Sunday, May 28, 2023


          While doing the last post on Clara, I was reminded of one of the worst kids I ever had and he was in Clara's class.

          He was called Clubber and the name suited. Clubber was a mean, sneaky, bully to the kids in his class. It was hard to nail Clubber and catch him in the act but I had many kids who were complaining. Clubber was just miserable. He would poke kids with a pencil or pen. He would put his foot on another kids desk. He took things from kids. He could think of many things to irritate other kids. He seemed to pick on the girls and leave the boys alone.

       Many days I would keep Clubber after school. When I was ready to leave I would have a discussion with Clubber about the issue of the day. I'd get to a point where Clubber's lower lip would start to quiver . That was my sign to quit. I didn't want to get this guy to cry and then he could have an excuse to do something bigger and better.

     Clubber was also a town nuisance. Clubber was a confirmed smoker at age 13. He also didn't have any money. So he was a nuisance in the stores as he was stealing cigarettes. 

       Clubber also knew every lock in town that wasn't locked. In those days Pool rooms were closed on Sundays. The pool room manager happened to go in the pool room for something on a Sunday afternoon. He found Clubber in the pool room all by himself playing pool. In a quiet town the pool room back door was never locked. 

     If there was a way to be miserable , Clubber knew about it. 

     I'm not a negative person when it comes to people but today's negative post gives you some idea of what we had to deal with. 

Friday, May 26, 2023


        In 1960 I went to teach in a small town 60 miles east of Estevan Sask. There were 12 teachers on staff and I had the gr. eight class. Clara was in that class. When I left 3 years later, Clara was entering gr. 11.

      I lost all contact with my students there and didn't hear anything about Clara until about 2000 when I was looking at a sight that gave all kinds of history for the town. From that I found out that Clara was in Lethbridge , Alberta teaching math in the college there. Okay , that's nice. 

    Well a few years later one of my former students stopped at the house for a visit. Lewis was teaching math at the Lethbridge College. I mentioned my former student from 1960. Lewis had taken over Clara's position!

    So that's quite a leap! My little town east of Estevan is about 450 miles   from Lethbridge. I taught Clara in 1960 and Lewis about 1980. 

    So it was a great coincidence that two of my students took the same job. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2023


       I eat at the Casino two or three times a week. The food is great. The price is the best part. Breakfast is 5 bucks with 6 choices. Wednesday is 2 for one for seniors. We get 2 meals of $26.00 for the price of one $13.00. 

      Now I've told you before that we don't gamble. We just eat there. There is a senior draw on Wednesday and I've won that twice.

     Now you do get a sales pitch from the Casino to gamble so you can get a "wonderful " card. The card gives you so much off on the buffet. 

    Well a few weeks ago 20000 points ($20.00) was  put on my card . So I could go and gamble. You could not redeem the card for cash. 

    So if you're given $20.00 you might as well try your luck. Well, I have no idea how the machines work. I have no idea where to put my card. I have no idea what to press to play the game.

    So I asked somebody. I found the button to make my play. 

    Well, in less than 5 minutes my $20.00 was gone.

    As I left, my thought was that I feel really stupid for letting a machine take all my money. In this case it wasn't my money.

     Needless to say, "I'm still not a gambler." I know that they'll send me more points. I'll take them and goof off again.

     I cannot believe that people use their own money to let a machine take it away from them. 

Sunday, May 21, 2023


      Yes folks, today is our 57th anniversary. 

      The very poor quality photos are from Nov of 1965 when the great decision was made that we would marry. We were married May 21 1966. 

      My Mom always bugged us about the date of May 22 because her birthday was May 20 so why didn't we get married on her birthday? Anyway Mom would have been 109 yesterday. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2023


        Alberta , Canada , has had, and is having a very serious wildfire season.  

       Today, there are about 130 fires burning and about 30 of them out of control. 

      We've had hot dry windy weather which makes great conditions for the fires to burn and very hard to fight the fires. The wild fires are large and very fast moving. The fires are more intense than in previous years. 

     These fires have started earlier in the season than usual. The spring fire season is usually short if we have lots of winter snow and a wet spring. Then the vegetation leafs out and is hard to burn.

      The nearest fire is about 150 km from me. Many people have had to leave towns and farms.

      The area is mixed with heavy forest, ranching, farming and undeveloped poor land. It seems like the fire likes these areas and can rip through it very quickly. 

