Say It Isn't So

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Abou ben Adam (may his tribe increase!)
awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight of his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
an angel, writing in a book of of gold.
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adam bold,
And to the Prescence in the room he said:
"What writest thou?" The vision raised its head,
And, with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?"said Abou, "Nay, not so,"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerily still, and said, "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one who loves his fellow men."
The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again, with a great awakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo! Ben adam's name led all the rest.

- Leigh Hunt
(1784 - 1859)

Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring except for a cat and a mouse.

My American Legion's Annual Children's Christmas Party. This Santa arrived on the back of a Fire Truck. As Sargeant-At-Arms it was my job to keep the children in line.

There is a trunk that we keep our Christmas decorations in. It is a large metal one that stays out in the garage until this time of year. I have been lugging this trunk around since it was given to me in 1969. It carries more than lights, bulbs and ornaments. It is loaded with memories which come to the surface as I open it up to decorate our little plastic tree. This trunk was to carry my belongings out west to the Banff Springs Hotel. I had obtained a summer job there that would last until University started again in the fall. At the time the hotel was only opened for the summer. Students came from all over Canada, first to clean it, then to open it up and help it operate smoothly. It was a grand hotel. I was a chamber maid who lived in a dorm with about 30 other chamber maids up on the 13th floor. We had our own cots and the trunk sat at the foot of mine. I worked from 8:00am to 4:00pm, five days a week, and then we each had to put in an evening shift from 6:00pm to 10:00pm one night each week.

The town of Banff sits at an elevation of 5,000 feet or so. I don't know if it was the altitude, or the attitude of being without parental supervision, but I had a tremendous amount of energy. Even after spending the day making beds, vacuuminig carpets, emptying trash, cleaning out bathtubs (some still full of water - yuck) sinks and toilets, when the evening came along I was raring to go! My best new friend, Squakinbush, was a waitress in the dining room (she got more in tips than I made in a day) and when her shift was done we would walk the mile to town. There was a folk cafe (no alcohol) that operated out of a church basement. We would go there and listen to the Dylan wannabees (both the poet and the singer). I met a guy there who was just travelling through on a summer's adventure. He and some friends were camped about 5 miles out of town on the Bow River. He invited me to visit there camp. So on my next day off they gave me a ride out there in an old GMC truck/van. The river was off the road a ways and we hiked on down there. I was treated to a barbeque lunch and some guitar and jaws harp playing. Unfortunately, it was my night to work so I had to get back to town. To my disappointment there was no offer of a ride back and of course as an independent cuss I didn't ask for one. So I commense to walking. A car passes and I think about sticking out my thumb but decide that is too dangerous because I am alone. Another car goes by and the same thoughts run through my mind. About 5 minutes after that car passes me I am confronted by an animal in the road ahead of me. It's a wolf and it is standing there in the middle of the road between me and my hotel. We stand there staring at one another like a showdown between gunfighters in the middle of town. Except I am not in my element here. I'm a city girl. Up till this moment my idea of wild life is the dirty old man whipping open his trench coat as I walk down the street. This is a whole new world! This face off lasted a few minutes when the wolf jumps back off the road and into the forest. Now I have a choice I can backtrack the short distance to the campsite in the hopes that I can find it again, or keep heading to town. I figure there is a good chance that I wouldn't find the campsite because it was off the road, so I march forward past the spot where the wolf dove into the woods. I realize that this is bear country and Yogi and Boo Boo are not of this world after all. I am extremely nervous and am now actually praying that another car would come along so I can beg a ride. I find myself a really big stick and carry this with me down the road as my eyes dart back and forth left and right. It took forever to finally get back to the hotel. Time was moving on a different plane for me on that day. I was so very pumped to boot. I found Sqaukinbush and let my adrenaline pour out on her pour little ears. Soon I was back down to earth. The next night we were heading off to town again. Back to the little Coffee house for some R and R. We have to cross a little bridge to get to that part of town and as we are doing so, a rather large gray and white dog comes charging across the bridge bounding right by us. It comes to me that that was a wolf! What I had seen the day before was actually a coyote. City girl gets an education!

This little adventure replayed through my mind as I'm decorating the tree. Trees in a forest full of bears, wolves and coyotes.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


You made this Honkey laugh, and even though your Jennifer says you left with a smile on your face, you made this Honkey sad.

Rest in peace!

