Monday Morning Musings

Posted on August 2, 2021 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

 

The Skyline Trail on a hazy summer day

 

I don’t know about you, but I am (im)patiently waiting for the dog days of summer to arrive.June was a pretty decent month, but July was quite wet. On many days, it rained cats and dogs. We are by nature, an optimistic lot, so here’s hoping that the summer and fall bless us with some warm, sunny weather.

The weather isn’t helping the battered tourism industry. I took a spin around the Cabot Trail last week with two friends and colleagues from Montreal.

Chad and Emma made their very first trip to our province last week. Chad had the good sense to propose to Emma, and doubly so, by going down on one knee on the waterfront in Halifax. We had a few days together including a tour around the Cabot Trail. As I have commented in this space before, it is infinitely easier to drive the Trail than to walk it. I still shudder at the thought of walking from Cheticamp to Pleasant Bay in one (hot) day (42km) while navigating French Mountain and Mackenzie Mountain. I must be nuts. I can see you all nodding in agreement.

Sadly, there wasn’t much traffic on the Trail and tourism operators are suffering. They are seeing a small increase in traffic but not nearly enough. Many of my readers have been to Le Gabriel restaurant in Cheticamp. It is normally very busy with every seat in the front and back sections of the restaurant flat out. On the day we stopped for dinner, there was a grand total of three tables of patrons.

I think Chad and Emma would agree that the highlight of the trip (other than spending 14 hours of quality time with yours truly!), was the walk on the Skyline Trail just on the outskirts of Cheticamp at the top of French Mountain. The path is easily negotiable by most able- bodied people. It is wide and well graveled, and it is flat. The reward for a 45- minute walk is one of the most spectacular views on the Cabot Trail. It was hazy the day we were there and at first glance, I thought it was fog but in fact, I discovered later that it was smoke from the wildfires in Ontario. Chad commented that it was the most beautiful thing that he had ever seen upon reaching the 314 steps at the end of the path. Had he known about Skyline, he might have delayed his proposal. They reenacted the scene although this time, Emma went down on one knee. I called this a “counter proposal”!

I am deliriously happy to announce that my four children will be performing at Piper’s Pub this Friday, August 6th from 6-9 p.m. They are in town to push their dad over the cliff into his 70th year on the planet. There is no admission or cover charge. They haven’t had the opportunity to perform together live for some time now. I can’t think of a better birthday present. Why not drop in, have a brew and a bite, and listen to some great music. I might even take the stage to sing Neil Young’s “Old Man” which seems quite appropriate.

I am about to embark on my second attempt at medical marijuana for pain relief. The first time was shortly after marijuana became legalized. I went to the NSLC and got some CBD oil but honestly, I didn’t get much relief. In retrospect, I should have done more homework and stuck with it a little longer. This time, I will go through a federally regulated cannabis clinic to seek advice on what to take and in what dosages. I have an interview with a medical expert in mid -August. I’ll keep you chronic pain sufferers posted.

This has been yet another edition of “Len Lite”, the new moniker I will use when I don’t have much to say.

Have a great week and stop in at Piper’s on Friday evening.

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on July 26, 2021 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

Still crazy after all these years

 

“And we talked about some old times,

And we drank ourselves some beers,

Still crazy after all these years,

Still crazy after all these years.”

Still Crazy After all These Years – Paul Simon

 

Addictions.

“Ooh, Len. Too heavy a topic for Monday.”

I’m always curious why otherwise sensible people (you know who you are) continue to read my posts. I asked an old friend this very question last week. She and her husband taught at the same school as I did some 45 years ago. She might well remember the staff Halloween party at the STM gym when a half dozen teachers from the Maritimes, affectionately known as “The Wise Men From the East” paraded through the streets of Fairview, Alberta as a six pack of Schooner beer. Crazy then and still crazy after all these years.

There are well known addictions such as alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, and Boston cream donuts from Tim’s. With the exception of the last one, all of the above wreak havoc with one’s health and family life and are a terrible scourge.

There are other addictions that are a bit more subtle like salt and sugar, which, used to excess, can cause multiple health problems.

There is another long list of food products and activities which can seem excessive, but really, is it possible to eat too much chocolate or play too many games of cribbage?

So, why does my friend read my posts?

The answer to the above question to my friend stopped me in my tracks. “I’m addicted to your humour.”

Long pause. Let that one sink in.

When one considers all the vices that the world can dish up, I don’t think an excessive amount of humour could possibly cause a person any harm. Laughter IS the best medicine or possibly a glass of merlot. I have done my best throughout my life to surround myself with people smarter than myself (that was an easy one) and people who don’t take themselves too seriously. Serious people are a drag and will drag you down with them. This quote pretty well sums it up: “Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution.” Being in good cheer is a choice. If you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, might I suggest you move over to the other side and go back to sleep.

Let’s face it. It’s not possible to be in good cheer all the time. Poor health, tragedies and the like will quickly wipe the smile off even the most upbeat person, but that is life as we know it. Rudyard Kipling said it best. “If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same.” Easy to say. Hard to do.