    We were not bothered with smoke until two days ago. The fire has been burning for three weeks but the smoke has moved  across Canada to Ontario and then south. My daughter, who lives in the Chicago area reports that they have smoke from the fires and that we have made the news there. 

     It seems that the government is very slow to bring in extra equipment and crews to fight the fire.

    All we can hope for is some substantial rain. 

Monday, May 15, 2023


        I have thought about this topic from time to time. Today I heard a half hour radio show on the topic. 

      Usually they are dealing with the detrimental effects of noise. They deal with the lack of quiet spaces.

     I started to think about noise and lack if noise in my life.  Since I spend  good portion of my life outdoors walking in natural areas I thought I could find lots of quiet space.

     Not so! I thought of all the places I go and none of them lack noise. I couldn't think of a place that is very quiet. 

    Heritage ranch is a three hundred acre parcel where some land is native and other parts have been disturbed. So there are many heavily treed areas. However, this land is beside a very busy four lane highway. It's just a very noisy area. And a very busy railroad runs along the highway.

    Then I thought, well Nova Natural area should be quiet. It's 30 km out in the country. This area is more than 300 acres with some native habitat and some recovered land. You are really out in the country. Then I thought that a huge world class petrochemical plant is beside the natural area. Also rail cars are being shunted back and forth 24 hours a day. 

   Well, where else do I go? I can't think of a quiet place without noise. 

   If I go back to the farm where I was born and raised there would be less noise but not entirely quiet. There is a busy railroad about 4 km from the farm. Farms aren't exactly quiet as there are chickens  and other animals and machinery that make noise. 

    It must be difficult to find places without noise. 

    Can you think of areas without noise? When they do a hearing test I'm in a booth that almost lacks noise. 


Saturday, May 13, 2023


      A few things have to be made clearer from my last post. 

      First, some of you have the mistaken idea that I was a wonderful teacher. Well, I was a so so middle of the road teacher. I had good days and bad days. I had good years and bad years. 

      Another comment that catches my eye is that it was something wonderful to be teaching before my 19th birthday. During the war and after the war to the 1960's teachers were in short supply in the western Canadian provinces. They hired many people who did not have any training whatsoever and some had not finished high school. For my second part of grade one I had a guy who had just finished high school. So to be a 19 year old teacher, while  not a good idea ,  was better than some one without training. 

     I did like what I did and would do it over again in a heartbeat.

    At times educators have been too quick and narrow minded to challenge kids to become good citizens. The system concentrated on "learning" information which was soon forgotten and rarely ever used. I know that it was a good thing for kids to learn skills of evaluation of information and relationships. 

     I have asked the Micro Manager who is a bright woman, to divide fractions. She doesn't know how to divide fractions which was a basic operation. She never had to use it in life . I'm not sure if it was valuable as a skill for any deduction. I've asked about nouns and verbs? No answer. I think most people would be the same.

    What I do think is that more emphasis should be put on young people replacing us. Yes, high school students will be directed to some further education and training. But replacing us in society should be worked on. It's not automatic that people get together and make a successful community. We need people to grow up and have a sense of community and citizenship. 

Thursday, May 11, 2023


       I have not complained about winter weather or a cold spring for a few weeks. 

      We had a week of above average high temperatures in the high 20's.

      As a result spring events are or have happened. Some early flowers are blooming like my blue bells. The native crocus is in bloom. Trees started to leaf out this week. 

     My furnace has quit running so the house temperature is staying above 20 C. 

     This morning I noticed that my Nanking cherries were in bloom. I don't think I've ever seen these bushes in such full bloom. 

    Grass is greening up in town but native grass is still dormant. 

    So here are my Nanking cherries and some new leaves and green grass.

      Today the sun rose at 5:46 and set at 9:17 for a total daylight of 15 hours and 30 minutes. So with long days spring develops very rapidly. 


Tuesday, May 9, 2023


      This morning while shopping for groceries I met one of our former school district superintendents. 

     That immediately  started the way back machine. 

     When I was a child in that rickety old one room country school, there was a school inspector who visited about once a year. The inspector was feared by teacher and students because he had power and tended to be miserable. They would drill us on arithmetic and listen to us read and if we made errors they shouted at us. It was also rumored that they strapped kids. It was not a pleasant or positive situation.

