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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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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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on April 8, 2019 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

Some of these street hockey sticks have been around for 50 years


“The good old hockey game, is the best game you can name’

And the best game you can name is the good old hockey game.”

The Hockey Song. Stompin Tom Connors

If you’re not prone to fits of nostalgia or don’t care much for hockey, you can skip right to the bottom of the page or go and check your Facebook feed.

Another NHL regular hockey season is in the books. There was plenty of drama as the season wound down as several teams were on the bubble trying to make the playoffs. One of them was my old team, the Montreal Canadiens. Old, you say? Cheering for the Habs was my birthright as my mother was born and raised in Montreal. When I was born I knew I was going to be Catholic and a Canadiens fan. Neither was questionable or negotiable. There was a time that I lived and died on the outcome of every Montreal hockey game but these days, wins and losses are treated with a shrug. Call me old fashioned, but the original six prior to expansion, was the golden era of hockey.

I’m not going to suggest that hockey wasn’t business in the pre-expansion era. It just seemed that hockey was the primary focus back then rather than the gaudy display of glitz and glamour seen at many NHL rinks these days. Today, hockey is entertainment and business. You can attend a game in Vegas and never realize that a hockey game is the feature attraction.

Watching hockey on a Saturday night was a near religious experience for most Canadians back in the pre-expansion era. Families gathered around old black and white television sets and listened to Foster Hewitt or Danny Gallivan make the play by play call. On Sunday nights, we crawled into our bunk beds and listened to games on our transistor radios.

It is an interesting footnote; the last time that the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup was in the spring of 1967. The league would expand later that same year. To jog your fading memories, here is a short list of some of the players from the 1966-67 hockey teams:

Toronto Maple Leafs: Tim Horton, Dave Keon, Frank Mahovlich, Eddie Shack and Johnny Bower.

Montreal Canadiens: Jean Beliveau, Yvon Cournoyer, Henri Richard, Serge Savard, and J.C. Tremblay.

Boston Bruins: Bobby Orr (the greatest to ever lace them up), Gerry Cheevers, Derek Sanderson, Johnny Bucyk, and Don Awry.

New York Rangers: Rod Gilbert, Bernie Geoffrion, Vic Hadfield, Jean Ratelle, and Ed Giacomin.

Chicago Black Hawks: Stan Mikita, Bobby and Dennis Hull, Phil Esposito, and Glen Hall.

Detroit Red Wings: Alex Delvecchio, Gordie Howe, Doug Harvey, Paul Henederson (Yes. THAT Paul Henderson), Norm Ullman and Pat Stapleton.

This past Saturday, I decided to watch the last game of the season for Montreal as they hosted their hated (?) rival, the Toronto Maple Leafs. I question the fact that there’s much enmity in hockey anymore. In the pre-expansion era, you played every team with regularity. Bad blood became the norm especially in an era when fighting was an integral part of the game. My next door neighbor was a Leafs fan and the day after a Leafs/Hab tilt, one of us would be preening like a peacock while the other would be waiting for the next street hockey game to claim some retribution for the endless taunting. One year, I even sent a sympathy card to my neighbor when Montreal knocked the Leafs out of the playoffs. He wasn’t amused.

I’m long past the time that I will stay up late to watch an entire hockey game, even a Stanley Cup final. It’s a combination of old age and not really caring about the outcome. I watched this game to see (hear) legendary play by play broadcaster, Bob Cole call his very last game after 50 years in the booth. A rookie for the Canadiens, playing in his very first NHL game, scored a hat trick and the shootout winner providing a pretty decent script for Mr. Cole’s finale.

This was also the one year anniversary of the Humboldt tragedy. Every NHL team played a single stick outside their dressing room doors to mark the occasion.

If Bobby Orr comes out of retirement, I will stay up and watch every second of the game. My favourite player of all time and this, from an old Habs fan!

On the weekend, I had the honour of singing at a funeral of a former resident of the RK Nursing Home. I travelled to Louisdale and was welcomed as family. There’s something very special about funerals in small communities. They seem to be much more intimate and personal. There was a heartwarming and sincere eulogy delivered by the deceased’s nephew which is rarely seen these days at a funeral mass. I mingled with family at the local fire hall after mass. With a massive plate of homemade sweets on each table, I felt obliged to try a few so as not to insult the locals!!!

Have a great week.

P.S. This is Masters week. (Golf) This is the only television sporting event that I watch from start to finish. If I don’t answer your calls, texts, e-mails or personal messages, don’t take it personally!



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The Macdonald Notebook: Business & Politics in Atlantic Canada

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