Month: June 2013

Two fathers and two sons…

Two fathers and two sons went fishing today. My son made a riddle out of this. How many people went fishing if two fathers and two sons go fishing? Answer? Three.

The weather called for rain, but my dad didn’t believe it. He called around eleven, and asked if me and Ryan would like to go fishing in the mountains. We weren’t long before we joined him.

Along the Long Range Mountains, there exists many ponds and rivers filled with trout. Our favorite pond is actually three ponds that are joined by a small river, which flows along the banks of the Lewis Hills. This is where my dad and I brought Ryan for the first time. You should have seen his face!

Our trusty Polaris Ranger brought us to the site, which was over 35 km from our home. The road was rough, but we all had a laugh and in no time we were there.

When we first got to the pond, I cast my line in and caught the first trout of the day. The fish in these ponds are mainly speckled, and have pink flesh that is absolutely delicious when prepared right. My dad can fry trout better than anyone I know.

My son Ryan was anxious to catch a few as well, but he had no luck. I suggested we walk about a mile from our site, onto an area where a small brook runs into the pond. I remember catching quite a few fish here a few years back, and everyone agreed. My ten year old didn’t even complain about the long  walk. That in itself is a miracle!

When we got to the spot, Ryan rushed over to cast his line. He was just getting used to the spinning reel I bought him, and he  surprised everyone  when he pulled out the biggest fish of the day, weighing in at almost a pound! He caught eight more in a row, and when we all had our limit, we cleaned our catch and headed home. We stopped at a mountain spring that ran down a long mountain, and savored the fresh, clean water.

After a bumpy and dusty ride home, we joined the rest of the family for a cook up. The trout were delicious! This was quite the day. I am fortunate to be able to enjoy days like this with my dad and with my son. Two fathers and two sons.

Book Review: Inferno

I just finished reading Dan Brown’s latest creation,  ‘Inferno’. I have to say,  I was never so tired after reading a  book in my life. The entire book, especially the first half,  was nothing but a chase, with a bit of hide and seek thrown  in. I liked the title though, because if I had been reading a paperback rather than an ebook, there would have been an ‘Inferno’ in  my back yard…me burning this damn  book.

I truly believe old Dan wrote this to please his publishers, and to possibly meet some sort of deadline, while he was vacationing in Italy. It reads more like a tour guide of Florence Italy than it does a novel. Dan  went into way (WAYYY) too much detail. It was like having someone tell you about the burger he just ate, and going off on a tangent and sharing with you the family history of the cow they made the meat from. I would say that if one were to take out all the BS, you would end up  with a very interesting pamphlet.

That being said, the story did have a nice twist at the end, but it took Dan sooooo long to reach it. I almost gave up several times, and often found myself skipping ahead page by page to find the story. So much detail was given to things like the history of old buildings and cities.

On the end, I said that I was finishing the thing even if it killed me. I am still here, but I think I learned a very valuable lesson. Ever watch a bomb of a movie, and all through the movie you hope it will get better but you learn that it won’t? This is that movie. God, I hope they never make a movie out of this one…Oh, ya, the thing I learned was that if a book is boring for the first 30%, I am deleting it and going on to the next book on my Kindle. I look forward to bigger and better things from Robert Langdon, this book isn’t it.. Just saying…

A Day in the City

I had a doctor’s appointment in St. John’s on  Tuesday, so on  Monday,  my lady and I drove across the island. We are talking a ten  hour drive! Long  day!

We were lucky enough that my lady’s aunt offered us a place to stay. They had an  extra room  that they weren’t using, so we were fortunate. Nice people. Health nuts, but nice people none the less! Their latest fad is lettuce smoothies. I think I will pass. I refuse to drink lettuce!

When we visited the food court of the shopping mall (My lady loves to shop), we decided to take a break and have something to eat. We both agreed to find a sensible place to sit, somewhere away from  the ‘crazies’. We underestimated the number of ‘crazies’ in the mall that day.