Saturday, December 10, 2005


When I was in high school one of my favourite subjects was geometry. My instructor, Mr. Horsnall, used to always give us our homework assignment about 10 minutes before the end of class. I would always manage to get all the problems solved, but one (out of ten) before class was let out. I wanted to get them all done before time was up, because then I would not have to lug the books home. It was a 3 mile trek to home and there were other subjects that I was not so proficient in that required actual homework on my part. So volumes were hauled, at first in a loose stack, then eventually, in a vinyl case that zippered around 3 sides.

The first thing to occur when arriving home was the snack. Something to tied me over until supper. Then I would take command of the dining room table and commence to being studious. It was all mine until the dinner hour when it was my job to set the places. My eldest brother and sister were already out on their own: my brother, in the Air Force in Baden Baden, Germany, and my sister, married with children. So it was usually just me, my other brother, Mom and Dad. I know we all say this, but my Mom was the greatest cook in all the world! Oh how I miss her cooking. I try and try but cannot duplicate the taste, but I must admit, after 35 years I am getting closer. Anyhow, I digress.

All my homework would be done but that one geometry problem. At bedtime, I would first sit in my window and stare up at and ponder the Universe. Then I would reread the unyeilding deduction before turning out the light. When I awoke in the morning the problem would be solved. Written on the notepad that I always kept by my bedside. The amazing thing was that it was always written in my writing, along with a poem or two, or perhaps a dream, that I would never remember writing in the night. The methods of deduction must have sunk in though, because at final examination time, I managed to get 96 out of 100, and I didn't have to sleep through the test to do it.

Well, it's only taken me 5 months of this blogging thing and I actually managed to get my blinking linking ability engaged. It was only my third, or fourth attempt to make it work but, by Jove, I think I've got it! I will be adding more to this link list once I'm am sure it is for real!

Sunday, December 04, 2005


My very first set of wheels, pictured left, and I had absolutely no control over where they took me. Suffice to say that I believe I enjoyed every minute of being pushed around in it! This picture was taken outside the apartment that we lived in at the time of my birth. The street was named Begin.

The next vehicle was one that I managed to power myself. A tricycle. I don't have a physical picture of it but I do have one in my mind. It toured my neighbourhood on a regular basis. By this time we were out in the burbs. There was a nearby highway that connected Montreal to Toronto. One day I decided to take my wheels down to the shopping mall. The only way that I knew to get there was via this highway. So that is exactly what I do. I did have sense enough to stay on the shoulder and I make it all the way to Steinberg's, the grocery store. I liked it there, because when you got your shopping done and went through the checkout they would purvey your bags or boxes out to an area where you could drive up to it and they would load your booty into the trunk. This elaborate delivery system consisted of a line of metal rolling pin like devices that would spin as the objects moved along it. Utterly fascinating. Of course, I had no money. I was just there to watch. The next thing I know, a policeman arrives and loads me and my tricycle into his policecar, and carts me off to my house. It was a small world back then. Things were simple. The reprimand was loud and clear. My little mind however, immediately went to work on imprinting another route to the mall.

We move out of the burbs and back to the city, because my Dad did not like the long commute. This is where I get a new set of wheels for my 5th birthday. Two wheels which require a great deal of effort to keep upright when your feet are off the ground. Never the less, the task gets mastered. From that moment on I was a bicycle rider, clear up until I started going to University. Somehow it seemed to childish to be 17 and on a bike. However about 6 years later I had moved to Toronto and was working at a hospital. The Transit system emplyees go on strike. I buy myself a bicycle so that I can get myself to work everyday. Works out beautifully. So I stay with the bicycle, move out west and discover the mountain bike. Love at first ride. The supreme adventure. This bike moves to California with me, where I would ride it for hours each day because I was not working on anything but dealing with the INS. There were so many reports of people being hit by automobiles out here that I had to stop. It was a regular occurrence. Drunks don't drive very well and they sure as Hades don't stop. From then on in it was a matter of loading our bikes into the van and going to the beach or a State Park in order to get some riding in. The frequency dropped to about once a week, then once every 2 weeks, then once a month, then not much at all, then not at all. And then it hit me.


Some part of me says that all that exercise, of which bicycle riding was a part, helped to keep the monster at bay.

I just gave my mountain bike away to my neighbour, and I am sad about the parting. It is like losing a limb, or something. I guess that is not a good analogy because I have never lost a limb, and I would not want to insult any one who has, but it creates an ache. As for the recycle, I hope she enjoys the bike even half as much as I did.