Saturday, April 20, 2024

A MIXED UP DAY

             I decided to sell my hiking boots since it was spring and hiking season would begin. 

            I advertised them on Kijiji. At one time I had good luck on Kijiji , but not lately. I was also advertising the boots on Market place. Now I'm not that familiar with market place and find it confusing.

         Since I only have the computer , I look at things maybe 2 or 3 times a day. 

        Someone answered and said they would be coming to town on Friday and could they see the boots. Well, by the time I saw this, the guy had sent me 5 different messages. Then I checked on Kijiji and the same guy had several messages.

       I gave him my phone number  and since he was on instant time , he phoned. His name on Kijiji was Ken Hofer. The name given on the phone was Tony Dehofer? This mixed me up more and more. I didn't know how many people I was dealing with. I was struggling with market place, a guy was sending messages on two sites and at a rapid rate. Then a woman emailed and I thought she was with the same guy.

      The Micro Manager started to get worried. I knew from the name that I was dealing with a Hutterite. The Micro Manager is not familiar with Hutterites and was on level 10 anxiety. I couldn't tell her that Hutterites were nice people. 

      So the morning he was supposed to come we had a call from the guy's sister that they would be coming and what was the address. 15 minutes later the woman phoned again and said they were on the way. 

     So finally a time was set for the guy to come to my place. I really didn't know who was coming or how many. 

    So at the appointed time a Hutterite arrived and quietly bought my hikers. The Micro Manager was amazed and said, "He was a nice guy!"

    And I don't know how many messages and phone calls I had. Obviously I had enough calls to sell my boots. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

MORE ON ANOTHER RANT FROM MAR. 28

      On Mat . 28 I wrote about an unpleasant call with my bank's call center. 

       I had been told in a letter to phone a number to give the bank instructions on my account. I had phoned this number before. 

       This time when we phoned they started asking questions for identification purposes. I'm not sure how many questions were asked but enough to catch my attention that I didn't like what was going on. When we said we would answer no more questions, they refused to do the business we wanted.

       We contacted the bank. Our account  did not show suspicious action. 

       So we talked to the bank manager about the situation. The bank manager said that he would pass the complaint forward.

       However , he did say that he thought what was happening is that the bank bought another bank and were having some difficulty with identification so they were updating personal information. 

       I can see that it's necessary to update identification information but I don't like it and the incident I was involved with went too far. 

Saturday, April 13, 2024

STEAK SANDWICH

    The steak sandwich is by far the Micro Manager's favorite dinner. In the last 10 years she's had very few steak sandwich's and most were poor. 10 or 15 years ago the suppliers started supplying a different cut of meat for steak sandwiches and it wasn't the same. The MM had only a half dozen steak sandwiches in the last 15 years. 

    A few months ago a friend told her that there were excellent steak sandwiches at Leah's bar and grill. The MM just had to go. She went.  I wouldn't go with her. Yes, the steak sandwich was wonderful. However, she didn't want to go back on her own.

    So the other day she said, "Since it's my birthday this month would you go to Leah's with me." I 'd be a heal if I didn't go for her birthday. 

    So a few days ago we went to Leah's .

    Shortly after we got our meal , the waitress came and told us that someone at the bar had paid for our food! What a surprise! Of course, everybody is sworn to secrecy so we didn't know who it was. That's the first time I was ever treated to a free meal! 

   So I guess it was a good thing that I went with the MM for her steak sandwich. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

CONVERSATIONS ON DEMENTIA

       Being in my mid eighties , I find more and more that former colleagues, old friends and relatives have someone in the family with dementia. I can understand that people get  dementia. It's a horrible condition which robs people of normal functions. It's extremely stressful for family as they go through the challenges of looking after one. 

     One thing that bothers me around dementia is the conversations we have or don't have about the condition. Some people are in denial and don't want to talk about the situation. Other people don't want to talk about the dementia patient in front of them as it may be very confusing for the patient. 

    So unless there are situations where relatives and caregivers can communicate without the patient in attendance, much needed communication is not done. 

    You hear from people that they feel so alone as they care for someone with dementia. It's very sad. 

     I have a friend who has yet to tell me that his wife has dementia. This dance has been going on for more than 2 years. I hear bits and pieces from relatives and friends. 

   So my question is, how do we communicate and support the caregivers and family of someone with dementia? How do we talk to someone with dementia when it progresses through it's many stages?

    My father had Parkinson's. I can tell you that regular people have great difficulty when it comes to dealing with somebody who is irrational. 





Monday, April 8, 2024

SO MUCH FOR THE ECLIPSE

      There was great hype about the solar eclipse. With 40% coverage here I knew that there would not be anything spectacular. I wasn't prepared to shoot the sun. I'll leave that to the pros. 

     I did take one shot shortly after 11:00 AM . and one at the height of the eclipse. Just looking out the window there was not much less light. the camera shows things a little darker. 

