Thursday Tidbits

Posted on August 30, 2018 under Thursday Tidbits with one comment



“Life is a highway; I wanna ride it all night long.”

Life is a Highway. Tom Cochrane

Unless there’s road construction.

What are the three great existential questions of our times? In no particular order, here are my choices, the ones I think about often: What is the meaning of life? How do they get the caramel inside a caramel chocolate bar? And how many people does it take to pave a highway and what metrics are used to determine the length of wait for the traveling public.

Questions one and two are pretty straight forward but I have yet to get a definitive answer on the road construction topic. Let me be the first to say that keeping our highways and byways in tip top shape is honorable and necessary. It is also the biggest inducer of road rage with otherwise sane people.

I am about to embark on a cross Canada road trip with my son and expect a great deal of road work. Let’s face it, there is no perfect time to repair roads but in a northern climate, the window of opportunity is narrower than that of, say, New Mexico.

I was traveling into town the other evening after a pleasant visit with family at Bayfield beach. It was a perfect summer day, with warm gentle breezes and a dearth of mosquitoes. We had just consumed a piece of coconut cream pie so my cheer couldn’t have been much better and I made the 15 minute trip to Antigonish.

Sorry. Let’s make that closer to 50 minutes. I was puzzled to see a lineup of cars in front of me on the Summerside Road where it meets the Trans Canada. I thought there might be an accident but I immediately knew what was going on. On my way to the beach, I noticed the road construction crew getting equipment in place around supper time on my way to the beach. There were enough temporary light standards along the side of the highway to light up the Rogers Centre in Toronto. Of course, I mistakenly thought that these lights would be used for overnight paving which is a stroke of brilliance when traffic is light.

Alas, they started the paving mid evening and traffic was at a standstill. I realize that the people holding the stop and go signs have a job to do and undoubtedly they have been schooled in traffic flow and road rage. Have you ever wondered (I know you have!) why they don’t use a timer and every ten minutes change the flow of the traffic? Obviously this is a simplistic and naïve notion and I’m certain someone can tell me why my logic is flawed.

I do pity the traffic control folks who stand in the blazing hot sun suffering from heat stroke and withering stares. It has to be the worst job in the world. I noticed an obituary the other day of this chap who had done this kind of work for decades. The cause of death was listed as boredom.

I am already dreading the thought of driving through Montreal. Driving in, around or through Montreal is a nightmare at the best of times. During road construction season, which seems to last 12 months a year, it is enough to make a grown man weep. I love Montreal. It might possibly be the greatest city in the world especially in the summer when it is hard to go a block without encountering a festival of one sort or another. There’s the Jazz Festival and Just for Laughs. You can saunter down St. Catherine’s Street and grab a world famous smoked meat sandwich or take a stroll up to St. Joseph’s Oratory or climb Mount Royal.

So, you must be wondering about the significance of the picture affixed to this story. What could a field of beautiful flowers have anything to do with road construction? A lot as it turns out.

When I am stuck on the off ramp heading to Verdun to see my daughter and granddaughter, I will close my eyes and conjure up images of The Landing and say OM as many times as necessary. That’s IF I can get off Highway 20. I just checked the road report for Montreal and this headline blared at me: Highway 20 ramps on Montreal West interchange to close until 2019.

No worries. I just called George Jetson and he has agreed to loan me one of his spacecraft so that I can avoid the traffic and fly into downtown Montreal.

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on August 27, 2018 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

“Farewell to Nova Scotia, the seabound coast”


“All things come to he who waits.”

Violet Fane

If patience is a virtue, then area skateboarders must be among the most patient people in history. A skateboard park has been the dream of this collective for decades. They have lobbied and fundraised and have been thwarted in their numerous attempts to find safe, accessible skateboard park somewhere within the confines of the town of Antigonish.

An announcement last Friday that a consortium of players would make the dream of a first class skateboard park a reality, has brought large smiles to the faces of the Antigonish Skate Park Collective. A piece of land adjacent to the old Municipal Building on West Street will be leased by St.F.X. to the group sponsoring the project. Fundraising for this initiative is underway. One hopes that the skateboarders haven’t grown too old waiting for this facility to actually get to use it themselves!

I am thinking of entering the contortionist competition at the Eastern Nova Scotia Exhibition which starts in a few days’ time. Don’t go looking for this in the schedule. I just made this up. My continuing attempts to deal with chronic pain, have led me to the doors of an osteopath. While his intentions are honorable, he seems bent on disconnecting my head from my torso. I have seen Brett “Hitman” Hart use hammerlocks and other nefarious moves to disable his opponent that blushes in comparison. I’m only kidding, of course. I keep chanting the mantra “no pain, no gain” in my attempts to manage pain.

I witnessed a lot of compassion last week. I attended the memorial service for the late Sarah Mulcahy at the new CACL/Legion complex. It was a beautiful evening and may serve as a model for other tributes. Many family, friends and colleagues eulogized Sarah. In attendance were several members of the staff from the RK MacDonald Nursing Home who provided care in Sarah’s final years.

I know that I’ve written about this before but going to the RK twice a week to do music has been an enlightening experience. I have realized that literally any one of us, regardless of age or current health, could end up in a care facility in the blink of an eye. None of the residents of the RK chose to get old and in fact, several of them are not old. I continue to be impressed with every person who works in the facility. Their jobs are not easy yet most of them have a passion for caring.

If you missed last week’s post, I’m trying to raise $5,000 to send to India for the victims of the flood in Kerala, the state next door to Tamil Nadu where I spent four months last year. A million people have been displaced and they desperately need food, clothing and shelter.  If you want to help, there is an account ( Investment India) in my name at the Bergengren Credit Union. I can also accept e-transfers at

As Wednesday is a travel day, don’t panic if you don’t see a post Thursday morning. But you will be deluged with travel stories over the next few weeks as Pete and I make our way across Canada from Victoria to Halifax.

Have a great week.

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Thursday Tidbits

Posted on August 23, 2018 under Thursday Tidbits with one comment

The Daughters of Mary providing relief for flood victims in Kerala, India


Heavy monsoon rains followed by mudslides have devastated the state of Kerala in southern India. Kerala is the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu where I spent four months volunteering with the Daughters of Mary in 2016-17. A million people ( approximately the population of Nova Scotia ) have been displaced and are in urgent need of food, shelter and clothing.

I received an e-mail from Sister Archana the other day. You may remember that she and I worked together to get the fifty new taps installed at the leprosy colony in Kannyakumari. The convent has become one of the relief camps and the sisters are trying to feed 3,000 people daily. Having lived there for several months, I understand what a strain this would be on their physical and financial resources.

So, once again, I am appealing to your generosity to help those who are in need.

I still have an account at the Credit Union that has been assisting the Sisters on an ongoing basis. If you would like to make a donation, stop by and tell them that you are contributing to flood relief in India and would like to make a contribution to the Investment India account that is in my name.

I am also accepting e-transfers at

It would be great if we could raise $5,000 ( 250,000 rupees ) which would be an enormous help. Be assured that every dollar will go to those who need it.

Thanks very much.


Me and Sister Archana

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