Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Listen to me.
Listen before it’s too late.
You have to tell some you know- and love.

Helen heard the voice one sunny, summer afternoon as she lay in her hammock on the south side of her verandah. She was reading a trashy romance novel.
Light. Bright and superficial. Perfect for a warm summer afternoon.
She had just started to read the top of page 128 when she heard it.

Helen. Pssst. Helen. Stop reading that book and listen to what I have to say.
A great urgency in the voice.

Helen stopped. She thought a bee had been buzzing around her head. She made swooshing motions with her right hand.
She started back on page 128- again.

Helen. Please. Listen to this. It’s so very important.

Who the hell has a radio on? It’s at a very low volume but it’s still annoying. She swung both legs sown onto the verandah floor. There was nobody.
Across the street, Alfie Dunbar was riding his bike up and down the sidewalk. Mrs. Beggs was kneeling on the grass- next to her rose garden, pruning some early bloomers. A delivery truck from Frampton’s- new furniture no doubt, being delivered to the Smith-Paul’s who had just moved in down the street about a month ago.

Hmmm… Nothing.
All is normal on Maple Street. Helen wondered what the heck was making that noise.
Irritating, secretive noise.
Words actually.
Full sentences- maybe.
Helen swung her short legs back into the hammock and concentrated on the book- at least she attempting to finish page 128. Reaching for the tall glass of lemonade on the railing next to the hammock, she took a long thirst-quenching sip.
Then she sipped more slowly.
Nothing like a glass of lemonade on a sunny day out on a comfortable, cozy verandah.

A robin was tweeting to a mate in the hibiscus bush next to the steps leading up to Helen’s haven of peace.

Helen. Please listen.
It’s me.
I need to tell you something.
I need to say it now before it is too late.
Helen, please concentrate. Listen to my message.
It’s me. Michael.

I’m not just any voice.
You’ve heard me before.
I have talked to you plenty.
Helen, you just have to focus and listen.
I can’t give you the message until I have your full co-operation.
Just listen!

She tuned the page.
As she did, Michael came into her mind. Michael was her brother.
Michael had passed seven years ago.
She felt a chill.

So, you do know I am here!
You can feel me- can’t you Helen.
Now listen to me.
Listen well Helen.

Oh My God!
Helen placed the book on her chest.
She had just realized it was seven years ago that very day that Michael left her world. Only on that day she was not swinging in her Hammock, she was keeping vigil at Northward Central Hospital.
She shuddered as her mind took her back.
Michael- lying there, hooked to tubes and monitors. His breathing was slow and laboured.

Pssst! Helen.
Please listen to me.
Listen for my voice.
You know something is here. You feel the energy.
You feel the touch.

What a day.
Helen felt sad by joyous too. She knew that Michael’s suffering ended that day seven years ago. What do they say? It’s a blessing.
I guess.
If one feels that way.
Helen didn’t.
She was a woman without faith in some superior power pontificating about life.
Helen was a free spirit and Michael had been too.
Over the past seven years there were times when Helen could hear Michael’s voice so distinctly. She could almost reach out and touch him. She wasn’t afraid. She felt warm. She didn’t feel alone. She knew that Michael was fine in the next phase, somewhere over there.
Over that hill.
Something was still nagging at her.
Someone was whispering in her ear.

‘at a girl!
Now you’re coming round.
Helen. It’s me.
Listen for me. Feel the energy.
It’s all around you.

Helen understood.
Michael. It’s you.
You’re here. Here with me right now. Sorry Michael. It’s this book.
I was taken in by a trashy book.
I know you’re here. Here now with me.

Listen. I have to tell you something.
Listen carefully.

Michael, I know you are saying something to me. Soft words.
A breath.
Words I hear on the fluttering of wings.
You are asking me to pay attention.
Yes. I am. I am listening Michael.

I know Dear Sister. I know you feel my presence.
Thank you.
My energy is all around you now.
You are safe.

You are showing me being wrapped in arms.
Big, strong arms.
I feel…I am…What are you saying?
You’re telling me I am safe.
Safe from what?
Michael- from what?

Terrible. Helen Something terrible.

Michael’s words were coming to her easier now.
Helen you must do what I say. You must be well. You must be safe.
Call ten.
Tell them to be safe.
Something is coming.
Something bad.
But only ten.
No More. No less.
Circle the house with salt.
An unending circle.
An unbroken circle, where you’ll be safe inside.
You must tell them to do the same.
You must tell them. If they understand it’s that they were meant to.
They will be expecting your call. They are all waiting.
You need not explain much.
Be safe.
Circle of salt.
Wait until it passes.

