- Vassar, MI, USA
- member since February 4, 2008
aww can't imagine having kittens around and can't be with them, how hard that must be!!!
Hubby still home from work (been out sick from respiratory distress) and probably will be home another 2 weeks. Have decided I MUSTY get a job or do constant volunteer work when he retires. He's always under me and won't do for himself or do anything, although he's better and with my help and encouragement, moving around. hmmmmm
I lined up several of my doctors for today....all check-ups!!! But thought having them back to back in one day would be better than all on different days or times of day! Hope it goes well and all are on time, LOL!
Enjoy the SPRING! And hope you have a GRAND EASTER! Remember why we have Easter!
WOW, long time since I've heard from you and YES I DO understand about things being so busy. I had 4 surgeries in March and am the "poster child" (as my friends here say) of surgery.....am doing WONDERUFL and I can finally breath again! Even walking twice a day! I have to thank the Good Lord and all the wonderful prayers being said for me for my surgery and recvovery. Still have 3 weeks to go before the surgeon wikll say it's a great recovery but I know that WILL happen.
Been reading The Shack....EXCELLENT and could NOT have picked a better time to read it!
So tell me about the kittens! How many, what color, etc etc. Love little kittens...and cats too of course!
Great hearing from you again!
Sorry it's taken me a while to get back to you. Tiger is so cute! And like Sandy!
Sandy is finally better after an accident nearly 2 wks ago. she managed to tear her claw and the pad of her foot as well, and dripped blood all over the place trying to tell me about it! Poor baby - we found a vet that's still open and they patched her up under anaesthetic. (Have I already told you this story????) Anyway, just in case I haven't, she had to stay in for 10 days which drove her nuts in the long term but she seemed very depressed at the beginning. She's just had her stitches out and can roam free again but prefers the log burner,where she is as I type this - on her back with legs in the air and eyes practically crossed with the bliss of it all!
Must talk books soon. Gotta get a loaf in the oven as my youngest will be home soon - starving and cold!!! (Food is what he lives for! ) LOL
Thanks for writing...am finally doing so much better but still a long ways to go. The Visiiting Nurse FINALLY heard air moving in my right lung on Friday...so YEAH!!!! I've been reading, but I keep falling asleep. I am not supposed to take naps or lay down during the day, trying to keep my lungs open, so when I read, off I go to la la land!!
So tell me more about this book, Darkly Dreaming Dexter. Is that based on the TV show called Dexter? I've heard of that show but didn't know it was a hit. I'm really missing out. Are there more books about this Dexter? Or is this the only one? I added it to my list to buy cause when I looked it up it sounded great on top of what you said!!!! Tell me more!!!
Am still trying to finsih Just Take My Heart by Mary Higgins Clark as it was highly recommended. So far it's really good, just can't seem to stay awake, LOL.
Love your cat...she's a beauty!!! Looks like a sister (didn't you say it was a female??) to my cat...the one in the picture.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon!!!
Oh, BTW, we have 5 cats, but recently my hubby's 33 year old son got sole custody of his little preemie daughter so I asked them to move in, forgetting they came with two more cats, LOL! The more the merrier, right and it's only for a year or so till the granddaughter is healthier! It's a lot of work to keep a house with 7 cats smelling nice!!! But so worth it....I never knew I was a cat person till I got my first one 12 years ago! Now I'm hooked! Couldn't do with them!
Thanks for accepting me as a friend and so sorry I suddenly disappeared. I had a sudden attack of double bacterial pneumonia so I've been hanging out at the hospital for awhile. Now I'm finally home so I will have more time to read since I can do little else right now.
Am still working on the Season of the Machete. I like it so far and find it interesting as it comes from the view of the murders, which you don't find often. I like James Patterson, but not as much when he writes with others. His own writings are better I feel. I hope to finsih this book really soon as I have a couple lined up waiting for me to read. I am trying hard to complete the 50 Book Challenge this year...have never in my life read that much as I am a slow reader. I finally realized if I read hardbacks the font is larger and I can read faster! So that has really helped.
