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Life, Death, and Birth in Three Short Months


Friday, October 11, 2019

Winnipeggers reading this will know that a heavy snowfall blanketed our city on this date.  A snowstorm before Thanksgiving, no less!  Officials have had to implement flood-control measures. 1

Meanwhile, the Canadian Federal Election is in full swing, with the media pouncing on whatever “gotcha” the politicians manage to lob at their opponents.  South of the border, the slow “mills of the gods” are grinding towards the impeachment of a President.  Britain is “crashing” out of Europe, Turkey is invading Syria, Baghdad is on fire, Hong Kong is rioting, and climate extinction protests are blocking traffic in cities around the world.


You’re probably asking yourself what such things have to do with Tony’s personal blog!?

Like most people, I try to live an “ordinary” life.  I have family, friends, and a profession, all of which impose some obligations upon me, but bring delights as well.  But, also like most people, my life is lived with a backdrop of frightening things – wars, riots, crime, horrifying weather, and the constant potential for societal collapse.  The story that you are about to read here, is, on the one hand, entirely personal: an exciting, funny, and possibly interesting series of “normal” adventures, but they are set in a very real world, which seems somehow more frightening than it was when I was young.

When I was young....  I was young, once, I think, but now I’m not.  Heck, if you’ve followed this blog recently, not only did you read about the birth of a beautiful baby boy this year (such a happy and optimistic thing!), you would also have seen me fall off a bike, and get myself good and lost trying to find a hoedown!  Signs of advancing age?  It could be!

I actually fell off my bike twice this spring – there was a second fall a week after the one about which I wrote in this blog.  Apparently, my sense of balance is deteriorating.

But I can still drive!  Between June 27 and September 25, I drove 15,560 kilometres, with various adventures along the way – adventures that are the topic of the chapters that follow.


Our Travels Begin

description of photo
Our Pristine Laurentian Lake
Every year, Heather and I go by car from Winnipeg to the Province of Québec, where I inherited cottage property on a pristine Laurentian lake.  It’s a long drive – a minimum of three days with two nights in motels – but utterly worth doing, given the beauty and peace of our distant and quite primitive shack.

This year, having no reason to hurry, we took a bit of a detour, and went down to a lake near Peterborough, ON, to visit a couple who have been dear friends of ours since... well you don’t want to know how long it’s been.  It was a great visit – made the more precious as old age, sickness, and infirmity begin to loom, threateningly, in the not-too-distant future.

Then, after a couple of days with our friends, we headed into Québec, to my beloved cabin.

The days and weeks that followed, with various adventures and an enormous amount of driving, are described in the chapters that follow.  Click on the links to be taken there.

(This blog entry is a work in progress.  Chapters that aren’t online yet, are in plain text.  Finished chapters are highlighted, and are active links.)

  • Part One
    The Cottage Water System (that refused to work)
    An Interment of Ashes in Montreal
  • The Dog that Ate a Brick... of Butter
  • The Orange Cat
  • The Government Meeting – August 20
  • Dockfest
  • The Drive
  • Pompey’s Pillar
  • When the Car Alarm Went Off
  • The Sermon
  • Homeward Bound

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FOOTNOTE:

1  By the end of that unseasonable snowfall, a “State of Emergency” was declared in Manitoba, because the heavy wet snow caused thousands of trees to lose limbs, and powerlines to collapse.
Click here to get back to the narrative.



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(Previous Chronicles entries can be found on the Oxbows page.  Click here to see the list.)

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