Love means many things to many people. Love of a child or a grandchild. Love of a partner. Love as companionship. Love of a friend. First loves. Lasting love.
We use the word love to express our affection for food, for travel, for art, for music etc.
In a relationship between adults, love is often preceded by lust. Figuring out when lust turns to love can sometimes be complicated, and it can come in many forms. Humans are a very complicated species after all.
All this came to mind when my friend of over 60 years, Wynne Honsinger came to visit with his new love, Peggy Ann Cole.
Wynne and I grew up together as children, in our hometown of Vienna Ontario. His parents grew tobacco on my parents’ farm. His brother married my sister. Both our first jobs happened to be racking pool balls and running the till at Earl Smyth’s barber shop. We were in the same classroom all the way through elementary school. We share nieces and nephews and some friends. His brother passed at 58 years old of cancer, as did my sister 2 years later.
We have lots of history together but not a lot of personal time with one another over the past 40 years or so.
Our lives diverged after high school. Wynne went to university and I went to work. We kept in loose contact, but our lives were very different. I married, had children, moved to Aylmer, Lindsay, Truro Nova Scotia, London and eventually back to the Aylmer area.
Wynne had several relationships over the years, but for one reason or another, never settled down, got married, or had children. He chose his own path doing things his own way. He instead focused on a career in social services, built a large network of close friends and focused on becoming the best he could be at whatever he tackled.
I gravitated to contact and team sports while he leaned primarily to individual sports. Our sporting interests never had us playing or competing together, but I admired his drive and determination.
When Wynne decided he was going to try a sport, it was normally an individual sport like skiing, golfing etc. He was not content to just participate. He was driven to excel – and excel he did. Glendale high school in Tillsonburg was a basketball juggernaut in our time there. As a single “A” school we competed against much larger schools all over the province and often came out on top.
Wynne was determined to make the varsity team and very much through his own hard work and determination, he single handedly became good enough to make the team. However, at the last minute, he lost his nerve and did not try out. Regretting his decision, he moved to other sports after school and with like determination became a prolific skier and golfer – at one point becoming close to a scratch golfer. Impressive!
As Malcolm Gladwell proclaims in his book Outliers, “if you put 10000 hours into perfecting a task or an objective, you will become exceptional in that field”. That is Wynne in a nutshell. A singular focus has made him exceptional in his areas of interest.
In addition, he is very well read, a terrific writer and very articulate. It was good to see him and catch up.
Which brings me to Peggy Ann Cole.
Peggy has done what no other woman in 67 years has done. She has stolen Wynne’s heart!
Peggy is a lovely woman inside and out- silver hair framing expressive hazel eyes, a joie de vive, captured in an easy laugh and a wanderlust driven by curiosity and a willingness to help others. Whether single or attached, always with the intestinal fortitude to see the world on her own terms if and as necessary. She is worldly, having lived in several countries around the world, and thus has a perspective that underscores her intelligence. In short – a catch!
Wynne had not dated for over 20 years. He was not looking for a relationship. In fact he had given up on love, instead focusing on his network of friends and a newfound passion for travel. Over the course of 2 years, he travelled – nay explored – every nook and cranny of all Canada has to offer. First from Ontario to the East Coast, all the way to Newfoundland and Labrador. As an encore he did the same from his home in Collingwood Ontario, to British Columbia. All the while camping and sleeping in the back of his Jeep “Lucky”.
There were few roads not travelled on his journeys, meeting countless people and making new friends along the way. All the while documenting his experiences in vivid detail though his daily blog. It became a “must read” for those curious enough to follow his travels and experiences through his writings.
He had never left North America to explore the world, so in March of 2023, he made it his mission to see some of Europe. Taking a deep breath, he booked a cruise, knowing it would push his limits of personal comfort. Travelling alone can be daunting, particularly of you are in a country where you don’t speak the language or understand the customs.
Undeterred and with his customary zeal for life, he chose to leave from Fort Lauderdale and cruise to the Azores, Paris, Rome, London etc. and experience the history and beauty of Europe.
Little did he know that a lovely lady named Peggy Ann Cole had made a last minute decision to take a similar cruise, though one that would have her change ships 10 days into the journey. Peggy was living in St Petersburg Florida and a seasoned “cruiser”. She knew her way around a cruise ship and often travelled with a gaggle of girlfriends.
On this particular cruise there was a “singles bar” where like minded cruisers could meet up and converse and perhaps make connections and build friendships to make the journey more fun and comfortable. After all, we are all a little more given to courage when we are with others.
While out of his comfort zone, Wynne was determined to make the most of this journey and on a whim decided to join others at the bar on the first night. Quite by happenstance, Peggy, along with her friends had made a similar decision.
Fate and serendipity collided on that night.
Wynne, single for 67 years, was mesmerized by this beautiful, charismatic woman. Peggy, was almost instantly drawn to this man from Canada, that could carry a conversation, had a quick wit and was very attractive.
Before long they were making excuses to see each other. “Randomly” bumping into each other on the deck, showing up by “accident” to the same events. Wynne saw Peggy on the dance floor and thought “I want to dance with this woman”. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, he did just that.
Over the course of a very few days, it was evident that there was something between them. Wynne had never felt this way before and reached out to me via social media to tell me he was smitten.
Then came Rome.
Wynne’s itinerary took him to Rome for a few days, while Peggy was destined to carry on with her journey to points beyond. She had lived in Norway for over 30 years, had family there and was headed that way.
As love will sometimes dictate, as soon as they parted ways, the heart was wounded and suddenly empty. “I have never felt this way before”. “Is this real”. “How/when can I see this person again”?
Well if the heart wants it, the brain will find a way to make it happen. What the heart wants, is often what the heart gets. To hell with the consequences!
As in any great love story, Wynne and Peggy continued to communicate over social media. They were seemingly falling in love, though it had only been a few short days – though a lifetime for someone in that situation.
Who can explain chemistry, or love at first sight. Some will claim that it doesn’t really exist. But if so, “why you, why me, why us, why here, why now?” Complete strangers meeting and immediately finding themselves enthralled with one another!
When their respective cruises had finished and they were back home – Wynne in Collingwood and Peggy in St Petes, they made plans to spend more time together to see if this was real or a passing fantasy.
Love? Or lust?
Wynne and Peggy have many things to work out. Geography, politics, lifestyle, finances etc. Is this doable? Can love overcome all?
Peggy has been to Collingwood twice now. First for a few days and then for several weeks. Karen and I were honoured to host the lovebirds here at our cottage for a few days. Peggy says Muskoka is in many ways similar to Norway – and she loved it. She is a lovely lady with a great smile, and a love of life.
They have booked another cruise for late August, for 28 days to Iceland, Norway and points beyond and are already working on plans to spend more time together – perhaps wintering in the US and summering in Canada.
I have never seen Wynne happier.
May love remain and follow you both for many years to come!