I had just seated myself in a comfortable chair in the staff room at Rideau High School here in Ottawa, a couple of years before my retirement. My hand was wrapped around a cup of coffee when a stranger to our school entered the room.
I had not seen him in the school before and he looked somewhat lost and so I inquired if I could be of any help to him.
"I was just wondering where I could get a cup of coffee" he said.
I showed him where the coffee was and invited him to help himself. It was obvious to me that he must be a spare teacher who had been called in as a replacement.
It wasn't any time until the two of us struck up a conversation. I soon learned that he was replacing our music teacher for a couple of days and that he had served in the Canadian armed forces band.
He told me his name was Don Lake.
"Are you from this area?" I asked, to which he said he wasn't but was hoping to get a permanent teaching position with the Ottawa Board of Education.
Eventually we got around to talking about where our roots were and he told me he was from a little village that I wouldn't have heard of; Oakwood!
"Don, my hometown is Lindsay so you know I certainly have heard of Oakwood" I replied.
He told me that he didn't spend much time in Lindsay although being a musician he was called upon now and then to fill in with an orchestra from the town.
"It's so many years ago that I can't remember the name of the orchestra but what I do remember vividly is where we practiced. I would follow the directions given me to get to the house where I remember walking in the front door and, once inside, noticed that to the left was a small den. Straight ahead were the stairs leading to upper floor and if one went to the right of the stairs it led to the kitchen."
"We used to practice in a room on the immediate right as you entered the door, and the first thing one could see was a piano. The pianist was a young lady with red hair and it was her parent's home that we used for our practices."
It was eerie; the chills began to run up my spine. You see, Don Lake had just described our family home at 18 St. Paul Street and the pianist he described to me was that of my eldest sister!"
Regretfully it was time for Don to go to his next class and we never had the opportunity to further our conversation.