The lady at the next table appeared normal, but when her friend came over from the snack bar, we quickly realized that we made poor judgement with our table location. The guy, who obviously had some mental issues, wore a tight leather jacket and a kerchief tied around his forehead. He had both hands bandaged, and he spoke like a child.  He had a sundae from  Dairy Queen, and when he tried to eat it, the ice cream milk dropped to the floor. With that, he went into a rage.

He called the poor woman every curse word  in the book.  He used obscenities and yelled so loud, everyone in the mall was bothered by his antics. He even threatened to kill the woman. When the screaming got louder, he was escorted out of  the mall by security.  Finally!

We passed the  usual  number of freaks, with their green  hair  and  shaved heads and odd clothing,  but we soon  realized that a few freaks are far better than the one  nutcase who sat  across from us that day. We ran into him again in a few  stores, and each time, he was yelling and swearing  at the woman, who we later realized  must have been his worker. I wonder what asylum he escaped  from?

We ate more  takeout that day than  we did in a month, and later that evening, our stomachs had something to say about it…oh did they ever!

It was a quick trip, as we got to the city on Monday evening, and were on the road back home on Wednesday morning. After driving another ten hours,  our home sure looked good! Like the old saying goes, ‘There’s no place like home’

Whatta Week…Can we start over please???

They say that bad luck comes in threes…I sure hope so, because this week has been anything but tolerable. On Thursday of last week, my lady came home from work and mentioned that her car was making a funny noise. In the past, I have come to realize that ‘funny’ noises usually add up to big bucks. I was right. We are looking at paying at least $600 or more. Stupid Chevrolet Cobalt…worst car we ever owned!

Friday morning wasn’t much better.My five year old Pomeranian began vomiting, and never stopped. Every fifteen minutes, she violently threw up, to the point that her little body stiffened from the pain. A quick trip to the vet and we discover that she has had an attack of inflamed pancreas, and that she also has a stomach ulcer. Five days of treatment at the vet, and $750 later, she is back home, but on a strict diet and in a weakened state. From here until next week, the vet says is touch and go. She could die. I was heartbroken from the minute she took sick. Hopefully things will get better for her.

Finally (I hope), while driving on the highway, a rock flew from the wheels of a big rig, and onto my windshield. This is the second time the truck windshield was cracked from a rock, and our insurance premiums will no doubt increase. I was told that the replacement cost for the windshield is $960, so I guess the deductible payment  of $200 isn’t so bad, but right after we renovated the house we had all those things occur. Hard to swallow I must say! Oh Well, at least we have our health!

To Dad

Dad, I want to thank you for all the patience you showed to me when I was a kid. God knows I must have given you a run for your money! It is only through raising my own boy that I realize the trials and tribulations of being a good father, and the rewards as well.

I still remember all  the fishing trips and camping trips, and the walks and the talks, and the times that you took the time to teach me right from  wrong. I may not have shown my appreciation back then, but believe me, I certainly do now. I also remember your smile.

I am fortunate that you are still  with me, and how we are still planning  that big fishing trip  for the summer. Not many can be as lucky as I am, to have their best friend, their life friend, still by their side after all  those years. I love you dad.

summer memories: a trifextra experience

scalding sun

too hot to run

that’s summer

bandaids on the knees

watch out for the bees

that’s summer

all day on my bike

campfire at night

that’s summer

when I was a kid

…………………………………………….

This is my entry to Trifextra Weekend Challenge. The challenge this week is to describe summer. This is what I remember from my summer vacation as a kid.

Grandma Josephine

My Great Grandmother’s name was Josephine. Up until now, I didn’t know a whole  lot about her, but after a chat with my dad, I learned a whole lot about  my dad’s grandmother on  his mother’s side.

Having just lost my grandmother last fall, my dad and his brother were reminiscing the other day, and I was keen enough to take notes.

Dad  said that his grandfather, Josephine’s husband and my dad’s namesake, died at a very early age. Apparently Henry Sr had been on a hunting trip when he had gotten lost in a winter storm. By the time he made it home, he had gone several days without food and had gotten wet, and then ended up with severe frostbite. Pneumonia set in and in a few days, he passed away. He was just 41 years old. He left Josephine to raise seven kids on her own in a time that the Great Depression was upon  us. My grandmother, the oldest  of the children took care of her siblings while Josephine worked to put food on the table.

