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Smallwood - Mongaup Valley

November 10, 2023

James Loney
Posted 11/10/23

One year ago I took my annual vacation and flew off to Berlin, Germany. This year I decided to head north to visit “my Home and Native Land,” Canada, where my entire family (excepting me, …

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Smallwood - Mongaup Valley

November 10, 2023


One year ago I took my annual vacation and flew off to Berlin, Germany. This year I decided to head north to visit “my Home and Native Land,” Canada, where my entire family (excepting me, the lone Yankee) resides. Months ago we decided on an Ontario get-together whereby my brother, sister-in-law and some cousins and kin would converge in Southern Ontario. For the 1500 mile journey I left my aging Subaru in Smallwood and rented an amazing 2022 Chevy Malibu. The automobile had so many bells and whistles, I felt like Captain Kirk sliding through space in Enterprise. What an adventure, to cruise silently northward that first sunny leafy day, following the snaking Susquehanna. Then to reach the ramrod straight Rt 20 along verging the southern shores of Lake Erie, vast fields of dry yellow corn shaking in the wind to one side of the road while ancient homes huddled in evergreen forest on the other. And everywhere, it seemed, the snaking Susquehanna popped up, weaving and dodging its way through the morphing landscape of hill and dale. Amazing!

Across the Peace Bridge I was in Canada. Many years ago I left Canada for Berlin, convinced I would never return unless I could be accepted at home as a young gay man. Things change. I have been back often but not recently and so how blessed, to return to Canada this fall and be together again in great comity with my beloved brother, sister-in-law and nephew and then all the cousins and kin. We attended some great plays in Stratford, ate out fabulously every day, played with babies and life exchanged stories. Then a few more days farther North and East to Port Hope before back to Toronto for Halloween. My ten days went far too quickly.

Back home, the leaves which shone so brightly on the bough when I left now crunch beneath my feet.  Jonathan Hyman, President of the Smallwood Civic Association, touched base and reports that the number of people attending this year’s Fourth Annual SWCA Halloween Trick or Treat Walk (October 28) far exceeded expectations. Under perfect weather, 165 kids and nearly 300 adults (!) visited over 30 host tables set up along the shores of Mountain Lake. Many parents and grandparents said that the walk around the lake was the best exercise they’d enjoyed in a long time and that the table hosts were the friendliest folk they had ever encountered! Thanks go out to newly re-elected Bethel Town Supervisor Dan Sturm, the Bethel Town Board and Constables and the Smallwood/Mongaup Valley Fire Department for helping ensure the day ran safely and without hitch.

Looking ahead, on Saturday, November 25th starting at 10am, the SWCA Turkey Trott will be held, an untimed walk/run around Mountain Lake taking in Minnie Falls, the Lake, and the Beach. Afterward comes the highlight (I think!) of the SWCA year: the Turkey Trott Firepit Fire! It’s BYO, goodies, snacks and everyone is requested to bring along non-perishable foods for donation to a local food pantry. More to come because the BEST is YET TO COME!! Friends, it’s great to be back home and see you soon.


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