Cedar Springs Road is a beautiful lightly residential and rural scenic drive in Burlington that wends north from Highway 5 (now Reg. Rd. 5) to the small Hamlet of Kilbride. Outside the village are winding streets and lanes where the suburbanites return from their daily businesses to their privately- quiet homes nestled among pines, cedars, maples and oaks. Deer, birds, raccoons, chipmunks and squirrels are frequent visitors to this peaceful Nature environment...where the humans are so kind! Cedar Springs, truly is a clear-water stream that gently creates rivulets as it bubbles along over stones beside the woods and the escarpment road.
I left my Real Estate Office about 6:30 in the evening to meet clients who had a stately two-storey home in Kilbride along a country lane shared by only three other neighbours. Schelley and his wife had built this home twenty years previously...now it was “time to move on”. Mr. Schellenburg was my son's Mathematics teacher. As he “connected” with his first year students and they gained his respect, he was honoured to be called, “Schelley”. A day or two a week, he would spend after-hours with his Computer Club, designed to encourage and foster future programmers and analysts.
Cedar Springs Road gently rolls up and downhill with meandering turns, curving a bit for a few miles before approaching Highview Estates, a cluster of several homes within a wooded area on the escarpment, just above Highway 5. As I reached the last crest of the road, a panorama of Burlington's city lights unfolded before my eyes...like a night time fairyland. I knew that beyond the City is the shoreline of Lake Ontario. Descending the hill, I slowed due to the stoplight at the intersection of Highway 5. There on my left was a police cruiser. The officer set his lights flashing, signalling for me to stop. At the intersection I turned right to park along the shoulder of the highway.
“What is the problem?”, I wonder.
Coming to my vehicle, the navy- uniformed officer asked, “Did you realize you were exceeding the speed limit at the top of the hill?” “No,” I replied and explained that I had been on a realtor appointment, that I was going home to prepare a light dinner and was not aware of my speed. He advised me that, because of the residential area, the speed limit changes. “May I please have your licence, your insurance and ownership?” These he took to his cruiser and spent much time before returning to me. “This is a tough situation for me,” he said. Smiling, I responded, “I'll make it easy for you...don't give me a ticket...it's a quiet night...no one around...it's late...I just didn't see the change of speed in the darkness.”
Thoughtfully, “It is difficult to write a ticket for a teacher I once had.” I observed his badge...S.Smith. “Stuart Smith?....is this You?” I asked. He was a good student in Grade 5 and was also in my Grade 8 class, three years later. We chatted about other students in those years...until the midnight hour. Ted was now a photographer with the Hamilton Spectator, Gerry continued to University after High School and became a church minister, Phyllis a nurse and Terry an engineer. Stuart was married with a little boy. As we parted company, I was so tempted to U-turn on Highway 5’s four lanes so I could easily enter Brant Street to proceed home...but because of this police intervention, decided it was not a good idea! Instead, I continued west on Highway 5 to the first road on the left to make a safe turn-around. Then turning right on Brant Street a few minutes later, headed south into downtown Burlington. At a stoplight, side-by-side…we waved to each other. On the “green”, he went to the Police Station for his shift's end and I home to enjoy a glass of red wine with dinner.
When Andrew was in High School and Marcia in Elementary School, we bought a black and white Siberian Husky puppy. Kiska had an unusual black facial mask...raccoon-like markings...and startling blue eyes. As a puppy, she needed much exercise and training due to her rambunctiousness. My son voluntarily took her to Obedience School and succeeded well with her. When he attended University, it was Marcia or I who daily exercised her. One winter day, I was jogging along the sidewalk with Kiska trotting by leash on my left...suddenly I hit “black ice” and fell, landing on my right hand and arm...instantly my wrist and thumb were throbbing with pain. Returning quickly home, I enclosed her within the gated yard and drove to the hospital emergency. A Doctor X-rayed my arm and hand...I waited a length of time in an open room for the results..with continual throbbing pain.
While there, an inebriated elderly man was brought in by a policeman. I paid little attention, with my eyes half closed,trying to succumb to the pain from my tumble. Soon the attending doctor advised me that I had a sprained thumb...to wrap my wrist tightly with a bandage, take Tylenol and try to rest. It was extremely difficult to put my arm through the coat sleeve and when struggling with this, a kindly male voice said, “Here, let me help an old teacher of mine.” I looked appreciatively at this policeman....again, it was Stuart Smith!
We smiled....remembering the school days of many years past
and our two-year ago encounter on Highway 5 at Cedar Springs Road.
Wisdom from Mother Teresa:
We shall never know
the good that a simple smile can do!
Merle Baird-Kerr … written July 29, 2010
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