Thursday Tidbits

Posted on April 30, 2020 under Thursday Tidbits with 3 comments

Doctor’s Brook, Nova Scotia

(Pete MacDonald Photo)


So long, April. Close the door behind you.

I never lament the passing of a day, a month or a year. Every day is precious. Yes, in our lives, we are all bound to have an “annus horribilis” a Latin phrase that the Queen used many years ago in one of her year- end speeches. It means “horrible year”. All of us might look back on April as our collective “annus mensis” or “horrible month”.

It can be safely argued that there has never been a time in most of our lives where virtually everyone on the planet has been experiencing something similar. There is no question that those who died of Covid-19 are the primary victims but there has been a lot of collateral damage, not the least of which is the global financial crisis that is going to be felt for a very long time. We know that our children and grandchildren will be a part of the workforce that will be responsible for paying down the trillions of dollars of debt incurred by massive injections of money into the economy in the past few months.

Equally devastating might be the long- term emotional and psychological effects of social distancing. We have not been able to see loved ones in the flesh. We have not been able to mourn or celebrate; tears of joy and sorrow have been, by and large, a solitary exercise.

The indescribable tragedy in Nova Scotia has left us all feeling bereft, bewildered and lamenting the loss of innocence. And terribly, terribly sad. Something so incredibly horrible could never happen here… but it did.

Many of us found comfort listening to music and sharing music with others. Others watched virtual masses on Facebook. We tried to stay connected as best we could. None of these things can replace a warm embrace.

Amid all of the gloom, one person stands out as a beacon of hope, a voice of optimism in a sea of despair.

Avon Brophy is the mother of Heidi Stevenson, the young RCMP officer who gave her life while trying to keep others safe. Avon spent many years in Antigonish and was a well-known and well-respected member of our community.

Like so many others, I reached out to Avon in the days after the tragedy. Her response was calm and reassuring. Since then, I have seen a few of her posts. I have no idea how someone has the fortitude to speak words of wisdom and comfort to all of us when, surely, her heart is breaking. Her words have been a soothing balm. Her courage in the face of unspeakable pain almost defies comprehension.

All of us have been reaching out to thank many people whiplashed by the pandemic and one of the saddest days in the history of Nova Scotia. All of them deserve our heartfelt gratitude.

Avon Brophy stands above them all in my humble estimation. We all need something to hold on to even though that is physically impossible these days.  But words often transcend outward signs of affection and Avon’s words give us hope for better days ahead.

I certainly don’t have the authority to issue a province wide decree but if I could, I would say the following: “Thank you, Avon, on behalf of all Nova Scotians.”

In the words of Rita MacNeil, “You discovered a treasure no other has seen.”

May Heidi rest in peace.


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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on April 27, 2020 under Monday Morning Musings with one comment



Watercolor by Faith MacKinnon – Pleasant Bay, N.S.


A few updates on the Coronavirus front.

I know that you probably trust Dr.Teresa Tam and Dr.Bonnie Henry more than you trust me. That is hardly surprising, but they get to go out of their houses every day to do their press conferences so they’re probably not going shack whacky.

The longer this goes on, I am starting to notice some things going on in my apartment that are worrisome, perplexing, and often amusing.

Take for example, the porcelain cat. I know that this cat is an inanimate object, but I swear to god that it is starting to move around the room. And even worse, I am also certain that I heard the cat singing “Wasn’t That a Party” – “I saw someone under my kitchen table, talking to my old tom cat; They were talking about hockey, the cat was talking back…”

My bathroom scale is voice activated. I call it a shaming device. I have refused to get on it recently as I know it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. When I had to move my belt buckle up one hole to accommodate my expanding girth, I reckoned I better do the deed. I stepped on the scale. This sarcastic comment came up from the regions of my feet – “Only one person at a time is permitted on the scale.” The scale is now in the recycling bin. “Take that, you arsehole.”

Ok. You have watched every single Netflix movie at least once. You have watched Outlander twice, Breaking Bad 5 times and Downton Abbey 12 times.  Back in the 1960s, it was all the rage to play vinyl records (33s) backwards to see if you could uncover some hidden meaning. Once I figure out how to do this with Netflix films, I hope to do something similar. Of course, I will know the ending before the beginning but who cares. When you’re living alone during a pandemic, it hardly matters if your actions are peculiar. The only person who might notice or care is the porcelain cat.