What pages are you into these days? Anything exciting?
Your cat and mine (Liz) look like twins or at least siblings!!!
Canadian Journal. - Return to Canada 1994
Thirty years had elapsed since my youthful visits to this vast land. My flight was booked. The charter from Gatwick, was a first. A bustling airport, some distance from home.
Take-off time was delayed, though the pilot assured us twice that we would take off in half an hour.
My aisle seat was next to a Polish lady and her two sons, travelling to their home in Ontario. As the aircraft took off, it became apparent that she was terrified. Not the terror of a new flyer, but the petrified horror of someone who should never fly at all.
I felt sorry for this lady, comforted her on the aircraft's steep climb, my arm around her shoulders wondering should I take my travel sickness pills, it had been thirty years after all. They remained boxed.
Seat belts removed, I informed the flight attendant of my neighbours troubles. My fellow traveller disappearedwith her to return some time later, glass in hand.
This was how she survived the journey. Glass empty? A refill. I had determined to remain sober, prior to boarding. My fervour, lost to keeping this lady well-stocked, grew less.
Lunch wine! Liqueurs! All went the same way. Her glass tipped as she turned to her uncaring sons, lost in their own world of airline wonderment.
My clothing became sticky. I tried to sleep through a boring film, the alcohol dancing in my stomach. Hopeless. Her glass was filled with sparkling wine whenever she asked.
The aircraft thundered on. We gained our lost hour.
The new terror! We will crash on landing, she assured me, liquor mussy.
Warm Toronto. Wheels bounced. We had landed.
She thanked God, thanked me, thanked the cabin crew. Now she could return to her Professor husband, safe and sound. Her oblivious sons prepared to disembark. Her first crossing in ten years might possibly be her last.
Interminably, I waited for my luggage. She appeared by the carousel. Held my cart whilst I grabbed for a suitcase that toured three times. We waved goodbye.
The queue through customs and immigration was hot and tiring. My journey was to continue by hired car. The man in the booth announced my driver had arrived.
He took the new highway, built since my previous visit. We drove through farmland, he pointing out various features. In answer to my query, he stated vehicle headlights remained lit all the time now.
Past strange barns and storage silos. Through a low valley where, he informed me, black mud grew incredible crops of salad and unusual vegetables. The rest of the countryside remained immured to corn, untold acres. This was the Canada I remembered.
After a gas stop in Midland, Ontario, we headed for Penetanguishene, Ojibeway for 'place of the white rolling sands'. It is a small country town on the shores of Georgian Bay which further out becomes part of Lake Huron.
In Winter, these waters freeze over three feet thick, but in Spring Summer and Fall, they are host to craft of every size and water fowl of many varieties. To the North, two hundred miles or so, moose roam free, bear too. The country is full of lakes and forests.
My chauffeur found the right house, it had been two hours since leaving the airport. Sitting on the newly built front steps, soaking up the early evening sun, my friends awaited my arrival.
A joyful reunion. These were friends of over fourty years, English. We had kept in touch all that time.
Years slipped away as I embraced them. Gone the sorrow of six months of mourning for my mother. Gone the physical pain of clearing the house. Now I could relax, find peace in a house designed and built by my friend's husband. Cedar panelled ranch style and glassed along one side, to view the lake and its myriad traffic.
Surrounded by Spruce, Maple, Oak, Pines and many others, I felt cocooned by their presence. One Maple had already turned, its orange, red and yellow leaves bouncing in the gentle breeze.
Penetanguishene and its neighbour, Midland, share English and Scottish heritage. Once a thriving inland port for the lake in the 1800s, boat building was an established business. Lake traffic boosted the Community and the British Fort secured its safety back then.
Only memories and a few buildings remain.
Now both towns rely on Summer visitors, boat owners, fishermen, to boost the economy. The rolling landscape, covered with green trees of all descriptions lead gently down to the blue waters of the inlet on which Penetanguishene stands. People are friendly, laid back.
