Til Next Year

A friend and I decided to take a trip to Port Stanley today, the last day of summer, to enjoy the sun, sand, and surf one more time. It was gloriously warm and the water was inviting. We had a bite at GT’s On The Beach before taking one last walk around the pier and heading back to London.  It always makes me feel kind of melancholy to see the summer end.

Bye Summer, until next year.


Port Stanley sunset.



Buddy, 2003–2019


Buddy with his treatball

I love this poem by Jimmy Stuart, written after the loss of his dog, Beau.  In paying homage to Buddy, I couldn’t write anything better.

He never came to me when I would call
Unless I had a tennis ball,
Or he felt like it,
But mostly he didn’t come at all.

When he was young
He never learned to heel
Or sit or stay,
He did things his way.

On the evening walks, and Gloria took him,
He was always first out the door.
The Old One and I brought up the rear
Because our bones were sore.

He would charge up the street with Mom hanging on,
What a beautiful pair they were!
And if it was still light and the tourists were out,
They created a bit of a stir.

But every once in a while, he would stop in his tracks
And with a frown on his face look around.
It was just to make sure that the Old One was there
And would follow him where he was bound.

We are early-to-bedders at our house-
I guess I’m the first to retire.
And as I’d leave the room he’d look at me
And get up from his place by the fire.

He knew where the tennis balls were upstairs,
And I’d give him one for a while.
He would push it under the bed with his nose
And I’d fish it out with a smile.

And before very long
He’d tire of the ball
And be asleep in his corner
In no time at all.

And there were nights when I’d feel him
Climb upon our bed
And lie between us,
And I’d pat his head.

And there were nights when I’d feel this stare
And I’d wake up and he’d be sitting there
And I reach out my hand and stroke his hair.

And sometimes I’d feel him sigh
and I think I know the reason why.
He would wake up at night
And he would have this fear
Of the dark, of life, of lots of things,
And he’d be glad to have me near.

And now he’s dead.

And there are nights when I think I feel him
Climb upon our bed and lie between us,
And I pat his head.
And there are nights when I think
I feel that stare
And I reach out my hand to stroke his hair,
But he’s not there.

Oh, how I wish that wasn’t so,
I’ll always love a dog named Beau.

~Jimmy Stewart

Going To Oz

Canadians know that when it’s been hot and humid for days, a tornado is probably in our future.  Sometimes we dodge it, sometimes we don’t. This was one of those times that we didn’t. A couple of days ago, Alberta had a nasty one touch down in a farming community near its southern edge.  (Miraculously, a dog that was scooped up as the tornado passed managed to land somewhere safely, and find her way home.) On the same day London, Ontario had its flirt with disaster. The photos below show the beast as it rolled in around 1:00 in the afternoon.   Some people said it looked like the mothership in Independence Day, and I kind of think so too.


Tornatic funnel cloud,  July 19, 2019. (Image courtesy of Michael Wismer)



Tornadic funnel cloud, July 19, 2019. (Image courtesy of Ontario Storms.com)

When the warning came over my cell phone I went outside on the terrace to have a look.  Tornado clouds are scary-looking things and it didn’t take me long to boot it back inside. I left Clancy and Buddy sound asleep in the apartment and took the stairs to the lobby to see several residents standing at the building’s entrance, looking skyward. A few moments later, the word came that it was moving east and more or less missed us–but not before a lightening bolt struck a tree in the south end, felling the tree and sending wood schrapnel flying in every direction. A near-miss for us, but not for the tree.


Moments That Feed the Soul


On Sunday a friend and I went to Toronto to see Come From Away, a musical about how the people of Gander, Newfoundland took care of the folks who were displaced when their planes were diverted to Canada during 9/11.  It’s a story that, prior to the musical, only Canadians seemed to know about; I can still remember our collective disappointment (and anger) when George Bush gave his State of the Union address soon after the attack and thanked EVERY SINGLE COUNTRY except Canada.  That the U.S. closed its airspace but Canada allowed the planes in–not knowing if any more terrorists were on board–was worthy of a wee mention, in our view. (We found out, years later, that the speech writers made the gaff and tried to alert Bush to the error–but he was not inclined to change his speech after he had already rehearsed it. It was Colin Powell who stepped up and tried to make amends in the press, god bless `em.)

Anyhow: better late than never. If you haven’t seen the musical, GO SEE IT!  The music is awesome, the story-telling is riveting, and I swear you’ll laugh, cry, and want to get up and dance in the aisles.

It’s food for the soul, and these days we could all use a healthy dose of that.

Things You Miss

Last month I sprained one of my toes.  I’ve never given a thought about that toe; it did its duty quietly and faithfully for over 60 years until its owner thanked it by nailing it on an open pantry door.  For the past month I’ve been reminded of that toe every time I try to wear certain shoes or bend my foot a certain way.  Now I have a new appreciation for that toe (and pray to it every day to heal the hell up; I miss those shoes.)

For the last week I’ve had a cold and my first ever case of total laryngitis. I went to bed one night with my voice in tact and woke up the next morning without it. Just like that. Like my toe, I took advantage of my voice, never full appreciating how useful it could be until it decided to flunk out. It’s amazing, in this day of technology, how much you still need your voice. Today was a discovery.

This morning I went on-line to cancel a service but I found out that I had to phone the merchant directly–which I can’t do, of course, because the only thing the merchant would hear is a breathy, raspy sound and I would sound like a pervert making an obscene phone call. (I’ve had those and they’re not fun.)

This afternoon I went grocery shopping and thought I was in the clear because the store has self-checkout. Unfortunately the deli does not. The moment the deli lady said “can I help you?” I realized my mistake. I whispered “I have laryngitits” and “Can I have a bit of that salad please?”, looking sheepish. The lady was sweet and accomodating, even giving me a home remedy for my missing voice (Apple Cider Vinegar diluted with water.)  I mouthed a thank you and went on my way.

After that I went to the pet store to get some pill pockets. (Pill pockets are treats you can stuff pills in to give your dog. I’ve been faking Buddy out with this method for 5 years.)  I figured I’d grab a pack, pay for it wordlessly, and leave. But no. I couldn’t find the damn pockets and needed to ask the sales girl, explaining (again) my weird voice. The sales girl listened sympathetically and walked me over the the pill pockets.  Walked. Me. Over. To. Them.  My lack of voice has apparently rendered me an invalid who can’t follow simple directions.  I thanked her and left with my purchase, surprisingly able to locate my car. (I think the salesgirl was impressed.)

There were other incidences of missing my voice today too, like how I wanted to tell my  neighbour something but couldn’t email him because he doesn’t have the internet, but also couldn’t phone him for obvious reasons, although I’m sure he would find my pervert/obscene phone call impersonation amusing.

But the worse incident of all regarding my absentee voice was not being able to yell at a bunch of kids who were screaming and hollering outside.  Had I had my voice, I would have barrelled out there full throttle and sent them packing.  As it was, I could hardly have been a commanding presence with a ghostly whisper that I’m sure they wouldn’t have heard. This, I discovered, was the worse part of voicelessness:  I need my voice so I can give annoying people shit.

I knew I was put on earth for a reason.

1940s Portrait Of Woman Holding Her Sore Throat With Expression Of Discomfort And Pain

Me, as I contemplate how to give people shit sotto voce.