Everybody loves a lover

Ed Smith
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Springdale - a lover's paradise! That's according to VOCM radio news, I'm told.

I didn't hear the item myself, but this lady is usually fairly reliable so I'll take her at her word. I have before and it hasn't worked out too badly.

Yes, ma'am! We are the new Niagara Falls, the new Paris, the new Hawaii, the new North Sydney. Evidently people are lining up to come here for their romantic weekends, their lover's trysts, their attempts to revive flagging relationships.

I'm not surprised. I warned Other Half sometime during the late '80s to stop boasting about our relationship, but she wouldn't listen. As I feared, people started thinking it was the water or something around here and now we're being inundated by hormone-driven people seeking new thrills and destroying Springdale residents' reputation for being conservative (note the small "c," Stephen Harper) and God-fearing people.

We won't watch any movie with a higher rating than 14+. If it has "viewer discretion advised" tacked onto the screen, we turn off the television. At least I do. I'm not sure about OH.

Don't talk to me about Niagara Falls. We have Rattling Brook Falls just 15 minutes away in one of the most scenic little communities this side of the Okanagan Valley. They're very high and, this time of year, quite spectacular. We also have Indian River Falls. Not nearly as high, but more than enough water to keep a fairly active honeymoon couple reasonably clean.

The article said that what's attracting people here mainly is the new Riverwood Inn. I have to admit the setting is second to none and the inn is rated at 3 1/2 stars, which is 3 1/2 more stars than the Toronto Maple Leafs have on their hockey team. It has all the latest stuff considered necessary for fooling around.

But a fundamental mistake is being made here. Note by "fundamental" I'm not referring to anything religious or denominational, although I would not want to rule them out of the goings-on completely. It's been my experience that … no, don't think I'll go there.

The error has to do with age - more specifically, the perceived age of those who are being attracted to the boondocks for fun and games. I'm willing to bet that when you read the first line of this epistle you immediately had visions of young honeymooners and young adults in other categories rushing around naked as jaybirds in the bushes that surround Springdale.

In your mind you saw erotic pictures hanging all over the rooms not just of Riverwood, but the other hotels, motels and B&Bs which adorn the locality. I should tell you here, so as not to arouse the ire of the people who run those places, that such is probably not the case. I don't think you can find a Playboy in one of the drugstores in Springdale. I haven't looked, mind you, which isn't surprising for a person of my advanced age.
Here's the thing. Many, many years ago, a few of us decided we should set out to make

Springdale into a retirement community. There is no fishing here, the mines had closed and logging was rapidly coming to an end. Make it attractive to seniors, we said, and they will come.

So we did and they did. Today, we have seniors homes and cottages galore, and retired people coming out of the woodwork buying houses to settle down. Unfortunately, we reckoned without some of the nastier side-effects.

At that time, we knew nothing about Viagra or Cialis, and wouldn't have believed it if we'd been told. It would have been the same as someone trying to make us believe that practically every home would one day have a computer and a VCR-type thing for showing private films. Don't need them anymore, of course, because now you can see it all on television.

Forget young people and their hormones. What we have now is hordes of people wandering the streets of Springdale at night pushing walkers and looking for action.

Perhaps some of you can remember what happened in San Francisco in the '60s when free love first reared its ugly head. Just add to that crowd another 40 years, another 40 pounds and another 40 years of marriage and I don't have to draw you a picture.

I'm told that the seniors abodes are nothing short of hotbeds of romance and passion. The Riverwood people say - and this is true - that last year they turned away over 1,000, but that's only visitors. The real seekers of pleasure in Springdale stay in their own homes and lock their doors. It's unfortunate that most seniors homes won't let their "guests" lock their room doors at night, thus inhibiting, however slightly, the level of activity in those rooms.

I'll tell you how bad it's getting. We had a call today - and this is also true - from a couple in their 60s wanting to know if they could have a room in our house for the weekend. I told them we didn't have anything like the Riverwood Inn has to offer, but the lady said that was OK. All they needed was a bed and a room with curtains on the windows.

No one bothers anymore with watching whales or seabirds diving off cliffs or eagles swooping down to pick up stray cats and crackies. It used to be that when seniors were considering a place for retirement, they were interested in the closest hospital or the nearest doctor. Not anymore. Now they're concerned about the nearest drug store and whether or not it's open all night.

Those of us who live staid and uncomplicated lives in beautiful Springdale are worried about property values and the effect all this will have on our teenagers.

Nanny and Poppy are not the "rocking chair" set anymore.

Ed Smith is an author who lives in Springdale. His e-mail address is edsmith@nf.sympatico.ca

Organizations: Riverwood Inn, Toronto Maple Leafs

Geographic location: Springdale, Niagara Falls, Paris Hawaii North Sydney Riverwood Okanagan Valley Indian River San Francisco

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