Dad said that his grandmother Josephine would have to walk over eight miles just to go to work each day, where she cleaned the homes of the wealthy. She made less than fifty cents per day, barely enough to make ends meet. She made a bit of extra money selling fresh vegetables from her garden. Dad said that his grandmother was the kindest person he ever knew. I guess this explains why my grandmother was so kind, and why my dad is such a super dad.

There was much hardship in Josephine’s life, such as losing her oldest child to Tuberculosis. Ralph served in the big war, and upon his return home, he contracted TB. He was in a hospital in St John’s where he supposedly made a brief recovery. There he met a woman  named Mary Foley.  The two of them were engaged, but before they could marry, he had a relapse of the disease and died. His body was never sent home, the hospital never kept a record of where he was buried. There was no record of his fiance.  My great grandmother never knew what happened to her son, and in her long life, she never received any closure from his loss.

Josephine passed away when I was seven years old,  I remember sitting in the garden  of  my grandmother’s house eating peppermint leaves. She used to tell me to chew the leaves and when my mouth filled with minty goodness, spit the leaf out and eat another one. I always had a fresh breath as a child and this is why. Grandma Josephine used to live with my grandmother when I was little because that was the way things went back then. Kids took care of their parents when they could no longer take care of themselves.

I still remember how she would sit in her rocking chair and sing hymns to praise the Lord for all  the goodness she had in her life. I wish I would have known  her a bit better, but I am thankful to my dad for his story today.

my afternoon

Despite the warnings from the local forecast, I decided to head to the river today. I hadn’t fished there since last summer and was anxious for a feed of trout. The road that lead to the river, an old logging road was perfect last summer, as it had been for a number of years since the logging operation left back in the seventies, but this year it is much different.

A few years back, a provincial work project had crews of tree planters replant the entire area with a hybrid pine, a cross between some sort of Japanese pine and the pine that grew naturally here on the island. The promise was that the tree would grow quickly so that it could be harvested. The problem was that the tree planters were mostly teenagers, and in their inexperience, they planted the trees too close together, not giving them the opportunity to grow to their full potential.

A study last summer proved that the operation was a flop, and that all the trees died. Some claimed that the trees were diseased, but I don’t believe that for a minute. I have proof. Back when the tree planting was going on, I ‘borrowed’ a few saplings and planted them  in my back yard. Today the trees are over fifty feet in height, and about two feet in diameter. Beautiful trees with absolutely no disease.

So now the government has hired an independent contractor to go in and cut all the trees, and remove them from the area. In the process, the heavy equipment used to harvest the trees has torn the road leading to the woodlot to hell. So much for my walking trail and the road to my favorite fishing spot.

2012-Polaris-Ranger400a

Luckily for me, I had my brother’s side by side (Polaris Ranger) handy, and the ATV had no problem traveling through all the mud and water that filled the trail.

When I got to the end of the harvesting project, the road was exactly as it had been last summer, and with great relief, I continued on to the best fishing spot for miles, my favorite spot, North East Branch River.

When I arrived at the river, I was amazed at how much the place changed in just one summer. The beaver dam that had caused the river to rise so high was gone, opening up the river even bigger than ever before. Several pools were created in the process, and each of them were filled with trout. In just a half an hour I caught over a dozen river trout, with their pink bellies and red flesh. I couldn’t wait to get home and cook them, but first I had to sit and eat a small snack that I brought with me.

Being diabetic, I always carry a snack. It only takes a minute to prepare, and can be a life saver. Sitting on an old dry log, I opened the cellophane wrapper that held my sandwich, and laid it on the log next to me, and once I poured hot tea from my thermos, I was ready to enjoy my snack. While I sat there, I was  joined by a little squirrel who proved to be very friendly. She had her mouth filled with straw, possibly building a nest to raise her young. She laid her straw next to her and chirped at me. I offered a piece of my bread, and she took it. Too bad I didn’t have a camera, what a neat  picture that would have been…a man and a squirrel sharing a sandwich!

