The Manse has lost its Manse Cat, our dear Sieste

Sieste in the sun

I took this picture of Sieste in a pool of sunlight in the middle of the Manse’s kitchen several months ago, and I’ve always liked it. I was saving it for a good time to share it with you. This evening seems like that time; Sieste died today. The Manse is a very sad place.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here at Meanwhile, at the Manse. I’ve been busy with other community projects, all of them worthwhile. But tonight I have to interrupt that worthwhile work to share with you some very sad news. It is this: Sieste the Cat, easily one of the most popular characters here at Meanwhile, at the Manse, is no more.

Sieste in her happy place

The cushion says, “This is my happy place.” And this is our happy cat on it, not very long ago.

I am pretty sure that from my many previous posts about Sieste – like here, when I wrote about her Big Move to Queensborough from Montreal, and here, when she took on the role of the In-and-Out Cat, and here, in which she was Queen of All She Surveys, and here, in which her daily routine at the Manse had become thoroughly established – you could tell how much Raymond and I loved her. She has been a part of our family since we have been a family, and a very important part. Raymond and I both love cats, but I think it might be safe to say that we loved Sieste best of all.

She died quietly today, after being ill for just a few days. She was old; while we don’t know her exact age (we adopted her from the SPCA), our best guess is 18. That’s not too shabby for a cat. While she’d been showing signs of age and some frailty for the past year or so, she was 100-per-cent her smart, full-of-beans, affectionate but independent-minded self right up until three days ago. Over those three days she quickly became weaker and less able to control her bodily functions, and at midday today her body quietly gave out. It was a blessing. We hated to see her so ill, and I am sure she hated being so ill.

But she was still our old Sieste to the end. In these last days she always acknowledged us when we came near to her bed, and purred when we stroked and cuddled her, which was often. She did her best to get up and follow us around when we were in another room, as she always has.

And here is the best story of all, one I will not be able to write for you without sobbing.

As I mentioned in this post chronicling Sieste’s daily routine here at the Manse, for a long time it was her habit to come upstairs early each morning and yowl at us when she thought it was time to be up. Which tended to be half an hour or so earlier than we actually needed to be up, half an hour before the non-feline alarm clock would sound. Many were the mornings when we would sleepily curse at this too-early wakeup call from Sieste, even while we (of course) always continued to love her and appreciate the fact that she wanted us to come and hang out with her at the start of a new day.

Sieste hasn’t done the early-morning wakeup for the past couple of months or so, probably because she was just getting elderly and tired. Those steps can be hard for an old girl to climb, especially the high, steep ones ones in the Manse’s back staircase (as opposed to the front staircase; and why there are two staircases is an interesting question). But frankly, Raymond and I weren’t complaining about the lack of early-morning yowling.

Last night we stayed up quite late with her, as she lay in her bed in the dining room downstairs, just beside where I am writing this now. She was very weak and obviously fading quickly. She could hardly move, and when she did try she could not go even a step without wobbling, often falling over and having to lie where she’d fallen. We knew she was almost gone, and it was hard to say goodnight.

I set the alarm for 7 a.m., when I had to get up to go to work.

At 6:30 on the nose, there came a quiet, familiar yowl from a familiar place.

Peekaboo Sieste

Sieste playing peekaboo a few months ago, on the same steep staircase that she climbed one last time this morning.

Sieste the cat, who was failing so quickly and had absolutely no strength left, had somehow climbed those steep old back stairs at just the right time (that is, half an hour before the alarm was to go off), lain down in her familiar old position as the sun was rising, and issued one last wakeup call to her people.

I spent a lot of time with her this morning in that place at the top of the stairs, stroking her and telling her over and over again how much we loved her and how much we appreciated the morning alerts. Which in general was not exactly the truth; but on this morning, it was the truest thing ever. What a good, brave girl to have forced her dying body to do it one last time.

She died a short time later.

As I take a few minutes to weep about that lovely final gesture, I will turn things over to some pictures of our Sieste, Manse Cat Extraordinaire:

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It feels so strange to be finishing this post without Sieste perched either on the living-room chesterfield (where she could keep an eye on everything) or on the hassock right beside me (where she could keep me close company). She was always an excellent assistant for Meanwhile, at the Manse.

The Manse feels very lonely tonight. And very quiet.

