Thursday Tidbits

Posted on April 8, 2021 under Thursday Tidbits with 2 comments

Weir Beach

 

“I want to run wild and live life to the fullest… but I also want to be in bed by 9:00 p.m.”

L.P. A friend of a friend.

A few days ago, while vacationing in Victoria, I received a dinner invitation. When I was asked what time would suit me best, I cheekily suggested 4:00 p.m. I was joking, of course… sort of. You see, with the three- hour time difference between B.C. and Quebec, we would actually be dining at 7:00 p.m. I know that is warped logic but when you’re travelling through time zones, you’re always making these kinds of calculations.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had a helluva time this year adjusting to the time change. I thought it might be attributed to living in the north but the more likely conclusion is that damn aging thing again. Everything seems just a bit more challenging when you’ve been stomping around the planet for nearly 70 years. So, it came as no surprise to me that flying west last week, kicked the crap out of me with the time zone change.

The first night, I managed to stay awake until 8:00 p.m Victoria time (11:00 p.m. Kangiqsujuaq time). I had been on the go for 18 hours that day. At precisely 2:30 a.m. I woke out of a dead sleep. Yup. My inner clock said “rise and shine”. I normally get up at 5:30 in the morning. Mercifully, I was able to get two more hours of sleep.

In the best of times, finding a 24- hour diner serving breakfast can be a bit tricky. During a global pandemic, I would have a better chance of finding the Oak Island gold treasure chest. With no cooking facilities in my B&B, my options were limited. The night before, I had dined with Peter at a restaurant, crawling distance from my accommodations.  I had a spicy rice bowl chicken thingy, and the serving size was befitting of a lumberjack. My B&B does have a small bar fridge and a coffee maker (two of the essentials) so I was able to doggy bag the considerable amount of leftovers and put them in the fridge.

Do you know what it’s like eating cold spicy rice bowl chicken thingy at 4:30 a.m. washed down with a steaming cup of Folger’s coffee? It was fantastic of course because beggars can’t be choosers and I have seen enough poverty in my travels to realize that my breakfast fare would be a meal fit for a king in certain parts of the world.

Speaking of lumberjacks, I received a message on my Week45 site the other day which led to an interesting exchange of e-mails. It’s not that I have a staggering number of readers that I don’t know but once in a while, I’ll see a comment and have no idea who’s messaging me. I try and respond to all my messages even though I often don’t receive them in the north with the questionable (?!) internet service.

It so happens that this gentleman is married to someone that I worked with about 150 years ago. He has a keen sense of humour. This line in his message broke me up: “I believe we have, according to J., (his wife) a great deal in common other than just rugged good looks, ripped abs, devastating charm and rapier wit.”

Now, I could probably write an entire page refuting all of this. I might be able to make the case that I have a certain degree of wit (and width these days) but as for rugged good looks, ripped abs, and devastating charm? Sorry, my friend. I’m delusional but only to a degree.

I’m happy to report that I have slowly adapted to the time change… just in time to fly back north and go through it all again.

Have a great weekend.

P.S. On a serious note, my neighbours back home in Antigonish, Shane and Stacey, suffered a devastating fire and lost everything. They and their two children are going to need a lot of help. Please consider sending a donation to this GoFund account and keep your eyes out for a fundraiser being organized by my daughter, Betsy at Piper’s Pub. https://www.gofundme.com/f/lost-home-and-all-belongings-in-fire. I’ll match your donations up to $250. If you don’t like GoFund me, e-transfer the money to me and I will see that Shane and Stacy receive it. Thanks a lot. (lenpdmacdonald@gmail.com)

Shane and Stacey have been good neighbours. They have a trampoline in their back yard. All three of my granddaughters have spent countless hours there.

 

 

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Thursday Tidbits

Posted on April 1, 2021 under Thursday Tidbits with 3 comments

Sailing off into the sunset

 

It was bound to happen. It was just a matter of time.

After 10 years and 1205 posts, the time has come to put Week45 to bed for good. Simply put, I have run out of gas. Have I finally run out of story ideas? Not really although I must admit that there have been many days when I had to scramble to get something ready for the 6:00 a.m. post. Let’s face it, the world would not have stopped or even noticed if I had taken the odd day off, but I always felt a sense of loyalty to my readers.

This grand experiment happened totally by accident. Paraphrasing Yogi Berra, I came to a fork in the road ten years ago and took it! On a trip to Florida, I wrote my very first piece on the flight from Toronto to Tampa. The rest, as they say, is history. A few people seemed to like my quirky sense of humour and before too long, I was writing for three newspapers. I’m not sure where the idea of writing a book came from but I decided to delve into the murky world of publishing. Originally (and quite naively) I thought I might be able to make a few bucks off this venture. Call it beginners’ luck but my first book sold over 1,000 copies. None of my other 5 books have reached such lofty heights.

