Paula and I were so very lucky to have met such dear people as the Marlatts. It is not often when couples are so compatible with both members of another couple. But, such was the way with Paula, myself, Floyd and Frances.
We first met in New Lowell. We were all much younger then and modest in our means. Frances used to come in to buy supplies from the General Store. She was a spectacular looking woman (not like my Paula – but a close second!). Floyd was a miserable, ugly bugger (eh, Floyd?). Okay, he was a young, handsome Kenny Rogers to be kind of looking guy. Well, I guess it happened that Paula and Frances were immediately two peas in a pod with their good looks and incredible fashion sense. Floyd and I were a bit wilder and sure did enjoy a good party.
We got to know each other and worked picking tobacco leaves in New Lowell at one point. New Lowell used to have a lot of tobacco farmers and smoke houses. We seemed to get along quite well and lo and behold if we didn’t learn that each couple were avid bridge players. So – our week-ends were spent playing bridge with each other. We used to like to tease the girls that we “let them win” every once in a while, but the truth be know, they were pretty good opponents. I can say that now –
Well, as time passed, each couple moved away from New Lowell – but we never lost our friendship. We’d visit each other often when Paula and I moved to Barrie and Floyd and Frances moved to Dundas.
Floyd became quite a successful contractor – with his wife keeping him in line – she had control of the books. In fact, Floyd was who we trusted to build our beloved home at RR # 1. Don’t tell him, but I think he did a pretty good job.
There was one winter before we moved to the farm, we lived in a little house on Donald Street. The Marlatts came to visit – between their three children and ours, plus the adults and grand-pa, we had a house FULL. Paula and Frances were busy cooking to feed this mob of people. Wouldn’t you know it, that night there was one hell of a snow storm. It snowed all night long. The next morning we awoke to a winter wonderful – and closed highways. Everything was closed. There was nothing to do but get out the sleds, the eggs, the snowmobiles – and have fun. I joked with Paula and the Marlatts years later that they out us out of house and home.
There were so many adventures with Floyd and Frances – we travelled to so many wonderful places together. The girls would always cook the most exotic of foods and Floyd and I would always be sure to sample the rum. One of the nicest vacations we had together was when we traveled to Mazatlan, Mexico. Fantastic.
When Paula passed away, Floyd and Frances came to Barrie to support our family. Floyd picked up my spirits – we always joked around together – there was always this standing reference to bananas. Remember that, Floyd? Frances helped Stacey to select Paula’s outfit – Francis ensured that Paula looked her best – even in death.
Well, today, if they were here, I would certainly raise a glass to Floyd and Frances: “Good health, good friends, good food!”
Congratulations, my friends. I sure do miss you – but am with you in spirit.