Raymond and I buried Sieste late this afternoon. Her final resting place is beside the clothesline pole, a place that sees lots of action by her clothesline-loving mum (me). I will think of her every time I hang the laundry out and take it in. I know she would like that.

We don’t yet have a grave marker, so in the interim we put up a little sign that we bought a while back (at Wilson’s of Madoc) and that formerly hung in the corner where Sieste’s food and water dishes are. It was perfect for Sieste: “What part of MEOW don’t you understand?”

Sieste's grave

Here is her grave, with a tulip from our garden and a scattering of some Madoc Mix grass seed – the latter the subject of a future post.

Which I will have to write without Sieste’s help. Our good pussycat. Our good girl.

Never was a cat more loved.

Take it from me: you need some pancakes and syrup on Sunday

Pancake BreakfastWell, people, tonight I have yet another invitation for you to a fun community event that is happening this very weekend in Queensborough. And as is our wont here in Queensborough, it involves – food! (We know how to feed people. For evidence, check out my posts here and here and here and here.) And not just good food. Great food!

Queensborough Community Centre

The Queensborough Community Centre, which will be overflowing with people this coming Sunday morning, all enjoying a great pancake breakfast.

Here’s the deal: This coming Sunday morning, May 3, is when the annual Pancake Breakfast takes place at the Queensborough Community Centre. You can learn everything you need to know regarding time and place and menu and price from the poster that I’ve put at the top of this post. What you really need to know, though, is that it’s just about the best pancake breakfast around. You’ll be surrounded by friends old and new, from the Queensborough community and beyond, as you enjoy fresh locally made maple syrup with your pancakes and sausages and eggs and toast and whatnot. And all in the historic surroundings of Queensborough’s former one-room schoolhouse. And your admission fee will go to help the great work that the Queensborough Community Centre Committee does.

Here are some photos of the Pancake Breakfast from the past few years (and thanks to Queensborough’s Elaine Kapusta and Dave deLang for the photographic help):

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Is your appetite sufficiently whetted? I know mine is. I hope to see you on Sunday morning!

So, how IS the internet? Well, I’m glad you asked.

The internet comes to the Manse

Look up, way up. (I hope you will catch the Friendly Giant reference.) Can you see that small diamond-shaped piece of metal attached to the ancient TV antenna that towers over the Manse? That, people, is the magic gizmo that catches the Xplornet internet signal and brings it into our home. It has changed our lives immeasurably for the better.

I don’t suppose it’s been keeping any of you awake at night or anything, but I’ve had enough people ask me whether our new internet setup here at the Manse is working out well that I decided I should give those interested a full and complete report. After all, longtime readers of Meanwhile, at the Manse will be well aware of my many, many posts of frustration and sometimes even despair about the poor (and costly) internet options that until recently were all that was available to us in Queensborough.

(If you’ve any desire to take a nostalgic trip back through the Valley of Katherine’s Internet Despair, click here and here and here and here and here and here and here. It was a long-drawn-out saga, with many chapters.)

It has been a month and a bit since Raymond and I acquired a hookup through Xplornet, the company contracted by the Eastern Ontario Regional Network, a kind of municipal co-op with the mission of providing high-speed internet service to Eastern Ontario. That hookup was made possible by Xplornet making the excellent decision to erect a communications tower on Declair Road, just a little north and east of Queensborough. When those of us who live here in our pretty little river-valley village heard the news of plans for the tower, we were all atwitter: would this finally mean decent internet service? When the tower went into service early this year, we started signing up. Raymond and I were near the front of the line.

And now, after about six weeks of the new setup, all I have to say about it is this: our lives have utterly changed. For the better.

House of Cards

A brilliant online-only show that we can now watch at the Manse!

People, we have endless internet! All we can use, and to spare! We can use Netflix! We can watch House of Cards! We can watch anything! Online! In high definition! On our laptops and phones, we can watch YouTube videos and download audiobooks and even listen to streamed radio broadcasts. And on television (or his laptop, or his phone) Raymond can watch every blessed one of the games that his beloved Red Sox play. In HD.

And it is all costing us less than we were paying previously for the barest of bare-bones internet!

As you can probably tell, I am absolutely thrilled about this. And I am not just thrilled for Raymond and me at the Manse – because, contrary to what it might sometimes sound like here, it is not all about us.

