From Mr. Dilling…
Before expounding on the two follow-up experiences, though, I must exclaim with much excitement about the time I spent in Hensall. The warmth of the greeting from you and all those helping in THE HALL set the stage in such a warm way that it became a harbinger of the greeting that was yet to come. And how true it was. Those attending the reading seemed to enjoy the stories, and this made me feel so much at home and at ease as I delivered the tales. How appreciative I was of how people got into the act, and in many cases told me of some of their stories, as well as their interactions with people from my past. I felt truly blessed. In addition, I was so impressed with the effort expended by your committee to “deck the hall” with extra touches to create a favourable story-telling environment. The food: well, it looked fantastic, but we were so busy talking to people, and selling and signing copies of my book, that we were unable to enjoy the “goodies.” However, your committee was aware of that and compensated by sending home a package with us (delicious!). I recognize the trouble that your committee took to make the day rewarding for us, so I ask you please to communicate my appreciation to each and every person who helped during the day (relay this email to them, or express my sentiments by word of mouth).
Now, to the two follow-up experiences. The first happened as soon as we arrived home. Of course, we could not resist opening the bag of treats that you passed to me before I left for home. To be sure, it was just like Christmas morning experienced by a couple of kids. I suspect that you are unaware of how much I like to eat, so the salami, honey, mashed potato seasoning, Honey BBQ Sauce, and white beans to be transformed eventually into Old-Fashioned Baked Beans were all quite appropriate. To boot, you made sure they all represented products from the great County of Huron. Then, you carried on the same local theme with postcards of Hensall featuring images of yester-year, two ever-useful Hensall mugs, and a fascinating booklet acknowledging the history of the great Village of Hensall. You people really know how to seduce people and make them feel “wanted.” Bravo to all of you for your thoughtfulness. It was greatly appreciated.
Now that brings me to the second FANTASTIC experience. A couple of hours ago this evening, I thought I should have a quick look at the booklet about Hensall before typing a note of thanks to you and, through you, to the committee organizing “my day.” I know that by now you must have guessed what happened. I soon became so engrossed with the information that I couldn’t resist going through all the pages, at least in a cursory way, so that the hours passed before I knew it. What a treat to read such a thorough history of Hensall and to reacquaint myself with so many Surnames of people from my past. Again, what a thoughtful gift. I shall be spending many more hours at a later date to imbed myself in this history. I do notice that I spelled the name of Sam Rannie as Rennie in my biography. I don’t recall ever seeing him spell his name for us as he taught us music so I just spelled it as I heard it–phonetically.
In closing, Liz, I just want to say that the time I spent in Hensall last Sunday was overwhelming, so again I express my most heartful thanks to you and all your helpers for making it the experience of a lifetime. HENSALL, a home to be admired and with people to be lauded.
All the best!