Summer’s Over



Photo used with permission of Earl Hartlen

The town I live in is a “summer town”. There are many of these special summertime haunts in Ontario.  They are the places where “the summer people” come to stay for a few hours weeks or even a few months to enjoy the fleeting two months we in Canada call summer.  This year the temperatures have soared and the people came earlier and may be leaving a little later but no matter how you cut it when school starts the day after Labour Day, summer is over.

As I strolled along the pier with hundreds of others on Monday evening I remembered summers past when the beach would have been empty at 6:30 pm on Labour Day.  People carefully packed up the kids and closed the doors on the cottage seldom returning except maybe on Thanksgiving to drain the pipes and put up the shutters.

Now the shopkeepers claim the transition from summer to winter is not quite as distinct as it was in years long ago.  More people linger a few days.  The stores are busier and the eateries are still hoping.

In 1966 when I was babysitting the Knechtel kids in their home behind the booth on the beach it seemed we could have rolled up the sidewalk on Labour Day and not many people would notice.  My last day was the Sunday because it would be quiet on the beach strip all day Labour Day.  Only the locals would be around.

As a matter of fact, Labour Day was the day the locals reclaimed their town in a way.  We existed but stayed low in the summer except for our work.  On Labour Day we could finally emerge and walk the beach again without fear of cotton candy in our hair or cigarette burns on our bare feet.  We could sit on the pier and watch seagulls and tug boats while eating french fries without having to fight for a parking spot.  We could be sure we would know almost everyone we would meet on the sidewalk.  The town was ours again until the migration inundated us again on the 24th of May weekend.

It was interesting to watch the new Labour Day in Port Dover with all its business and noise but I couldn’t help but think, like Earl Hartlen did when he posted this lovely picture on his Facebook page, “It’s Over.




About Peggy Guiler

You just never know what show up on my blog. As the name implies it is about the stuff of life just like Spilt Milk. Everyday events spark thought and contemplation. Special events in the community, the country or the world may strike a cord and get me talking. Sometimes it's about people in my life or circumstances, sometimes about my garden, sometimes about a book or a political issue. Always it's about something I am passionate about. In my business, River of Hope Enterprises (, I work as an "Certified Coach" (International Coach Federation), a trainer, consultant and speaker. and as a spiritual director. I also drive a school bus to keep the wolf from the door while I build my business. I love the kids on the bus (most of the time). My family is grown and I have three grandkids who thrill my heart but I don't get to see any of them very often. Circumstances of life have made "family" difficult. My son died by suicide at age 16 in 2000 and the strain on our family relationships since has been huge. Mental health is a field where I worked for almost 22 years and where I still do some consulting and training. That combined with my own battle with depression and my son's death weave together to form some of my greatest soap box items: suicide intervention, suicide bereavement and peer support in mental health are right on the top of my list. Social justice is an underlying passion. Keeping the wolf from the door as a single parent was full-time work and my career path as a journalists was augmented with cleaning contracts, cooking, retail clerk, and bartending. I have known hard work and am grateful for the experience and perspective it has given me. A firmly grounded faith and a passion for learning has now taken me toward a new field as a Spiritual Director and I am soon adding to that a license to marry people. As I move toward retirement I am very aware that I have to keep working so I chose to do things which will meet my modest financial needs and also my love of supporting people in their life journey. Woven into all of this is my love of writing. Trained as a Journalist, and having worked in the field as a freelance news writer for many years, I have a great love for writing. This blog is a new beginning for me. As I hone my skills and begin to form a daily discipline of writing I hope it will lead to more writing in the future.
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