I took the time to clean the fish, and  then headed back to the ATV, and then on home. After coating my fish in flour, and adding salt and pepper, I proceeded to fry the trout to a crunchy, golden  brown texture. What a great supper! What a great day!

punishment worthy of the crime: Trifecta week 81


The train was late this morning, thank heavens! When I awoke, the sun blinded me for a minute, at least until I had time to wake up. The tracks were alive with every sort of insect. Even an army of ants passed by, carrying food on their backs. The sky looked like it was clouding over, I prayed it didn’t.

The entire forest around me was blasting with noise, especially directly over me, where a nearby spruce tree was home to a nest of young robins.

The only sound that compares to the birds is the noise from my stomach. I haven’t eaten in almost two days, and I can definitely feel it! Right now, gathering food is as impossible as leaving this morbid place, which is not going to happen  anytime soon.

The day is passing ever so long, it seems like I was here forever. It was just a few days ago that I was walking hand in hand with the farmer’s daughter, so in love. I don’t understand what was so bad about flirting with her sister. I can’t believe her dad was as pissed as he was. I can’t believe he did this to me.

Wow! Did I pass out again? It is dark now; the buzzing of mosquitoes is almost as annoying as their bite. My face itches, but I am unable to scratch. This is only part of my pain; the rest will come eventually.

The entire forest has gone black. The sky is cold and desolate, not even one star shining. This leaves only the droning sounds of absolute silence to drive me insane. Wait, I think I see a light in the distance, a light and a noise. ‘Clickety Clack, Clickety Clack” …the last sounds I will ever hear!

A loud whistle sounds to alert me to move, but with my arms bound to the tracks, I cannot move. God help me!

———————-

this is my entry into this week’s Trifecta Challenge. The word this week is LIGHT. I hope you enjoyed this piece.

My Uncle and the ticket

Back when I was a kid, I spent a lot of time with my uncles.  God Knows I had enough of them! My mom had eleven brothers and sisters, and so did my dad, so you can imagine how having eleven uncles, eleven  aunts, and over 66 first cousins can add up to lots of family members.

My uncle had offered to take me and my cousin fishing. He showed up in dad’s driveway one morning with his old truck. I used to think he had that truck for a hundred years, and it looked that old too.

It was a ’64 Chevy pickup. The box long since rusted and fallen off, my uncle didn’t worry, he simply made a new box out of some old scrap lumber he had. It didn’t look too bad, so he left it like that. The ignition switch never took a key. I found this really funny when I was a kid. He simply tied two wires together to get it going. He explained that we would be going to his favorite fishing spot, and maybe pick some blueberries on the way home. Mom agreed, but he had to have me back for five o’clock.

As we drove down the highway, my uncle sang traditional Newfoundland songs. Despite the fact that he couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, we didn’t care. Maybe it was the fact that he enjoyed the ride almost as much as we did; maybe it was because of the ice cream he had bought us to eat along  the trip.

My uncle was always a comical character, and on this particular trip, he proved it. As he sped down the highway, a cop came up behind us with flashing lights. My uncle paid no attention and kept driving. When the cop passed us, he hauled us over. I still remember what happened to this day.

“You were going kind of fast!” said the cop.

“Was I? I didn’t notice, how fast was I going?” My uncle replied.

“You don’t know how fast you were going? Weren’t you paying attention to your speedometer?” the cop asked.

“That thing never worked in years. I mostly drive behind other cars, and keep the same speed as they do, but nobody on the road today” he said.

“Well sir, you were going eighty miles per hour!” The limit here is sixty!” the frustrated cop warned.

“That’s impossible! That can’t be!” “My truck can’t go eighty miles in an hour. It would break down  first!”

The cop started laughing, and so did my uncle, and the cop actually tore up the ticket. “That’s the best one I heard all  day!” said the cop.

My uncle breathed a sigh of relief and we continued on to his favorite fishing spot. He had us back on time, and we had a great day.