No, what I am really thrilled about is the possibilities that this service offers to our own rural area and to others like it in Eastern Ontario. Suddenly it is possible for a business that needs good internet service (and what business in 2015 doesn’t need good internet service?) to operate here. It means that smart, creative people who are tired of city life and want to come live and work in God’s country (translation: North of 7) can do so, and by doing so can and will contribute to our local tax base and economy and community life.

So please allow me, the person who complained so loudly and so long, so unequivocally and so publicly, when the the internet was bad, to hereby offer up my huge thanks to the good folks at the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (with a special shoutout to Hastings County chief administrative officer and co-leader of the EORN team Jim Pine, who was kind enough to reply helpfully to my emails of inquiry and concern about the situation when I first realized how bad it was), and to those at Xplornet (who put up that blessed tower on Declair Road). Thank you, thank you, thank you! You have made our community a better place, one with more to offer and with a much greater potential to thrive.

People, this is a good-news story, pure and simple. The internet has come to Queensborough. It is good internet. It is reasonably priced internet.

Just when you thought that life in Queensborough couldn’t get any better – it did.

A picture that tells our story

Farmstead, central Hastings County

The huge rocks pulled long ago to make a farm field out of virgin forest; the half-ruined split-rail fence; the old farmhouse in the distance; the blue sky over all. To me this photo says so much about the industrious past and the quieter but beautiful present of the place where I live.

Not long ago I did a post with the headline “The poetry of decay,” featuring photos of an old shed not far from Queensborough that is slowly, and rather beautifully (in a melancholy sort of way), crumbling. (That post is here, if you’re interested in reading it.) Tonight’s post feels like a bit of a followup to that one. And perhaps to several other instalments of Meanwhile, at the Manse, particularly those having to do with The Country North of Belleville, also widely known as “north of 7.”

Now, truth be told this photo was taken south of 7 (that would be Highway 7; click here for an explanation of the terminology), but only barely. I came across this abandoned house and its surrounding farm – the land still being farmed, as far as I can tell, but with not much happening on it on a very early spring day – one recent Saturday morning when I was poking around the back roads north of Tweed. It struck me as a visual summing-up of so much about our neck of the woods, which is central and central-north Hastings County.

There is, first, the abandoned – but, I should note, certainly not crumbling – farmhouse, a reminder of the early settlers who claimed this land, cleared it, and planted crops on it in the hope and expectation of making a go of it in this country. This is probably not the first house built on the farm, but rather a later and fancier (when compared to what might well have been little more than a shed) iteration, put up when the family felt that they truly were settled and were making out all right. I like its typical-of-the-area red colour (Hematite red? Hematite is a common mineral in Hastings County, and dust from operations to mine it was commonly used as pigment, as you can read in the comments on this post), and its semi-rusted roof that I’d be willing to bet still keeps most of the rain out. And it looks so solitary and striking out there in the middle of the surrounding yellow-brown field. What stories could that house tell?

I like the old barns and sheds that you can see at the left of the photo, holding up very well despite obviously being well over a century old. You can’t see them in the photo, but there were pieces of farm equipment stored in the outbuilldings on the day I passed by. Another clue that this farm is still a farm, even if the house is no longer lived in.

I think most of all I love the half-wrecked split-rail fence and the large boulders at the front of the property and in the foreground of the photo. They are silent testament to the hard, hard work that the first settlers had to put in as they cleared the land and made fields out of forest. Big stones like that would have been pulled from the fields and moved to the edge to make fences; you can still see such old stone fences all over central Hastings, a country where there is no shortage of rocks and stones. As any farmer north of 7 will tell you, the task of clearing those rocks and stones is an unending one; each spring a new crop comes up from the Canadian Shield that lies so close to the surface here.

I do not for a second consider myself a good photographer, but I do like this photo. To me it is kind of an iconic image of what central Hastings County has been – and is. There is beauty in the ruins and in the silence and the emptiness and the landscape. Is it desolate? No – because there is life all around. To both sides of this old house and farm, and across the road from it, are newer houses, and people who still live and work here and call it home. But I like the thought that in the midst of 21st-century life is this beautiful reminder of what was. I think its continued existence helps us, whether we realize it or not, to better understand the place we live in, and the people who were here before us, trying so very hard to make it a good place to live. In which, by the way, they succeeded.