Call. Salt. Circle.
Safe after. I hear you Michael Dear Brother.
Which ten?

You will know. You’ll see and know.
Just do it now. I’ll be here with you.

Out there. Just a short distance from town, there are ugly clouds. A torrent of energy ready to strike anyone and anything- down.
Hungry- for people like Helen.
Matter. A sense. A sense with a purpose- deep and dark.
It had a plan.
Many would be unprepared.
Many would be safe.
Michael wanted Helen- and ten, to be safe.

Alfie Dunbar was still riding his bike up and down the street. Mrs. Beggs was nowhere to be seen but her kneeling pad and garden buggy sat next to the rose bushes she had been trimming. Helen raced into the house and stood in front of the phone in her kitchen office. Next to the phone was her directory of numbers both friends and colleagues.
How can I decide which ten?

Let it be Helen. Let it be.
Michael said no more.
She opened the book. There was a number highlighted with pure, clean light.
She turned a page.
Then another.
She turned three more pages.
Then, two more.
She turned pages until she saw ten.

Hurry now Helen.
There is just barely time.

Yes. Hurry. I must hurray Michael.

Outside of town the clouds were darkening. It was warm. Very warm. More than humid.
Much more than hot. There was no air.
Laughter from its midst.
Horrific laughter from what was now a single cloud.
A shape.
A form.
A presence.

Helen dialed her Father.
Listen, just do this. She told him about the salt and the circle.
He seemed to understand.
She hung up and called another.
Then another.
All ten.
No more.

She ran to the pantry and grabbed a bag of salt. She ran outside and encircled the house.

That’s Good. Helen that is good.
You will be safe as will be the other ten.
Now be calm and wait.
Wait for it.
For it is coming.

…and it did. The cloud swept over town. It smote young and old. It took neighbours and friends- outside of the ten.
It passed ominously, darkly over Helen’s neighbourhood and house.
Helen watched its darkness.
She heard its belching. Heard the noise.
Like thousands of bees. Like pigs in a slaughterhouse.
Not human.
Not of this world.
From darkest depths.
Dark, putrid, smelly depths.
Helen stood on her verandah and watched
She heard Michael’s calming spirit.

You are safe Helen.
I am here.
You did all you could.
Some people didn’t understand.
They were told.
They had to be told.
They can’t think or believe outside what they have been told.
It’s not right Helen- I know that- but it’s what it is Dear Sister.
It’s cleansing.
That part is difficult for you to understand but you will…
One day.

Then, there was great quiet.
The sky cleared. The terror and darkness had slid away out of town.

A voice called Helen’s name.
It was Mrs. Beggs. Her rose trimmers peeking out over the top of her apron.
There were salt crystals clinging to the top of her gardening shoes.

Helen had spoken to her in only what seemed a short moment before.
It was much longer than that.
Both women knew that.

Helen walked across her verandah to greet her.
The women looked deep into each other’s eyes.
Helen could see Mrs.Begg’s soul. At least she thought it was her soul.
She didn’t know exactly.
Mrs. Beggs was smiling.
Mrs.Beggs appeared grateful. She said just that to Helen.
No more. No less.
She smiled again.

In the distance Alfie’s bicycle lay on its side on the hot pavement at the end of the walk leading to the front door of his parent’s house.
Mrs. Beggs shook her head ever so slightly and Helen knew that Alfie had not been on Mrs. Begg’s list of “no more than ten”.

Helen. Helen. You may tell Mrs. Beggs that things are as they should be.
She is safe.
She should be happy.
She was one of your “no more than ten”.
There is no big answer.
No reason.
No rhyme.
What’s done is complete.
Be glad.
I must leave now Dear Sister.

Mrs. Beggs sensed a presence near. She asked Helen if it was for her.
Helen nodded.
A tear rolled down Helen’s cheek.
Mrs.Beggs placed a welcome, loving arm around Helen’s shoulder.
She told Helen she believed it was for the best.

Both women stood quiet and still.

The sun shone through the huge Maple in Helen’s front yard forming a kaleidoscope of shapes on the lawn beneath.
A robin chirped from its tallest branch.

The air was refreshed.
It was new.
Everything was…

Monday, May 28, 2012


This is it!

It’s about time the Ontario Government pulls funding for Catholic Schools- or the separate board, as it is known. Public boards have accepted the term “Gay Straight Alliance” but not the Catholics.

Gosh no. Think about what the Pope would do. He would say no.
He would be firm.
Suffer the little Children…
You know, like after Mass when it’s the Altar Boys and the Priests changing “backstage”.
Soft whispers: Now don’t tell your parents.
Jesus wouldn’t love you anymore.
Say- I might have some candy in my pocket.
Rock hard stick candy.
How about you reach deep down in Father Betwixt and Between’s pocket and see what he has for you.
Heh. Heh. Heh.
But there’s nothing Gay or dirty going on.

