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Twenty-twenty is GONE! Hurrah! Usually I find New Year’s Eve more sad than happy, but this year it was the other way round. COVID-19 has not touched our communities too much to this point and I have actually enjoyed more free time and being able to work in my garden for a much longer period, etc. Now we can look ahead to the time when a vaccine will be available but, even at my advanced age, that will be quite a few months down the year. The numbers of cases seem to be rising dramatically with another big surge soon to come, so please everyone continue to wear a mask, wash hands, keep your distance and stay home! Don’t be like some people in high places who haven’t followed advice!

It is also sad to have been told that both Uxbridge and Port Perry hospitals have cases of COVID-19, as does Butternut Manor, the first ever for that institution. Let’s hope it can be contained quickly!

A number of special events have occurred. Happy birthday to Lynne Ewen, daughter of Gloria (Cox) and Sandy! Donnie Ross also celebrated by joining FB! Kelsey O’Connor, daughter of Lee Anne Moore and Larry, enjoyed her birthday as did Miss Isabel Clarke who amazingly became 13 and grew a foot at the same time!

Dorina Meek, wife of David, celebrated her birthday as did my sorority sister Marian Meyers. Marian is quilting in her basement instead of Florida this year. Beau Kelland, son of Mike and Kim, had a birthday as he makes a name in real-estate.

Congratulations also to Ruth Cordingly Bachellier. Ruth was the only girl in the male-heavy family of Roy and Jean Cordingly and is remembered for her heroic act as a teen. James (Jamie) Rose welcomed in the new year with his birthday. Jamie is the husband of Janet Cox, with whom he has two beautiful daughters.

Another happy occasion was the 32nd anniversary of Lynn Rhodes and Walter Campbell, who now live in Sunderland. Lynn keeps very busy with writing, often for “Focus” and is also on Brock council. Walter is a painter of note and there has been much moaning from fans he was unable to produce his famous calendar for 2021.

There have been sad notes as well. Several weeks ago we learned that Muriel Nesbitt, age 99, had fallen and broken her hip and was in hospital. She is in her own home again now, as of December 28th, but needs 24 hour care. I am sure just being home will be a boost for her, independent as she has always been. Her many friends and family will wish her many good wishes. When she has recovered sufficiently, and now, when Butternut Manor is once more safe, plans are for her to return there.

Many people in Uxbridge will recall the Painter family who reside there for many years. Father George was very active in the community, and he and his wife had a large number of children. Son Roy and Jean lived here for years and their son Kent still does. Another son was Hervey, who older farmers would know, and with whom I went to school with some daughters in Port Perry.

Son Stan married my cousin Ruth Lambe (her sister Lorna married Grant Prentice.). They were the daughters of George and Emma Lambe. Ruth passed away just a few years ago, but Stan continued to live in their retirement home until he took ill just a couple of weeks ago and passed away on December 19th. Many people will want to offer their sympathies to the family, I know.

Another death hit our family as well, that of Barry Bushell. Barry was well known in Port Perry, and especially Uxbridge where he and wife Lois (Ashton), daughters Linda and Lori lived and worked for many years. They were both active in the community and Barry served on Council and other positions of note, as well as working in a well-loved technology store.

Barry came to our Epsom community when he was in his early teens where he spent summers with our next door farm neighbours, his aunt and Uncle John and Jean Millman. That’s where he met Lois who lived on the other side of the road, close to 70 years ago now I guess. Barry worked for Bell and he and Lois spent a year or so in Saudi Arabia, a totally different life!

He will be greatly and widely missed by so many relatives and friends.

A happier occasion was the North Durham Nature Xmas Bird Count on December 27th. The total is not yet out but likely the count of many birds was down from other years but I was happy because from December 15th until now I have been graced with the presence of bluebirds! Quite unusual for me and even for the count!

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