Another one of my faithful readers opined that I perhaps dwell a little too much on my advancing age. I do mention it frequently but most times it’s tongue in cheek. In my head, I feel much like I did 50 years ago. My body tells a different story. A few of you are lucky. You are not deranged, going on 40km walks just for shits and giggles. You have treated your bodies as temples and are finely tuned machines, well into your 70s and 80s with nary an ache or pain. We hate you. Not really. The rest of us are a bag of creaking bones and joints.

Unless you have conveniently skipped my last three or four posts, the rest of you know that I am going to do two of those deranged walks on August 9/10 to mark my 70th birthday. In conjunction with the walk, I’m hoping to raise some money for a Youth Day to be held in my northern community of Kangiqsujuaq. You can send me an e-transfer at lenpdmacdonald@gmail.com or stop by the Bergengren Credit Union and tell them you want to contribute to Len’s Walk.

Besides my long walk around the Cape, how do I plan to acknowledge this milestone (millstone!)? Among the possibilities are a nose job, a second tattoo or perhaps a piercing. All three might evoke some strange looks and a call to my doctor.

There are many things that I will probably have to give up in the years to come but I hope to never relinquish my sense of humour.

“He who laughs last, laughs best”. Nietzche.

Have a great week.

P.S. I want to welcome two colleagues from Montreal, Chad and Emma. Hope you enjoy your stay in “Canada’s Ocean Playground”.

 

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on July 19, 2021 under Monday Morning Musings with 2 comments

 

Leah’s Beach Treasures

 

“Roll out those lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer,

Those days of soda, and pretzels and beer,

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer,

Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer”.

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer – Nat King Cole

What does one do on a lazy, hazy day in the summertime?

Last week, I had the pleasure of spending mornings with my two young granddaughters. In truth, I didn’t have to do a whole lot because, as we grandparents know, it is much easier looking after two children than one. No explanation required. They did arts and crafts, spent some time on their electronic devices, and hung out at local playgrounds. In the middle of the week, one of them had to go away with her mom for a few days leaving me to amuse an 8-year-old.

Now, as fate would have it, the first day of one on one child care coincided with the British Open golf tournament. I used to play a lot of golf and thoroughly enjoy watching the four “Majors”. I particularly enjoy the British Open because of the time difference. The golf comes on early in the morning Atlantic time (in the middle of the night for you west coasters) and winds up early in the evening. If you are masochistic (and single), you can get away with watching approximately 14 hours of coverage.

I started watching the first round at 6:30 a.m., two hours before the arrival of my granddaughter. It was one of those lazy, hazy days of summer. It was warm and breezy but overcast. She asked me if she could start off her morning with some screen time. I barely blinked. She settled in with her iPad and I continued to watch golf. I daresay that both of us would have, in all likelihood, been quite content to rot for the entire morning doing nothing but gazing at a screen.

After one hour, my Catholic guilt got the better of me. While it wasn’t an ideal beach day, it looked like a perfect day for beach combing. Our quest? Beach glass. Believe it or not, in Nova Scotia, Canada’s Ocean Playground, there is a Facebook page (Halifax Adventure) highlighting the best beaches in the province for finding beach glass.

We drove to the public beach at Bayfield. Not surprisingly, the parking lot was virtually empty at this time of the day, especially on an overcast day. We crossed the boardwalk and made our way to the beach. Our toes had scarcely touched the warm sand when my granddaughter excitedly called me over to where she was standing. “Look what I found?” Instead of a smooth piece of green glass, she was holding two nickels which she had found in the sand. I knew we wouldn’t return home empty handed!

The quest began. We had the beach to ourselves. The only other living things were two extremely bored lifeguards and one highly annoying horse fly. I realize that a horse fly fits somewhere into the food chain but as far as I can tell, God made horse flies to test a human’s sanity.

The weather was ideal for this activity. There was no hot sun beating down. The waves gently rolled in, and a warm wind embraced us, keeping all but one, pesky insects away from us.

I hadn’t been beachcombing in a long time, but it became evident that there are two essentials to finding beach glass: you need very good eyesight, and you need the ability to get close to the ground. On both scores, I rated a big fat zero. I was more or less reduced to being the bucket carrier. Yes, I could easily identify rotted out crab shells and stones but trying to spot small pieces of beach glass was virtually impossible.

As it turns out, the pickings were slim. My granddaughter, down on her haunches, was able to find 14 small pieces of glass. She also found many interesting stones and shells which were added to the bucket. For more than an hour, we inched our way along the shoreline, slowly and methodically. If you find life rushed, may I suggest that you go beachcombing with a young child. It is the perfect activity to slow you down.

It was peaceful and pure bliss. The only sounds were the waves and the odd seagull passing overhead. The smell of salty ocean air was divine.

One cannot end a day at the beach without ice cream. We drove over to the wharf but sadly, the ice cream stand wasn’t open, which was perfectly understandable. When we returned to town, we visited an ice cream stand a few hundred yards away from my apartment.

Summer is about many things but spending time with a young child at the beach is one of those things that is priceless.

It is a chance to bond and to relive your youth.

It doesn’t get much better than this. As long as you don’t have to bend down!

Have a great week.

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