Thursday Tidbits

Posted on November 29, 2018 under Thursday Tidbits with no comments yet

Twas the Night Before Christmas


Can you feel the pace quickening?

Yes, in two days’ time, we’ll be into December and the madness will begin in earnest. I find it mildly distressing that the bugler has scarcely blown the final note of The Last Post on Remembrance Day, when Christmas music fills the airwaves. I won’t go on my “Scroogey” diatribe about the excesses of the holiday season. I love Christmas and especially Christmas music, just not 24/7.

I was fortunate enough to be the Emcee for the Tree Lighting ceremony last weekend at Columbus Field. I was actually a last minute substitution as our MP was unable to attend. Several people in the audience were mildly disappointed. After all, they were expecting someone tall (very tall!), dark, handsome and youthful. I’m zero for four on those counts. I’m short, pasty, ordinary looking and old.

Part of my duties was to read “The Night before Christmas.”  When I was doing my sound check before the throngs arrived from the parade, I threw the sound crew a bit of a curve ball. I held the colorful book with this time honored poem and began to recite: “Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house; there were bottles and butts left around by some louse”. The guys had a good laugh. In this day and age of electronic devices I was surprised and pleased to watch the rapt faces of hundreds of youngsters as they listened to the story of St.Nick. Make no mistake, reading to our children and grandchildren is still something very worthwhile.

And speaking of reading and the like, books are an excellent Christmas gift. Alert. Shameless self-promotion coming at you.

I am expecting my books to arrive no later than next Friday, December 7th. They will be available at the 5 to $1.00 but if you can’t wait until they find their way onto the shelves, give me a shout and you can get them directly from me. By the way, a giant shout out to the 5 to $1.00 who are huge supporters of local writers and musicians carrying our products in the store. I plan to be at the store on the evenings of December 19th and 20th to sign books.

There’s a new banner on my Week45 homepage that will take you to Amazon for on line purchases. My Week45 Facebook page also has a link to the new book. I am also planning to have Chaos and Wonder: Six Months in India as an e-book.

Johnny MacLellan drove a taxi for seventy-two (72) years and during this time, he never had an accident or had a driving infraction. He was always dressed smartly in his cab drivers uniform with his cap perched on his head. He drove for royalty, politicians, the religious and folks just like you and me. He had the common touch. I got to know Johnny in the latter stages of his life. He was an amazing raconteur and shared stories of some rather legendary trips. He also had a wonderful sense of humour. I asked him recently how he was doing. “The first hundred years are the hardest.” He was 96 when he told me this! Antigonish has lost another iconic and colorful character. Johnny passed away earlier this week.


Want to get into the Christmas spirit in a very meaningful way? St. James United Church will once again be hosting a Christmas Day dinner for anyone needing or wanting one. It is a great event and you can help in any number of ways. “Your donation of time, food or financial support allows this event to fill hearts and bellies with the warmth of the season.” If you’d like to help out, please check out this link:

Have a great weekend.



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Highland Hearing Clinic

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on November 26, 2018 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet


“My trip to India was serendipitous and the book you are about to read is a chronicle of the events I witnessed, the people I met, the places I visited, and, most importantly, the stories of the amazing people of India, who have forever changed my life and my perspective of the world in which we live.”

I am pleased to announce the birth of my fourth child. I have no idea what labour pains are like and won’t dare risk the wrath of offending mothers out there, but the birth of a book is both painful and joyous. Actually, it’s more like relief which one can only imagine is one of the things the mother of a newborn feels to go along with the joy.

Two years ago in late October, I got on a plane and flew to India. As the above noticed passage from the preface of my new book “Chaos and Wonder: Six Months in India”, indicates, it was indeed a life altering experience. Now, I get to share it with you. My book is now available on line. I’ll have a link on my website soon but if you want to order right now, here’s where to go:  “. So, whether you’re in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Sydney, Australia, or Sidney, B.C., you’ll be able to order my book and have it shipped to your door before Christmas.

For those of you living in Antigonish and surrounding area, the book will be on sale very soon at the Antigonish 5 to $1.00. If you want a book autographed, come to my book launch at People’s Place Library on Tuesday, December 18th at 7:00 p.m. Tentatively, I will also be at the 5 to $1.00 on the evenings of December 19th and 20th to sign books.

I am quite pleased with the finished product and hope that you will enjoy it.

Oh, the book sells for $ 14.99 (Cdn)

I was thrilled to receive the first submission to the newest feature on my website called “Guest of Honour” where you get to submit a funny story and have it shared with millions of readers. Would you believe 2,000?! I absolutely loved “Hair to Dye For”. Scroll to the bottom of my homepage if you missed it.


I note with sadness the passing of two extraordinary people. Jack and Judy O’Donnell have left an indelible mark on our community and beyond. Their many accomplishments have been noted elsewhere but I think the work they did to transform the lives of persons with disabilities will be their lasting legacy. The rich, full lives of those with intellectual challenges in Antigonish are a testament to the efforts of many people but one would be hard pressed to identify a couple who contributed as much as Jack and Judy. They were lovely, kind and compassionate people.

