100 Letter Cornwall Competition – Mary Anne Pankhurst South Glengarry, Ontario – January 20, 2013

The day I moved from Montreal to Cornwall – on an icy blue November day – I had just gassed up at MacEwen’s on Boundary and was struggling to get the seatbelt around my big fat Michelin Man-style coat, when I finally gave up. Not only was the Beetle packed to the ceiling, I had a Chihuahua on my lap.  So I reasoned: the new house is only minutes away, and besides, my shoulder is killing me.

But before you could say, “I’ll have a large double-double in a double cup,” I got busted.  He was a very courteous OPP officer.  Handsome even.  “You drive safely now, Ma’am,” he said, handing me the ticket. “And welcome to Cornwall.”

Ten minutes later – walking through the front door of our new home – I got stopped again.  This time by the husband who was telling me the movers lost our couch.

But later that night, as I dashed out to fetch something from the Bug, I stopped myself and marveled.  Except for geese honking in the distance, it was overwhelmingly quiet.  Peaceful.  Dark.  And the only ambient light came from stars twinkling in the Glen Walter heavens.

Little did I know, the magic was just beginning.

By spring, I was accustomed to seeing coyotes, foxes, deer, ducks, osprey, woodpeckers and Great Blue Herons.  By summer, I knew the thrill of giant egg-laying snapping turtles and otters only meters from my kitchen door.   Smoothly moving cargo ships were forever passing, as well as legions of motorcycles rumbling along the water’s edge on sunny Sunday afternoons.

I’ve come to know well the mighty seaway winds that bounce off the distant Adirondacks and come back to make our hats fly.  Guindon, Cooper Marsh and Charlottenburgh Park have all become favourite walking places.  Sacred places.  Especially at dawn when the river mists put on their best show.  And on days I drive into town, I love the bridge that rises up like a giant artwork of dinosaur bones, the church bells that clang, and the silent stony skeletons of the old cotton mills.

Seven years have passed in a flash.  But at every spot that sparkles, live memories – not only of nature – of helpful, fun and interesting friends.

To them I say, thank you for making Cornwall feel like home.

The Cornwall Free News

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  1. Awesome story!!
    The husband

  2. Great letter!!!!!
    I can totally relate to the writer and her feelings about this great area to live in!

  3. Exceptional writing, makes me want to return this summer for another visit.

  4. Mary Anne, I count myself as one of many who will love your prose.

    I can hardly wait for the book :-).

    Please write us more and more. Mary Anne, you are obviously very gifted.

    Best of luck on this contest and sure success on whatever else you MUST do.

    We are sure to have other letters but time to April will give us a better fir for where we fit in in this contest, aye.

    Dave Windsor

  5. Very nice trigger of thoughts! Enjoyed Mary Anne’s experiences and observation. Her ability to write like this, in sharing a Cornwall
    living view, is exceptional. Thanks for your considerable insight of that location Mary Anne!

  6. An enjoyable read on our beautiful community.

  7. I love Mary Anne’s story and observations and found myself smiling while reading it. Very descriptive….. enchanting. Thanks Mary Anne.

  8. Mary Ann,
    While I know this is indeed ” the best letter”, it sounds like you have already found the jackpot right there in Cornwall!
    Good luck.
    Margaret P

  9. Well done Mary Anne, you expressed many of my own experiences since moving here 10 years ago in a way I would not have been able to, however watching the sun rise over the river this morning I felt quite poetic, good luck with the competition, Jennifer Fraser

  10. That was beautiful Mary Anne. I read your story with a smile and admiration.
    Welcome to this great City of Cornwall.

  11. I really enjoyed your story Mary Anne. Very expressive and well written. Best of luck with the contest.

  12. What a beautiful story! I want to come visit now! There’s sure to be an increase in local tourism… Thank you for sharing with us.

  13. It was a real pleasure to read about the hidden wonders of Cornwall in this lovely little ode. Thank you, Mary Anne!

  14. It is very pleasant to read you. Hope to read more of you
    Well done

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