Just a few miles up the road, malls and specialist stores abound. A grey miniature castle, with dinosaurs made of heavy wire standing as guardians, becomes a retail outlet for objet d'art.
The Catholic church on top of a hill, where Pope John Paul the second visited some years ago, is a homage to six Martyrs. Photographs are permitted inside. The stained glass windows as good as any back home. It has a quiet solitude all its own.
Out into the sunshine, you can drive around the various shrines, still high above the surrounding land. A wooden lookout three flights high, gives a panoramic view of the marshes where a festival is to be held.
St. Marie Amongst the Hurons. Jesuit priests settled in the early sixteen hundreds. Built a settlement and drew in local natives. It was abandoned ten years later, the people decimated by fevers and marauding bands of tribesmen.
A trip one afternoon amongst thirty thousand islands of Georgian Bay. I toured Christian Island where priests and native peoples fled their attackers in times past.
We boated past Giant's Tomb Island and minute islands only a yard square and every size between.
Holiday islands, peaceful land.
With friends, I recuperated and saw more of the beautiful Canadian landscape and the friendly Ontario people.
I long to return. Maybe next year?
© Copyright Evelyn J. Steward. June, 1996.
Canadian Journal 3rd October to 25th October 1997.
The flight was pretty smooth though there were a couple of times when we had to put our seat bealts on for turbulence. I have had much worse though in the 60s. The aircraft, though starting 35 minutes late at London Heathrow Airport, actually arrived ten minutes early on touch-down.
The special meals were served before everyone else, which was good as I was hungry. I could not fault what they served for me, a diabetic. Everything was quality and enough, both meals. The film was Julia Roberts in "My Best Friend's Wedding." Didn't like it at all. Too frothy and I could not concentrate anyway. There was another film on after but I tried to get my head down for a while so I did not see much of it. "Death at 1,500" or something like that. Then there was "Seinfeld". I tried to watch that and some news but the next meal got in the way.
Because last time I was at Toronto Airport there were stairs, I asked for a wheelchair. There were many asking for wheelchairs and the women moving people over to the electric cart were finding the problem a bit much. Over-worked and under-paid, I would assume. Many needed assitance and some of us were asked, once driven by electric cart to the lift down to baggage, if we could make it by ourselves going through customs. One guy I had spoken to at Heathrow who was in a wheelchair at that end, said he could make it. (He had a beard and reminded me of Tony. he wore aT-Shirt which had a husky team and sled on it. I asked him if it was sent as a reminder of The Iditerod Race. He said he had bought it with a bunch of others at Luton.) I said I could make it though I had my handbag, flight bags and bag with two bottles of liquer for Pat.
I got worried about nmy suitcase as we were later getting off the aircraft with the waiting for wheelchairs etc. I could not see it on the carousel. Oh dear, I thought, here is where I have no clothing, no presents. I asked one guy moving suitcases about. Turns out that he had taken it off with a few others and had left it in the middle of the floor. I had not looked there. I looked for a trolley and this Canadian lady handed me a dollar and said "welcome to Canada". I think she was a bit miffed about something, but still, it was nice of her. I had only notes, no coins to put in the slot.
I had a slightly harrowing time, trying to find the place where I would pick up the limo. I had no idea of what name it went under. I think part of the airport had been rebuilt during the intervening three years sinc emy last visit. It seems I walked miles around, following what I remembered and hoping I was correct. I asked as I went along, at each desk I came to and looked at the information on overhead boards. After what seemed like forever and desparate to pass water, I found the place and confirmed my name and destination. Luckily there was a loo right by the desk and I left my stuff and freed my bladder.
It was now about nearly 10 pm local time. I had to wait for the next vehicle which came around 10.25pm. I was the first pick-up. Then we picked up a young girl student who was in from Chicago. On talking, I discovered she was staying in the Lombard area of Chicago which is where Edna lives. Small world!
