A Late Encounter
Every family has in its kinship history an elderly hanger-on. He was the one who came for Thanksgiving dinner, built the fire at Hallowe'en, shared stories of derring-do with the children and who helped with the wood-pile, roto-tilling and snow removal.
As the years go by, the tasks become harder to manage, stories are repeated, there are some little accidents, lapses are more frequent.
"Mom, Dad, something's wrong with 'Uncle' John," say the children, now in young adult life.
The relationship shifts from one of neighbourly engagement to one of deeper caring. The interruptions of the past, once so welcome, are now the central work of the family.
This story is about that transition.
The author graduated in Medicine from the University of Manitoba in 1966. He and his young family made their way out west to the Interior of British Columbia. After visiting the Shuswap Lake district many times between 1969 and 1975, he and a dental partner opened the Sorrento Medical-Dental Clinic in July, 1976. 'Dr. Don' practiced family medicine for over 35 years in the Shuswap, seeing multi-generations of families. He and his wife, Doreen, reside in the home they helped build 40 years ago.
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