Never Miss a Sunset By Nancy Loucks-McSloy

The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.~Henry Miller

Growing up with the golden sands of Sauble Beach at my doorstep, I realize now how rich we really were. Fondly referred to as the “Daytona of Canada,” Sauble Beach, Ontario is famous for its eleven kilometres of pure, golden, sugary sand, embracing the warm, clean waters of Lake Huron. When I visited my relatives in the “city,” I envied their beautiful houses, their stylish clothes and even the cookies that came out of a bag instead of the oven! As I take a nostalgic look at the past I now know that what we had money could not buy.We lived on a modest farm on Silver Lake Road, just a mile or so from “the beach.” My parents had grown up during the Depression, so frugality was a way of life. On the other hand they were so generous and giving. My dad would grow a huge garden to feed us throughout the winter and there was always enough for the “city” relatives to come and visit and take fresh vegetables home.We seldom went out for a fancy dinner or to a movie, but one thing that we did from the time the weather turned nice in the spring until the snow came and the lake froze over was to go to the beach. My father always said, “Never miss a sunset.” In the early spring we would sit at the beach, watching the icebergs as they moved in and out, and of course watching for that beautiful sunset. As spring turned into summer, we would go to the beach and swim until it was time to watch the sunset. Summer would turn to autumn, when the evenings were chilly and the water would begin to get rough. As we watched the waves, listening to them hit the shore, we would wait for those last sunsets of the season, knowing that soon it would be winter and we would be waiting for spring to once again watch the sunset over the lake.I grew up, married and moved away from the beauty of the lake and its breathtaking sunset. My parents retired and looked forward to summer when our children would spend summer holidays with them. Our children are now grown with children of their own, but they still talk about the days when Grandma and Grandpa would take them to the beach to swim and how Grandpa always said, “Never miss a sunset.”During his golden years, Dad would spend his time in the spring puttering around, making maple syrup and preparing to plant his garden. He would come back from the sugar bush in time for dinner and to take that short drive to watch the sunset. During the summer, he would work in his garden, or relax under the beautiful twin maple trees in the side yard. Evening would come and he would say to Mom, “We better go for an ice cream cone and eat it while we watch the sunset.” Autumn was no exception. He still took that short jaunt to the lake shore most evenings.Dad had lived there from birth; the only time he had been away from home was during World War II when he was in the army. He always said, “There is no place like home.”It was early spring. Dad called with some urgency in his voice, asking us to come and visit for the weekend. We went and helped him do a few things around the farm. When we finished our work he said, “We better go and watch the sunset.” That was the last sunset that I watched with my dad. A week later, we got the call. Just the night before, he and Mom went to the beach and watched their last sunset together. Suddenly he had been called to another home. The news was devastating and our next trip home was for his funeral. Spending the next several days at the farm, grieving and not knowing what to do with myself, I would wake up early, drive to the beach to watch and listen to the waves. I felt as if Dad were with me. Every evening, I would say to my family, “If Dad were here he would say never miss a sunset,” and off we would go to watch God’s artwork, reminiscing about a wonderful husband, father and grandpa.The memories of the sunsets of the Lake Huron shores have never left my heart. No matter what season I am travelling in the area, I feel an urge to be at the “beach” for the sunset. The spiritual healing that I have had just sitting on the beach, watching the sunset is more than money could ever buy! Living in our crazy “rat race” world I have learned to “take time to stop and smell the roses” and to “never miss a sunset.”