Sunday, April 30, 2023

Jaaka Jaaka Huckabuck

     Once again we are in downsizing mode. My kids have kindly requested to take a few things but very few.

    So I have some goodies set aside for them to pick up this summer. They need some information about said objects. Right? Well, whether they want information or not they are going to get it.

    That sent us back to our beloved North. And of course we got side tracked. Who made this? Who was she or he? And in no time we were a way off the agenda. 

   So since we were looking for names of people we got off on names. We find that after 54 years we have forgotten an awful lot. We wrote down first names but neglected to use surnames. We also neglected to use disc numbers. 

    So one story. The teacher read the story of the Huckabuck family to the kids. One little boy was called Jaaka Jaaka ( pronounced Yaka) . That's right!  His surname and given name were the same. When the kids came out of school that afternoon all you could hear was Jaaka Jaaka Huckabuck. They had taken this from Pony Pony Huckabuck. And from that time on that's what he was called. 

    Another name variation happened to our Hudson Bay Post manager. His name was Sidney Goodyear. He was a 19 year old kid in northern isolation. Most 19 year olds still live with Mom. Sydney was a most  capable manager and to top that he was Mr. Personality. The kids in the settlement loved him. What did they call him? Sidney Very Goodyear!

     Okay back to downsizing. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2023


      I was very sorry to hear about Harry Belafonte's passing yesterday. I went to my old LPs and I couldn't find the Harry Belafonte LP. Then I remembered that the Belafonte music I was thinking about  was on some reel to reel tapes that I disposed of. So now I will have to comfort myself by going to You Tube and listen to some songs. 

    Belafonte was most popular when I started listening to my own music.  I listened to much of his great music. 

     Belafonte was a great artist and human being. He helped to keep some of the wheels on the bus. We need many more Harry Belafontes. 


Sunday, April 23, 2023


     Four strong winds that blow lonely. 

     Spring on the Canadian prairies is about wind. Constant steady wind that continues for days on end. I will always remember spring winds. There were many experiences in the wind.

    As little farm boys in the forties we were very free range kids. We didn't have TV so there was no sense staying in the house. We had very few toys. 

    So what did we do? We made kites and flew them. We had seen pictures of kites so made our own. After a few experiments we had  kites that would fly. We used heavy brown paper to make the kite and chopped off about 500 feet of dad's binder twine. We went out in a wide open space( it was all open space) and let our kites go. As little boys not very much held our attention for very long. Soon we would tie our kites to a fence post and leave. Remember that strong steady wind. Your kite flew by itself all day. 

     With the high winds it was very peaceful to get out of the wind. We would find  patch of badger brush and crawl in out of the wind. Badger brush is a shrub that grows from 40 cm (18 in ) to 100 cm(3 ft) tall. It was thick and was a good shelter from the wind. We pretended we were coyotes and looked out for people with guns. 

   So as usual our short span attention moved us on. So you spread out your arms and coat and felt the force of the wind push you along.

    Today was one of those spring days when the wind blew all day so I was reminded of the fun we had as kids being outdoors. 

    Oh ya? the kites. The wind usually went down in the evening and so did your kite. 

Friday, April 21, 2023


      Yesterday morning's local paper had an item about the school I taught in here. They had received an award for a special program they had participated in.

     This item started numbers running through my head. I taught in the school for 28 years. It was a very good school as the district was supportive of education and most kids came to school with the right attitude. Over the years we had 400 to 550 students. Sometimes we were a very good school and other times not. It depended on stars to align like administration, students, teachers and program. 

    I had no intention of staying in one school that long. I applied for transfers but didn't get anything nearly as good as what I had. So 28 years rolled by before I knew it.

    The next number was 26. That's the number of years I've been retired. My retirement time is almost as long as the time I taught in the school.

    The next number is37. That's the number of years I taught. 

    So the numbers have rolled along very quickly.

    I enjoyed my teaching time. Who would have a sad  time in retirement. If things go a little faster, my retirement will be as long as my teaching time. 

                                The beginning
                        First  class 1958
Towards the end

Wednesday, April 19, 2023


      The headline is right. The Micro Manager gambled at the Casino today.

     Now I've never said that the micro Manager is not a gambler but those who've followed me for a while know that she is probably the last person to ever gamble. 

     So what happened?

     Well in this province there is a card called Winner's Edge. The government controls gaming and issues the Winner's Edge card which is something like a loyalty card. You can build up points on your card and redeem your points for meals, draws and gambling.

    The other day The Micro Manager got a card in the mail that they had put $20.00 on her card. So there's only one way to get your twenty bucks. You have to gamble. The worst that can happen is that you lose the twenty bucks. 