I have noticed that my hardwood floors are starting to fade but just in one particular area. It is the runway between my armchair and the fridge. The fridge has also developed a sense of humor and starts laughing every time I come near. I keep a supply of protective masks close at hand to at least temporarily stop me from eating.

Apparently, alcohol sales are up 40% across the country. Did you say 400 %? I have done my share to keep that part of the economy functioning on all cylinders. As a matter of fact, my contribution has been so significant that I have been forced to take out my recycling under the cover of darkness for fear of embarrassment.  I never realized the weight of 15 wine bottles. I’m joking. There were only 9 in the last bag.

Maritimers are always kidding each other about “storm chips”. Yup. At the first hint of a snowflake, pandemonium ensues as people nearly cause a stampede at the grocery stores as they go to pick up the essentials of life in case the power goes out: candles, matches, and potato chips. “Corona” chips take this to an entirely different level. These babies are like storm chips on steroids. Nobody knows when we will be allowed to get outdoors more often (There are some telltale signs of confinement in this piece!). One can’t have enough corona chips in the house.

I realize that most of this post centers around food and drink. Yeah? And so what.

For years, I used to go for a long run early every morning until my body rebelled. Then I took to long distance walking until I went up north and a polar bear sighting curtailed my enthusiasm for long walks in the outdoors. Because I had to immediately quarantine upon my return to Nova Scotia, even short walks weren’t permissible.

Now that I can get out of the apartment for my morning waddle, I have to go through the door sideways.

I do hope this all ends soon. I am getting strange looks from people who see me walking a porcelain cat.

Have a great week.

P.S. The painting that accompanies this post was done by Faith MacKinnon, an 18-year-old from Pleasant Bay. I met her during my Cabot Trail walk. She is smart, talented and engaging. She is planning to go to CBU this fall to take Mineral Resource Engineering. She travels by bus 2 hours each way from her home in Pleasant Bay to her high school in Belle Cote. Her artwork is available at the Whale Interpretive Centre in Pleasant Bay.



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Thursday Tidbits

Posted on April 23, 2020 under Thursday Tidbits with no comments yet

Pete MacDonald Photo


Full disclosure. I did NOT write this piece. I saw it somewhere the other day and felt I had to share it with you. Apologies to the author. I couldn’t find your name.



You know time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. It seems like yesterday that I was young, just married, and embarking on my new life with my mate. Yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all those years went.

I know that I have lived them all. I have glimpses of how it was back then and all of my hopes and dreams. But here it is…the winter of my life, and it catches me by surprise. How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my youth go? I remember well seeing older people through the years and thinking that those “older people” were years away from me and that winter was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like.

But, here it is…my friends are retired and getting grey… they move slower and I see an older person in myself now. Some are in better and some worse shape than me… but, I see the great change. Not like the ones I remember who were young and vibrant… but, like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we’d be.

Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore… it’s mandatory! Cause if I don’t on my own free will… I will just fall asleep where I sit!

And so… now I enter this season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did! But, at least I know, that though the winter has come, and I’m not sure how long it will last… this I know, that when it’s over on this earth… it’s over. A new adventure will begin!

Yes, I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn’t done… things I should have done, but indeed, there are also many things I’m happy to have done. It’s all in a lifetime.

So, if you’re not in your winter yet… let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life, please do it quickly! Don’t put things off too long! Life goes by quickly. So, do what you can TODAY, as you can never be sure whether this is your winter or not!

You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life… so LIVE FOR TODAY and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember… and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past!

“Life” is a GIFT to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after. Make it a fantastic one.

Remember: “It is health that is real WEALTH and not pieces of gold and silver.”

  • Your kids are becoming you… but your grandchildren are perfect!
  • Going out is good… coming home is even better!
  • You forget names… but it’s OK, because other people forgot that they even knew you!
  • You realize that you’re never going to be really good at anything… especially golf!
  • The things you used to care to do, you no longer care to do, but you really do care that you don’t care to do them anymore.
  • You sleep better on a lounge chair with the TV blaring than in bed. It’s called “pre-sleep.”
  • You miss the days when everything worked with just an “ON” and “Off” switch.
  • You tend to use more 4 letter words… “what”… “when”…?
  • Now that you can afford expensive jewelry, it’s not safe to wear it anywhere.
  • What used to be freckles are now liver spots.
  • Everybody whispers.
  • You have 3 sizes of clothes in your closet… 2 of which you will never wear.

But “Old” is good in some things:

Old songs. Old movies…

And best of all, our dear… OLD FRIENDS!

Stay well, “OLD FRIEND!”

Have a great weekend.



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