We then picked up four ladies from an airport hotel. They had come in from Atlantic City. I was so tired by this time and as it was dark, I tried to pass the time by dozing off. Whether or not I did, I cannot tell. The drive is two hours long. We stopped in Barrie at the driver's headquarters. I stopped in the vehicle whilst the women had a cigarette break. The girl was waiting for another car to take her to Collingwood.
Off again, the women were dropped in various parts of Midland and Penetang. Then only I was left. It was the same driver I had last time and again, he could not find the road to Pat and Basil's house first off, even with instructions from the women. We were heading up the road that leads to the mental facility and once again, he tok a wrong turn. Finally we arrived at Pat and Basil's house around 12.25 am.
It was lovely to see them both again. Basil unloaded my suitcase and other luggage whilst Pat and I cuddled and kissed. Basil got his cuddel and kiss also. I was ushered inside the house and given a chair. A cup of tea was made and I got out my sandwiches. It had been some time since I had eaten and I worried about my blood sugar.
Lisa came over and after the cuddle and kisss with her, we all sat talking. I gave Basil his newspapers and Pat her bottles of booze I had bought for her at London Airport. Another cup of tea and more talking. I gave Basil the por pie I had bought in England. I told him not to eat it, but it disappeared and was never seen again, ha! ha!. It was good to see them all again. Lisa had to leave after some while as she had been teaching all day and was tired, having breast fed little Caullen as well. Finally, we all got to bed about 2.30 am. I was really tired but as usual, never got much sleep that night.
I awoke at 4.00 am. Phoned Kay to let her know I had arrived safely. She said she missed me and the cats were good. There was a letter at home from Nadine in N. W. Ontario - finally.
Could not sleep again after that. Too much excitement I suppose, at being over in Canada once more, at being with Pat, Basil, Lisa and Randy again and wanting to see the children. Hope I can keep this journal going. P.S. Still no sign of Nelson. I asked Lisa if I should save my painting of him I brought with me as a gift for Pat, until Thanksgiving - she said give it now, so I will do that tomorrow. Get all the tears over with, not put her through it all again several days from now.
Basil was pleased with his newspapers, and the pork pie and Mars bar I brought with me. He told me they came from the U.S., a guy called Mars invented them. We also spoke of property and the Mars factory in Slough in England.
I need sleep. Don't suppose I shall get much though. Nearly 5.00 am Canadian time. Pat was pleased with her tequila at £10.99 per lter and £8.99 ltr for the Navy Rum, Lambs plus the glasses that came with the Tequila and free Margueita.
The taxi car cost $41. I gave him $42 and the change I had. Had no other cash money then. Still not sleepy. Bone-tired though.
4-10-'97. Saturday. Only one and a half hours sleep last night all told. Finally rose properly at 7.00 am really tired. How can I not sleep after all that travel? There was a mist over the lake and the trees were enveloped in a light swirling mantle. Small boats powered out towards the Islands at regular intervals. This is such a peaceful landscape at this time of year or at least, when all Summer visitors are gone. Even with the odd boat speeding up and down past the houses, you can feel the quiet exuding from all the trees and open spaces.
I went downstairs and had some raisin bran and some tea. Sat watching the lake and the boats. I finished two poems I had started back home, 'Affinity' and 'Waiting for Melon'. Trasnferred 'The Water Test' piece into my pad before I lost it.
My hernia acted up bad during the morning. Lisa ordered out for me some medicine, Enos and some colas. Pat and Lisa went for a walk. It was a nice fine day. Basil went out to the boat he is working on. It is in the front yard. I sat in a chair and started to nod. Thought it was more advisable to go to bed. This was just after 1.00 pm.
Next thing I am waking at 4.00 pm and hear rain splat. Started to go downstairs when the heavens opened. A deluge of biblical proportions. Such as I have not seen here in a long time. Pat had luckily already returned fromher walk and Basil was in his room. He said he had been keeping an eye on me, bless him, to check on me whilst I was asleep. Well, I was so tired and I had had a long journey the day before. I was unaware that he looked in on me but I guess that is fine with me. Nice to know people care about you!