     Don't go by my times on the camera. The first shot is about 11:00 AM. the second shot is about 1:00 Pm. 

     So there wasn't a lot of hoopla at my place. 






Sunday, April 7, 2024

2000 POSTS

      I just happened to notice a few days ago that the counter was on 2000 posts. I don't post every day. I make about 120 to 150 posts a year so it takes along time to get to 2000.

     I try to write about topics rather than personal daily events. Yes, I did say that I was a bit of a bumbler and I had some adventures to write about. The adventures have been fun for me to recount. 

     I also notice that I should change some of the things in my introduction as they no longer apply.

     I started Hiawatha House in 2008 when my daughter set up the basics of the blog. She left town the next day.  I spent the next year with Blogging for Dummies trying to set up other things on Hiawatha house. 

    I have enjoyed writing Hiawatha House. One thing I did not realize is that I would make many very good friends. I'm always saddened when a good blogger disappears. There is a tremendous amount that one learns from other bloggers. 

   I will keep on writing and visiting. 

   Well, here I was in 2008!

   

What else is there to do but bird?

                                A good supper

                       I think this was about 2022. 

Friday, April 5, 2024

YES, IT SNOWED TODAY

          When I woke up this morning it seemed brighter than usual. It had snowed overnight so I was waking up to a world of white. We probably had about 2 cm of snow on the ground. 

          It s normal to get snow at this time of year and sometimes we can get a storm with lots of snow. 

          It was foggy this morning so it was a very dull day. 

         However, my blue bells are coming up.






Monday, April 1, 2024

APRIL FOOLS

       The origin of April Fools Day is somewhat unclear. The day and celebration seem to have originated in various places and at various times. None of these origins are backed up by much evidence. 

      Many famous tricks and hoaxes have been done and then April Fools is said to let the person or people know that they have been tricked. The media has long had humor from April Fools day.

      Schools have had their fair share of good April Fool's tricks. I went to a one room country school from 1945 to 1954. It was standard procedure that we try to get something over on the teacher. A hand bell was used to call students to class in the morning and after breaks like recess and noon hour. So in many of these schools the gong was taken out of the  bell and when the teacher went out to shake the bell vigorously, nothing happened. Usually we were nearby so that we could see the teacher's reaction. We stood around for a minute as if we weren't going in the school and then everybody said April Fools. We weren't that smart as we did this every year.

     The past seven days the Micro Manager has not been in good health. Somehow she came down with a stomach ailment that produced diarrhea for 4 days and then another two days to reach normal. Now she kept on a liquid diet for four days and then another two days of being careful what she ate. By days 5 and 6 she was very tired from lack of regular food. So she usually goes to the Casino for breakfast or lunch and she was determined to go. I said no way but she doesn't listen to me. My daughter said be careful and stay away from big heavy meals. 

    So About 11:30 yesterday morning the Micro Manager had her coat ready. She was going out for lunch no matter what. She thoroughly  enjoyed a steak sandwich. 

   So this morning , a while after breakfast she said, "Guess what . I've got diarrhea again." She quickly said April Fools before I jumped through the roof.

    It' been a long time since there was a good April Fool's trick was played around here. 

Thursday, March 28, 2024

ANOTHER CALL CENTER RANT

        I have ranted about my frustrations with call centers several times on this blog. Today, I had another very unpleasant experience with a call center.

        We had received a letter a few days ago from the bank telling us if we didn't want a certain investment to roll over automatically that we should phone a certain number to tell them not to roll the investment over. 

       The Micro Manager was doing that piece of business this morning. I was busy stretching but I could hear the conversation as the speaker phone was on. They asked for a couple of the usual identity questions . Then they kept going on. I came into the office to pay more attention and finally I told the micro Manager that these questions were unnecessary as far as identity was concerned . Oh yes they said we are updating our information and continued with pressure. They asked the Micro Manager's age. They already had her birth date. When they asked if she was a Canadian citizen and if she filed income tax in Canada , that was the end. 

     I felt that they were going on a fishing expedition to get information to sell me more product. It felt creepy. I began to think that they were scammers.  They really put the pressure on for answers to the last questions but we stuck to our guns and said no way. 

     So, unless we answered the questions , they were not going to do the piece of business we were asking for. So the piece of business was not done and we are contacting the local bank manager. 

    I'm thinking about the part on the phone introduction that says "This call may be monitored." I hope it was monitored

Monday, March 25, 2024

COUNTRY POET

 


            Country poets come in many forms. Their claim to fame is that they tell the local rural story with a passion.

             Uncle Tom was our rural community's poet. Our part of western Canada was settled by homesteaders about 1905. Uncle Tom got his homestead ( 160 acres for $10.00) . I'm sure that he had far less than 8 years of education but his poetry writing is well done. He told stories through his poetry. If there was a community celebration, Uncle Tom would have a poem.

