Monday Morning Musings

Posted on April 22, 2019 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

Artistry in the window of The Plum Tree

Another Easter season has come and gone.

I checked earlier this morning and there were long lineups at every chocolate addiction centre in the province. Liquor stores are breathing a sigh of relief and bakeries are re-opening after 40 days and forty nights of denial. People have returned to Facebook. Yes indeed, Lent and Easter are in the rear view mirror for another year.

I’m not sure how young families celebrate Easter these days. I imagine that Easter egg hunts are still popular but I wouldn’t have a clue what the Easter bunny is leaving behind in the way of gifts.

Our mother kept the makers of hula hoops, jacks, red, white and blue sponge rubber balls and kites in business for decades. Oh yes, and those bat-a-ball gizmos.

When I think about Easter as a child, the overwhelming sense I get is that everything revolved around church which is not surprising when you grew up in “The Little Vatican.” When you were an altar server back in the 60’s, you may as well have camped out in the sanctuary of the church. From Palm Sunday to the mass of chrism, followed by the sacred triduum (the period from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday), an altar boy saw a lot of Tigh Dei. One of the highlights was getting to wear a red surplice over your white soutane.

In the days of large families and unshakeable faith, getting a seat at any of these services required careful planning as empty seats were non -existent. Most Easter Saturdays meant a trip to midnight mass. Before attending, ten pairs of shoes would be lined up on a piece of newspaper, waxed and polished until they shone like the sun.

In later years, I witnessed all of these events from the comfort of “the perch”, the choir loft at St. Ninian’s. The choir has been a mainstay at the Cathedral for over a century. A family member who was in the choir before me mentioned that quite often, members of the tenor and bass sections (men) would disappear during parts of midnight mass. No, they weren’t checking to see if the Easter Bunny had arrived but rather to celebrate the end of Lent with a small drink of rum… to keep their vocal chords in good working order.

Has there ever been a Good Friday that wasn’t steely gray, cold and wet?

Of course, food is always a big part of major celebrations and we couldn’t wait for Easter Sunday to have one of our mother’s famous pineapple squares. I noticed a FB post a few days ago where a friend confessed that she had eaten half of a lemon meringue pie in one sitting at the conclusion of Lent. I thought she showed amazing restraint.

I almost forgot about confession. Atonement is a key feature of Easter week. In case you missed it, here’s my recollection of going to confession. (


One is advised to never “put all their eggs in one basket”. There is one exception: Easter morning.

Have a great week.



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Thursday Tidbits

Posted on April 18, 2019 under Thursday Tidbits with 2 comments

A walk on the wildside


“Whenever I chance to meet, some old friends on the street,

They wonder how does a man get to be this way.”

Kiss an Angel Good Morning – Charley Pride

There are so many obvious benefits of walking. First and foremost, it’s good for your heart. There is an abundance of evidence to show that even moderate exercise can vastly improve long term health outcomes. And we’re not just talking about keeping our ticker purring like a cat. Many would argue, including myself, that walking is also good for the head. It’s an opportunity to clear the cobwebs. Very often, nagging problems can be solved by taking a solitary walk.

Invariably, I find myself humming a tune as I wend my way through the streets of town or on country roads. I can say without any hesitation, that music, in some way, shape or form, has been a part of every day of my life.

One of the other benefits of walking is that you meet other walkers. If you are a creature of habit, you generally see the same people on your daily walk. Sometimes you stop and chat while other times, it’s a simple wave of the hand if they’re on the opposite side of the road.

The other morning, I bumped into two individuals in two different locations along my route. After chatting with them for a few minutes, I walked away and thought to myself, “Those are two of the most decent human beings I’ve ever met.” Most of us are flawed human beings. But occasionally you meet people who just seem to be so damn nice. You always feel better having spent time with them even if it only for a few fleeting moments.

What are the common characteristics of folks like this? First of all, they always seem to be in good cheer. They smile easily. They rarely speak negatively about any person or anything. They seem to be blessed with inner peace and contentment. I’m quite certain that a longer conversation would reveal that their lives are far from perfect but in public, they just seem to have the gift of making people around them feel better. Oh yes, these two individuals are also very fine musicians.

In my years in business, I was repeatedly told by my mentors to surround myself with people who were smarter than me. That was a pretty easy one! They also told me to avoid negative people like the plague and to seek out people who exuded optimism. Positive people beget positive people.

Speaking of music, I perform a lot of music for people who have dementia. Someone sent me this quote (author unknown) the other day which succinctly describes the power of music for those who have lost so much to the ravages of time.

“Music takes a person to a happier place in time, and is a potent stimulus for reaffirming personal identity and social connectedness. Familiar tunes and lyrics can be recognized across all stages of dementia. So, whenever possible, sing, hum and move along to your loved one’s favourite song!”

On this Easter weekend, why not get out for a walk. You’ll feel great and you just might bump into some people who will give you hope in a troubled world.

Optimism and good cheer are contagious. See if you can contract some of it!

Happy Easter.


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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on April 15, 2019 under Monday Morning Musings with one comment

The happy wanderer


“I love to go a wandering, along the mountain track,

And as I go, I love to sing, my knapsack on my back.”

The Happy Wanderer

Placebo or the real deal?

CBD oil: Update #1.

My last article on CBD oil generated a lot of interesting discussion and comments. It would appear that there are many people my age who are dealing with a variety of pain issues. This is hardly breaking news. We’re all getting older.

Possible remedies? Over the counter medicine like Advil. Physiotherapy, osteopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic therapy, cortisone shots, meditation, yoga, reiki, massage, reflexology, tequila, chocolate ice cream. The list is endless and I have tried all of them. Interestingly and maybe coincidentally, all of my pain issues surfaced after I gave up alcohol almost 9 years again. I might have to have to reacquaint myself with “the Captain” one of these days if all else fails.

I have been consuming CBD oil for one week. The first night I took half the recommended dose as my particular concoction contains a small amount of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis. Zero effect. The second night, I upped the dosage to 75% of the recommended dosage. Same result. On night three, I filled the eye dropper to 1ml. By the way, CBD oil tastes a bit like 10W30 motor oil. I worked at a service station in my teens and inadvertently came in contact with motor oil. Actually, there’s very little taste but it’s oil so it’s going to have the texture of oil.

On a full dose, I noticed one small change. I slept better than I had in some time. I didn’t experience any “high” after taking the oil. We all know the healing powers of sleep and many pain sufferers don’t sleep well. It would be a stretch to say that there’s a significantly noticeable difference in my pain levels, but something positive happened over the last seven days. However, I’m not about to declare victory.

I suffered a fairly serious leg injury (ruptured quadriceps muscle) a month ago. The accident also exacerbated my existing pain issues so basically everything in my body hurt with the possible exception of my toe nails. I was told by my surgeon that the healing would begin to surface in a month which leaves me wondering if it is CBD oil or time that has caused me to feel better in recent days. I will continue the experiment for a few more weeks before heading off to Spain to do the Camino. Even though marijuana and its derivatives are now legal in Canada, it would be folly to carry any of these products in a foreign country. I may have to substitute some excellent Spanish red wine for CBD oil for a month.

I am frequently asked about my apparent wanderlust. I’m not the only person who likes to travel, see new things and experience different cultures. If you have the time, good health and the resources, there’s nothing like travel to broaden your horizons. Don’t forget, eternity is a long time so if you plan on living and doing things, you better get a move on. Time’s a wasting.

I took a nice two hour walk with my backpack out to the end of Williams Point yesterday morning. The sun was coming up and the birds were chirping. A little bit of heaven on earth.

Happy Easter week.


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