Took a break but it took 4 hours

June 28, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

It is a long way to Kingsville and, thence, to Amherstburg; really, about five hours from here with the stop-and-let’s-go! traffic on the 403/1/whatever. This could be the beginning of a rant but it is my birthday this weekend; so, I’ll tell you the fun parts of last weekend.

We – Patricia and I – were going to Kingsville to attend a Highland Games, one re-kindled after some 30 years in abeyance. All highland games are, primarily or entirely, run by volunteers and, every once in a while, the steam of enthusiasm runs out and the whole thing can grind to a halt. 

It seems that the steam for a Kingsville games found new heads and, together with the backing of the town, those new heads went with it.

Clearly, we needed a place to stay and, as luck would have it, friends we had met in Cuba earlier this year, own a bed and breakfast in nearby Amherstburg, a scenic 30 minutes away.

This is the west end of Hwy 401, destination Windsor or Detroit, with the Detroit River running along between.

It was the first point of entry for refugees into Canada via the Underground Railway, escaped slaves coming north and, especially, fleeing the slave catchers, who would hunt them down, even in Detroit, to transport them for bounty, back to their owners.

Our friends, Merv and Carolyn, have lived here for 20 years or more and everywhere, with Carolyn, there were people to greet, with hugs and smiles. 

Their home, which is the B and B, was built in 1904 and, over a little while, they had cleaned and renovated, for both practical and aesthetic reasons, most of the interior of the house.

Carolyn walked us through the layout. Three guest rooms upstairs and, above that, the Tree Top Turret Executive Suite. Beautifully thought out and decorated, these rooms are themed: the Magnolia Room, Dream Catcher and Victoria Rooms. Carolyn loves colour and flowers in her patterns and we could not have been more comfortable or charmed by the house efforts to make visitors comfortable.

Returning to the ground floor, she pointed out their own bedroom, behind an elegant and closed door, off one of the main rooms. 

“We basically live in a one bedroom apartment because we never use any of the rooms upstairs,” she commented.

They could hardly be better suited.

On the Friday evening of our arrival, we went for a very short walk to a local restaurant, where Carolyn was greeted with hugs and smiles, and Merv, much admired for his understated wit, was presented with his regular beer, as a very regular customer. 

Before we actually landed at the restaurant, our hosts stopped to say hello to a group of four smiling faces, who informed us that we were coming to their home for dinner the following evening! 

A Highland Games is and should be a lot of work. One wants to be on one’s feet all day, talking to people, telling the Celtic stories of the jewellery we sell and why Patricia sets the stones she does into some of the settings – and we were. 

Yet, however grubby and tired we were, having packed up all our gear and the tent, we made our to way straight to the ferry that would transport us to Boblo Island, which, in some ways, is a gated community with a moat, namely the Detroit River.

As we understood it at the moment, we were not going to be allowed on that ferry without the name and address of the people we were going to see. I got it all wrong three times and next could have been a dunking, until Patricia got Merv on the phone and, suddenly, all was well. 

Our dinner host and hostess lived in a large, modern island home. He was pleased to show their sweep of lawn, on which Canada geese grazed with their young, while massive ships passed sedately by along the river, on their way out to Lake Erie. They were a strange sight, moving so quietly beside a groomed lawn.

The eight of us passed stories to amuse and amaze through the evening and, eventually, it was time to go and we were headed back to the B and B. We bumped over the ramp on and off the ten minute ride across the water.

In the morning, the satisfying talk of ghosts – who had and had not seen what and when, for in a house such as this, one might expect visions or things shifted. In fact, later in October, several like houses are joining in a weekend of paranormal seeking with the pros who do it.

As for the games, the new heads did a fine job; the weather was perfect; the set-up was great and it was a terrific success. 

Well done, Kingsville, and see you next year.

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