My Mom and Dad. Together Again


On Monday, October 9th, 2017 Our Mother passed away and joined our Father for Eternity. Here are some pictures of the 2 of them through the years.

 

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Slow Down, You Move Too Fast.


Growing up in Hespeler in the 1960’s was a sweet time and also I might add a slower time, at least in my mind. Sundays were always special and I have written about them before so excuse me if I repeat myself a little in this one. You see Sundays were of course for Church but more importantly, they were also a time when my father was able to bond with his two younger kids, myself and my younger sister Marylou. While the two older siblings John and Theresa had plans for a Sunday Marylou and I being roughly 10 and 8 were at the mercy of what our parents had planned and that is where our Dad and the Pontiac Strato Chief came into the equation. My Dad had this thing about taking the big V8 out into the country and blowing out the engine by going on a long pleasure cruise through the countryside and looking at the farms  and whatever was out there on any particular Sunday, and my sister and I usually went along for the ride, after all it sure beat doing chores around the house and we actually liked it. As I got older I sort of fell away from doing that on a regular basis with my dad and the slow enjoyable rides through the country took on different looks over the years, from some friends and Myself cruising the backroads to  letting my troubles drift away between Hespeler and Hamilton  But the one thing they all had in common was the slow pace that being out in the farmlands of Ontario provided and the comfort of viewing a little different style of freedom.

Recently I have started driving those roads again, this time with my trusted Dog Cooper and my Camera’s but I have noticed a big difference.  The traffic was a lot heavier than I remembered and the cars trying to fly past us on the side roads was disturbing, to say the least, after all, I remember how we would be able to slow down and look at something at the side of the road, perhaps even stop and admire an old barn or watch a farmer plough his field, but not now. Trying to enjoy the view outside of this city has become almost impossible and since  Coop is an Australian Cattle Dog/Border Collie he has a fixation on cows and trying to slow down so he can look at them? Impossible, because as soon as you do someone comes flying up behind us at about 90 miles an hour and you have to speed up and try to get out of his way. Let’s just say it is not as fun as it used to be, it has become alarmingly dangerous to enjoy yourself on a country road. So if you are out in the country slow down and enjoy the view.  And I haven’t even mentioned the roundabouts in the country. Sheesh.

No Sugar Tonight.


The 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of fame nominees have been announced and as usual, they are an eclectic group and all well deserved in their own right. The Acts that are nominated include Bon Jovi, The Eurythmics, Rage Against the Machine, Link Wray, Judas Priest, Radiohead, Depeche Mode,  Nina Simone, Kate Bush, The Cars, LL Cool J, The Zombies, The Meters And Rufus featuring Chaka Khan.  Then there are my personal favorites among the nominees, J.Geils band, The Moody Blues, Sister Rosetta Thorpe and The MC5, but missing is one band that ticks me off to no end, and they are Canadian. The Guess Who is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of fame and again this year are not even nominated, all the above acts are good some even great but the Guess Who is as good as any of the above.

The Guess Who blazed the way for Canuck music and they made a big dent in the United States as they racked up a number of hits there including 3 top 10 singles, These Eyes and No Time cracked the top ten while American Woman became just the second single by a Canuck Group to hit Number 1 there.  Laughing, No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature, Bus Rider, Running back to Saskatoon, Undun,  Hand Me Down World, Rain Dance and Share The Land are just a small sample of the library that The Guess Who has left us.

But yet no nomination to the Hall of Fame. So what gives? It is not like the Hall of Fame ignores Canada, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Rush and the band are all in the Hall so the Guess Who’s exclusion does not make sense to me but I think it is high time we Canucks start making the Hall of Fame take notice and start letting them know that we want them in the hall, Then next year we begin the push for them plus Bachman Turner Overdrive!

Lost In The Supermarket and other Places


I don’t know if it is my age or if it is just that I have become too comfortable with my surroundings but lately, I tend to find myself getting lost or at the least upset with the change in things that have been part of my lifestyle.  Take for example the local Zehrs in Hespeler, it took me a few try’s to get used to the new store when they moved location but I was able to do it eventually, but last week I had occasion to be in the East Galt area, and yes my passport was sufficient to allow me to cross the 401, and I needed to pick up a few things so being near the Zehr’s there I decided to go in, what a mistake.  As soon as I went in I should have known that I was in trouble just by the set up of the store. After wandering aimlessly for 10 minutes looking for where everything was I screamed like a school kid heading back on the first day and ran out hopped in my car and drove to the safety of Hespeler and did my shopping there. Another example was the new beer store in town, since my wife drinks wine I always went to the liquor store and did one stop shopping, wine and beer and had no reason to go to the Beer Store, but I wanted something for a family get together that the LCBO did not have so for the very first time I entered the new Beer store and immediately knew I was in trouble. The set up confused me like a curve ball confuses some of the Toronto Blue Jay hitters, but I persevered and 20 cold minutes later I had what I wanted and got the hell out of there, probably to never set foot in there again.