The rain, though was hard and heavy. I never heard the thunder what with my much needed sleep taking my time, did not last that long. A watery sun soon broke through over the lake. The rain gradually. eased.
Basil sat at the table and read to me from a large thivk book about illnesses. Diabetes in particular. It was good resting and listening. I hope I have learbed something. Vitamins B6, B3, B1 seem to be the key with Vit. C and Vit. E in close proximity. Plus things like magnesium, chriome and other minerals are an aid to reducing the diabetes. But most of all (saw Tiger who mewed to come in, then walked away), CUT OUT STRESS. He read that oats are a better form of soluble fibre, better than bran. So Basil keeps pushing the porridge!
Lisa invited us all for supper. My hernia was a problem. I had had the Enos and cola (which turned out to be diet Pepsi), was on special and it worked out to the cost of 48 pence per 2 ltr bottle (inclusive of tax - Canadian it was 88 cents) Wow! Cheap!
Forgot! Randy brought Wilder over in the late morning. He is such a little sqealer when anything excites him. Wonder how much of this little boy charm will stay with him in later years? When happy, he shrieks almost and is so bubbly. It really is enearing in him where it might get on one's nerves if someone else did it, or is it just becuase I know and love him?
He loved the free balloons and badges I took over. He has cute blond curls and a great smile. He is going to be a handsome boy, if his father and mother are anything to go by. Kay would adore him. Later that evening when we went for dinner over at Lisa's and Randy's house, I was given Caullen to hold. What a charmer! And so young with it too. Another beauty. he beamed at me and was so unafraid of a stranger, myself. He cuddled right into my neck, grabbed my glasses and hair, as if he had known me all of his little life. Shame he will never remember these times! All the while he was gurgling.
The cutest of all was the nuzzling into my neck and face. It brought it all back to me, the trust of babies. I had long forg
Spare Time Travelling?
Viewing my journey from 41 years on, it hardly seems possible that my first flight in an aeroplane and first holiday on my own, was to be so far away and in such an awesome contraption as a jet prop aeroplane. Frightening to some people then, back in 1960. Now, air travel is commonplace. Aircraft are larger, faster and fly even higher.
Back in those heady days I worked for a subsidiary of a national airline company. After three years service, a flight was available for 10% of the cost. To Canada, that was a little over £16. That was cheap. Passports were cheaper too, hell, everything was cheaper in 1960!
Yes! There is always a catch! I was on stand-by.
Back then, London (Heathrow) Airport was small, by comparison to the sprawling pseudo city it is today. Due to take off from Heathrow North (alongside the Bath Road) Saturday, I was too naive to realise I had chosen to embark on this momentous journey the same day many Olympic athletes were converging on the airport to travel home to their respective countries. Waiting was tedious. One fed-up American lady coined the phrase, " time to spare? Travel by air." This amused my father who found the whole exercise fascinating.
Stand-by, for those unfamiliar with the term, meant you filled spare seats on the aeroplane. Shortage of spaces meant longer service counted. This then was my situation. One space, a pilot ahead of me on the list. I got to stand down.
No way to contact my friends in Toronto who, unknown to me at the time, were filming their perambulations out to Toronto Airport so all would be captured for posterity.
Next available flight, Sunday evening. This time, I got a seat. First Class. That was another system where, if economy was full, the ticket holder fills a place in the first class section. Roomy! Luxurious! Compared to the other seats that is. Food was also a matter of choice. A la carte, or rather trolley. The menu is forgotten in the mists of time but I do remember the hors d'oevre, caviar, on tiny crackers with champagne cocktails. A sumptuous feast, a step up in the world where I always imagined I really should be!