         My parents were married in Feb of 1938. They were married in another province and came back to the farm a few days after their marriage. Notice the date. Economic conditions were terrible at that time. However, it didn't stop the community from  having a party for the new couple. It was a time when small wedding gifts were given. People got together , sang, played games and visited. 

      To mark the occasion uncle Tom wrote a poem .

 So here's the poem Uncle Tom wrote for Mom and Dad.

       This poem has been a family favorite.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

BRIAN MULRONEY

       A state funeral was held today for Brian Mulroney, former Prime Minister of Canada from 1984 to 1993. 

       I knew a state funeral was coming up but I had no intention of following it. However, today CBC said that the following programs would be preempted so that the state funeral could be broadcast. The Micro Manager had her radio on and before I turned it off I was hooked into listening to the whole ceremony. It was interesting and I'm glad I listened to it. We had a good chat after it was over. 

      Brian Mulroney was first elected in 1984 with a huge majority in parliament. In the next 8 years Mulroney brought in many very important pieces of legislation which changed Canada to this day. He brought in the GST which was very unpopular , but we still have it today. He established a free trade agreement and acid rain with the United States. He helped eliminate apartheid from South Africa. He also worked very hard to make Canada a more unified country. 

    Many of the pieces of legislation brought in were very unpopular. Mulroney did not worry about that. He just carried on setting up legislation that he thought would benefit Canada. He was not worried about winning elections. He just wanted to do things that would benefit Canada. At the end of his term he lost the election big time. 

    Wouldn't it be great today if political parties focused on bring about good things for the country instead of spending most of their time trying to win the next election. 

      These things were remembered today along with his personal attributes. A funny story was told when his daughter's boyfriend asked Muloney if he could make a proposal to him about his daughter. Mulroney's reply was "What proposal?" 

I'm very glad that I listened to this ceremony today. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

I SHOULD HAVE KEPT MY MOUTH SHUT

      A few days ago we had very pleasant weather. We had highs of 11 and 12 C for several days. These are above normal for us at this time of year.

      Unfortunately, I told someone about the pleasant weather.

      What should immediately show up on the forecast? SNOW! Not just snow , but lots of snow and for many days and the temperatures would also drop.

      I should have kept my mouth shut. Here are a few photos to show you what it's like. We've ad about 10 cm of snow which is a lot for us. 

      It was very dull. I tried to take a cut in the snow to show the depth of the snow.

                   The juniper with a load of snow. 
                          Spruce trees loaded with snow.
                                   Street view

My neighbor cleaning snow off his deck. 



Monday, March 18, 2024

GARRISON KEILLOR

      I discovered Garrison Keillor a long time ago.  How a Western Canadian Prairie boy came across Keillor , I'll never know. I think I came across MPR a few times when  I was living in the Arctic and was bored and had been going through various radio frequencies. Somehow I landed on MPR (Minnesota Public Radio.)

      Keillor told stories based on a fictional Lake Wobegon community. He had many  characters in the community and it was always funny. It was similar to Canada's Stuart Mclean who had a fictional community of neighbors. Both included much music in their shows. Keillor also had A Prairie Home Companion. 

    Check out Keillor's a young Lutheran's guide to the symphony orchestra. He also had a story about a college kid who was passionate about college radio. One day the kid had worked hard preparing a show but forgot to turn the station on so he talked to himself. 

    So a few weeks go I picked up a Keillor's Pilgrims: a Wobegon Romance expecting it to be humorous like some of his other books. The book was neither funny nor interesting. 

    Then for the first time I looked up Keillor on line and found out that he was not a very nice guy. He faced various charges about indecent behavior towards females. He had many conflicts with MPR  and  publishers.

    So I find much of his material interesting, I was surprised to find that he led a very troubled life. 

Saturday, March 16, 2024

ARCTIC AND NORTHERN HEALTH

       I was listening to my favorite radio station and program Tuesday morning when they had a half hour on northern health. They were talking to a former MLA and cabinet minister about northern health. Very few people have a family physician. Very few people have access to hospital treatment and fewer yet to long term care. 

     It's similar to the situation I described about a murder that took place. People are sent south to something that is very strange. They have different food to eat. They have challenges with the language. They don't have  visits from family and friends. Sometimes the visits keep people going. The people back home worry and don't get information about the patient.

    In 1963 to 1966 I taught in Inuvik and we had little kids that stayed in the hostel and were 1000 miles from home. 

   What caught my ear on this program, is that for long term care some seniors had to be 1000 miles from home. The distance from Iqaluit to Ottawa is 1305 miles.  I'd heard this number before.  Right? I thought things had changed a bit. 

    Seniors are taken to Ottawa from Iqaluit. They are 1000 miles from home in a strange environment. 

   One example of a problem made me snicker. Some seniors would be given pajamas and asked to wear them. Some of these people had never ever worn pajamas. They didn't like pajamas and weren't comfortable wearing them.

    Then I thought of myself. I don't wear pajamas. I dislike them. So the thought of me being given pajamas got me thinking about their problems in a very personal way. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

A NORTHERN PRAIRIE SPRING

      We've had a week of bright , warm, sunny weather. We are calling it spring.