Christ….Jesus wouldn’t like the term Gay Straight either. He probably flew on down from his Heavenly Throne and whispered something encouraging into the Pope’s ear.

Jesus! God might get irate.
The last time God got irate he turned a blind eye to all the suffering here on earth.
That’s a long time- since the beginning of it all in the Garden of Eden. If you believe.

Now following that good Catholic example, let’s hide it under the skirt of every Priest and Cardinal who has diddled with young boys or smacked a First Nations’ Kid around. This is definitely the pot calling the kettle black. The kettle with enough golf trim it could feed the poor for years!

Catholics who have children in school should be ashamed of how Gay Straight Alliances are being shoved under the altar rug. Don’t say Gay and it will go away.
It hasn’t for centuries so why would it- or should it, now?
How high and mighty the Catholic Church thinks itself to be.
You know the Catholics believe they are the only “true” religion.
Look it up.
Even Protestants reciting the Apostle’s Creed give all their love as well as recognizing the power and the glory of the Holy Catholic Church.

How awe-inspiring and fear-inspiring is the Pope.
It’s all fear.
It’s all about death, not day-to-day living.
It’s the great preparation for that day when each and every Catholic- lower Christian denominations not so much, meet with God and sit upon his right side.

What about right now?
What about living day to day?
What about stepping on and squashing bullying and hate right now.
If the Catholic Church is so high and mighty, take that first sandal clad step forward and show some mercy.
Human kindness.
Did I mention L O V E ?

I promised myself I would not write more “religious” based blogs from the perspective of an Atheist but damn it pull the funding now.
Let them eat Cake and raise their own dough.

Don’t make allowances.
Individually, show the whole world compassion and feed your flock with love. That’s if you have religion or faith- or a flock.

Do you know how much easier it is to get up each morning and to not have to answer to a Supreme Being who demands respect, love, devotion and pain. To not have to believe in something that eats at your gut, demands your devotion, plays with your sense of well-being and takes your money for the good of all mankind?


How easy to get up and love those around you- those who you can and allow you to.
How easy to help a neighbour.
Sit with a sick friend.
Volunteer for a charity.
Smile through life and take the next step to our next phase- gracefully and with dignity and assurance that it is nothing like Church, religion and the Catholics would have you believe.


Friday, May 25, 2012


Glorious Summer!

The bees are buzzing.
Grass is growing.
Plants are blooming.
According to Environment Canada it’s going to be hotter than usual.
We’ll see.

Looking ahead at some of the temperatures into the first week of June, I wouldn’t exactly say they were “hot”. 17’s, 21’s 22’s.
Pleasant summer days but not too hot.
Of course, July can be a bugger. Days upon days of 30+ degrees and humidity making it seem like 40 something.

We have no traveling plans for this summer. A few short day trips here and there.
Off to Orono for our visit to our friend’s Daylily Farm in June. That’s always a treat on a warm June day. There’s plenty of space and beautiful Daylilies all about to bloom.

Then, come July, we’re off to the city for Pride on July 1st. Yes, I know, it’s Canada Day but it just happens the two fall on the same day. It’ll be crazy nuts as usual but always a fun day of eating, drinking and standing for hours on end in the heat of Downtown Toronto as the Pride Parade jives along to the beat. Men stripped to the waist and more, water guns in hand and the never-ending thumping beat from the floats that pass before us on Yonge Street. We usually stand around Wellesley Street. Last year we were a bit farther north, a couple of blocks south of Bloor and Yonge.

Somewhere in that hot calendar month, I would like to see New York City for a couple of days in the heat of the summer. Yes, it will be hot but I have only ever been to New York on cooler days well away from the heat of summer. It would be nice to walk through Central Park on warm day clad in shorts and a tee shirt rather than a scarf and earmuffs. I am sure the park will be teaming with “boys” jogging and running and throwing Frisbees and stuff- all shirtless and in the tightest of summer apparel.

A trip to Port Perry for lunch and a bit of shopping always bodes well. Not that I need to buy anything but you never know what one might find that one really needs. I must admit I am buying less- or trying to these days. Although right now I have two prints I bought in Paris- one of Montmartre and the other of Notre Dame. I can’t find wall space to hang them so something has to go!

A neighbour asked us this past week if we would be interested in a street garage sale.
We said sure!
Boy do we have the junk!
Excess stuff.
Some I have had packed in plastic bins for more than a year now.
Purging is the way of the future.
I think we’ll try to sell a few things and offer the rest to Goodwill or Value Village.
I feel the need to get rid of “stuff” because no one’s going to want it when I have no further need of it.