Other novelties, tucked in the pocket of the seat in front, were magazines advertising logo-printed items for sale. And socks. At the time, I had no idea that the socks were 'necessary' items. We were travelling at 36,000 feet in a jet prop aircraft. Several years of travelling on, I now know that if you get socks, use them. They make the journey just that little bit more comfortable. On my last journey in 1997, there were no socks, but there was a mini toothbrush set and an eye visor. Pity about the socks. I took my shoes off several times, for comfort sake.
My main memory of that first flight in 1960 comes with the impressions I collected as we flew. It was not London to Toronto as now, but a gradual cruise up and across England, stopping at many airports en route.
Night obscured the scenery. Below, the velvet black blanket was pierced by the fairyland twinkle of lights from towns we passed over. A fantasy picture that, 41 years later, has been enhanced by other lights from other cities in faraway places. Manchester was one such stop, and Ayr, in Scotland, from which we took off, away over the ocean fleeing the dawn somewhere far behind us. Riding the warrior of night on a 'heavier than air' metal charger.
I slept little that night, even though first class was more comfortable than Frequent Traveller seats are these days. Over the vast Atlantic, then crossing Canadian shores, I beheld the first glimpses of dawn catching us up. A reddening of the sky, crystal clear. Touches of yellow blending with light, then dark blue.
Approaching Montreal Airport, our first touch down on Canadian soil, I felt the day strange and unusual. Our aircraft winged lower, angled, crossing the St. Lawrence river in a lop-side dive. The bridge spanning the water was strung with a necklace of lights not yet doused. It was 6.30am and mist-clad Montreal spread out beneath us as our droning monster strove towards a soft landing beyond the city.
Everyone was obliged to die half a cupful, the rest having ejected itself into the saucer during several 'drops'. Nervous grins replaced stewardess 'masks'.
On this first trip however, there was a certain amount of trepidation on my part as I proceeded through customs. How would I locate my friends having no idea how far from the airport the city of Toronto was?
Undaunted, I trudged through and out into the airport lounge to find my friends waiting behind the barrier. A sigh of relief! They had been resourceful and had checked with the airline to learn why I had not arrived the previous morning.
This was the first of many such journeys, all with their own individual happenings. This one held a special place in my heart and mind, never to be repeated in quite the same way ever again.
Evelyn J. Ralph
This was late September 1960. My friend Patricia, whom I had worked with in Hayes, had emigrated with her family. Mother, father and two sisters took ship and headed for Canada about two years earlier. A big decision in those days. Not one I ever contemplated at the time for I would have had to go alone.
However, after my brush with death at the hands of Meningitis, I moved on to a new job which was connected tenuously with the then B. O. A. C.. A subsiduary that brought us various goodies such as, after three years service, travel passes at a rate of 10% and other discount rates on goods. I bought a Dancette Record Player (the player to have in those days) with 33 and a third off the list price. Quite a coup, as discounts were an unknown factor to me then.
So, by 1969, I had served my three years as an Accounts Clerk, Sales Ledger up to Trial Balance. Unlike today, where you have to prove you can do the job before being considered, I was allowed to 'learn on the job'. Book-keeping was a slog in those days where all the columns were calculated either in your lead or with a lengthy puch machine, but as I said, it had its moments. Actually, in the end, I really rather liked what I did apart from the fact that the Company grew and more and more invoices were needed to be typed as well as sent out, entered manually into the Kalamazoo System of Accounting. One useful gift was that I can now add up long collumns of numbers in a condensed form. Computers came in a bit after to do the wages, but that was a Head Office for a long time, only arriving down at the Hayes branch about two years before I left.
I had to go up to the London office to book my ticket to Canada at that time. A wild event even for me. A sort of interview really.
And here I was, now in Toronto. Fourty one years ago so I remember little of the day to day events on that nearly three week holiday except that it was beautiful. The skies were so blue, the trees a mixture of dark grren (the conifers) and all the shades of yellow, orange, red, dark red and red.brown you could ever imagine, or ever want to. The water of the lakes was icy cold, crystal clear and so fresh. Different from large masses of water here, which in fact means the ocean, salty, briny in the air and invigorating. This water had no smell and reflected the blue of the skies to a deeper depth than you could ever want in a painting or a photograph.
