Monday Morning Musings

Posted on April 1, 2019 under Monday Morning Musings with 13 comments

The last word


All good things must come to an end.

Nothing is forever. Things change and time moves on relentlessly. And we get older. We have aches and pains and we have memory lapses. Our energy wanes. We’re just as happy to stay home with a good book as to go out for a night on the town.

The last post.

Yes, indeed. After writing at least two stories every week for over seven years on my website along with numerous other newspaper stories. I’m done. Out of gas. Finito. What started out innocently enough on a trip to Florida in November of 2012 turned in to passion which has resulted in four books and some 983 stories. But trying to be original week after week, year after year, has taken its toll. The well is dry.

Writing has taken me to places I could never have imagined. The very first story I wrote took place on a flight from Toronto to Tampa. I still have the boarding pass and the bar napkin on which I penned my first piece. I have written about travels throughout North America. Writing has taken me to the Taj Mahal and the slums of New Delhi. But mostly, writing has taken on a trip down memory lane. Most of these trips are in my head and I had so much fun trying to cobble together old memories, most of them good.

I have met and interviewed so many interesting and amazing people through Faces in the Crowd. Everybody’s life story is so unique.

I have had a lot of laughs, many at my own expense.

Rarely did I try and provoke people with political statements. Not that I don’t have some fairly strong views on the subject but there are enough (too many) news sources to get your daily fix. Mainly, I tried to entertain. To give you something light and upbeat as you started your day. Many people have told me that they start their Mondays and Thursdays with my “musings and tidbits”.

The best part of this experience has been getting to know you. Yes, you. Even though I haven’t met some of you, I feel that I have hundreds of new friends from different parts of the world. You shared your comments and occasionally your own stories.

So, there you go.

Come on now. You really didn’t think that I would stop at 983 posts with 1000 lurking just ahead?!

Check your calendar. It’s April Fools Day!

This is my last post until my next post which will appear as usual on Thursday.

You can’t get rid of me this easily.

Have a great week.


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Highland Hearing Clinic

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on March 25, 2019 under Monday Morning Musings with one comment

Free books all this week at People’s Place Library



“I’ve seen the grand old opry, and I’ve met Johnny Cash,

If that ain’t country, I’ll kiss your ass.”

David Allan Coe – If That Ain’t Country

Country and western music is making a big comeback.


According to C&W fans it never went away. Country and Western music wasn’t at the top of my playlist back in the 60s. Actually, there was no such thing as a playlist or Spotify back then. You bought the latest 45 and wore out Side 1. More often than not it was the latest release from The Beatles.

Our local radio station, CJFX, played contemporary music (the “Hit Parade” with John a Go Go mostly in the evenings) and also had a show for classical music lovers. But it was at the suppertime hour that “The Old Timer” played mostly country tunes. Hard core fans could get a daily dose of Patsy Kline, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Jim Reeves, Tammy Wynette and Charlie Pride and many more. And of course, they played a lot of Cape Breton fiddle music. (Scottish Strings)

It wasn’t that I didn’t like country music back then. There were just too many great bands and artists playing at that time.

My personal renaissance with country and western music has come from the most unlikely source: a nursing home. I play music there on a regular basis. Most of the music I perform is comprised of war era tunes and spiritual songs. At least it was at the beginning until I began getting repeated requests for Hank Snow and Hank Williams and a host of other C&W legends. My song book (playlist!)  now includes classics like “Crystal Chandeliers”, “Wings of a Dove” and “Ring of Fire”. I’m also learning a ton of more recent hits like “Daddy’s Hands” and “Lord I’m Waiting, I’m Ready to go Home”.

It took me a very long time (almost 68 years) to see the appeal for this style of music. The lyrics are generally stated simply. Nobody is going to take “Stand by Your Man”, play it backwards on their tape deck (while inhaling legal weed) and get some bizarre meaning. Most of the songs involve “hurtin” or “cheatin’”. The music is not overly complex. There are rarely more than four chords. The harmonies are straight ahead.

I guess you can say that I’m a late convert to the genre.

Speaking of getting one’s ass kicked, do you find that Facebook just becomes weirder and more aggravating with every passing day? Like many others, I’m on the cusp of declaring perpetual lent and giving up on this particular social media site. Initially, it was a great tool to keep in touch with friends but now it has become one giant trash can. Any mention of anything causes an ad to appear within 24 hours trying to get you to buy something.

