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I’m sitting here on Saturday early afternoon waiting for a carload of my family from Ohio to make it to my front door here in Toronto. It’s been a long time since I had any family visitors. Will I recognize them? I know that’s a stupid question but I haven’t been down to Columbus, O-O-Hi-O for three years. I went twice that year. Once for a lovely wedding and the other that was supposed to be for a lovely wedding except I broke my wrist the day before and couldn’t make it. That particular trip will always be engraved in my memory since that broken wrist was a red flag to my doctor. She spent many appointments preaching to me about my fragile, much-older bones and what I needed to do about that. When I fell a second time taking my empty wine bottles back to the store for a deposit — as I sat on the kerbstone catching my breath after that one, I visualized the little headline in the paper, “Senior falls. No bottles broken.” — the doctor sent me to the amazing Dr. M, and, as they say, the rest is knee-surgery history.

It’s funny how life throws us surprises like that. One little trip on the sidewalk and everything changes. Or, was it that at all? Maybe it is just the slow aging process of this body of mine. None of that is a surprise, eh? But, it is still surprising every time I find out that some other part of my anatomy isn’t going to work or recuperate or heal in the same way that it did even ten years ago. I’ve gotten to hate going to the doctor with an ache or a strange “feeling.” She’ll get that serious look on her face, and say, “Ann, you know you’re not young anymore.” I really resented that from a doctor at 40 but, hey, at 70 I have to agree that she’s right.

Anyway, back to the family coming, my sister Mary is among them. She was with me when I had that fateful fall on that uneven sidewalk in Columbus, O. She was a trooper that day, getting me to emerg, calling the insurance company, hanging out with me in between her trips to visit her husband in a nursing home and picking up various grandchildren and pizzas. Just because it’s her coming, I’m not superstitious about having another fall on an uneven sidewalk — especially since Toronto very wisely shaved down all of those nasty little lips between sidewalks. I think they must have had their fair share of lawsuits. I never bothered to write to the powers in Columbus, O to enlighten them about that tripping-sidewalk. Maybe I should have both as a good former citizen of that city and, who knows, they might have compensated me some way — or not.

Well, they should be here pretty soon. They called from the highway between Niagara Falls and Toronto. I haven’t told the cats that five strangers are about to land in their domain. If they were all staying here, I’d have a serious, sit-down chat with them about proper host behaviour and what little “sacrifices” they might have to make for their guests to be comfortable and feel at home. Actually, they could have that same chat with me. I’ve lived alone for so long that after hanging out with folks for a while, I need to return to base camp and regenerate my energy and a more pleasant personality. I’ll try to be on my best social behaviour. Being that they’re family, they might not recognize me if I’m too un-opinated and sweet. I don’t think there’s any danger of that at all.

I think I’ll straighten up the apartment a wee bit, get rid of a layer of cat hair from the sofa and put some cushions on the chairs on the porch. Whatever I say, I’m very touched and excited that some of my family is coming to visit me and Rose and Nick, right here in our own city and in our own home. Blessings.