From the publisher’s pen

As publisher of the Rainy River Record, I used to write a weekly column that spoke of issues in that newspaper and of my family. It has been a while since I last wrote and the hankering to begin anew is upon me.
In the Cumming household, my two sons have headed back to university. They both flew out Saturday morning from the Fort Frances Airport—and both got to experience the wonder of air travel in unsettled weather.
One spent an extra two hours in Thunder Bay to fly into Toronto while the other managed to almost spend an extra day in Sudbury because of fog and freezing rain in Ottawa.
Other families across the district also have said good-byes to their college and university students. They had the unpleasant drive in blizzard and sub-zero conditions to Winnipeg and Thunder Bay.
As empty-nesters, I found both Marnie and I have settled into a different routine which the return of our two sons seemed to alter. As Marnie so clearly stated, “With you and me, I probably only do laundry once a week. But with the boys home, laundry seems to be a daily occurrence.”
That wasn’t the only change. The two managed to add an extra $100 to the weekly grocery bill. Of course, most of those extra dollars were spent in cooking both boy’s favourite meals.
Left-overs were frozen and left for Marnie and me to consume after their departure.
Both our sons live in residence and both yearned for their mother’s style of cooking. Although universities claim their cafeteria cooks prepare great meals for students, I doubt any can meet the expectations the meals delivered by moms from the kitchens have created.
I suspect our electricity and gas usage also jumped accordingly over the Christmas holidays. Adam, at university, takes a three-minute shower as a token for good citizenry. However, during his two weeks at home, daily he emptied the 60-gallon hot water tank.
His older brother made a note to jump into the shower ahead of him or suffer through an abbreviated cold shower.
I am not complaining. My two sons continue to amaze me. Adam went off to Carleton in the fall and arrived home a much different person. Full of confidence, he now is ready to engage you in a full discussion on any number of topics and takes the time to make conversation with you.
Before, anything more than a single-word answer was all that you might get.
Brendan, now into his third year at Guelph, in a single sentence can lose me in his discussion of software writing and how things work. My eyes seem to glass over very quickly and he gets the message, then translates what he is learning into a much simpler message.
I suspect lots of information gets filtered out in the translation.
Probably most parents are surprised by the diversity of ideas and understandings their returning children bring home. Probably the shock is more when you don’t see them for four months and discover they have developed huge new interests.
It also is neat to see our universities and colleges all attract students from across Canada, meaning our kids get to meet a great diversity of students who also are learning from them.
We may lament that our sons and daughters have to travel away for school. We worry that they often are very far from home. And yet we can hardly wait to hear of their next set of adventures and experiences.
I know I can’t.

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