      Spring here is a little different than warmer areas because of our winter. I've told you often enough about our cold and that residents here don't really mind the cold. What happens with the constant cold is that the ground freezes. That causes some difference in our spring. Sometimes the ground will freeze down to a depth of 8 ft. Frozen ground is rock hard. Before the days of heavy equipment very little excavation was done in the winter. In the country at one time, graves were dug by hand. One thing they did was to light a coal fire and this would thaw the ground. 

      Okay, because the ground is frozen the water from melting snow and ice has no here to go. The frozen soil can't absorb moisture. So as a result my street is a slow moving  mess of  water , slush and ice. We talk about spring run off when water from melting snow and ice drains into small creeks. 

     We also have a problem with dirt and gravel roads in the spring "when the frost is coming out". There are soft spots and hard spots because of the uneven thawing of the ground. So holes form in the road and then when rain comes these holes fill with water. We have road bans which keep heavy equipment off the roads for a few weeks. Most activity in the oil industry ceases in the spring because the heavy equipment is not allowed on roads. 

    So my spring has pleasantly sprung. But do you know what is in my forecast three days from now? 5 to 10 cm of snow!

Sunday, March 10, 2024

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME

      Well, good old daylight savings time has rolled around once again. If daylight savings time was in a popularity contest it would get close to zero. 

      At one time the change in time did not bother me. I just didn't sense the one hour change ahead or in the fall when we went back to standard time. 

      However, now the time change does bother me. It takes a few days to get used to it. 

     Changing clocks doesn't bother me as the micro Manager changes everything but one and that's because she doesn't know how to do it. 

     Today most of us have a time device which is accurate up to the second. The old wind up clocks would stop and then you were in trouble. You might go a few days with out the time. Once we got phones we could call the central office and get the time.

      Dad always had a grandfather clock. Not the tall one but one that sat on the shelf. One of my brothers is the keeper of grandfather clocks. 

     It was funny going to the old churches as people arrived at times after the service started and sometimes long before the service started. 

    I now hope that we do away with daylight savings time but I don't think it will happen in my life time. 

    Right now I'm trying to fool myself about the time I should go to bed

Friday, March 8, 2024

ELEANOR COLLINS

     This morning I was listening to my favorite radio station. CBC, and they were talking about Eleanor Collins, Canada's first lady in jazz. I could not call up any clear memories of this lady. Eleanor Collin was the topic as she had just died at age 104.

    There was more chatter and then they played some of her music. That brought it back instantly. I remembered. It goes back to the days of radio when there were programs instead of wall to wall music or talk. So in the 40's and early fifties Eleanor sang on the radio. So in those days of radio you were exposed to the great performers and once you hear her you will remember the music even if you don't remember the singer.

    They played music from a concert when she was 95. It was still the great voice. 

    At that time there was lots of racism. Eleanor moved her family to Vancouver and the residents didn't want a black family in the neighborhood. She persisted. she taught music in the schools and showed how talented she was and the kids were exposed to a great singer. 

    So tonight I will go to you tube and look for some Eleanor Collis.

    I recommend that all of you take a few minutes to find Eleanor Collins and listen to her. 

    

Thursday, March 7, 2024

BLUE SKIES

       After a week of cold, nasty, dull weather things changed yesterday Mar. 6. 

       We had clear, bright, blue skies. However, it was still cold. We have one more day before it warms up. 

     So  I have some photos from the yard which really don't show how bright things are. With the new snow it's very bright so sunglasses are a must. 






Tuesday, March 5, 2024

WINTER WEATHER.

      Now I like winter. I don't mind the cold. I like snow. I like wind and prairie blizzards. 

     Now having said all that, I'm about to do a 180.

    This winter has been very different from our usual winter. Generally it's been a mild winter with above average temperatures. We've had long stretches of above average winter.

    This photo was taken from a window in my house. It was very dull. 



   However , I don't like constant change to the extremes. This week we've had lows of minus 28 C and highs of around minus 20 C. This is the first week of March! We should not be getting these temperatures, although they do happen. The week before we had similar very frigid weather. Then it was mild and thawed so that we had ice. We've had icy conditions all winter. I like to walk but I stay away from ice now. I watch kids who look for the longest  patch of very slippery ice and then slide. If they fall,  no harm is done. If I fall, I could remain broken for the rest of my life. 

    This winter with the mild spells we have lots of ice. 

    So I would like a winter that starts with snow and cool temperatures at the beginning of Nov. Then it can gradually get colder with snow piling up. Then in Mar. and April it can warm up and snow and ice slowly melt.

   However, the world doesn't work like this. We have a great variety as weather change all the time. 

   Maybe it's time to buy a gym membership and walk inside. We have a city facility with a 400 m walking and running track. 

