Port Stanley Matters

By Frances Kennedy
(December 2019)
– Halloween night is notorious as a harbinger of what’s to come, for it’s in November that autumn becomes winter with frostbitten finality. This Halloween night the hydro was out. I felt sorry for the meandering ghosts and goblins who, while hitting us up for treats, were tricked into darkness. Fortunately, our neighbour, Liz Haselbah, alerted Hydro One. I, on the other hand, retrieved the remains of the day, delighted to discover what remained were dark chocolate almond bars. Life is a beautiful struggle best lived with defiant joy.

There was a poignance to the Sunday Remembrance Day parade in November, given that the King George VI Lift Bridge Street may be closed this time next year. The sight of the waning number of veterans cresting the bridge was particularly moving.

The contrast of a sunny Sunday to a bleak and snowy Monday was Mother Nature’s prescient reminder of winter’s pressing presence and so it came. Thank you to the participants and Legion coordinators for their well-executed ceremonies. A special acknowledgement to Apropos whose windows were an outstanding salute to veterans and Remembrance Day, well done.

One last thing about one last time … this autumn graced us with moments reminiscent of summer when flat water, sunlight and water temperature conspired, and that it lasted mere moments made it all the more memorable. On my youngest granddaughter’s first birthday, October 28, 2019 I took the plunge for what was at last the last time. Carpe diem indeed.

December 2019 in Port promises to honour past traditions while foretelling change. Port’s merchants, innkeepers and restauranteurs demonstrate the hallmark of our true grit in a spirit of collaboration that promises to raise the bar on the Port Stanley experience whether resident or visitor. Kudos to Melissa Van Ymeren and her mother Connie, for organizing a Dickens Days weekend around the parade, complete with carolers, open houses, horse drawn carriages, and bonfire barrels for roasting marshmallows. The Port Stanley Marketplace Dickens Day Night Market promises an artillery of artisanal offerings. Shop windows are a wonderous display of holiday splendor and restaurants are offering special events.

It’s at holiday time when long nights and short days close in that we need to remind ourselves to extend ourselves. The Village Square Coffee House is organizing a toy drive: donate an unwrapped toy and bring untold joy to a child or teen. Let’s check in on neighbours, open our doors, and add newcomers to our holiday celebrations. Family by choice is a beautiful thing when your door opens and someone shouts “Hi, it’s me.” especially if family by chance surround you with turkeys. As I’ve said before, grinches and grouches make gracious guests most grateful for the gift of inclusion.

As we close out the decade and look forward to 2020 let’s remember on New Year’s Eve 2000 Port Stanley alone was plunged into darkness and we believed the end was nigh. But we survived to recount hilarious stories of Y2K. As for the bridge closure we will not only survive but prevail; in the words of author Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle is the Way: Turning Trials into Triumphs (a great gift idea for visionaries and naysayers alike.) Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Festivus. Most of all, my wish for all of us is an epic decade ahead. When we practice our best future, we create it.