How did I feel to be in, what for me was an alien environment at the time, GREAT! My friend Pat had planned a trip to America. I had already been to the American Embassy in London (like going through Checkpoint Charlie in those days), and had been granted a Visa.
We drove down through Windsor, Ontario, visiting a sunken garden on the way. It was full of red roses. When Niagara hove into our view, it was then I found I had left my passport in the house back in Toronto. America was out of bounds. We were all disappointed, but could do nothing about it.
I met all kinds of new people. Pat's boyfriend of the day made arrangements to drive us up North to a town on Lake Nippissing called North Bay. We started out in his lilac convertable. He had had it painted that colour as it was Pat's favourite hue. We drove through the now empty grounds where the Canadian National Exhibition was held every year in October. The grounds are beside Lake Ontario. On the way, we stopped along the Highway to 'climb' the granite blocks at the side of the road. I am and never was much good at that sort of thing, being a tad overweight at the time. But I have snaps to prove I tried. We stopped at a gift shop along the road north where a teepee was set up with bearskin and other accountrements. Another photograph. I bought soft, soft moccasins and a little papoose wrapped in soft deer skin. The house where the Dionne Quins were born was another milestone on this epic journey. Well, looking back, it seemed epic but I guess at the time, we were just youngsters out for a good time.
We got up to Lake Nippissing in the afternoon, finding a jetty to sit on and take in the sun lighting up the Fall trees hidden between the conifers. Again, the sky was a clear blue from horizon to horizon, reflected in the lake a deeper hue. We dipped our toes in the lake and cooled our hot feet. You can tell the water runs down from mountains somewhere. The water was icy cold.
It was a peaceful afternoon. The only sound was the saw being used in a boat builders yard somewhere out of sight behind the trees to our rear.
Pat's boyfriend's aunt lived along this route too, and we visited. It was a small farm or even just a house. My memory is scant on these details. In the front yard were kittens. The relatives welcomed us though and we were to stay the night. The late sun shone through the trees, almost bare as the drop had come early this far north. Only 500 miles north of Toronto but here, that made a difference. Dust motes danced where a kitten moved across the yard. Pat, lover of animals (as was I), picked it up. These animals are her 'cannot resist' creatures. You could see the fleas dancing all around it in a halo. She held it anyway.
A bear hunt was suggested for that night. Not by us I doubt, but by a cousin. We drove some way around in the dark. Parked. Pat and I had only city shoes. Well, no one told us what to bring, no one let us know we were going on a bear hunt and neither of us wore flatties much then, let alone sensible shoes. We traipsed through the trees in the pitch dark. O.K. so there were torches, the two guys had those. Pat and I had to try to keep up, and keep quiet. Of course, the guys ribbed us saying they thought they heard bears and to keep close.
We ended up after a "Blair Witch" type walk through trees of all sizes and shapes, often being smacked by a branch as it found it original trajectory, at the local dump. Bears like easy food. Had I known how dangerous it was, I would have trembled in my city shoes far more than I did, which was little. We laughed, we stumbled, we got a bit dirty in our 'crinoline' skirts and loads of net petticoats. This was 1960 after all and us girls were loathe to let our 'rock and roll' garb go.
The drive back to the house was interesting and we laughed a lot. I think we got to bed about 6. am (tip-toeing through the house and up the stairs to our rooms, getting up about 8 am for breakfast. Could not do that now, but it wasn't so hard in those days. On to North Bay. There were a few Indians drinking on the streets. At least, that was what I was told and the inference was, they were not liked. I found that idea not to my liking but as we were just cruising the few streets, then going back to Toronto, not ours to make waves then. I hope that since, work has given those people left in the area some kind of pride in themselves, some dignity in their heritage and perhaps the Government has made funds available for land rights for the indigenous peoples of the area. I hope.