Saturday, March 2, 2024

SOME WHYS

     George, my first cousin once removed, can ask some questions that are far out of the box. George reads my blog but does not comment but makes contact by messenger. These are great questions and make one go back and take a good look at what was said. I always think faster than I type. Neither one of them is very fast. 

    George wanted to know on what basis I said that the skills and loss of will were lost . I should have said much of it was lost. They still celebrate traditions but do not depend on hunting for food. 

     First , I didn't stress enough that this was in 1967 -69. It was a much different age and time. I made a statement that the Inuit lost hunting skills and a will to hunt. Maybe I should have said most. 

    The economy in the Arctic was changing rapidly. There was much employment for wages. There were various DEW lines constructed in the 50's. Many men were employed. They had lots of money.  However, this was largely part time. They did not have any dogs and this was before skidoos. So it was difficult to hunt. 

   There were many sad reasons as to why there was  next to no hunting. 

   Inuit were nomads. They followed the game. Once they moved into villages they were much less mobile. A hunter now went out with other men on skidoos. Women who were a part of the hunting did not go. Women did the butchering. Women prepared the skins for trade or use in making clothing. All clothing I saw in 67 to 69 was made of cloth. There was fur trim. So their hunting pattern was severely disrupted. Once you get used to a heated wood house it's hard to go back to staying in a snow house. 

    Where I was, the hunters would go out in the fall for a week or ten days hunting caribou. They would come back with about 20 animals. This wouldn't go far to feed 200 people. They always gave me some meat. They also went fishing for Arctic char for a week or ten days. They also included me and gave me fish. Arctic char is the best fish I ever ate. Locally they hunted seals. They may have got  3 or 4 seals in one day and then may have not gone sealing for another  week. One little seal can be eaten very quickly by a dozen people. They gave me seal liver which was the best liver I ever ate. However seal meat was awful. I tried to cook it. It is better frozen and raw or heated a bit. 

    Where I was there were 4 or 5 good hunters and the rest went out rarely and didn't get much as they didn't know where to find the animals. Sitting at a seal breathing hole waiting for a seal takes great patience and it's incredibly cold.

    They were subsistence hunters. In other words they hunted to survive. 

    George, at one time our dads farmed with horses. Neither one of us are farmers or would want to be farmers. There are too many other opportunities. I wonder if either one of us could work with horses. Most of all we could not make a living. We have found more lucrative and challenging ways of making a living.

    A similar thing has happened to the Inuit. they have found better ways to make a living. Dr Joey Carpenter from Banks Island was a surgeon at the hospital in Brandon Man, He practiced for close to 40 years. At one time the Carpenter family was the only family living on Banks Island. 

   Yes, today some people do a lot of hunting. Much of it is for sport. 

   It's a complicated issue and a brief over view is not enough to understand the situation. 

    This is in the western Arctic. I didn't catch any fish that day


Tuesday, February 27, 2024

DETAILS

     In my last post there were details missing that could help to make more sense of the situations. 

     The isolated settlement I went to had 188 Inuit and 12 white guys. I was hired as Local administrator , principal of a two room school and teacher. The administration was a tremendous amount of work but very interesting. For the local Administration I had a one hour open office right after school. With this job I issued welfare money. I would give them gas so that they could go hunting  with canoes or skidoos. I bought soapstone carvings everyday for the government. I had a $2000.00 monthly budget to buy carvings.  I supervised the mechanic who didn't need supervision. I had to check off supplies that came in on the ship. I looked after visiting administrators. Since there were no facilities to look after travelers I looked after them and as a result met some very interesting people. Fred Breumer a noted photographer and author stayed with us for a week. In other words administration at times was a full time job.  However, it was very, very interesting. For all this work I received $1000.00 per year. This was in 1967. 

    The Inuit did not speak English. There were a few younger people who could interpret. The people looked after their own affairs as in if someone died, they looked after all of it. Al and I were worried about the lack of communication. However, they knew this situation was different and did not interfere. 

    I had written to the Quebec Dept. of health describing Alisi but received a blah, blah letter which said they would do nothing. My predecessor had also written. 

    So in less than a year Alisi came back on the  plane with clean clothes and tailor made cigarettes. None of us had any idea that she was coming back. She was not charged but was probably assessed and given medication. I don't know how any assessment could be made as she didn't understand French and they didn't understand Eskimo. I don't know how she would get more medication as we were 300 miles from a pharmacist. 

    One day one of the elders asked me where Alisi's baby was. So the child was taken out so decisions could be made. So none of us had thought about the closure needed for the loss of this child. This was a serious mistake in handling the body.

    However, I've always said that this whole northern experience changed my life forever. 

    In most ways these Inuit were very independent. However, since they were encouraged to live in a village and send their kids to school, they very quickly lost hunting skills or the will to hunt. 

Sunday, February 25, 2024

MURDER

       I wrote the last post for my friend, Bob. He commented that we had taught together in the same school for 24 years and he didn't know the story of my first year teaching. So,  I was trying to explain how Bob could find more about me. 

