.

Only son of Mike and Kim Kelland, Beau enjoyed a birthday party as he busily works at the real estate business. Holiday birthday celebrations go out to Marion Meyers, who has recovered remarkably from her knee surgery and Ruth Cordingley Bachellier. Ruth, too grew up in Uxbridge but has been gone for many years. Can’t forget Doug Ferris, the talented and wise gentleman who lead our Anniversary service!

Congratulations to Michelle Viney, who progressed another step along the way to her goal of becoming a paralegal. Not easy when you also work full time. Congrats also to Andrea Arkell, who seems to be in the midst of at least three careers. Just shows what the ladies can do! Congratulations to Walter Campbell and his wife, the former Lynn Rhodes, who have been married for 33 years. Lynn is a writer and Brock Township Councillor, while Walter is a well-known artist. I keep asking about his calendars, but he says COVID has also shut that down for now. They live in Sunderland at present.

Over the holidays’ many people had planned family gatherings, but as we know, many of those plans had to be altered, again! It’s been hard for families not to see each other over such a long period of time but most observed the protocols set out. I was able to have Christmas Day brunch with my sister Faye, Keith, their son Rob and Allison and the three teens. On Sunday I had supper for Ivan, Jenny, Char and Ron.

Before that, I greatly enjoyed a visit with my friend Isabelle Smith, who lives just across the road but seldom see, especially now. I also had a quick visit from Norm and Carol Meek and daughter Sonya when I presented them with their certificates from our Sandford anniversary service.

A note of sadness came when it was learned that Jo-Ann Smith Lyons had succumbed to cancer despite aggressive treatment. Jo-Ann grew up in the community of Bethesda, just north of Epsom and was the same age as my sister. She was a hairdresser in Uxbridge for a number of years before marrying Ted Lyons and later moved to Victoria, BC. She was her bubbly positive self on Facebook right up to the end. My sympathies to all her family, those around here and in BC!

Of course, we can’t forget Betty White, who passed away just short of 100 years. This is one of her comments. “It’s your outlook on life that counts. If you take yourself lightly and don’t take yourself too seriously, pretty soon, you can find humour in our everyday lives. And sometimes it can be a lifesaver!”

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