    The Micro Manager has absolutely no idea how any gambling machine works so one of the staff helped her. Of course it didn't take very many minutes and the $20.00 was gone except for a nickel and that was too little to continue. She took the coupon and got her nickel. That's it for her gambling experience.  I wish I'd taken my camera to show you all the fun the Micro Manager had. 

     While I was out for my walk today , I found a nickel on the road so between the two of us we made 10 cents today!

   It was fun while it lasted. 

Monday, April 17, 2023


       Six months ago I did not know that you could check for comments that were spam. I had no idea what spam comments would be. 

      So for blogger if you go to comments , you will find a small triangle to the center left above comments. Click on that and you will find a list of spam. 

      Now the spam comes in many different colors, sizes and shapes. 

     For some reason other bloggers comments are sometimes judged to be spam. These you can identify and click on publish and the comment will be published. 

   Much of the spam is made up of my comments and replies to other blogger comments. 

    Then there are just plane unwelcome comments as some jerk who thinks that all old people should be put to death as they are a menace to the planet.

    I had not looked at older spams until this week. It seems that some comments made by new readers are identified as spam. This bothers me as I don't want to be considered rude as if I'm not publishing a comment. It also seems that some of my followers are quite often identified as spam. For example the blogs by Bill and Jenn are quite often flagged as spam. So for a long time their comments were not published on my blog. 

    So I would suggest that bloggers check the spam file often and keep it up to date. Comments are a very important part of blogging and we want all comments to be published. 

Saturday, April 15, 2023


      The last post with the plumber leaving his money on the table was  a  funny situation  in my mind. Okay, I'm not bragging about my humor. 

     However, some readers saw some great problems with the situation as I told it. I never thought that some people would see some very serious problems arise out of that situation.

     Maybe I should have said that the plumber gave me an invoice that said "Paid in full". Maybe I should have said that there was a GST number on the invoice. These were issues that I did not have concerns about in the post. It was humorous that the hard working guy left his money on the table. His fees were high, but he could have billed us for more.

    One thing was different was that all transactions were by phone. He printed the invoice and sent it to me by email as he was standing there. If I had a phone, I would have had the invoice paid in full in my hand as he was taking his money. 

     Then I started to think that there are situations where people are at risk in any situation where an unfair advantage can be taken. I never thought that some people could take advantage of this situation by having an opportunity to lie. It's sad that some people have to live with and deal with scumbags that would take advantage of you and cheat you. 

    Here, there are acceptable methods of doing business. Most of us follow the rules. It works well for all concerned. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2023


     I recently had some plumbing done at my house. I replaced the bathtub taps and put a new sink in the half bath along with new faucets and drain. Plumbing in older houses can present a problem and this house was no different. 

    The resident do it yourselfer plumber has retired here. Plumbing and other tradesmen rates are too high for me but I have officially retired. A plumber was recommended and he gave me a solid estimate. In other words there would be no surprise additional fees. He came and did what he said he would do and did it well.

    We had asked before how he wanted to be paid. He didn't accept checks. He didn't accept credit cards. He would take etransfers or cash. So our only option was to pay him in cash.

     We got the $1156.00 cash. The Micro Manger had the cash in an envelope. The micro Manager counted out the cash and the plumber checked the cash. All was good. The plumber left. In about thirty seconds the door burst open again and the plumber said, "I forgot my money." The envelope was still on the table. We hadn't noticed that he left his money on the table.

    It seemed like a deal that was too good to be true and it was. 


Sunday, April 9, 2023


       I received a request. I've never had a request before so this is too good to miss. 

       Debbie asked how I spent Easter when I was young. Here's where all your predictions will fall apart. Some of it doesn't make sense.

      My parents belonged to a denomination that did not celebrate the sacred part of the Easter story. Why? Since the actual crucifixion date of Christ was not known, their denomination thought that it was not "right" to celebrate if the date wasn't accurate. They did remember the death and resurrection of Jesus in their daily devotions.  So there. That's the sacred part of my Easter celebration. 

    However, the non religious part of Easter took place. 

    When we were very little in the early years , the war was on so some of the good stuff (chocolate) was not available but the meal was a big deal. We had turkey and all the trimming that were available. Since we lived on a farm the turkey and ham was readily available. After that there were many other dishes. However, cranberries were not available.

    We would celebrate with my Mom's cousins. They had four boys and our family consisted of three boys and a girl. It was quite a gang. It was an all day affair. The big meal was at noon. The afternoon consisted of visiting for the men and hard work for our Moms. For kids, we had a ball. Lots of playing with cousins even though we only lived one mile apart. 

    After the war candy became available. I'm not sure when the bunny rabbit arrived. Our Grandma sent very nice chocolate cream Easter eggs. I will never forget them. Many goodies were produced by our Moms to go along with the meal. 

    This went on all day. We had a warm up meal about 6:00 PM. Just before going home at midnight we had a cold plate.