       I thought I'd have some fun with Bob and ask him to search for murder on my blog. To be safe I checked it out myself. I was very surprised that the story I was looking for was not there but there were five other stories.

     So that gives me my topic for today. 

     Many times I've told you of teaching in a very isolated northern community. I have no idea how close the nearest road came to me. I know that I was 300 miles from any service like medical and air transportation. Flights into the community were only occasional.

    Did I say this was supposed  to be about murder? Well , yes, but I had to set things up. 

    I was working for the federal Government. I was in the province of Quebec so there was some friction between the two governments. 

    One early Sunday morning, when we were still in bed, one of the people came and said, "Alisi's baby not good." The Micro Manager had been treating this little girl so she quickly got dressed and on her way to check on the baby. 

    To The Micro Manager's horror, when she got there, the little girl was dead. Furthermore, it was very obvious that the little girl had been beaten. The MM hurried back to the house to take the next steps in the case.

    The Quebec Govt. looked after justice matters. So off to the Quebec administrator we went. Al, The Quebec administrator, radioed the only police man within 300 miles. Horror of horrors. There were no airplanes to bring him to our settlement. He  said it could be six weeks before he got in. So , over the radio , he told us what he wanted us to do. We were to collect the body. That was the Al's  job but he asked me to go with him. The MM was to make a sketch showing the injuries. It was gruesome There were many burns and bruises. 

    Now, I was a naive prairie boy, who never ever dreamed that I would find my self looking after such  situation. We were to put the body in a box and keep it in the Al's garage. It was late Sept. so the garage would be cool. Now we were pretty nervous as neither one of had any experience with bodies. We went down and Al   picked the little girl up in his arms. After we said we should have taken the box and carried her in the box. 

    Fortunately the police man who was younger than Bob and I came in 5 days later and took the body and mother. Oh, I didn't say that it was obvious the mother had beaten the child. What did we do with the murderer those 5 days? We couldn't arrest her. We could not hold her in custody.  Her niece said that she would stay with her aunt and they carried on with daily life. The lady was seriously mentally ill and was not likely to harm any one else. 

   So again, I never thought I would be in such a situation. I'm sure that no other criminal situation would have been handled the way Al and I looked after it. 

    I haven't had to look after another case since!.  



 

Friday, February 23, 2024

SPEAKERS

       I belong to a local naturalists group that has speakers for 6 or 7 months of the year.

     We are not a rich group so have to be careful in selecting speakers. We have a policy where we cover the speaker's expenses. Of course that limits getting some of the more prominent speakers. We sometimes have speakers from the local college, grad students from various universities and some scientists doing research. Speakers are quite often looking for publicity about their studies.

    Last night we had a speaker on bison. He is connected with the Grasslands  park in southern Saskatchewan where they are trying to establish a large herd of prairie bison.

    I have always been interested in bison. The speaker we had last night was disappointing in a number of ways. I was expecting to hear about the history and operation of Grasslands Park. There was nothing except in questions after the presentation. I was expecting to hear abut prairie bison in North America. There was very little. 

    The speaker gave the world history of bison over millions of years and how they got to North America. I was not interested in the long history of bison. So , although the guy was well prepared and knowledgeable I was not interested in the part of the topic he presented.

   So close to 100% of our speakers are great and  their topics interesting. So one disappointing speaker once in a while isn't bad. 

                                               Birders

            The scary moose at the nature center reminding us to be cautious.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

BLOG SEARCH

       My last post was about my beginning as a teacher. Now some of my followers had not seen anything like this before. They wanted to see more. And I'm embarrassed to admit that when I went back and checked I found another very similar post only it was better. 

     So searching my blog is easy. On the top left side of the home page is a blank with a search symbol. So you can type in a topic and if it's on the blog it will come up and you can read it. So if you type in Louisville you will  find another similar post and for all I know maybe some other posts on Louisville. Try typing in such things as teaching, education, students, Wakeham Bay, Inuvik, school. You will find many  posts that I have written on my teaching career as well as my reflections on education. 

      I have written very close to 2000 posts. There's lots there . You just have to find it.

    When I started the blog, I had in the back of my mind a biography. Most of my life is on the blog. I would have to pull it out of Hiawatha House and tie it all together and add some missing parts. I know what to do , but it isn't going to happen. 

    Anyway enjoy searching through the blog. Search and let me know what you find that's surprising. 

Saturday, February 17, 2024

ANOTHER OLD STORY

       Over my life I have had many experiences and adventures.

      I was a teacher for a while...37 years. Teaching was a challenge but a very satisfying experience.

     I entered teacher's college before my 18th birthday. This was a one year course that did a pretty good job of preparing people to teach. 

     I got a job in a one room country school. I started teaching before my 19th birthday. Most people would look at 19 year olds as if they were a joke in a classroom. 19 year olds would not be hired today. 

