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Dear Editor,

The Other Big Apple” will be gone, and what will take its place? My family’s experiences in this area would suggest the following: “Meaford … mighty neighbourly”. Or possibly “Meaford … mighty, neighbourly”.

We moved to Canada from Wisconsin just over three years ago. I am Canadian by birth and wanted both to “return home” and also be closer to my ageing parents. But I did not want to move back to where I grew up and be forever making a comparison to childhood, because you can’t go home again. We fortunately secured jobs in Collingwood but also, in our spare time, drove over much of southwestern Ontario looking and looking. 

Even a year before that, in snow that became a blizzard, we had scouted out the south shore of Georgian Bay. Didn’t stop anywhere for long, but something about Meaford caught our attention. Finally, one more search criteria was added - our daughter wanted to farm. We knew, as ex-farmers, how difficult that could be without help. We hoped to be able to afford a place both for her to get a start at farming soon and for us eventually.

Long story made short: we were able to purchase a small farm near Meaford. We are very grateful for this beautiful farm, and equally grateful for the region. To our surprise and amusement, as we met people in various capacities during this process, many of them stated that they would be our neighbours - even if they lived 17 kilometres away!  

Any dictionary defines neighbourly as characteristic of a good neighbour, especially helpful, friendly, or kind. And people have been neighbourly, both personally and professionally. Even if they don’t understand why we do what we do, still they have been supportive - or at least accepting. As for mighty, we’re constantly surprised by the number of opportunities available in Meaford area. 

My daughter has not only started farming, but also been in local theatre productions. She has raided the (overstretched) library. With time, she might consider going again into 4-H, curling, hockey, … or possibly new challenges such as Dragons' Den. In other words, she feels accepted by people from Meaford, both newcomers and birthright. Yes, my husband and I are still in Collingwood, but we are trying to find an opportunity that will allow us to move to our farm in Meaford. Because now we know that when we move there, we’ll find it to be, yes, mighty neighbourly. And that sounds like a good place to be.

Linda Kellner-Miller, Collingwood

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