On the lakeshore along past Toronto Harbour was the large space kept for the Canadian National Exhibition. Seeing a modern photograph of the area, I see it is a permanent 'fairground' of sorts. The C. N. E. was a yearly event encompassing an 'Ideal Home' type exhibition, a fairground and, as the surrounding areas around Toronto are great farming areas, an Agricultural Show as well. I do know that somewhere a National Powow is still held regularly in Toronto and I had thought the C.N.E. grounds would have been the ideal place, but I must ask my friend in Toronto about that.
Another day, Pat and her family took me to High Park. "Let's take out boats on the lake" (a small lake within a park area, not Lake Ontario). I am afraid of being in a small boat on water of any kind. I cannot swim. The boats got rocked and I was scared witless. "It is bottomless" Pat's father informed me casually, doing little for my fears. He was 'having me on' of course. A man who had a sense of humour. Sadly departed from this world a few years back, some years after Pat's mother passed away. We are both orphans now.
A visit to Toronto Zoo produced the most vivid flamingoes I had ever seen then, or since.
We went to The Islands, a string of small islands in a semi-circle around Toronto Harbour on Lake Ontario. A camping and picnic ground then. The Toronto Yacht Club had moorings there too. Used mainly for picnics and Summer sun trips, the islands form a kind of necklace around the harbour and we were able to move from one island to another. Toronto is beside an inland lake, Lake Ontario. It is not like our own shores where the sea is at the mercy of the tides and winds that pull to and fro from the Atlantic Ocean or the Continental Shelf. There is no tang of salt. Not if you are not used to salty water. We are islanders and most of us Eenglish at one time or another have 'been to the coast', had the salty ozone invade our nostrils and lungs. I personally know, miles before I get to the sea, that I am not far away from that tang of salty air that tickles my senses and goads my on to reach that beach!
So it is not surprising that I have been able to detect the faintest whiff of ozone coming up from what is ostensibly fresh water. Micro litres of oceanic drift flow up the great St. Lawrence river from the icy cold Atlantic of the Eastern Seaboard of Canada. They disperse through Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, over the magnificent Niagara Falls and on westward through the rest of the Great Lake System. Only someone like myself who feels stirred by that aphrodisiac, can detect it.
Speaking of Niagara, though I never made it across into the United States, I did witness the power and majesty that is the Falls. The wind blows and great plumes of spray lift on the Summer afternoon sunshine right across the river to land for yards on the Canadian shore. To say walkers (parading along the edge of the clifftop) get wet, is an understatement. But that is all part and parcel of the experience. Getting wetter is an occurrence not to be missed. I refer to the trip of a lifetime, a ride on one of the boats that ply the river from the Canadian shore. They are all called "Maid of the Mist" and motor from the Canadian shore over past the American and Bridal Veil Falls, up as close as they can get to the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. The latter being where passengers get a drenching. Oh, you are provided with waterproofs. In 1960 they were rubber, black and covered from head to toe. Those on the American shore and walking under the Bridal Veil wore bright yellow. More recently in 1997, the Canadian coverings were plastic, blue see-through and reached only to the thigh.
This is where humans find out just how much raw energy and power Mother Nature can conjure up. Bobbing like a cork within the maelstrom of those churning waters, spray, rainbows, is where you find or lose your courage. On this trip I was on the middle deck and played it safe. In 1997 I was to head to the top deck with my friends to face Nature on her terms. I have no wor
I travelled a bit in my younger days. The Netherlands , Germany, littler Principalities within those areas, Spain and Canada. In the 1960s I went to Canada 3 tinmes visiting New York one weekend in 1964. Then I went back to Canada in 1994 and 1997 an d that was my last jpurney abroad. I would have gone one more time but my frien d with whon I stayed got breast cancer and was ill for 3 years by this time it was too late for several reasons. Not as many places as i would like but more than some,