    I had nine students. The school building was old and in very poor condition. It was built using green lumber which shrunk so there were many cracks in the walls.. You could see daylight out of the northeast corner. There was no insulation. It was heated by a heater not a furnace. Sometimes we would sit around the heater to keep warm. Most mornings we sat around the heater until the building warmed up.

    I liked working with those nine kids. I particularly liked the grade ones. It was most satisfying to  see how much they had learned in one year.

    I enjoyed this year. The parents were most supportive. It was at a time when the rural population was in decline. Schools with this level of enrolment should have been closed but, school divisions could not purchase buses and there wasn't equipment to clean snow off the roads.

   I taught one year and resigned. The district wanted me to stay. They had a series of poor teachers before me so wanted me to stay. 

   The next  year the school was closed and the students bused to town. 






Tuesday, February 13, 2024

MATERNAL GRANDPARENTS

       My maternal grandparents were born in the 1880's and raised in the south of England. Grandma made some income by sewing and grandpa was a butcher , not the kind of butchers we have today. At that time there was no refrigeration. Grandpa went from farm to farm and butchered for farmers. This job was neither lucrative nor steady. Then a depression hit in England and they were very poor.

     A church group in Canada agreed to sponsor them to emigrate to Canada. They were set up as market gardeners but this was a poor choice of business. Grandpa loved gardening but it was not enough to keep the wolf from the door. 

    During the second world war he was a janitor on an air force training base. After that he drove a delivery truck for a bakery.

    In the late 40's they moved to the west coast where Grandpa again found employment as a janitor. He worked well into his 70's. He said when he got tired he sat in the bath room for a break. 

    Grandma told us that when she was a girl they talked about flying but it was imaginary. She never thought she'd see airplanes . She was able to fly on a jet back to England to visit relatives . 

    After Grandpa retired they would spend part of their summer on our farm. Here grandpa could garden to his heart's content as there was a large garden on the farm. He liked nothing better than to bring in fresh produce. Mom would tell Grandpa what she wanted and grandpa would harvest it. He was a handyman. One summer he painted the barn. He was not allowed to climb the ladder so the higher parts of the barn weren't painted. Dad had about 300 laying hens and grandpa loved looking after the chickens. One day grandpa didn't show up for lunch. A discussion was had and they thought he was gathering eggs just before lunch. They checked the chicken house but the door was fastened from the outside. Finally they heard Grandpa yelling. His grandson had seen the chicken house door not latched so he latched the door and that's how grandpa was locked in the chicken house and didn't make it in the house for lunch. His grandson received some teasing.

     When they were coming back to the prairies for parts of the summer, I was away and missed spending time with them. I had regrets but I was not living at home anymore . 

    It's hard to believe the many hardships this couple faced in their life. Their grandchildren certainly benefited from their hard work. 

     This photo was taken in the early 70's shortly before Grandma passed away. 



Sunday, February 11, 2024

MORE FREE RANGE

       When I was looking for photos on my last post I ran into some other interesting photos.

      I've written about my childhood in the 40's and 50's. Sometimes it's hard to believe what I was writing. 

     So this photo may be from around 1945. The three kids are my brother and sister and I. And of course, Dad. This was winter transportation. I don't know where we had been . This was not a fancy sleigh to go for a sleigh ride singing Jingle Bells. This was a work sleigh. The horses where Queenie and Daisy. Queenie was very old. Daisy was a younger horse. 

    So this was winter transportation.  We didn't have snow clearing equipment. Cars had not yet been built for winter driving. 

    However , the photo shows part of our life when we had to use horses for winter transportation. 


Friday, February 9, 2024

HOW DID WE SURVIVE?

     Today we talk about free range kids. My kids, who grew up in the 70's and 80's, think that they were sort of free range kids. They look back and are happy with the freedom they had.

     For my growing up in the 40's and 50's free range involved much more . There wasn't much supervision of kids on the prairie farms as Dad's were busy farming and Moms were just plane busy with house work and many other things.

    So, as well as being free range kids we had freedom with no supervision. Stuff was not locked up so we were drawn to guns. Now most farmers at that time had a very small rifle. Hunting wasn't done so big rifles were not around.

    So it didn't take long before we started playing with guns. The shells were easily available on the farm. The storekeeper in town would sell us shells. 

   So the playing began. Hitting a stalk of grass was cool and you had bragging rights. How far your bullet went in a 2 x 4 counted. Tin cans were great targets. Seeing how far your bullet would travel was another pass time. 

  So there were usually 5 or 6 kids together. We had no instructions about gun safety and we really weren't supposed to have the guns. With that many kids running around , I can't believe someone wasn't hurt. 

   Taking a small tractor on new ice and applying one break made the tractor spin. We were all riding . Did we think of falling off? Never. Again it was dangerous with no parental supervision or permission.

   So I often look back to those days and say "How did we ever survive?"

   So this photo shows the culprits. Here are two sets of four brothers. We are cousins. We were the only kids in the district. We'd grown up since our gun days except for my little brother who now is about 70. 



