A Memorable Evening

One of the highlights of our Christmas vacation was stopping at B’s aunt and uncle’s place on the way home. Gerry and Claudette live in an old farm house on 50 acres just outside Lansdowne, which is about 90 minutes down the highway from Ottawa. It has become a frequent rest stop on our trips to Southern Ontario, and we always get a warm welcome.

Aidan and Kieran are a couple of city boys, so hanging out at Gerry and Claudette’s is a treat. In the summer they can go for rides on the little tractor, explore the fields, or lie in the hammock under a big oak tree. In the winter, it’s a great place for sledding or building forts and snowmen. Claudette also entertains them by bringing out animal skulls and other curiosities that have popped up on their property.

On our most recent visit, we put the kids to bed after a long drive and then six of us gathered around the kitchen table to play a board game. Usually I’m not a big fan of board games – it probably has something to do with my aversion to learning curves and an irrational competitive streak. We played a strategy game called Settlers of Catan, and I was pleasantly surprised at how fun it was. I had never heard of it, but apparently it’s a really popular game that has garnered a bunch of awards over the past decade. It was a little complicated at first, but after over three hours of playing, I was really getting in to it.

As I trudged up the stairs in the wee hours, I was filled with a sense of peace and contentment. I was in an old country home, heated by a wood-burning stove, playing a board game around the kitchen table with great people and beer kept cold on the back porch. In today’s fast-paced world, it was invigorating to get back to the basics, even if it was just for one night.

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