   It was a long enjoyable day.

   So I hope everybody has a happy Easter no matter how it is observed. 

Saturday, April 8, 2023


       Now my last post was to set you up for this post. 

      I hope that somewhere in my last post you got the idea that in the rural areas curling was not very highly organized. Curling was only in the evening unless it was a bonspiel. So sometimes when kids got bored we would enter the curling rink, which was never locked and throw a few rocks. If somebody caught us we got kicked out.

     I came to Red Deer in 1969 and taught in a middle school of about 500 students. There were two other middle schools in the city. One was smaller and had just opened in 1969. The other school was not highly organized in  athletic activities. Our school had basket ball, volley ball and badminton and not too much opportunity for competition.

    So in 1970 I got it in my head to start after school curling for kids. Still being this naive country boy, I phoned the local curling rink and asked if kids could play after school. Did I get a surprise. In a city this size curling was highly organized. They had just never thought of kids curling.

    After a little discussion they agreed to let kids curl after school for free. So I had some great kids who either wanted to curl or learn to curl. The next year another teacher joined me and his idea was to teach curling and he was very good at it. 

    Curling continued for three or four years. I didn't have the time to give to it any more so I did not carry on with curling. . 

    However, there was something that happened that I had never dreamed about. This naive little farm boy had never heard of high school nationals in curling. You guessed it. One of my little guys continued with curling in high school and went to the Canadian National high school competition.

    Now I worked with Doug's Mom and see her since we've retired. She always reminds me of Doug and curling and you can tell that she's very proud of him. I see Doug about every 15 years and he always talks about learning to curl when he was a kid.


Wednesday, April 5, 2023


      I have to write about the sport of curling before I do my next post.

       It's spring and I'm a little late with a post on curling. Okay , for those who know much more about curling than I do, you can stop reading.

       Curling is a game played on ice with 40 lb granite rocks that are very carefully shaped. There are four players to a team and each player has two rocks to throw in turn with the other team. The objective is to see who can get the most rocks closer to the center. If you have two rocks closer to the center and your oppositions rock is the third closest, you get two points. 

     Curling is a game that requires great skill and there's much strategy involved. It's an interesting game to play and now it's a big hit on TV. 

    This is a brief outline and I'm sure that Jen , who watches a lot of curling will correct things for me. 

    Now , when I was a kid in the 40's and 50's every little village and town had a curling rink. They did not have artificial ice. After it froze and stayed frozen they hauled tanks of water to make the ice. For the rest of the winter these people curled. They had men's league, women's league and mixed league. They had bonspiels which was like a curling tournament. 

    The skip, the team captain told the players where to throw the rock. The player had to throw the right "weight" so that the rock would stop where they wanted it to stop. There was also the little thing of a turn and out turn. Out turn would give the rock a counter clockwise turn and in turn would give the rock a clockwise turn. The curling or turning of the rock allowed the rock to bend or move sideways and a rock could get behind the opposition's rock. It was all fun. They also have brooms and for various situations sweep like mad. They sweep to make the rock move further before it stops. They sweep to help it bend more or less.

     For the time I'm talking about it was a very social game and activity for the rural people on the Canadian Prairies. They wore special sweaters which they called curling sweaters. Women  knitted these sweaters. These old rinks were unheated and just as cold as the outside. Everybody had a special sweater. I still have my curling sweater. Mom knitted it and sent it to me in Inuvik in 1964. 


Monday, April 3, 2023


         Today I had the pleasure of receiving my electricity bill. Like you, the cost of electricity has gone up very much. I happen to have signed a contract a few years ago but contracts come to an end and I don't like the options I see.

       Without contracts energy is 18 cents a kilowatt. I would think that most people are on the 18 cent a kilowatt rate.

      So lets go back a few years. About 30 to 35 years ago we had a politician and government that thought that utilities should be owned and run by private companies. Their  belief was that with private companies could do things more efficiently and with competition, energy rates would decrease. It hasn't happened yet. In fact, rates have actually gone up.

    It wasn't long before the companies approached the government to see if they could charge a separate  administration fee. Of course, the government said yes. Then the companies were back to have a special billing fee. Of course, you can have a special billing fee. This went on until we have seven added charges. The extra charges are more than we pay for electricity. 

    So in these days of inflation the very kind government is bending over backwards to "help" us with electrical payments. Last month they gave me $75.00 to help me pay my electrical bill.  This month it's only $25.00 and I don't know why it's only $25.00..Could it be that we have an election in May?

       In the good old days there was some stability to electrical charges. The province produced and sold the electrical energy. People knew what the price was and could live accordingly. Yes, the government assisted consumers regularly with this system. 

     This system has opened the door to abuses of the system that hurt the consumer.