Monday, February 5, 2024

TIME LIMITATIONS FOR MEDICAL CARE.

      I have had some situations where my health care has taken a very long time to begin or carry on. 

      I would like to see some rules and regulations that put a limit on the time taken to see a patient and begin treatment.

     Okay, there's a bee in my toque. I was recently referred to a heart specialist to investigate a condition I have that may be circulation related. The initial communication happened in acceptable time. I wore a heart rate monitor and blood pressure cuff for about 20 hours. I was told I would get the results back in a week and at the most 2 weeks. Well, here it is 3 weeks and I've heard nothing. I'm not impressed with this specialist. I could get very old before he wakes up and sees me.

    A family member was  referred to  specialist and waited 6 months for an appointment which was done by phone! Not Zoom. Just the old land line. 2 more calls were made and finally a test was done and biopsies taken. Now the guy is away all Feb and an appointment is made for March to go over a test from Jan 17. 

    So this is where I'm coming from. Once referrals are made it should be mandatory to meet and have examinations and tests in a short time and not wait for 6 months. 

     Now I know specialists and physicians have all kinds of challenges because of limitations from health facilities. 

    However, I think that there should be some kind of penalty for taking too long to see and treat a patient. 

Friday, February 2, 2024

GROUND HOG DAY

      So another groundhog day has come and gone. Predictions have been made and we had fun. 

     Growing up on the wild western prairie of Canada I had some problems getting my head around ground hog day. We don't have groundhogs. How could a groundhog in Philadelphia predict when spring would occur if he was that far away? Well, I put up with it and debated with my buddies about the predictions. As little fellows we had trouble remembering what was predicted by seeing the shadow or not seeing the shadow. Usually the temperature was far below 0 F at that time of year. Spring was the least thing on our minds. We had no idea how spring could arrive.

    Well, since my childhood days, the groundhog day participants have increased. Ontario has Wireton Willy. They have real ground hogs there. It was found that groundhog day made a good attraction. Groundhog day was used to promote a town.

   Hey, even Alberta has it's groundhog, Balzac Billy. Balzac Billy looks pretty lively for just coming out of hibernation. You will see what a meant about being fun.



Wednesday, January 31, 2024

LONGER DAYS

      Well guess who's looking forward to longer warmer days. Who's counting down the minutes. January, the toughest winter month is behind us. We've had an excellent mild winter except for about ten days in January. I can't complain.

      We are in the middle of an incredibly mild spell. 

      So things are moving towards spring.

Dec.21 Sun rose at 8:42   

            Sunset 4:24

           Day length 7:41:45

          Change  Minus 0.05

Jan.31  Sun rose at 8:42 

            Sunset 5:19

            Day length 9:01:54 

            Change plus 3:23

Day length is starting to increase rapidly. 

Monday, January 29, 2024

SOME PEOPLE SURPRISE YOU

     I taught with a woman for around 20 years. We'll call her Sharon. Sharon was a physed. teacher and a good one. Sharon coached all girls teams at the school .

    For all those 20 years she never taught anything else. Sharon  didn't teach any options. The only time I know that she spent time in another field is when she came with us on an outdoor education   field trip. We were probably short a female supervisor so Sharon  was conscripted. 

    Sharon's been retired for about 15 years and I've only seen her once. I met her in the library when we were both getting books. 

    Lately one of my friends was asking if I knew Sharon. She told me that Sharon sings in a ladies singing group and is a great singer. Not in my wildest dreams did I think Sharon was a singer. 

    My friend went on to tell me that Sharon paints...watercolors. Sharon put on a show of her own in a local art gallery. Again, I had no idea that Sharon had talents in art. 

    So there I was thinking that Sharon was a one trick pony and could only teach physed. It would have been interesting to have seen Sharon in a music class or art class. 

    Some people really surprise you. 

Saturday, January 27, 2024

HEARING AIDS

      Well, here I go, down the rabbit hole of hearing aids.

       I was surprised in the last post how quickly the topic turned to the performance of hearing aids. So in this post I will comment on the function of my hearing aids and I, and some of my readers may get some good tips.

      I've had problems wearing masks during covid. The hearing aids have popped out when I'm taking the mask off and on.

      Hearing aids are good for some things but they aren't a complete solution. Hearing aids make all sound louder including what you're trying to hear. In noisy places like restaurants hearing is very difficult. 

     Partners quite often have difficulty with the hearing aids. They are disappointed with the performance. The MM thinks I'm ignoring her and asks me to turn up the hearing aids. There are some frequencies where we don't hear well. Sometimes much of the partner's voice is at the frequency that you don't hear well .

    I use batteries. The batteries die in about 4 to 6 days. So you go with one aid working for a while before you get a chance to change them. 

   Changing some of the wax protection devices can be a challenge.

    So I would like to hear some advice to get more out of hearing aids. I hope readers will pick up tips as well as give tips.