HELEN LANG: Moving on to a happier place where there’s no war

We honour them still, just over 60 years later, for their bravery.

I wonder if there will be a parade on Armistice Day this year.

The last time I stood on the street to honour the veterans who were marching past, it was hard to see those dear men, some in wheelchairs, still with their heads held high, looking proud as they should, having sacrificed so much ( including part of their precious youth) to defend democracy.

We honour them still, just over 60 years later, for their bravery.

My dad was a pilot in the First World War and Jim, my dear husband, was a pilot in the Second World War. He was also a prisoner-of-war for an additional two-and-a-half years, before the march to freedom and the  joyful return home to Canada.

The nation’s veterans are old now, but still proud. And the rest have, I hope, gone on to a happier place where there is no more war.

From now on we will be wondering about Christmas … who to ask for Christmas dinner (or maybe we’ll be asked out! Whoopee, what a happy thought!) I have 14 grandchildren and a herd of great-grandchildren. It makes me want to disappear until sometime in early spring when all the excitement is over for another year.

I think I’ll just visit the bank and give them all some money — not enough to delight them, unfortunately, but enough to buy a couple of hamburgers — plain ones! No bacon, no cheese, no pickle. I’m not a millionaire you know, just their old Nanny and they are lucky I can, at this age, even remember all their names.

It is only November, dears. You don’t need to start to worry until the end of this month, but you could make a Christmas list, although that is enough to cause worry lines in your forehead and those are already appearing without any known cause. Well, maybe I do know, but I’m not admitting anything.

Right now I have my middle daughter living here and have no idea how long she plans to stay — and I don’t like to ask, for fear she will take it as a hint that I don’t want the company — which isn’t the case.

Family relationships are inclined to be delicate and easily misunderstood, so I’m just avoiding the question for the time being and letting things work themselves out, as they doubtless will (peacefully, I hope). Meanwhile, I make lists of all the things I need to do — buy Christmas cards and write on each one. Buy stamps. Put the cards aside to be mailed in three weeks. Lie down to recover from that necessary task.

My friends are getting old and need to know that I am still alive and thinking about them as I do (at least once a year).

I know this is supposed to be a garden column but at this time of year it is time to put the flower beds to sleep and add the bulbs as you finish digging and, it is a nuisance, adding a tag of some sort to serve as a reminder of just where you put the yellow tulips so that you don’t (in your anxiety to get everything done before we have a hard frost) plant the Broad beans on top.

Maybe, if you want to move the dahlias to a new location, you could label the clusters of tubers before storing them — buried in soil, sand or sawdust — in a container of some sort. You could put it all in a cupboard where they won’t freeze or be chewed on by hungry rats until late February when you want to start them off for another growing season.

Good night all you dear people. Hopefully we’ll chat again next Wednesday.

Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 30 years.

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