Yes, summer has arrived at last. And it’s not only the hot weather that tells me that: there’s also the extremely busy weekends that are suddenly upon us. I tell you: there’s enough going on in North Grenville and Merrickville-Wolford and the other surrounding municipalities, to keep you busy all summer long, as Kid Rock put it. “We were tryin’ different things, we were smokin’ funny….” – ok, maybe not exactly like Kid Rock. Music is on my mind: I’ve been singing “Walk This Way” by Aerosmith ever since the Kemptville Live crowd performed a fascinating and mostly choreographed routine to it last Sunday.

They were part of the Jumpstart BBQ outside Canadian Tire, which also included a good old-fashioned protest meeting. It was a real happening, man. Of course, this being the 21st Century, instead of hand-scrawled signs, people wore nicely-printed t-shirts, but the effect was the same. People around here are absolutely disgusted that the Service Ontario office in Kemptville is being closed by the provincial government, and more than half of the people in North Grenville signed a petition to say so.

The meeting was organised by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union and the collection of signatures was passed over to Steve Clark MPP, who presented them in the Ontario Legislature on Tuesday. But the weekend was like that: serious issues, marked by fun, music, dancing and care for others. It made me feel that my youth had not been as misspent as I once feared. This was a few days of happenings; you might even say it was three days of peace and music. The vibes were excellent.

I mean, look at what was going on (or going down, to continue the flashback): this week’s Times is full of reports and pictures of wonderful events, all dedicated to community, to local activities, to making our neighbourhood a better place to live. Not much anyone can say against that, is there?

You could move from one event to another, stopping for a burger or hot dog, lots of water (of course) and a few words with friends everywhere. Or you could just stay solitary, listening to the music, people-watching, soaking in the sights and sounds of a farmers market, grooving at VegStock. Families were not left out either: you could have your kid’s face painted in the Ferguson Forest Centre (or having your own face painted!). People dropped by the Christian Reformed Church on Saturday morning (I’m sure a lot dropped by on Sunday morning too) and had a great breakfast, served by interesting people, listening to very mellow sounds from Andre Courtemanche on acoustic guitar. (He reappeared on Sunday afternoon at VegStock with a somewhat different sound).

And that’s not all (as the TV ads like to say). You could drop out completely, and do your own thing over the weekend. Go for walks in Limerick Forest or the FFC. Play a round of golf, or play any sport that appeals to you. Ride around the garden on your lawnmower for hours, even after the grass is cut. Get out on the water in a canoe, or any other kind of vessel that will take you along the World Heritage site on our doorstep. I have a friend with an amphibious car: now that is really far out!

The really great thing is that summer is just starting. There’s still so much more to come before the Labour Day weekend lying in the distant mists of time. We have Canada Day to look forward to, in Oxford Mills and Kemptville – you can make it to both. There’s the Second Annual Kemptville Live Music Festival at the end of July: more great music and rock n’ roll (and blues, folk, etc.).

Now those who know me may find this all a bit strange. After all, my usual way of dealing with summer is to stay indoors with the curtains closed. (In winter, it’s completely different: in winter, I hibernate). This happy attitude to summer and communal fun and excitement may be caused by spending the entire weekend covering events, most of which seemed to take place in parking lots with no shade, without a hat. Perhaps my brain has been fried by the experience. Of course, how would anyone know? How could they tell the difference?

More likely, my feeling groovy (there it is again!) is due entirely to the fact that last weekend reminded us all that we live in a wonderful community, linked by shared caring, love of fun, music and burgers. And that is what makes the magic happen: the people of this locality. We seem to be blessed in our neighbours and friends: people who put in the time and energy to organise and run these many fund raisers, bbq’s, music events, breakfasts, etc. All done for good and local causes; all done out of a sense of caring and belonging. To sum up: all you need is love.


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