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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


It is this time of year again. When you reach my age it is largely memories. I no longer have children around my house. My son is grown with children of his own. I no longer have foster children. Worse still there are no children in my neighbour hood.  I live up a country logging road outside of a small town. Too far for children to walk for any treats.

When we first moved here. Parker was still young enough for Halloween. I would drive him into town where he did the round with the town kids.  I always had treats on hand just in case someone came by. In over 30 years there have only been an handful of kids reach our house.  No fear, Parker and I made short work of the treats when we were sure on one was coming once again.

I always carved a pumpkin.  Not well mind you but being an electrician I always had it well lighted with a bulb inside.  The best treat on Halloween was being able to dry and salt the pumpkin seeds.

My son, Parker, many years ago. What a scary devil!   This costume my mother made it included not only horns but a long devil's tail.  My mother always made us costumes. I don't ever remember buying a costume. This particular costume was well used. My sister's kids used it and I think one of my son's kids wore it one year.

A couple of pumpkins carved long ago. The devil made me do it.

For several years after Parker had outgrown Halloween I made candy apples.  I had a young friend, Tina, who spent a lot of time at my house in those years. I let her take the candy apples to school for the children there. I made enough for the whole school.  Not as big a chore as you might think for in those days there were about 50 children in the school spread over 8 grades.  We had a good school build for 120 children. There may have been that many before we showed up. Perhaps, some day there may be that many again. Currently, I understand there are only 30 children in the school. Not enough young adults doing their homework and producing children.

Just the other day I found my candy thermometer broken so I guess my candy apple days are over.

I can't say I appreciate the ghoulish costume theme I see advertised. It seems years ago, it was a more innocent time.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Red Sky in the Morning

This morning's sky from my front door.  It is a lovely clear morning but I expect he weather will turn before the day is out.  Re content to read the signs of Mother Nature.

"Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning,
Red sky at night, sailor's delight."  Ancient mariner's wisdom.

“Like a red morn that ever yet betokened, Wreck to the seaman, tempest to the field, Sorrow to the shepherds, woe unto the birds, Gusts and foul flaws to herdmen and to herds.”  Shakespeare, "Venus and Adonis"

“When in evening, ye say, it will be fair weather: For the sky is red. And in the morning, it will be foul weather today; for the sky is red and lowering.”  Jesus,  Matthew XVI: 2-3

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Malala.: Honorary Canadian

"What the terrorists are doing is against Islam because Islam is a religion of peace. It tells us about equality, it tells us about brotherhood, it tells us about love and friendship and peace, that we should - we should be nice and kind to each other."     Malala

Malala Yousafzai

Announced in the Canadian government throne speech we learned that  the Harper Government will be asking Malala Yousafzai to accept the honour of being named an honorary Canadian.  I assume she will accept and doing so this remarkable young girl will be honoring Canada as Canada tries to honour her as a courageous advocate of the education of young people, particularly girls in her homeland of Pakistan..

I trust this is truly a goodwill gesture by the Conservative government and no merely a cynical exploitation of this remarkable young person. I try not to be cynical.  To their credit the Conservative government has funded aid to women and children as part of  Canada's foreign policy, unless of course they  are seeking eff birth  control or abortion services. Our government will not fund them even if they are legal and readily available in Canada..

The list of people who have been made honorary Canadians is short:  Raoul Wallenberg, Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Aug San Suu Kyi, the Aga Khan and now Malala Yousafzai. This young girl is in distinquished company.

I trust this honour will be accompanied with a grant of money, perhaps, to the fund Malala has set up. It would be appropriate if Canada agreed to fund her university education.

My grand daughter, Olivia, has caught the idealistic spirit to want to connect and help out as a teenager in a far off land. She is planning to go to Ghana next summer to learn of and share in some of the efforts of Feed the Children. For her birthday I offered to buy her the book, I Am Malala,  I hope to get a French version, Moi, Malala. Olivia is more comfortable reading in French. I am surprised that it is not yet available in Canada, after contacting French Bookstores in Toronto Ottawa and Montreal. It is a shock to learn it will cost about twice the amount of the English addition. I am now trying to get my niece in London, England to get it and have it shipped here, hopefully by Olivia's birthday.  This experience has made me aware of how difficult it is to have cultural services for those who want to speak and live in a minority culture. 

Here is an interview of Malala on the CBC program The Current, conducted by Anna Maria Tremonti .

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Alice Munro wins the Nobel Prize for Literature

Today it was announced that Alice Munro, a Canadian short story writer, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.   Here you will find a wonderful essay on Alice Munro and her writing. It is written by that other giant in Canadian literature,  Margaret Atwood.

All of Canada has a right to be proud. She is one of the many writers that have been a part of Canada's cultural maturing since the early 50's.(over my lifetime)  One could argue that Canada now has become one of the major Nations to produce fine literature in English.  She wrote a lot about small town Canada in which she grew up.  Small town Canada was beginning to disappear about this time. It was in the early 50's that Canada shifted from being a predominately small town rural country to become an urban society to the point that now most Canadians live in large metropolitan cities. Her stories will live on to inform us of our Canadian roots and the complexity of Canadians even in small towns.  Before Alice Munro I can only think of two Canadian woman writers of note (I am no literary scholar so I may offend someone) Lucy Maud Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables books and Mazo de la Roche who wrote the Jalna novels..

I hope this Nobel prize will inspire more people, particularly Canadians to read more of Alice Munro's writing. I for one will be reading some more of her works.