May 2020 Randy Thur
It’s not easy to pick up roots and start somewhere fresh, far away.
It means saying goodbye to trusted colleagues, good neighbours and dear friends. It also means leaving behind familiar, well-loved places packed with memories.
Randy Thur remembers those feelings well.
In 2016, he and his wife moved to Ottawa from their 50-acre property at Golden Lake, just south of Pembroke. He put down roots years ago by that big lake, designing and building his own home.
As his children grew up, he tended the property, mowing an acre of grass and growing a large vegetable garden filled with asparagus, corn, tomatoes, beans, squash, onion and carrots.
He always liked to get his hands dirty in his garden, even after those darned raccoons repeatedly raided his corn patch. “I tried everything,” he says, “even an electric fence. After the dog died, the raccoons just moved in.”
His roots in Golden Lake are deep. Ancestors on his father’s side arrived there in 1857 from Prussia. (His mother’s side, Irish, arrived in Ontario after the 1840’s potato famine.) As a boy, Randy grew up around Golden Lake and later raised his own family there.
That place had always been home.
Moving to Ottawa after retirement was a big step, involving many changes. However, being a friendly, gregarious man, it didn’t take him long to make new friends. This was accomplished in large part by giving back to his new community and becoming a volunteer.
Randy has many volunteer activities. One of them is helping out with the Friends of the Central Experimental Farm. He’s a bit of a Jack-of-all-trades, it seems. In the spring and fall, he’s active with the Shelterbelt Team. He and other volunteers help take care of the trees, shrubs and perennials there. This includes doing the necessary weeding, mulching, pruning and cleaning there.
It’s a short walk away from his home to the Shelterbelt. Sometimes he and his wife even like to take a stroll there so they can enjoy the rustic, farm setting and he can show off his handiwork.
Randy also helps with the annual Friends of the Farm book sale – a big fundraiser – as well as the annual Mother’s Day Plant Sale and a short fun run through the Farm, both organized by the Friends.
He has the best of both worlds these days, with year-round friends in Ottawa and friends back at Golden Lake too. He still owns a cottage there and returns every summer.
Aging well, he reckons, should include friendships.
What better place to find them than by joining the Friends of the Central Experimental Farm?
Randy Thur is a lucky man, aging well indeed.
By Julianne Labreche
Photo courtesy of Randy Thur