If you haven’t visited recently, here’s what you’ve missed

Kayakers going over the dam, Queensborough

Charlene McKeown of Stirling took this terrific photo (and a couple more that you’ll see if you read on) of kayakers going over the dam on the Black River in “downtown” Queensborough this past Saturday. Many of the kayakers like to end their trip down the river in style, with that jump right over the dam. Their reward: homemade pie, made by volunteers with the Queensborough Community Centre Committee. (Photo by Charlene McKeown, courtesty of Charlene and Bob McKeown)

I don’t think anyone would ever accuse me of being shy about proclaiming that Queensborough is a happening place. Sometimes people from “away” look at me askance when I go on about it, as if to say (though they are too polite to say it out loud): “It’s a tiny hamlet in the back country north of 7, for Pete’s sake – how can there be that much going on?” Well, that just shows how much they know.

Take just the past week, for instance. Why, on Wednesday night (April 15) there was the venerable and (justly) famous annual Ham Supper at St. Andrew’s United Church. As always, crowds of people came for a great feed of ham, scalloped potatoes, baked beans, salad, rolls – and of course homemade pie. All of it is cooked and served up (and the mountain of dishes washed) by the members and friends of St. Andrew’s, and it’s an evening of fellowship, fun and food for all concerned. (Plus a lot of hard work, but the fun and fellowship and food make up for that.) Along with local residents we had visitors from Madoc, Tweed, Stirling and beyond. And I know I am safe in saying that not a soul went away hungry.

We were very fortunate this year to have Terry and Eileen Pigden of Centre Hastings TV in Madoc stop by the supper and photograph scenes from it. Terry just recently posted his footage on YouTube, and I think you’ll agree that he’s done a great job of capturing the event itself and also (at the end of the video) some scenes showing how pretty Queensborough is in springtime. Here you go, and thank you (again) to Terry and Eileen for showing Queensborough events to the world!

But barely had the dishes been dried from the Ham Supper than it was time for the annual celebration of spring on the Black River in “downtown” Queensborough. That’s when kayakers from all over Ontario and beyond flock to our village to test their mettle against the fast-flowing waters of the river as part of the Marmora Area Canoe and Kayak Festival (MACKFest), and at the end of their watery exertions enjoy barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs, hot coffee and hot chocolate, and of course more homemade pie. This time the food is provided by the Queensborough Community Centre Committee and friends, and the proceeds of the food sales go to support the community work of the QCC.

Now, a combination of circumstances (which included a disadvantageously scheduled but unavoidable trip to Toronto) kept Raymond and me away from the festivities this year, though I’ve been on hand in previous years and have written about it here and here and here and here. It was too bad for us, because the weather this year could not have been better, especially on Saturday when temperature climbed to 20C and the sun shone all day long. I am reliably informed that the turnout – both in kayakers and spectators – was excellent. I’ve included a photo taken by one of those spectators, Charlene McKeown of Stirling, at the top of this post; here are a couple more, also courtesy of Charlene and her husband, Bob:

Beside the Black River with kayalers, Queensborough

What a beautiful day in Queensborough! A warm summer sun shines down on the historic Thompson house – built in the middle of the 19th century by Daniel Thompson, considered the founder of Queensborough – beside the Black River. On the lawn of the home, now owned by Elaine and Lud Kapusta, you can see the white awnings showing where a busy group of volunteers barbecues hamburgers and hot dogs and serves them up, along with hot coffee and homemade pie, to flocks of hungry kayakers. (Photo by Charlene McKeown)

Kayaker below the dam, Queensborough

Mission accomplished for this kayaker, who’s in the fast-moving water just below the dam. Homemade pie awaits! (Photo by Charlene McKeown)

So in a single week, we had a hamlet full of visitors for two great local events that featured great homemade food. Now who dares tell me that there’s not much going on in Queensborough?

“Let me live in a house by the side of the road”

Let me live in a houseHello, readers! I am back after a week’s vacation from Meanwhile, at the Manse – my first vacation from daily posting since I began this exercise a little over three years ago, and one I allowed myself only after having hit what I considered the milestone of 1,001 posts. As I told you when I reached that milestone, I’ll still be here regularly, but I am going to cut myself some slack and not write every day. Hey, that way I’ll have more time to find interesting new things to write about!

