When my brother and his wife, Doug and Shirley
celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in
June, 2009, my gift to them was a poem about all
the family memories I could recall. Near the
conclusion of the poem, which actually became a
book, called “The Book of Mingled Memories”, I
wrote a verse to which I think many people might
Like every family, we’ve had our ups and downs,
and a few ruffled feathers, it’s true,
But “blood is thicker than water” they say, and it makes a very strong glue!
|I have often thought about how each family is
like a microcosm of society and if we could
somehow all manage to co-exist peacefully within
family units, the wider world would be a much
I dearly love the family into which I was born,
and I want to pay tribute to each member by
posting a poem written in the Spring of 2010. At
that time a painful decision was reached to sell
our property in the Beaver Valley in an attempt
to downsize and simplify our lives.
Writing poetry has always helped me to process
the significant events in my life, so of course
a poem was bound to emerge in my efforts to
emotionally detach from dear Shalamar. Each
family member has contributed in some positive
way to my 14 years spent in Kimberley, Ontario,
and each family member seems to have a special
place in his/her
heart for this dear home where many happy
Christmas celebrations and other family
get-togethers took place.
Jim and Margaret Sinclair
To the visitors who come to my website, I hope
that this poem helps you to reflect upon how
your own family has played such a significant
role in your life. If there is healing to be
done within your family, I urge you to do it
now before the hands of time might snatch that
opportunity away from you.
I Once had a
House in the Valley
I once had a
house in the valley, constructed of
field stone and love,
It came to me straight from Heaven
with a message from God above.
He said: “Take this house and enjoy
it, and share it with others on
Let it heal you and bring you a
measure of comfort and peace and
The family, who lived here before
you, saw that you needed a home,
Yes, the Webers suggested I give you
one of my favorite spots to own.
I knew it wouldn’t be easy, for you
still had your work to do
With all of those wonderful children
needing skills I had given to you.
But I knew the soul of a poet who
lives in the heart of you
Needed a place in the valley where
dreams could someday come true.
So I surrounded you with dear people
who would help you and lighten the
And some guardian angels for mercy
on those lengthy trips down the
I chose David for house inspector,
as you crossed your fingers and
He reported, “All’s well, except
might present a few problems one
And wasn’t he right on that evening
when you discovered a flood by
I had to send a few problems to keep
the stars from your eyes.
But each challenge has made you
and you passed all the tests on the
Thanks to your friends and your
family who loved you enough to pray.
I gave you the finest of neighbours
to bring you great joy and delight,
The ‘salt of the earth’ to guide you
and protect you both day and night.
And my plan for each family member
unfolded as years passed by,
They were there to share in your
pleasure, allowing your spirit to
I knew that my beautiful Nancy would
help you with costs as they grew,
For she manages money much better
than ever you’ve learned to do!
And your brother, Donnie, was
watching and sending assistance your
From the real estate market in
where he builds me a mansion a day.
Margaret saw how you loved the
she enjoyed all those drives in the
When together you witnessed my
and wished upon the same star.
And your Father wanted your Mother
to have a place to rest and to see
All your family getting together
around your first Christmas tree.
It was Doug who brought you this
symbol of festive holiday cheer;
He advised you on many issues that
surfaced throughout the years.
I knew Ken, Marie and their family
would add such joy to your days,
You could watch while Kerri and
Krista blossomed in so many ways.
I knew that your bond with ‘Doug’s
would grow as you shared your views
On how to re-cycle possessions...you
managed to buy quite a few!
You furnished your home with
treasures; some of them came to you
From Glenn’s expertise in the sales
barn - I listen to auctioneers, too!
And heirlooms of priceless value
were given a home in your care,
Entrusted from dear Aunt Margaret -
I saw your attempts to be fair.
Did you see how I gave you good
tenants to help you pay all your
I’m glad you acknowledged my
presence and followed the path of my
To help you I sent Anne and Larry,
and others who came with them too,
You’ll remember those winters of
With all of the fun things they’d
How you marveled that Chris and
Could fly down the slopes with ease,
They brightened your days with their
You thanked me on bended knee.
When Shirley and Lloyd came to
They’d take you to Steve’s for a
Then stay overnight in the guest
So everyone got a good deal!
You know I sent Wesley to help you
to manage your dear Shalamar,
When you couldn’t commute any longer
in your rapidly-aging car.
And visits from Ross and Marcia were
filled to the brim with fun,
As Eric and Ian explored your world
- your own special place in the sun.
Roy and Pauline kept the landscape
like a painting where every view
Took your breath away in amazement
that all of this could belong to
The Rose of Sharon, still blooming,
was delivered by Ross and Joan,
And Andrea shared great cat-tales in
person, by letter or phone.
Kind words from Isobel Bridgman gave
you courage to spread your wings,
And so many others assisted with all
the important things.
A gem known as Audrey Duncan played
a pivotal role for you,
Providing your city lodgings and
cheerful companionship, too.
I brought you Aunt Hazel and Linda
to be part of the Sinclair clan,
With Ruth and Elwood and others,
each person was part of my plan.
Your house offered peace and healing
to all those
who passed through the door,
Many left with a feeling of
lightness - who could ask for
Then one day I knew a great sadness
would fall on your heart so free,
For the friend you knew as your
Was called home to live here with
So I sent you a special angel - I
carefully selected him,
Knowing you’d help one another and
that you could depend upon Jim.
He took you to faraway places, great
vistas of beauty to see,
His grandchildren’s laughter will
In the shade of the “story-tree”.
But the time has come to make
changes - a new chapter waits to be
The valley has taught you its
lessons and now you must go on
Though your heart will be heavy with
For the sacred place you’ve called
I promise you future pleasures and
you’ll never travel alone.
Just trust in this new beginning and
take all your memories along,
The pathway will open before you and
your heart will hear a new song.
For nothing on Earth lasts forever;
I designed it exactly that way,
But don’t worry - Heaven’s like
And there’ll be no mortgage to pay!”
- written by Sharon Sinclair
with gratitude for answered prayers