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.

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.


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!

The lesson: stolen hubcaps


I have always been a straight shooter. Honest to the core. I was raised that way. My parents were and still are devout Roman Catholic, so we follow (or try to follow) the ten commandments to the best of our abilities.

There was once where I did kind of sort of almost break the law. I was seventeen at the time, and in the ownership of my first car. It was a 1968 Pontiac Beaumont. Google it if you hadn’t heard of the make, it was beautiful. A two door with the small V8.

Back then, most cars came with hub caps. At the time, all the rage was cool rims and wide tires. I had whitewalls from Canadian  Tire. Nothing fancy. The car sported real nice hub caps, and I didn’t even  want rims…until some bastard stole my wheel covers. Did I mention the guy was a bastard? I was furious!

I was explaining this all to my buddy when someone must have overheard us. This huge bearded guy came over to the car. He explained how he heard that I got robbed, and said that he had the perfect set of wheel covers for my car. He lead us over to the trunk of his car. (This was after dark on a Friday night) When he lifted the lid, he had a ton of assorted hub caps, wheel covers, etc just sitting there in his trunk. He showed me a set of wire hubcaps, said they came from his Pontiac Bonneville, the one that he wrecked along the highway just a week ago. He said that he wanted  $25 each. I jumped at the chance. I never thought that he could have stole them. I never even thought that maybe, somewhere in his trunk, sat the original hubcaps that came with my beloved Beaumont. I ran  to my car and installed the wire basket wheel covers. He was right, SHARP!!!

I drove around all evening, as proud as a new father (well perhaps not quite that proud, but I was only 17, so maybe close to that proud) and eventually went home. The next morning I brought my dad out to see my great purchase. My dad’s reaction was opposite to what I expected.

“Do you know that those hubcaps cost over a hundred bucks each?” he asked. I explained that the guy, who had a trunk filled with wheel covers, actually wrecked his car and was selling parts; to which my dad replied…”From his trunk? He is selling things from the trunk of his car in a dark parking lot and you trust the guy’s story?”

My dad went on to say “Maybe the cops are looking for this guy. Lots of cars have recently been  vandalized, maybe cops see you with those hubcaps and arrest you.”

He frightened the hell out of me. Jail? I couldn’t take jail. I hate group showers. Still do! I was so scared I wanted to throw the covers away. “You can’t throw them away, you spent your entire two month’s allowance on  those covers (this was 1980, my allowance wasn’t much!), you can’t throw them away. I suggest that you hide them for awhile, a year or so, or even until you decide to sell the car.” What was he saying? My car looked so good with those covers on the wheels, but not good enough to make it worth sharing a cell with some large, perhaps gay convict named  Bubba, so up in the attic went my wheel covers, all four of them. I drove my car without any covers for an entire year, and then, when I had outgrown the car, I took out the beautiful wire basket wheel covers and put them on the car. I sold the car to the first person  who came along. He loved the car.

I later found out that someone  had robbed the wire basket wheel covers from the car again.  This time it wasn’t my problem. Thank God. This was the last time I ever bought something that could be hot, and that came from the trunk of a  mysterious man’s car, in a dark, deserted parking lot on the outside of town. Harsh lesson, but it could have been worst.

Secret Stress Deodorant and the job interview that stunk

I just seen a commercial for a new product. Secret Stress Sweat deodorant. That’s right folks,they discovered a new type of sweat, and the people over at Secret have the cure! Wow, I stress sweated many times, never knew it was that popular.

Stress sweat is bad, but not nearly as bad as Stress Farts. I had a bad case of Stress farts one time….in a job interview.

I knew I was in for a hard time when just moments prior to the interview, I had those intense stomach pains. Unable to use the washroom in time, I went into the room to have the interview.

The room was set up similar  to other interview situations.  You know,  the ones where you sit in front of a panel  of interviewers,  like you are in a parole hearing or awaiting sentencing for a criminal offense. I sat on the chair, and the three interviewers, all older ladies who considered themselves relatively high stature in the community bounced questions and scenarios at  me, and took notes from my answers. I was sitting there  on the chair  when the cramps hit, and while trying to mask my fears and fart quietly, I knew that eventually someone was going  to smell something. I  never fart so often in my life. It was probably a combination of nerves and the big pot of baked beans my mom made for me, whatever the reason,  this was  some major farting.

It wasn’t like I was in a crowded room where I could throw a glare at someone  else,  like they were the farters, I was on my own with this one.  I was the only one sitting directly across from the three…and silent farts flew freely from  my ass, despite my attempts to clinch my cheeks. I know my face  must have been red, both from  the strain  and from impending embarrassment. I also know that neither of them  actually believed that it wasn’t me farting. When I could no longer hold  back, I let our  a roar of a fart, and tried  to cover it by coughing intensely. Didn’t work! The fart was louder!

I guess you can imagine the rest. I didn’t get the job.  The position I applied for was for a librarian assistant at the local high  school. I guess they figured I was always like this. I wonder  if Secret makes an  Anti-Stress Farting  deodorant? Who knows?