Which is precisely what I’ve been doing on my one-week vacation. (Well, that and going to my real job every day. And attending to church work. And, you know, yard work. And so on. And so on.) But anyway, a week’s worth of days that did not include spending a couple of hours each evening spinning a Meanwhile, at the Manse tale has afforded me the incredible luxury of a little bit of spare time, a little bit of rest, and a little bit more occasion to just hang out with Raymond, my favourite person. (The husband who came all the way to Queensborough with me.) And yes, I have found interesting new things to write about!

I thought I would start with the object that you see in the photo at the top of this post. It is a framed picture that I just recently found in an antiques emporium in Cobourg, Ont., and that is my new favourite thing. (After Raymond.) Also, I might add, it is is exactly what the Manse needs in the way of a new addition to the décor.

As you can tell from the photo, it is a framed picture that includes a verse of poetry. It was the rather charming old-fashioned picture, with the modestly coloured green and brown tints, that first caught my eye; but when I read the words, I instantly knew I had to have it. Now, in the hours since my purchase I have learned that the poem the words are from is very famous indeed, and I expect some of you will know it; but until today it was unknown to me, and so it is a new discovery and a new delight.

Sam Walter Foss

Sam Walter Foss, a “minor poet with a major message.”

The author of the poem is one Sam Walter Foss, 1858-1911, a “minor poet with a major message” as this interesting writeup by the Ethical Society of St. Louis (“A welcoming home for humanists” is their slogan) explains. Foss was a New Englander who, according to that same very helpful article, published several collections of verse toward the end of the 19th century. The one featured in my framed picture, called The House By the Side of the Road, is probably his most famous poem, though Wikipedia informs us here that the opening lines from another poem, called The Coming American, used to be inscribed in a granite wall at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado. (The lines are: Bring me men to match my mountains / Bring me men to match my plains / Men with empires in their purpose / And new eras in their brains; they were removed from the granite wall, apparently, when it crossed the academy’s mind that there were women in the air force too.)

I also discovered in my research that it is widely (though not necessarily correctly) believed that the “house by the side of the road” that inspired Foss’s poem is one in the town of Tilton, N.H., which I found interesting – mainly because Raymond and I have been to Tilton several times, it being the location of one of those factory outlet malls that we Canadians love to visit when we are Stateside.

Finally, I learned that the outfit that produced my Cobourg antiques-emporium find, the Buzza Company of Minneapolis, Minn., (I can just barely read its name in tiny, tiny print at the bottom corner of my picture) was in operation between 1907 and 1942 (though its heyday was the 1920s). It produced “framed lithographs of gift mottos,” according to this site, and “knew that sentiment sold.”

Well, okay, so I bought the sentiment brought to me by Sam Walter Foss by way of the Buzza Company. But I bought it because I liked it, and I don’t see who wouldn’t. Here is the full text of Foss’s poem.You can  judge for yourself.

The House by the Side of the Road

There are hermit souls that live withdrawn
In the place of their self-content;
There are souls like stars, that dwell apart,
In a fellowless firmament;
There are pioneer souls that blaze the paths
Where highways never ran –
But let me live by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

Let me live in a house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by –
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner’s seat
Nor hurl the cynic’s ban –
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I see from my house by the side of the road
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife,
But I turn not away from their smiles and tears,
Both parts of an infinite plan –
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead,
And mountains of wearisome height;
That the road passes on through the long afternoon
And stretches away to the night.
And still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice
And weep with the strangers that moan,
Nor live in my house by the side of the road
Like a man who dwells alone.

Let me live in my house by the side of the road,
Where the race of men go by –
They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,
Wise, foolish – so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat,
Or hurl the cynic’s ban?
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

– Sam Walter Foss

Now you tell me, people – is that not a rather fine sentiment to have, and a code to live by? (Aside, that is, from the poem’s inherent assumption that all humans are men.)

I am going to place my framed Buzza Company print, with its charming picture and its words of wisdom by my new New England friend Sam Walter Foss, near the front door of the Manse – a house by the side of Bosley Road, Queensborough, Ont. A house that, having been built as a church manse, is supposed to be a place where a “friend to man” (and woman) lives. I hope that, from our house by the side of the road, Raymond and I will live up to Sam Walter Foss’s sentiment – sentimental though it might be. I believe it is good advice.