On Sunday December 2nd, there is an event honouring Jack and Judy:  “Celebration of Life: Remembering Jack and Judy through Story and Song”. It will be held at St. Ninian’s Cathedral beginning at 7:00 p.m. It should be a wonderful evening.

Finally, please consider supporting the “Lights of Love” campaign at the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home. Money raised this year will go towards a Therapeutic Bath System. To donate, follow this link:

Have a great week.


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Highland Hearing Clinic

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Guest of Honour – Hair to Dye For

Posted on November 22, 2018 under Storytelling with 2 comments

(This story was contributed (anonymously) by one of my loyal readers- my first Guest of Honour submission.)

There are times when you just have to leave vanity at the door.

In my early twenties, I was shocked to discover wee strands of hair that did not match my normal colour. Yes, shocked and not one bit pleased. I tried to hide these annoying strands by wearing braids, ponytails, and fancy updos. And plucking. In my late twenties, I broke down and purchased hair dye. The process was no easy task for someone who had hair almost to her waist. This ritual went on for a couple of years until finally I made the decision to shorten my hair and ask a professional to colour it.

I want to say that I have one of the most trusted and excellent hairdressers. She is funny, offers me treats and is the perfect listener, three traits that would endear her to even the most discerning customer. She offers suggestions for styling and can cut and style with accuracy and confidence. We are good friends and share common interests.

Well, there are times when things don’t go exactly as planned.

One day, after she put the colour in my hair, I sat in a nearby chair to wait for the magic to work. Things were progressing normally. We chatted, told a few stories and shared a few recipes. About fifteen minutes before the timer sounded, the lights flickered a few times then finally went out completely. I was fine until I noticed the shocked look on my stylist’s face. She announced that she could not rinse my hair as the outage had affected the water pump.

Well, weren’t we in a fine pickle? Initially I thought she was kidding about the inability to rinse my hair. When her face shifted from humour to panic, I knew she was concerned. We both looked at each other with an expression that said, “Well, what in the hell do we do now?”

She said that I did not have much time and that I must hurry home immediately and rinse it out myself. She handed me a clear plastic shower cap to cover the wet mop on top of my head. I put it on and if I must admit, I was a sight for sore eyes. Another wave of panic washed over me as I considered the drive home some fifteen minutes away. The critical path would take me down Main Street. With vanity rapidly coming to the surface, I requested a baseball cap as a clever disguise. In my attempt to affix the lid to my head, I punctured the shower cap. The wet mass underneath erupted. The Three Stooges couldn’t have pulled this off better than I did.

The clock was ticking.

I raced towards my car and as I reached the door, a gust of wind came out of nowhere and blew the cap off my head. The cap could have gone anywhere but when fate intervenes, all bets are off. I looked left and I looked right. I looked high and low and sure enough, there it was sitting harmlessly under the car. I got down on my knees to retrieve the offending object. As I started to get up, a second blast of wind ripped it out of my hands. Any passerby may well have heard expletives. The cap rolled gracefully to the other side of the car. I grabbed it, more forcefully this time and got in my vehicle.

I was about to adjust the front mirror above the dash but chose otherwise. I was too afraid to see how I looked. I hummed a few bars of the popular Carly Simon hit, “You’re so Vain”.

I commenced the journey home. Inching along Main Street, I encountered a Power Corporation truck coming in the opposite direction. I lowered my window and flagged him down, asking him when the power might be restored. If the fix was imminent, I would just turn around and go back to the hairdressing shop. As I looked up into the cab of the truck, I saw a familiar face. In a million years I did not expect the driver to know me. It was my cousin. My clever disguise had failed as he immediately recognized me.

He rolled down his window. The look on his face was priceless. He broke into hysterics. At one point, his body tilted noticeably to the right. He lay across the seat, laughter emanating from the depths of his belly. He came up, gasping for air. Well, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. His laughter was infectious.

When we had both composed ourselves, he informed me that the power would not be restored for at least a few hours. Apparently a tree had fallen about a mile away, knocking down power lines and preventing traffic from moving forward as it landed in the middle of the road. When I found out that this tree had fallen on the road leading to my house, I could feel my heart palpitate.

I had no choice but to continue along my way. Not surprisingly, I was stopped by a flagman. I was the first vehicle in the lineup. I put the car in park and flipped on the radio. My head alternately bobbed up and down. I didn’t want to face the flagman but I was forced to look his way to eventually get the all clear signal. A flagman’s job is usually filled with boredom but on this day, the young fella had a good laugh at my expense.

After twenty minutes he motioned me to proceed. I could only imagine the discussion around his dinner table that evening!

I finally made it home. I ran up the steps and made a beeline for the kitchen sink and who was standing there but my husband. No words were exchanged. I gave him a threatening look that a smile, a chuckle or a single word would be met with retribution.

“Get me a towel. I’ll explain later.”

I stood over the sink and started applying water, praying that I hadn’t cooked my hair.

I remembered the popular television commercial airing in those days.

“I’m gonna wash that gray right outta my hair.”

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