But alas, the worst was yet to come. This time I dragged my wife into the confusion, we had to visit a family member in the hospital and we were totally unprepared for the excursion that was to come. Just finding our way in was a challenge, then figuring out which way to get to the room took some effort as neither one of us seemed to have our direction right. We wandered up and down the halls and elevators of the hospital and in some cases seemed to do complete circles, I am sure we passed the Tim Hortons 3 or 4 times before finally finding the right room.  After the visit I thought “okay, we are safe”, I was wrong, 25 minutes and 2 bathroom stops later we eventually emerged into the outside light, more embarrassed than anything and as I said to my wife as we were driving out of the parking lot, ” Next time I am bringing popcorn and marking where we had been”.  Now I have to go to city hall so,  Mike Devine, if you see me wandering, point me in the right direction.

A Late Summer Sunday in Hespeler


As summer begins its decline, things sometimes heat up and here in Hespeler that is so true.  On Sunday, August 6th the neighborhood of Redwood saw the 4th or is it the 5th (hell, I can’t remember) annual  Wilson house party, and as usual it was a great time with good food, drinks and plenty of folks having a delightful Sunday afternoon and except for the unwanted call from the bylaw officer responding to one complaint everything went well. Can imagine a party that the average age was around 60( even though there were a few more young people this year) garnered noise complaints? Damn, we rock in Hespeler. We also raised $300 for Lizzard House, giving the afternoon a fine finish. So, without further ado, I present to you the photographic evidence of Hespeler at it’s finest.

Surviving The Inevitable Traffic Chaos


Sometimes inspiration can come to people in the strangest places and on Saturday it happened to me. I was stuck in a traffic Delay in town  and thought to myself”self, this could be a long wait, maybe you should do something to spice this wait up” And so I have come up with some ideas on how we the citizens of Cambridge can make the Inevitable summer traffic delays in the city more palatable.

You could pretend that you are in a rock band and start head banging to the music you are listening to, this usually is good until you realize too late that you are listening to Neil Diamond’s “I am I said”, not really a head banging tune, but you get the idea on that one.

Next time you are stuck in traffic in Preston or anywhere in Cambridge you can get out of your car and encourage others to do the same and start a flash mob, just make sure someone has a copy of “YMCA” on their iPod and you will be good to go.

You can provide entertainment for others stuck in traffic by exiting your vehicle and performing some street mime, everyone loves a free show.

I think I am going to keep some snacks in a picnic basket in my trunk and the next delay  I will set up a little picnic on the hood of my car and invite the others to join me, thereby making some new friends and having a little conversation at the same time.

If you like to have a little fun with people and you have a car where the back seat folds down you could unlock your trunk, fold the back seat down and then crawl out of the trunk yelling and screaming “I’m Free”

I think to get out of your car, running up to another and touching it then yell Tag Your it would certainly break the tension of the moment.

If you are not into participation games there are some that you can do by yourself while waiting, like perhaps practicing your accents, go from german to Russian and so on and so on, after all, you never know when it will come in handy.

You can freak people out by waving to the car next to you and ask how grandma’s doing, See how they react.

Along the same lines as a flash mob, you could try to get everyone to honk their horns and co-ordinate it as a song, perhaps try “Kung Fu Fighting” to start.

You could find out what other people are listening to on their car stereos and start singing along real loud, watch their expression while you are doing this.

And of course, if the delay is long enough, just take a goddamn nap!

I hope I have giving all of you some ideas, so happy idling everyone!

The Moon River Effect


Certain Songs from my past always seem to bring memories with them and this is just one of those stories.

Moon River is a song that may not immediately bring the past back to many people but it is one of those crooner songs that I always seem to remember at the weirdest times and for the last month or so I have been singing it, but don’t worry, I have only been singing it to myself and to my wife so you readers are not in danger of having an ear worm installed.  Why do I even remember this song you may be asking yourself, well the answer lies in Bala Ontario and the summer road trips with my siblings and my parents to my Mom’s Sisters cottage in Bala to visit our cousins which also happens to have a river called the Moon River.  Now, my Dad loved the crooners and one of his favorites was Andy Williams and boy did he ever like him, Andys  records would play on a Saturday night at our house and Moon River was one of his favorites and in the mid 1960’s he would be humming it as we entered Bala and he would make sure we stopped at the Bala Falls to see the river before heading on to Uncle Ted and Aunt Theresa’s cottage, along of course with a stop at Don’s Bakery for a fresh Chelsea Bun or two. But this is not where the story ends or the reason that I suddenly am singing Moon River, with both my Aunt and Uncle departing this world I was informed by  my cousin Mary ( Damn, there is another song memory) that the cottage that was a summer get away as a child has been sold, a place where I first heard Black Sabbath and discovered Pink Floyd, and is now just a remembrance of the joys of youth, just stories and memories now, damn good memories that will never be forgotten but life goes on and every time I hear Andy Williams singing Moon River I can think of those carefree joyous summer nights in the ’60s and ’70’s on Lake Muskoka, look at the sky and say thanks for the memory’s Aunt Theresa and Uncle Ted.

