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'A MELODY OF MEMORIES'

John Denver’s song- ‘’Back Home Again’ is both a favorite, and definitely a very unforgettable song for me. For years John Denver’s song has given me many recollections of my life’s journey. The song has followed me on my journeys, from Newfoundland and Labrador, to far away places, and back to my own province, and the caring community o Shoal Harbor and Clarenville. The words are still applicable to me, and words I will never forget.

The first recall is of living in Cape Breton, married to a member of our Federal Police Force. I moved to Nova Scotia with him, because the ‘sweetest thing I know of is spending time with him’. While I was expecting our first born, a son, the FLQ crisis was ravaging our country, the War Measures Act was being enforced, and security details for our leaders were very tight. My husband would be gone for periods of time, and when he returned it was always a joyous reunion. The song uses the same words I used when my husband returned home after a long absence.

"I felt the baby move yesterday," I told him.

He was thrilled! I always had stories to tell him about calls from Newfoundland, what was happening in our families, and what the ‘latest things the neighbors were saying’. He would be overjoyed to be back home in our apartment. Always he would notice something I had decorated, because ‘it is the little things that make a house a home’.

He would say with a smile "Hey, it’s good to be back home again!"

He would be happy to be home. He would rest and relax, and lots of laughter would come home with him as he told stories of his adventures, laughter that made pleasant memories when he would be sent away again. I would be alone again in a community where I knew very few people. But I was fine, because I knew that the same delightful reunion would happen when he returned. After our son was born it brought me great joy to see a young father so amazed at how fast our baby was growing. Ironically we had our happiest of times during that crisis in our country in spite of our concerns for Canada.

I recall vividly the night in Sydney, NS, when he was hours late getting home. He arrived just before dawn, cold, hungry, and very tired. He told me there had been a murder in Sydney’s’ Wentworth Park. Sometime late Donald Marshall was tried and convicted for the murder of Sandy Seale, and spent years in prison. He was eventually exonerated, and the Marshall Inquiry years later always brought back the memory of that morning when my young husband was so relieved to ‘lay his tired body down’.

We had more transfers after that, and in Lunenburg, NS, we were blessed with a baby girl. The song with it’s ‘felt the baby move’ was still at work in our lives.

After all the years of our pursuing our careers, raising a son and a daughter, educating them and watching them leave the nest, we are back to being just the two of us. It was the year 2000, and a time for new beginnings. Our new beginning was retiring and returning to Newfoundland and Labrador. We had come full circle, back to where we had met in 1966.

We are nearing the end of the lyrics of John Denver’s song now. We are home on the land where my husband grew up in Shoal Harbour, Trinity Bay, living in a new retirement home we built on that same land. Over 3000 feet of lumber from the trees cut to make room for our house, is built into the house. I find it comforting to know that.

Now my husband comes home, after a few days away, to a comfortable chair, a ‘fire softly burning’, and supper on the stove’. He knows I am delighted to see him.

We are grandparents now. Our little granddaughter is far away and we wish she were closer, but we stand in front of our new home and look out over the sunlit bay, realizing that we made a dream come true.

I remark to my husband, "Hey, IT’S GOOD TO BE BACK HOME AGAIN!" He smiles, because he knows I always comment that we have ‘lived’ a song’! Now this land we live on feels like a ‘long lost friend’.

We discuss the happenings in our community, in our lives, and in the world. Often he reaches for my hand, because our daughters fight with cancer at the age of 28 years was a heartache we share. Often my husband reminds me of all the detours and the many homes we have lived in over the thirty-six years we’ve been together.

One day as we sat on the patio of our new home in the sunshine, the phone rang and it was our son calling from Western Canada.

Recently he asked, "How are things Mom?"

The baby born in Sydney Mines, NS, is a man now. A sense of nostalgia washed over me as I remembered his birth, and the excitement of a young husband who was ecstatic at becoming a ‘Dad’.

All I could say to our son through my rush of memories was, " John, I can honestly say "It’s good to be back home again."

"I know Mom, I know!", he said quietly, and I know he truly does understand!


Bonnie Jarvis-Lowe

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