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Autumn leaves


Winter's comin' on, I feel it all around; the leaves are movin' faster along the ground.

These words in the haunting song – Another Autumn – from the Broadway musical "Paint Your Wagon" will resonate with all of us these days.
"Paint Your Wagon" was later made into a rather bad movie with Clint
Eastwood and Lee Marvin. But more important than that it was successfully produced by the Dalhousie drama club with yours truly in one of the starring roles. Right.
We played to a packed house four nights in a row! For those of you who may have been in that august institution in the late 50s, you may remember me as the third deputy sheriff. Or not. But you may very well remember our musical director, a marvellous English professor with a musical theatre background, Dr. Lambertson.
Back to October and yet another autumn.
On days like these, with the sun bright on the colourful farewell of the leaves, and the air cool without being cold, I am once again traipsing around the edges of bogs and "cutovers" hunting the elusive moose. Or walking the trails through the woods and alder beds with my son searching for rabbit leads. Or "boiling" up on the shore of a little pond with my family.
Some of the most beautiful memories of my life are framed. In this loveliest time of year and etched with the people who have made my life rich and meaningful.
Last weekend one of my grandsons was off on a successful hunting trip with his father in which they bagged two moose (one for the Lion's charity fundraisers), a couple of grouse and a pair of rabbits. This weekend they're gone to PEI for a goose hunting expedition.
Some people gently suggested that this might be a bit much. A lot of money and time to be spending on a 16-year-old, they said. Better to have him spend extra time bending over his books so he could get the highest marks possible when applying for postsecondary education.
I remember a golden autumn morning when my father "stole" me out of school to go on a day's hunting trip with him and a friend. The things I learned that day about the woods and the animals, and how not to get lost, and what to do if I did. And without going into details, I learned a few things about foolishness and common sense and how to keep them separate in my mind. I don't know how much I took in of that wisdom that day, but I had cause to remember a great deal of it in subsequent years and after many such days.
And I remember it all today. I think of how lucky my grandson and his father are to be sharing this time together. There are other meaningful ways for fathers and sons to share and bond to be sure, just as there are for mothers and daughters and grandparents and grandchildren and all the various combinations and permutations thereof, but today I see only the yellow and gold leaves drifting lazily to the earth as though they had all the time in the world to fall and swirl and play with each other in the wind.
But I know they do not, that the leaves are moving ever faster along the ground, and I want to cry out to those sons and fathers, "Hurry, hurry! Use every lovely, magical moment you can. Don't you know these days are getting shorter and shorter , and will soon be gone forever?". But of course they usually don't know that. We seldom do. Perhaps it's better that way. Perhaps it's like being pressured into cramming as much as you can into a holiday before your two weeks are up and you're out rushing from one thing to another so much that you don't have time to enjoy any of it.                       
You need to plan ahead and make sure of your priorities so that the time you have isn't wasted. No parent or child has unlimited time in this day and age, but what you do have, use wisely and well. Collect memories rather than things. The dividends may not be seen   this autumn or among these falling leaves, but they will be there and one day you will see them.
Take it from one who knows.

These words in the haunting song – Another Autumn – from the Broadway musical "Paint Your Wagon" will resonate with all of us these days.
"Paint Your Wagon" was later made into a rather bad movie with Clint
Eastwood and Lee Marvin. But more important than that it was successfully produced by the Dalhousie drama club with yours truly in one of the starring roles. Right.
We played to a packed house four nights in a row! For those of you who may have been in that august institution in the late 50s, you may remember me as the third deputy sheriff. Or not. But you may very well remember our musical director, a marvellous English professor with a musical theatre background, Dr. Lambertson.
Back to October and yet another autumn.
On days like these, with the sun bright on the colourful farewell of the leaves, and the air cool without being cold, I am once again traipsing around the edges of bogs and "cutovers" hunting the elusive moose. Or walking the trails through the woods and alder beds with my son searching for rabbit leads. Or "boiling" up on the shore of a little pond with my family.
Some of the most beautiful memories of my life are framed. In this loveliest time of year and etched with the people who have made my life rich and meaningful.
Last weekend one of my grandsons was off on a successful hunting trip with his father in which they bagged two moose (one for the Lion's charity fundraisers), a couple of grouse and a pair of rabbits. This weekend they're gone to PEI for a goose hunting expedition.
Some people gently suggested that this might be a bit much. A lot of money and time to be spending on a 16-year-old, they said. Better to have him spend extra time bending over his books so he could get the highest marks possible when applying for postsecondary education.
I remember a golden autumn morning when my father "stole" me out of school to go on a day's hunting trip with him and a friend. The things I learned that day about the woods and the animals, and how not to get lost, and what to do if I did. And without going into details, I learned a few things about foolishness and common sense and how to keep them separate in my mind. I don't know how much I took in of that wisdom that day, but I had cause to remember a great deal of it in subsequent years and after many such days.
And I remember it all today. I think of how lucky my grandson and his father are to be sharing this time together. There are other meaningful ways for fathers and sons to share and bond to be sure, just as there are for mothers and daughters and grandparents and grandchildren and all the various combinations and permutations thereof, but today I see only the yellow and gold leaves drifting lazily to the earth as though they had all the time in the world to fall and swirl and play with each other in the wind.
But I know they do not, that the leaves are moving ever faster along the ground, and I want to cry out to those sons and fathers, "Hurry, hurry! Use every lovely, magical moment you can. Don't you know these days are getting shorter and shorter , and will soon be gone forever?". But of course they usually don't know that. We seldom do. Perhaps it's better that way. Perhaps it's like being pressured into cramming as much as you can into a holiday before your two weeks are up and you're out rushing from one thing to another so much that you don't have time to enjoy any of it.                       
You need to plan ahead and make sure of your priorities so that the time you have isn't wasted. No parent or child has unlimited time in this day and age, but what you do have, use wisely and well. Collect memories rather than things. The dividends may not be seen   this autumn or among these falling leaves, but they will be there and one day you will see them.
Take it from one who knows.

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