“Moon River, wider than a mile
I’m crossing you in style some day
Oh, dream maker, you heartbreaker
Wherever you’re goin’, I’m goin’ your way”

My Formicidae Army


Rise my little ones Rise! City Council’s revenge will come back to haunt them. Their slow silent attack on my home has been thwarted and I will put my revenge plan into action. This morning the Formicidae(ants for those who don’t use Wikipedia) that rose from the sink and the wall in my home that they sent in response will be turned against them. I will slowly train them, feed them and then set them on their way back to destroy what they hold dear.  I will train them to infiltrate City Hall and act as security until the time comes to devour my enemy’s( that might take a while). I will train them to attack the construction workers when construction season starts going up, they will crawl all over the workers causing fits galore. They will learn how to turn off fire hydrants and foil their attempts at running Cambridge out of water. I will set my ants into every restaurant that would not hire me and ruin their kitchens, I will teach them to battle the bees and Armageddon will happen in Riverside park. They will be trained to sniff out the crack dens in this city thereby improving the quality of life. They will be trained to fix the roof of the Preston Arena thereby thwarting their plans to silence our children’s good times.They will learn to destroy the roundabouts and force the planners to leave things alone. And when all this is done My army of Ants and I will be ready to take on the Mayors Flying monkeys and Rule this City with an Iron Fist, City of Cambridge, You will bow before me…aw crap, here comes My wife with the Ant Killer, son of a bitch, another great plan to rule the world down the drain. Oh well, there is always tomorrow.

The AM Radio


Almost everyone today carries their music pre-programmed on a cell phone or some device that they carry with them, heck even I do.  Some Folks  subscribe to a pay music service like Spotify or apple music and that renders the good old Am radio stations obsolete and has turned them into hollow shells of what they once were. The days of CFTR, and CHUM-AM blasting out the latest hit by The Guess Who are long gone and have been replaced by All News and All sports stations where the host’s blabber on and most of the time yell over each other just to be heard. Gone are the great DJ’s of the past, names like Jim Brady, Red Knight, Mike Cooper, “Jungle” Jay Nelson, Tom Rivers and Duke Roberts. The There was the  I Listen to CHUM” promotion, in which DJs would dial phone numbers at random and award $1,000 to anyone who answered the phone with that phrase, and of course as teenagers we all waited for the CHUM music chart to be released to find out which song hit #1 that week. The old tinny sounding transistor radios that we carried in those days would only solicit laughter from my grandchildren today and most likely the music coming out of them as well because Am radio played top 40 songs that in most cases didn’t have much of a message and clocked in at under 3 minutes. Songs by Jim Gold and the Gallery, Stampeders, Chicago and Ray Stevens were not FM staples but on AM radio they were the best. In 1974 the top songs being played were by Three Dog Night, The Stylistics and 5 Man Electrical Band meanwhile over on the new and booming FM stations we were listening to Zeppelin, Cooper, and the Stones and in retrospect I guess we were part of the reason for the decline on the AM radio station as FM and AM started to battle for the musical soul of the teenagers of Ontario and when our favourite AM stations decided to start playing Disco, well the end was in sight. While the AM radio station has survived the sounds coming out of it they are not what was hitting the airwaves back in 1974 and even though FM has tried to carry on the tradition of what we used to listen to it is just not the same but like everything else times change and we move on not just in our music choices but in many areas of life and while we still listen to the oldies we just do it with a modern touch. And if Vinyl can come back then perhaps we can dream about AM radio, but for now, I will just be happy to go for a drive in my car and listen to the Cassette player in my car, after all, I may be the last person in Hespeler to have one. Happy listening everyone.

The Disappearing Skyline


Whether you like it or hate it the fact is that the skyline in Downtown Hespeler is indeed changing and the view  I knew as a young man is not the view that exists now, but back in the early ’70s we had the same argument about the Colonnade and we all seemed to eventually move on. But it is different and I present to you 2 pictures of the skyline that no longer exists.