THE FINEST HOUR – Marilyn Armstrong

I’m not talking about when Churchill saved England from the Nazi invaders and got their army out of Dunkirk. It’s three o’clock in the afternoon, the finest hour for retired people to have an appointment. The next almost as fine hour is two o’clock.

Why? Because even if you got up late, there’s enough time for coffee, a shower, a check of your e-mail, a pat on the heads of the dogs. It’s before rush hour. Or, as we put it, traffic will probably not be stuck in the middle of Milford.

It isn’t a huge town, but there’s only one road running through. Route 16, which is the only road from where we live and at least three other towns are located, to anywhere. There literally is no other road.

Route 16 is not exactly a road, either. Sixteen is a route. This means it is made up of a bunch of different roads each of which has its own name but are part of the same route.

Exactly what is it a route to? First, it was a horse and carriage route on which they hauled produce, lumber, whatever. Then it was a mail route from out here all the way through Boston out into Lynn and points east. Mostly, for us, it’s the only way to get there from here.

To no one’s surprise, everything you need is either on Route 16 or just off Route 16 on a small side road. Regardless, you have to drive the same good old route 16 to get there.

Upwards toward Route 98

It’s a middle-sized town with one road (Main Street, in town) in each direction. There is parking on both sides of the road. Biggest hospital in the area. Doctors offices. Veterinary hospitals. Restaurants. Medical buildings. Grocery stores and the occasion mini-mall.

Footsteps — mine — from house to road

Everything is on that route. I get tired thinking about it, especially today when we are having torrential rains and our driveway looks more like what it used to be — a seasonal stream.

Which was paved to become our driveway and the driveway of everyone on the south side (downslope) of Route 98.

A repaved driveway would be a really good thing!

It was one of the more brilliant moves by the idiot who built this house. I am told they actually ran him out-of-town eventually, but before that, he built a lot of houses in really awkward, inconvenient locations.

Like ours.

As you can imagine, it took us a while to add enough French drains, sumps, pumps, et al to keep our basements from filling up with water every time we had heavy weather, snow melt-off, or both.

For me, then, getting a 3 pm appointment in Upton — on the other side of Milford, but slightly north — is a winner. The receptionist knew it, too. She said “I think I have the perfect appointment for you. How about 3 pm on Friday, the 31st?”

“The WINNER!” I said with enthusiasm. It just doesn’t get better than that. Even on a snow day, it’s perfect because by that time, unless we’ve had a major blizzard, they have finally cleared the roads. Even ours.

Three pm. Forget the blue hour. Think three o’clock. It the senior circle’s finest time to do absolutely everything.

23 thoughts on “THE FINEST HOUR – Marilyn Armstrong”

    1. We were out all day taking pictures with Ben. He didn’t want to do any more river and waterfall, which is mostly what we have … so we took him to the farm. The roads are barely wide enough for two cars to pass each other. I realized once and for all how far away from the city we are. No shopping, no “stuff to do.” We have beautiful rivers and woods and some nice cattle and chickens and horses. Truly country!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I would be qutie the opposite, a 3pm appointment in Hobart would mean the possibility of missing the 4pm bus home and having to wait two hours for the next one. My favoured time for Hobart would be between noon and 1pm, get to town at 11:3o am and out again at 2pm. Luckily I don’t have appointments that often and never in Hobart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very much countryside and becoming more rural every month. Small towns are disappearing. No industry to generate taxes, too many people wanting to live in the country, but all wanting fancy schools and other facilities We don’t have the budget to do it. There are so many things we COULD have done but didn’t. So there is less shopping, more broken roads and collapsing bridges, fewer town events. Survival in a small town is difficult these days unless you are retired — or a child growing up. It’s great for kids.


      1. That’s why we moved to Hardy. We lived in Vancouver. They put police tape around the school and she was in kindergarden and had to walk through a stand of trees with tape because someone was killed there. I said get us out of here. The next day we were transferred to Hardy. It was great for kids. Freedom and play and no worries about that type of crime. Plus it was so small I knew what they’d been into before they got home, lol. They didn’t much care for that, but smirk smirk I sure did. Nanaimo has 90,000 plus and they can’t afford the events now. Mind you the corruption in local gov has come to light. Answers all!


        1. Small towns LIVE on corruption and it is so ingrained, there’s no escaping it. You just hope that some of them make decent choices. We have a few new faces and I’m hoping they do better. They can’t do much worse.


  2. Marilyn, this is a brilliant post, made me smile, giggle and I loved the pics. One person’s blue hour is when they sit quietly with a glass of something nice, yours is to get a 3pm appointment at the doctor’s. You are so modest!
    I take it you didn’t know at the time you bought your house that it was built over an undercurrent waterfall?! WE signed our knowledge that our house was built on an important ‘water table’ (phreatic water) laughing to ourselves and thinking How silly they are, they don’t even know that our house sits right on top of a hill…… until, 10 days later, after our removal to this place, we had water in the basement that cost us very dearly and ever since we invested huge sums of money to keep the water at bay….
    Hope your 31st appt. gives you the deserved happiness of having grabbed THAT slot!


      1. Now tell me what are FRENCH drains? Not that I need to know, the less French stuff I see and hear, the better 😉
        We DO have a lot in common. The sellers of our house pulled us over the table in every which way. Our friends here all said that we should claim against them. But we are honest Swss idiots, when someone tells us something we tended to believe them. Besides, they were old and although both had Uni professors’ degrees and were still asked to give lectures, Mrs has written several psychological books, this didn’t prevent them from lieing to us like nobody ever did in our whole lifes. Well, as we say; It’s water down the drain – we must look forward and not nourish resentments. I made myself ill for too long a time over their betrayals. Nothing is worth it.


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