We were in the middle of a conversation some years ago when I casually said something about “being a black woman” and Kaye asked:
“Of course!” I replied. Then: “Wait …. You didn’t know that I’m black, Kaye? How is that possible? We’ve known each other for years!”
“Well,” Kaye promptly replied. “How would I know?”
“But how could you not know that I’m black?”
“Cynthia…. I’m blind, remember?”
Right. Of course.
But once I get a bee in my bonnet, Lord help us. So I kept going:
“Well, what about all the talks we’ve had about life and diversity, and social injustice and ….”
“Yes… It’s one of the reasons we get along so well. We care about many of the same things. But I still didn’t know you were black, Cynthia.”
Shock. Realization. Awe. Followed by peals of laughter from both of us.
“I think we can now conclude that I am a total idiot…” I finally said.
Of course, I’ve not captured the dialogue word-for-word here, but close enough for truth.
Diversity is a wondrous thing. In humans, nature and even ways of thinking. But after that conversation, I wondered what the world would be like if we couldn’t see each other’s colour, body shape and such things. If we could only “see” people through their character.
I thought about it again this morning when blogger David Prosser shared this link to a video of one man’s experiment. Here it is:
If you’ve never heard of Port Granby, you’re not alone. Once a thriving village and busy port, Port Granby is now a quiet hamlet on the shores of Lake Ontario. It’s home to several families.
Three of those homes, built during Port Granby’s heyday (between the late 1850’s and early 1880’s) are on the Doors Open Clarington tour this year: Hilltop Farm, the March Hotel and March Cottage.
David March owned the latter two.
The records from that time usually showed only men as owners and proprietors of homes and businesses. So while there were certainly women in Port Granby, and David March probably had a wife, I haven’t found her name.
March, like many others of his time, was clearly a multi-tasker: between the late 1850’s to the early 1880’s, he was the local innkeeper, carpenter, builder, postmaster, grain dealer, elevator operator and “general merchant” (shopkeeper).
I’m told he bought March Cottage for his mother.
Today, both the old March Hotel and March Cottage are residences — owned by families who cherish their history.
Paul Sahota’s parents bought March Cottage in 1993:
“They saw it in the dead of winter and brought me to come see it on their second viewing. My mother sat looking out at the lake over the snow as my father and I tromped down over the bridge to the shore. As we drove away I asked my parents when they were putting an offer in, being so sure that it was the right place for them.”
Paul and his wife Susan took over the cottage nine years ago. It was a daunting task at first, but the family has enjoyed many happy times there.
“We love that it is spacious enough to host gatherings with family and friends in all seasons.
“We love the soft shaded lawn for playing croquet, frisbee, baseball and cartwheeling.”
March Cottage includes original features ( e.g. the family-room’s fireplace), and modern additions.
The family also loves the lake.
“We all spend hours watching the lake. We watch the waves (small and huge), the storms roll in, the many, many different shades of blue that the lake turns, the birds, ducks, loons, swans and heron come and go, the giant lakers, speed boats and sailboats move through the water and we watch for the calm when we can grab our kayaks and canoe and go for a paddle along the shore.
“The shore is a place to relax and get wet in the summer and, at times, an arctic adventure in the winter.”
The family will offer a warm welcome to visitors this Saturday:
“We have previously enjoyed other Doors Open experiences and are happy to share our little piece of Port Granby with the community. We hope people get a sense of the history and the beauty of our community.”
I’m a country girl. Born in the country, raised in the country, I love country villages and rural areas.
So I was glad to visit the village of Creemore, northwest of Toronto, last weekend. My husband, younger daughter, son-in-law, pet chug Julius and I stayed in a small farmhouse owned by friends of our older daughter.
We were surrounded by farmers’ fields, woods, birdsong, flowers, crickets and spectacular views.
It was also the weekend of the vintage festival and the village was dressed up for the event.
We walked along Creemore’s main street, stopping to make small purchases in the stalls and stores or to eat and drink. Creemore’s beer is deservedly famous.
Outsiders who have fallen in love with Creemore also help by building/buying houses there and spreading the word among their networks.
Well-known interior designer Sarah Richardson and her husband are among the influencers who are big Creemore supporters. Sarah, one of HGTV’s stars, renovated a home in the village for her TV series, and she and her husband recently built and moved into an “off the grid” house in Creemore — also televised.
When it comes to helping our villages survive and thrive, every bit helps.
Thanks to Hamlin Grange and Dan Leca for the beautiful photos.