In the 1920's a young man accompanied his parents, sisters and brothers on a move from Eastern Ontario to the mining, farming and lumbering country of Northern Ontario. They settled their farm, lived, worked hard and started to prosper. In 1939 this young man and two brothers volunteered for the Canadian Army and then spent six years training in England and fighting in Europe before coming home in 1946. We never heard what happened, but one brother moved away, one worked diamond drill rigs and slowly drank himself to death, and this young man bought a veterans lot next to his Dad and started his own farm. Until his death, he never left the farm except to hunt, fish, and go to funerals. He prospected passionately, and was awarded an honorary lifetime prospectors permit by the Ontario government. He died a couple of years ago at almost 90 years of age.
His name was Ed. I married his niece.
I met Ed in 1978. He and one brother were still farming then, milking and separating by hand, and keeping the cream in a spring fed cooler to be sold to the local dairy. I spent many hours sitting with my back against their cookstove, drinking thick black tea and talking. Ed was a conspiracy theorist with a deep distrust of government and we used to argue about stuff like that. About a year before his death, he let me drive him into th e hospital for some tests, and we were talking about something that led to a bet for a case of beer - I don't remember what we were talking about. Some months later his health finally failed, and as he went out of the house on a stretcher, he gave his brother a $20 bill and told him to give it to me in payment of the bet. He died shortly after. We bought a case of beer with the money and had one at his "grave".
He didn't want a grave or a stone or a funeral. He gave his brother very firm instructions and they were followed. Here's where his ashes are scattered. It's where he used to sit and watch as moose, bears, foxes and other assorted animals would go about their travels. Only a few of us know where it is, so one day I decided I'd make the photo. The gray box at the base of the tree is the box his ashes came home in.
I miss Ed (and his brother - who has also passed away), but life goes on and I see both the old guys every time I see the rest of my sweethearts family. Here's the rest of the crew in another spot that's close to us. It's a cemetary that can only be accessed during the summer. It's about two miles into the bush on a sand/gravel road, but it's a nice spot for a visit. My sweethearts parents and sister are buried here as are a lot of her Aunts and Uncles. This is where I helped dig the grave for her cousins Dad. Her cousin was my best man when we got married. It's a peaceful place. We sometimes go and have lunch and a couple of beers when the weather is nice.
Life goes on .....