1,001 Nights at the Manse

Katherine in blog position

This is the view of me that Raymond has had for many and many an evening – 1,001 evenings, in fact – as I’ve worked in the blue glow of my MacBook Pro to churn our yet another yarn about life at the Manse. It’s time to move away from the blue glow, just a bit. (Photo by Raymond Brassard)

Tonight we are celebrating here at Meanwhile, at the Manse. Why? Because we have reached our 1,001st post!

Celebratory Manhattans

A thousand and one posts? Hey, that calls for a Friday-night Manhattan at the Manse!

Yes, just like Scheherazade, that legendary young woman of the Arabian Nights who held off a cruel king’s bloodthirsty urges by telling him stories every night for 1,001 nights – featuring Aladdin and the lamp, and Ali Baba, and Sinbad the Sailor, and all that stuff – I have recounted a yarn for you every single night (minus Sundays, because a minister‘s daughter shouldn’t work on Sundays, right?) 1,001 times, as of this very night. Now if that doesn’t call for a little celebration, what does? It being Friday night and all, I think I’ll have a Manhattan – minister’s daughter or no.

I’m in a bit of a celebratory mood for another reason too. It’s this: I decided a while back that with my 1,001st post I’d cut myself a bit of slack and lift the daily deadline that I imposed when I started this blog, on Jan. 30, 2012 – the day that Raymond and I became the owners of the Manse, the house that I grew up in. I do this with mixed feelings; I know from many years of practising journalism that deadlines are what force writers to produce, and without them, they… well, they often don’t produce. My daily deadline has been very helpful in giving me both focus and an imperative to get the job done.

But writing a post every day takes an extraordinary amount of time, and I am finding that I need some of that time – time being, along with health, the most precious commodity that any of us has – for other things. I have community work to do; I have St. Andrew’s United Church work to do. (I am the church secretary.) Also, spending a bit more time with my mum and the rest of my family couldn’t possibly hurt. Having more time to spend with Raymond would be a very good thing; he has been unendingly patient as dinner has been delayed night after night after night as I have hunched over this laptop, writing like mad about Avocado Green and Freshie and antimacassars and crokinole and the like. I’d like to stop dipping into his huge well of patience. And hey, the timing is good too: two days from now (April 12) is our seventh wedding anniversary, and maybe giving more of my time to my excellent husband and less to producing words on my laptop is a good anniversary gift.

Also: I could use a bit of a rest. Since I started this blog I haven’t taken a break from it, even when on vacation. I need a vacation.

Now, this doesn’t mean that Meanwhile at the Manse is going to go dark. Far, far, far from it! I promise I’ll still post with great regularity. Because, you know, there is just so darn much going on in Queensborough to tell you about! And there are so many interesting bits of local history to be dug up and reported on! So much artistic activity to investigate! Why, just last night as I was going through my photo files to find a picture I took a year ago of a crumbling shed on the road to town (to use in last night’s post, which is here), I realized that I have a lot of photos and ideas for posts kicking around. And then of course there are all those memories of my childhood here at the Manse in the 1960s and ’70s still to be mined – along with pictures of vintage finds from auctions and flea markets and yard sales to complement those memories, and take us all back to those happy midcentury times.

So yeah, there’ll continue to be Meanwhile, at the Manse stories. And if I give myself a little more time to produce them, I should be able to do some deeper research when it’s warranted, which it often is. Like: doing an interview with one of the people who was on the scene shortly after the UFOs landed in Cooper. (I am not making that up.) Or: checking out a hand-painted mural of a Queensborough scene that exists in a local house, a wonder that I only recently learned about. Or collecting still more reportage about Queensborough’s first and only (to date) rock festival.

Remember that old line about there being “a million stories in the naked city”? (In researching it just now, by the way, I discovered that the line is actually that there are eight million stories in the naked city.) Well, I am pretty sure there are a million stories in Queensborough alone – or, for that matter, in any place on this good planet. Every place, no matter how small, has history, and art, and interesting human beings, and anecdotes, and oddities, and slices of life both ordinary and extraordinary. All that’s needed is someone – a Scheherazade-type character – to find and tell those stories.

As of this post I’ve told 1,001 stories about life in Queensborough, and life at the Manse. And I’m rather proud of that accomplishment. Well, proud, and – ready for a bit of a rest.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the stories so far. I hope you don’t mind if it’s a bit longer in between them from now on. Most of all, I hope you’ll stay tuned. There are many more stories to come. I can’t wait!