Wednesday, March 14, 2018


       Well, I really didn't know there was such a word as inelegant, but I was the perfect example last night.   I was awfully inelegant.

       I was out at a meeting and came home shortly after nine.  Of course, at that time it was very dark.  I have a security light on the front of my house so parking  was fine. I walked to the back and found that the kitchen light that's usually on was off. It was pitch black. First of all you know that old guys like me don't see too well...especially in the dark. Secondly our balance isn't the greatest anymore.

       I got up the walk and the three steps to the back door and then my problem started. I was in the top step and balance became an issue .I didn't have much room to maneuver. So the way to get my balance was to step backward. That meant I was gong down stairs backwards. I'm not too good at going down stairs backwards at the best of times. 

     I made it down the three steps but when I hit the sidewalk my speed had picked up. Now I don't walk backwards very well so I tripped going backwards. I lurched against the brick wall of the house and sort of bounced. I hit the sidewalk on my butt and did a bit of a roll. fortunately I didn't hit my head. It was all in slow motion. I wonder why I couldn't have recovered at some point. My cap went flying. My meeting papers went on their own little flight. My pen disappeared. I did hang onto my keys. I had to unlock the door.

     I remember saying one very bad word and then I did what I always do when I fall...get up quickly before anybody sees me.

     Needless to say , the whole thing was very awkward and yes inelegant...totally lacking in grace. 

    I got in the house and turned on the lights and went back out to retrieve my belongings.

    I ripped my jacket sleeve and have a bruise on my left big butt. Other than being a little stiff I survived.

    It really makes one think seriously about falls when you're a senior.

Sunday, March 11, 2018


     Those readers who are less than 75 will probably not be familiar with the reel to reel tape recorder. I have a reel to reel tape recorder and I recently posted on it regarding trying to rerecord our wedding.

     Now for a reel to reel tape recorder you have to manually thread the tape through the tape head. You have to manually put the tape in a groove on the reel to anchor it on the reel. Everything was manual. If you didn't catch the tape at the end it spun around wildly.

     Reel to reel machines were developed in the 1930's with not great quality. Cassettes appeared in the late 50's and early 6o's. Cassettes could be prerecorded so you bought music. 

     Once I'd rescued the wedding from the tape I got thinking about my old reel to reel tape recorder. Way back there were few options for listening to music and quality wasn't that good.

     When I was single and mobile I didn't have the capability to own and transport a larger stereo so I listened to my trusty transistor radio.

     In the 50's there were some cabinet stereos available

     When I got my own place I wanted something better for listening to music. You guessed it. I got a reel to reel tape recorder. Now in those days you could only buy LPs. So I would borrow somebody's LP and record it. This was very low tech. I played the record and used a microphone to pick up the sound. The one I bought had external speakers.

    I had taped some get music: Harry Belefonte, Mr Aker Bilk, Dean Martin, The New Christie Minstrels, Louis Armstrong,

     So after the effort to get the wedding off the old tapes. I looked at the music I had. It was great stuff. I'm listening to it again.

     So how many people remember the reel to reels a way back? 

Friday, March 9, 2018


    Now I'm usually a mild mannered laid back sort of guy. I'm patient and give people the benefit of the doubt.

    This week I had an opportunity to complain vigorously.

     Let me back up a bit. It's income tax time. I do my own income tax. I had gone through all tax slips and decided that I was ready to roll. Well the day's mail brought one more tax slip. Now the slip was a week late but more than that a very important figure was missing on the slip.

     The micro manager phoned the company responsible for the slip. She hung up on the first person she tried to talk to. Well, I told her to hang up and she hung up gracefully like, "Thank you very much but we're not accomplishing anything!"

     The next guy was awesome and told us the company had not put the figure on the slips for the last two years. He also told us to contact the local bank and they could print the statement and it would include the missing number.

     Okay , all we have to do is phone the local branch. So first call we get an answering machine. .Well, try one of the extension numbers. Leave a message, Another extension number and still no answer. Leave a message. My third and last extension number and you guessed it. Leave a message. On top of this their message said they would get back to us within 24 hours. Now for some strange reason the Micro Manager thinks that if you phone back and leave another message there might be a reply. So she went through all the numbers again and left messages again.

     So after this run around we're a little testy.

     The next morning the manager phoned. To put it mildly, she was a jerk. She had no idea how to print out the statement we wanted. Further more she was perturbed that we were telling her what to do. She said she'd have to phone to find out what to do and would do it later and that next week she was on holidays so we wouldn't get an answer for a week. The Micro Manager pressed harder for the statement to be printed that day. The manager actually grew testy. There was no other way to do the process according to her.