It is a pain to drag it all onto the lawn and then having leftovers to cart away. I hate the dickering over 10 cents for an item you know you full-well paid a buck for!
It’s all a part of a Canadian Summer though- isn’t it?

Enjoy it, for our summer turns to…you know, in the blink of an eye!

Thursday, May 24, 2012


2000 temporary layoff notices have been given by CP Rail to its employees.

You see, 48 hundred members of the Teamsters Local walked off the job Wednesday.
But…never fear!
That “be-yotch” Lisa Rait and her Harperite cronies are at the ready to take away the right to strike from each and every CP Rail employee just like she had done previously with Air Canada.

Well folks, you voted in the Conservatives and they have only just begun to change Canada as we know it and there ain’t a thing any of us can do about it besides convincing Stephen to walk across a tightrope at Niagara Falls and hope for the best.

Wait a second!

I mean no ill-will here. I simply meant that if he walked the wire, we could all hope that he gets to the other side- safely, without a peregrine falcon pecking at his nut-sack!
Geesh, you guys are so judgemental before you hear the entire, freeking story!

Now where was I?
Oh yes…Isn’t it nice to know that Lisa is standing by ready to help all Canadians at the snap of a finger if those rail people try something that will tear our Canada apart.
I mean, for Goodness sake look at us here in Orillia. Whatever would we do without train service? Why we….
You see it’s…the passengers would…
Oh Hell!
We haven’t had train service through Orillia since Jesus was a choirboy or more to the point about 15 years ago.

Now when I was a kid- gee that makes me sound old, there was both CP Rail and CN Rail service and a station for each as well. These days we have to drive to Washago and try to flag one down.
Good luck with that.

I remember the days at my Grandmother’s house on Front Street, South, when I would lie in bed and both see and hear the big steam engines arrive at the Orillia Train Station. Steam and smoke, grinding brakes and the melancholy sound of the train whistle splitting the silence of a hot summer night.
What a sight.
What a memory!
I can still vividly replay it in my mind over and over.

Those were the days when both passenger trains and freight trains rolled through Orillia both day and night. In fact we used to be aware of the time of day when 100 car freights would approach the town limits. If you were off to work, or had an appointment to keep, we “south warders” would dash down Gill Street toward Lake Simcoe to get on the Highway 12 Bypass to reach Downtown Orillia and the North Ward without having to wait 15 or 20 minutes in a traffic slowdown. That was unusual in itself for Orillia- except when tourist traffic clogged both Front Street South, Laclie Street and Coldwater Road in the days before Number Eleven shot past Orillia on the western outskirts of town.

Trains were a vital part of this country. It linked us from sea to sea and allowed us to travel across every province- with perhaps the exception of Newfoundland and PEI.
I don’t believe rail service cracked the Northern Territories either.

So not to worry my Dears for Dear Miss Rait is on the job and ready to piss off another union and a company’s employees who thought they lived in a free country.

As Dear Lisa calls it- “The True North Strong and for Lee-sah”.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


I’m Alive!

I’m Alive!
Thank Gawd I am mighty good- and Alive!

A weight has been lifted from my shoulders!
I start anew.
I march forward into a new dawn.
I climb the tree of the future.
I trudge the road of “what’s ahead”.

Yes indeedy-doo. I saw Mick Jagger on Saturday Night Live sing, dance and prance his way through 90 minutes of “live” television…
And at his age…

Old Mick- born in 1943 has a few years on me and just look what he’s doing these days- 19th Nervous Breakdown! Plus comedy sketches and singing with Arcade Fire!
You go girl!

Yes, it brought back a few musical memories but most of all, I found it remarkable what he is still doing after more than 50 years in rock and roll!
He has put the spunk back in my spunkidac.
He’s put spritz back into my genecktanoid.
He’s put hootzpah back on stage where it belongs.

Good old Mick.
He made me want to pull up my saggy underwear, stick a rose in my lapel and buy a pair of Birkenstocks.

How about a new pair of flip flops and a Hawaiian Shirt.
Yes, more my style.

I am going to start anew.
I am not going to sit back and let the rest of the world pass me by.
I am going to grab my rubber ring, put more Miss Clairol on my head and tap dance my way towards a renewal.
For as the saying goes-
“Ya gotta get behind the soda fountain and dance your way to the stars!”

It feels like New Years and yet it’s the dead of summer.
Go figure.

Thank You Mick.
You’re still doing it and getting great “Satisfaction”
So look out world.
Get Off of my Cloud.

I got me some milk to shake!