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SIMPSON: The summer of greetings and goodbyes

Peter and Carolyn Simpson’s granddaughter Grace gets in a cuddle break with Nana Carolyn during a day at the beach.
Peter and Carolyn Simpson’s granddaughter Grace gets in a cuddle break with Nana Carolyn during a day at the beach. - Peter Simpson

Here's What I'm Thinking

For the rest of my life I will be surrounded by women. 

The women in my life are my wife, two daughters, three granddaughters, a sister and also a former wife-now-friend.

And on my wife’s side is a sister, niece and two great-nieces, aged 18 and 21. When they occupy our guest rooms this month, I will have to navigate through an endless haze of shower steam and hairspray.

Anyway, our nine-year-old granddaughter came to visit from Toronto recently. Grace was only two the last time she and her parents visited. (It’s much easier for Nana and me to visit the family in Toronto.)

We recall toddler Grace sitting in her highchair on our front porch devouring a bowl of mussels. No tasty mollusks this trip. Now, seven years later, the little darling declared she is a vegetarian.

Hold your applause, veggie masters of the world. Grace has a few notable exceptions — hotdogs, shaved honey ham and chicken nuggets. After all, kids will be kids. What’s in today might be out tomorrow.

Grace had so much fun enjoying the simple pleasures of the South Shore. She loved seeing the lighthouses, taking the cable ferry across the LaHave, playing cards, chatting non-stop and fearlessly using the rope swing at Beck’s Lake. An accomplished swimmer, Grace also enjoyed the LCLC pool.

We visited seven beaches. Although the ocean was cold, Grace spent her time splashing around, skipping stones and searching for sea glass and shells. She was amazed we had so many beaches so close to our home. Her favourite was Green Bay, where we had lunch and ice cream cones at MacLeod’s Canteen.

Grace sat in the driver’s seat of a pumper at the Dayspring firehall, and tried on Grandpa’s bunker gear and helmet. She was all smiles and had another cool story to tell her sister Eleanor and friends back home.

The one activity Grace had absolutely no interest in was shopping. This innocent child will soon change, believe me. Shopping is in her blood. She just doesn’t know it yet.

It was a wonderful visit. Grace was a sheer delight and we can’t wait to spend more time with her. We sent her home with some great memories, and a couple of questionable rhymes to share with her parents.

Loss of a great man

Nova Scotia has lost one of its respected community leaders, a man who dedicated his life to his family and the youth of the province.

Earl Claude Lantz passed away at home in Crouse’s Settlement on July 11. He was 78.

I know Lantz from his time as a fire commissioner with the Dayspring and District Fire Department. He was a quiet, thoughtful man, but when he spoke, everyone paid close attention to his sage advice.

Lantz accomplished a great deal with little fanfare. He made a difference in people’s lives without recognition, preferring instead to remain in the shadows while shining the spotlight on others.

Graduating from Saint Mary’s University with a bachelor of commerce degree (major in business administration and equivalent to a major in accounting), Lantz then earned a masters of education degree.

Lantz worked for the provincial government, working his way through progressively responsible roles, then completing his 36-year career as regional inspector of schools for Lunenburg, Queens and Shelburne Counties.

Lantz had two passions — his extended family and air cadets, an organization he joined at age 13.

Rising through the ranks, he eventually was promoted to Commanding Officer of 529 then 865 Air Cadet Squadrons. Upon retirement, Lantz joined the Nova Scotia Provincial Committee of the Air Cadet League of Canada, serving in various leadership capacities, including chairman and national director.

At the time of his passing, Lantz was league director of 545 Privateer Squadron in Liverpool.

No couch potato, Lantz kept busy in retirement. He was a member of the Bridgewater Curling Club, Bluenose Golf Club and Osprey Ridge Golf Club. He also served as president of the Senior Wheels Association and local Kiwanis Club and treasurer of the Dayspring and District Golden Youth Club.

Lantz leaves behind his wonderful wife of 56 years, Melba, as well as a brother, son, daughter, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

A compassionate, intelligent and humble man, Lantz had a positive impact on the lives of many individuals and his legacy will be forever celebrated.

Treats for the tastebuds

It seems more emphasis is placed on food on the run during summer months, so I thought I would share three of my favourites.

  • Airstream Café: Euro barbecue sausage with onions on homemade naan bread. Yum, a crowd pleaser.
  • Centre Ice Café, LCLC: Grilled cheese with crispy bacon. Best anywhere, period.
  • Tams Road Grill: All-beef burger made from locally-sourced beef and buns. An impressive menu selection.

Peter Simpson is a veteran journalist and former CEO who now lives in Nova Scotia. His latest column, Here’s What I’m Thinking, which chronicles provocative random thoughts on a broad spectrum of topics, appears monthly. 

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