Writing opened doors for me to travel. Undoubtedly, I would never have travelled to such far flung places as India and the Arctic were it not for my writing. The best part of the writing, however, has been this incredible connection with so many of you, some of whom I’ve never even met. It has been one long and interesting conversation.

So why am I hanging up my pen? There is a none too subtle pressure to produce stories every Monday and Thursday. It’s always in the back of my mind. As soon as my Monday Morning Musings has been posted, I immediately start wondering what I’m going to write about for my Thursday Tidbits.

In short, I am mentally fatigued and it’s time to take a break. A long, extended break.

I want to thank all of you for your remarkable loyalty… and stamina. Putting up with this nonsense for all these years should be considered purgatory on earth. You should all receive the Order of Canada.

Salut. Stay safe.

Have a great weekend.

P.S. It’s April Fool’s Day and I’m quite certain that I had a few of you going. Nah, I’m not going anywhere. You will continue to receive my mindless drivel for the foreseeable future.

P.P.S. On the weekend, I met up with four lovely, young women while out for my walk. When we finished, I invited them in for fresh coconut cream pie and apple crisp…. and tea… Red Rose. I’m not sure how we got on the topic of cremation but as we did, one of the girls let out an audible gasp. “Oh my God, I lost grandma.” She was staring down at the ring on her finger. She explained that when her grandmother died, she took some of her ashes and mixed it with a gel or cement and had it embedded in the ring. On our walk that day, granny disappeared. The ring was still firmly ensconced on her finger, but her grandmother was nowhere to be found.

Her reaction was somewhat odd. We all figured that the loss of something so precious would be devastating but she was quite sanguine and unperturbed. She felt that it was somewhat fitting that some of granny’s mortal remains would rest eternally on the lands of our founding people. What came out of her lips next was priceless. “I guess it’s better to lose granny on the tundra than behind a cushion on the couch mixed in with potato chips, cracker crumbs, and dust.”

Dust to dust. Ashes to ashes.

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Thursday Tidbits

Posted on March 25, 2021 under Thursday Tidbits with 2 comments

 

A good friend to have any day of the week

 

Surely by now, most people who have read all 1204 of my posts know that I’m a pretty optimistic soul, definitely a glass half full kind of guy unless it happens to be merlot! But I do have a darker side to me and occasionally I wander down dimly lit roads. Today is one of those days so if you’re not in the mood, go and check your Instagram account.

I hate cancer.

There, I’ve said it and everyone reading today’s post feels the same way. I realize that I am one of those incredibly fortunate people who is lumped together in the cohort known as the baby boomers. Because we grew up in an unprecedented era of new births, we had lots of friends. The math worked in our favour in so many ways. But now, the seesaw is going the other way and we are losing friends in unprecedented numbers. Obituaries are popping up with shocking regularity.

I know it seems irrational to vent one’s spleen over something that they can’t see, but with every new diagnosis and every death, my wrath grows. It is so sad and frustrating to lose so many wonderful friends. Tom, Irene, JoAnn, Jean…..Sorry, but the list is too long for me to go on.

There is never a good time to lose a friend or family member but in the middle of this gawd awful pandemic, it is particularly painful. Wakes and funerals are cathartic and a way to cope with grief. Having elderly loved ones die alone must be the worst thing imaginable. Not being able to celebrate a life well lived is just plain sad.

I have spent the past several months reading a novel about Terry Fox to my students. I do this religiously every day at 1:15. The class claims to hate it, but they have learned some important lessons about Terry and the devastation of cancer. Even after all these years (he died in June of 1981), I am still inspired by his Marathon of Hope. If I thought for a moment that a long walk would cure cancer, I would start tomorrow. Some of you have seen the map of the world’s longest walk from South Africa to Siberia. It’s approximately 22,000 kilometres long. Looking at the list of countries through which one one would have to travel, a person would have to have an armed guard as a chaperone.

I saw this post the other day. The source was not available.

“Grieving is like having broken ribs. On the outside, you look fine but with every breath, it hurts.”

To those of you grieving the loss of a loved one from cancer (or from any other cause), my heart goes out to you.

Sorry, but even a humourist is allowed to be pissed off by times.

Have a great weekend.

P.S. I am not about to suffer the wrath of my readers by suggesting that the loss of a pet can be compared to that of a human being but from what I know, it is every bit as painful. I feel for you too, especially TMD on the death of your faithful companion, Luna.

 

 

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