    Well the Micro Manager went down to the bank at 2:00 Pm as she had told the manager she'd be there and the statement better be ready.

    As the MM was standing in the bank an employee asked her if she could help. The MM explained what she wanted. The employee said , I'll see what I can do. Five minutes later the statement was printed.

    So what was the problem with the snooty bank manager. The manager could have solved the problem in less than half the time she spent talking to us. She only had to look for five minutes!

    Customer service? First: Answer your damn phone. Second: learn some manners on how to deal with people.

    I was a little bent out of shape after this incident.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018


      Last week I was looking for my niece's obituary on line. I found her obituary but I also found a site with a collection of the last year of obituaries. Since it was my old home town, which I left 61 years ago, I was surprised to see that in about 25% of the obituaries I either knew the people or knew who they were.

     I found one obituary rather amusing. Most of the items in the obituary tended to end up at his favorite pass  time which was drinking beer. No matter what he did he tended to end up at the local hotel where he had his favorite beer , Pilsener! Now this obituary sounded like a few of the old boys got together over a few beers and wrote the obituary. It was somewhat humorous and probably quite accurate.

    Now my niece's obituary was very accurate. She was talented artistically and in many ways a very fine person. My niece was a super Mom and wife. She liked fishing and driving farm machinery...the bigger the better. The person who wrote the obituary expressed very well the excellent characteristics of my niece.  I'm sure it was a female who wrote the obituary.

     And then I've read some obituaries and I wonder if they are writing about the same person I know.  Many fine qualities are listed of which I was not aware . The person was a great father. , a wonderful husband, and hard worker! Where did they get these things. Who wrote them?

     Writing an obituary is a challenge. The occasion is stressful. Consideration has to be given as to who the audience will be. What does the family want the obituary to say?

    Now there are many more types of obituaries. Some of them can become very humorous and interesting. Others sincerely and accurately catch the mood of the occasion. And some obituaries are just plane awful. 

    The first obituary was humorous. My niece's obituary was very accurate. 

     So after all this it is my intention to write my own obituary if I ever get my act together in time!

Sunday, March 4, 2018


      We just had a couple of days of snow where we got about 12 cm of snow. That's a lot of snow for us at one time . I know other places get much heavier snow falls.

      It kept me busy shoveling snow a couple of times. However the snow was light , dry and powdery which makes it easy to shovel.

      The snow gives us a very clean fresh look so why not a few photos.

       This photo is for Far Side. She wants people to set up snow sticks so here's my feeble effort at a snow stick. Can you see it? I have 14 in. (35 cm) of snow.

Thursday, March 1, 2018


     I like watching weather. I taught Middle School science from time to time and there was usually a unit on weather. One place I taught , there was a radiosonde station where they released the large weather balloons that rose about 20000 ft. I would take the kids on a little field trip. The balloons were released at 2:00 PM and 2:00 AM each day. The radiosonde technology is completely obsolete.

     As a farm boy we watched weather.

     I took my private pilot's license and that was more weather. 

    When I was in the north, I quite often gave the pilots our weather so that they knew whether to fly in or not. CAVU meant clear and unlimited visibility.

    So a few days ago a fast moving cold front went through. There were high winds and a little snow. So the trees waved and snow blew. Visibility was limited. The whole episode was over in about 30 minutes and our temperature dropped. I watched all 30 minutes of it.

Monday, February 26, 2018


      Mom and Dad met in Portage La Prairie at their church. They more or less ignored each other for a while but finally were attracted.

     As I told you before they moved out to Dad's little farm at Esk. Sask. The farm was in the Hiawatha School district which was one of the little one room country school houses. Now you know where the  name of my blog comes from.

    There was a group from the same church in the school district. Mom and Dad were devoted adherents of the Plymouth Brethern, Christians, Christians gathered in the name of the Lord and maybe there were more names. This small church gathering were very close. There was much socializing as they often visited in each others homes. I think they went out to someone's home for supper every week. They had three church services on Sunday and prayer meeting in the middle of the week. They did not have ministers as all men participated in the services. Sometimes a "preacher " would visit and they would have services every evening for a week or two. 

     So Mom and Dad found themselves in a very supportive community. 

    Mom and Dad were welcomed to the community with a special house party. Lots of visiting and good things to eat. They received small but practical gifts. One has to remember that this was in the depression of the 30's. Those small gifts were much appreciated.

    One of the farmers had a talent for writing poetry at special occasions. Uncle Tom wrote a poem about Mom and Dad and it has always been a treasured family item.