     So you know that I started teaching before my 19th birthday. At teacher's college we were given more scary stories about the superintendent.

    So I merrily started teaching in September and told myself the superintendent wouldn't visit for a while. One fine September day about half an hour before school ended I heard a car come on the school yard. No worries. Parents came to pick up their kids. All of a sudden I noticed a well dressed man looking in the back door of the classroom. I had no idea who he was. He looked around and  beckoned for me to come out of the classroom. He was the superintendent. We went outside and sat on the steps. He wanted to know how things were going and he went over some administrative business to help me. I remember it as a very pleasant visit on a beautiful fall day. I remember how supportive this visit was. He visited two more times with more encouragement and assistance. 

    Fast forward a bit to the end of my career. We didn't get superintendent's reports anymore but we had many classroom visits. I was a department head and had to visit department teachers twice a year. I took duplicate notes and gave the teacher a copy before I left the classroom. The principal and vice principal visited each classroom at least once a year. Each teacher had to find a teacher in another school that they could observe for one period. This program was to keep teachers constantly upgrading and learning knew skills. The system was based on supportive and positive relationships. 

    So over my career there was a major change in educational supervision for the better. 

    I will always remember my first superintendent, Harry Smith, and how he encouraged me.

    I will always remember Dave who had a vision for the school district and ably lead us to achieve those goals. 

Sunday, May 7, 2023


       I follow the Catalyst for his humor and variety of material.

       I knew that he originated in North Dakota. I was born and raised in Saskatchewan so we lived about 300 miles from each other. So we experienced many similar things like the wide open prairie, harsh winter storms and a pattern of leaving the area for other places to live. 

      Catalyst said that he was 13  in 1953 and that he listened to the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953. The key word here is listened.

     We lived in a area that didn't have television coverage. We would have to travel to the nearest city with a TV station to watch the coronation on snowy TV reception. I'll bet most of you have never heard of snowy TV!

    There were some very skilled broadcasters at the time who could ably describe an event so that you felt you were right there. We also had to work with the broadcaster and use some imagination.

   I was probably about 15 years old when I saw my first hockey game on TV. All those years I remember listening to hockey games and knowing exactly what was going on in the game. 

    Some people wondered how I could just listen to a coronation and get anything out of it. Yes, we enjoyed radio and were glued to it for drama, sports and mega events like the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.


Friday, May 5, 2023


       Well, tomorrow is the big day when Charles is crowned king. I admit that I'm not interested in all the pomp and ceremony. I've got other things that I would rather do than watch all kinds of people dressed up in fancy clothes, hundreds of horses with fancy harness, many bands and many military dressed in their finest. 

     Sorry folks but I'm not interested in this stuff. 

    I do know and understand the role of the monarchy in the parliamentary system of government. I do understand the history of the monarchy.

    One of my favorite movies was Henry the VIII. At least I think it was Henry the VIII. They would load up the wagons and go tearing across the countryside to a place where they would camp for a time. 

    My Mom was very interested in the monarchy and followed their activities.

    I remember Queen Elizabeth's Coronation. We didn't have television in 1953 so listened to the coronation on the radio. It was a long drawn out procedure. The radio crew was very skilled in describing and we really could imagine what was going on. I remember the sounds of horses, bands and the church ceremony. 

    All school kids received a copper coin marking the Queen's coronation. The coin had no monetary value . Mine was probably in the family home until Mom died and then who knows what happened to it. 

    There was also a fireworks display in town and I had never seen fireworks before.

    So there you have it. I'm not keen enough about royalty to watch all the ceremonies. 

Thursday, May 4, 2023


        It was a sad  week for many Canadians as Gordon Lightfoot passed away. 

       We were proud of Gordon Lightfoot as he stayed here for his professional career. Yes, he sometimes performed in other countries but mostly he wrote and sang songs that  Canadians could love. 

     So I went to you tube to listen to some of Gordon's tunes. I would say , "Oh this my favorite." Then I'd listen to another tune and say the same thing. They were all my favorites. 

     He wrote about Canadian history as in the Railroad Trylogy. I think it's one of the songs he liked performing more that others. Then there's the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. His voice is cold and hard just like the conditions on the ship. 

     Then for variety there's Sundown and Every Highway.

     So thanks Gordon for the memories and  music you left us.