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Part Two, of “A Grandchild Odyssey”

And then there are the good days...!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Two days after that visit by the environmental inspector, Heather and I were at the home of friends, when I got the following email:

Hello Mr. Harwood
I hope you are well.
As promised, I have done a good review and discussion of your case and I have good news for you.
It is possible for you to keep your evacuation system, as it is currently at the cottage.
However, to do this the Municipality asks you to sign the letter of commitment that you will find attached to this e-mail.
The letter is only in French. Please take the time to read it. With this letter you agree not to modify your building or the system. If you are considering any changes, you must apply for a permit....
Thank you for your collaboration
Have a good day,

Oriana Farina, MSc. ABQ #3855
Inspectrice en environnement

In other words, our water system, including our Rube Goldberg shower, is officially permitted to exist, unchanged.  Yesssss!!

True, I had to sign a letter in which I pledged to alter nothing whatsoever in my set-up, but I did that quite happily, and, with the benefit of my friends’ high-speed Internet, sent it off immediately.

The only concern is, will this permit extend to my heirs and successors, once they acquire the cottage?  If I were to sell the place on the open market, an unrelated party who buys it would likely tear the whole thing down and build a four-season residence in its place, complete with indoor plumbing – so they would automatically acquire permits of every kind… but my family?  The ones who would rejoice to have the place, love it in all its primitive peculiarity?  I can only hope that the permit granted to me this weekend will extend to them… but that remains an unknown for now.

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description of photo
Peter and Doreen Asbil renew their vows

From this point in our “Grandchild Odyssey,” things got better and better.

Peter and Doreen Asbil’s 50th Wedding Anniversary was enjoyable in all respects.  The celebration was at a local golf club, and centred around a formal and faith-filled renewal of the vows of matrimony, outdoors, on the club house patio (see inset), presided over by the Rector of the congregations where Peter and I serve as honorary assistant clergy.

After the ceremony, the happy couple treated their guests – possibly as many as 100 people – to dinner.  Peter said something like, “We have been treated by you on many an occasion, so now it’s your turn to be treated by us!”

Heather and I sat with John and Karen Bradley.  John is an Anglican priest and a colleague of Peter’s.  He and Karen have been our dearest friends for absolutely ever.  With us sat a miscellany of other people, all of whose lives have intersected with Peter and Doreen in various ways, and one of them, Bill Davy, is a fellow-cottager on our lake.

Basically, a good time was had by all.

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Markus, meanwhile, had arrived at the cottage late on Friday night, and was enjoying the place with his friend, Andrew, while we went to the Asbils’ Anniversary, and while we were at church on Sunday morning.

What?  Markus didn’t go to church with us?

I’m trying to persuade Markus to be a churchgoing Christian, but so far haven’t succeeded.  There’s still hope, though, for Markus is a highly principled individual, and understands prayer at a pretty deep level.

Sunday evening, my daughter, Ariel, also came to the lake.  She lives in London, Ontario, but has a cottage not far from ours.  She joined us all for dinner, after which there was one of those evenings of card-playing and laughter that happen so naturally at cottages.

And then, yesterday was a day of travel.  We left the lake, returned our rental car in Ottawa, and rode with Markus and Andrew to Toronto.  Heather and I checked in at a hotel, and had an evening to relax, and prepare ourselves for the big graduation feast, which happened today.

Markus Harwood-Jones is seen being congratulated by university officials as he receives his degree
Markus, graduating from Ryerson University, Toronto
The picture you see here is Markus graduating.  It is a “screen grab” from the live video feed of the ceremony.  Markus was only allowed to have two guests at the graduation itself, so the rest of us had to watch the event online.  That didn’t bother either me or Heather, because the people to whom Markus gave the two seats absolutely merit the honour.  Instead, our attention was on the celebration feast, which took place at an organic and gluten-free restaurant called “Cardinal Rule,” across the street from our hotel, in the Parkdale district of Toronto.  I am a total boor with respect to food, and consider a well-made hamburger to be the pinnacle of epicurean cuisine, but was suprised at how good the feast this evening was!  Don’t ask me what I had, though; it was something squishy in pita bread.

We sat for three hours in that restaurant, chatting and celebrating our graduate with wamth and enthusiasm.

But finally, Heather and I returned to our room.  Our taxi to the airport arrives tomorrow morning at 5:30 AM (yikes!).  It’s time to get some sleep.

The news from California is that our newest granddaughter is still comfortably ensconced inside her mother, and shows no interest in coming out. So both Heather and I will be together when she finally decides to present herself.

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Click here for Part Three: “Waiting For ‘Roo’