The other day, an ad for a Brazilian Butt Lift appeared on my feed. You don’t know what that is? Apparently if your buns are not just the right shape, you can get them altered. The BBL (is this like BFF?) is a specialized fat transfer that augments the size and shape of your buttocks without implants. (I didn’t know that a person could get a buttock implant. Might this give a person a shitty outlook on life?) Excess fat is removed from the hips, abdomen, lower back or thighs with liposuction and a portion of this fat is then strategically injected into the buttocks. But hey, if you’re not happy with your current butt, you can make this transformational change for as little as $10,000. A sure fire cure for plumber’s butt? I think not.

“If that ain’t country, I’ll kiss your surgically altered, Brazilian Butt Lift”ass. Maybe I’ll write my own C&W song about this.

Free books.

All this week (Mar.25-30), I will be giving away copies of my first three books at People’s Place Library. It’s a fundraiser for Friends of Antigonish Library (FOAL). FOAL is a fundraising organization that provides funds to our local library for many of the essentials. Chronic underfunding of libraries is a serious issue in this province. So please feel free to come by and grab a book or two. If you are able and would like to, you can make a donation to FOAL.

At the end of the week on Saturday March 30th, I will be at People’s Place from 12:00 -2:00 to read a few stories, sing a tune or two, talk about writing and book publishing and signing books.

Have a great week.

Enjoy this? Visit the rest of my website to enjoy more of my work or buy my books!
The Macdonald Notebook: Business & Politics in Atlantic Canada

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on March 18, 2019 under Monday Morning Musings with one comment


Missed step misstep (with thanks to DMD).

The anatomy of health care.

I had a firsthand look at the health care system this week. Unfortunately it was as a participant. From all accounts, health care across Canada is not all that healthy. Many people don’t have a family doctor. There are long lineups at Emergency departments and long wait lists for many procedures. It is increasingly difficult to attract GP’s and specialists to rural Canada. An aging population will continue to put enormous strains on the system for at least another thirty years until the Baby Boomers “go gently into that good night”.

Last Wednesday, I was coming down a set of stairs. I had my guitar on my back, my songbooks in my hands and my mind in the clouds. Stairs are one of those many things that challenge those of us with progressive lenses. I missed the bottom step. My left leg (with a surgically repaired knee on three occasions) extended, planted and my knee went sideways. It was indeed a missed step misstep.

That evening, I ended up at the Emergency Department at our local hospital. My wife piled me into the back seat of our car like a 50 pound bag of spuds. You know you’re in for a long haul when the reception area and triage room are both “full to the gunwales”. We knew we were in for a long evening.

For two hours, it resembled the Brierly Brook jammed with ice. Nothing was moving. More people were arriving but no one was being called. Some people had already been there for several hours. I have a cursory understanding of the Emergency department. I fully realize that it is not a first come, first serve operation. They take the most serious cases first which is what you would want if you arrived with a serious problem.

We met some lovely people including a mother with a five year old daughter who were superstars. They waited five hours before being seen and neither uttered a single complaint the entire time. You could sense the frustration mounting around the room.

At 11:30 p.m. and with no end in sight, we finally bailed and went home.

The following morning, I called my family doctor’s office and they were able to take me immediately. There are many things I don’t take for granted. Having a family doctor is one of them. In the next few years, there’s going to be a huge exit of family physicians in our town and everywhere across the country. In many cities and towns, having a family doctor is a luxury.

My family doctor was able to get an appointment the next morning in Halifax with arguably one of the best orthopedic surgeons in Canada, Dr.Bill Stanish. Bill did the three previous surgeries on my knee. We had a great chat (he’s extremely personable) and I was relieved to hear that I had only ruptured my quadriceps muscle. Of all the possible outcomes, this was probably the best I could have hoped for. I have a partial tear. I couldn’t believe my ears when he told me that the best physiotherapy was walking! He believes I will heal in time to do the Camino in early May. He also suggested that I use a cane for support. I wish I had been quicker when he mentioned this. I would have replied “I will use a cane if I’m able.” If you’re not a Christian you might have to ask somebody who is.

Despite the understandable wait at Emergency, I would rate the overall service I received as exceptional. As battered and bruised as our health care system appears, it is still better than most.

I mentioned this in an earlier post. I am going to do a book give away at People’s Place Library from March 25-31. My first three books will be available at the main desk. For those who are able, you can make a donation to the library. On Saturday, the 30th. I will be at the library from noon until 2:00 p.m. to do some storytelling and music. I’ll also talk about book publishing. I’m no expert but after self-publishing four books, I know some of the dos and don’ts… especially the don’ts!

Have a great week. Watch where you’re walking!!!

Enjoy this? Visit the rest of my website to enjoy more of my work or buy my books!
The Macdonald Notebook: Business & Politics in Atlantic Canada

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