Poverty is not an economic necessity


In the midst of the Great Depression of the 1930s my parents left school to find work to help their impoverished families. As fate would have it they both found jobs, first Dad and then Mom, in the same Toronto food-processing factory. Whether they were paid by the hour or not, I don’t know. Nor do I know if they worked 40-hour weeks; likely not, in that day and age. What I do know – because I heard Mom say it often enough – their weekly take-home pay was $5.

Assuming a 40-hour week, that works out to 12 and a half cents per hour.

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A chance meeting, a brief conversation



Aren’t you someone I used to know?


Yes, I am he,

Someone I used to be.


I Remember,

It was September,

Some place, Some years ago.

You and I were friends.


More, one might say.

But we had no time for love then.


And now?


Now there is no time for anything.


– Bruce Frankland McNichol  1923-1970, in loving remembrance



I got your message, and I trust you got away okay

Peculiar, how you came to mind tonight

Forty-seven years later

A lifetime, your lifetime, to the day

I’ll be along after a while





What makes America great?

I first posted this June 5, 2016. Still more than relevant today.

Finding Hope Ness


These days I think it’s more than fair to reflect on the nature of greatness; in fact, it’s an absolute necessity, as Donald Trump seeks to gain power and ascendancy over his great country.

trump Donald Trump

That, I daresay, fits his definition of greatness, as in “Making America Great Again.” It’s about power, but not the power of moral rightness and of a great Truth as expressed, for example, by the wisdom of those who wrote the American Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States of America, for the world’s first, full-fledged modern democracy.

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On riding a motorcycle in a barrel

I’m rather partial to this little story. So I thought I’d recycle it, just because.

Finding Hope Ness

Once upon a time when I was a young fellow at loose ends I ran away to join the circus. Strictly speaking it was a travelling carnival, but why quibble over minor details? Close, enough, if you ask me.


I think it was shortly after I ran an ad in the classified section of the Toronto Daily Star. Young man looking for work was about all it said in so many words. I got one response from somebody who offered me a job as a shepherd on a large sheep ranch in Alberta. I was tempted, and maybe, now that I think of it, I should have taken the job. But I didn’t.

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Keep your hand on that plow, hold on


Those dark clouds just keep coming, don’t they, figuratively and actually, in the skies above.

Not to sound too pessimistic – I keep telling myself to look on the bright side, of course, and try to be a beacon of hope here in Hope Ness, beside the Hope Bay Forest, just north of Hope Bay. But the reality can’t be denied. Indeed, if hope is at all possible, and I believe it is, it must grow out of a clear-eyed and heartfelt acceptance of the challenge we and the world we live in face at this critical moment in human history. Continue reading

The simple truth



Digging potatoes with grandson Jake, and Buddy.

I’m a simple man in some ways. I think my love of growing potatoes reflects that. It takes a certain know-how, and I am proud of what I do to avoid the use of pesticide: thick straw mulch and a lot of hard work. The result this year is my best crop ever, if I say so myself.

But, growing potatoes is not quite “rocket science,” some might say, as if that’s the highest standard of intelligence anyone might reach. Yet, when you give it a little thought how hard can that be? You pack a metal tube full of explosives, point it toward the sky, stand back, count to 10 backward, push a button, and say, “we have lift off,” in whichever language applies at that moment. Continue reading

Nature knows best about Sauble Beach


Sauble Beach, unraked, early August, 2017

Sauble Beach is located on the western shore of Lake Huron, one of North America’s Great Lakes. It’s a major summer tourist destination in the Province of Ontario, Canada. On a busy summer upwards of 25,000 people will pack the beach and the nearby business community of restaurants,  campgrounds, hundreds of rental cottages and other tourism-oriented businesses.  Most will come from the cities a couple of hours drive south in Ontario. It is one of the major tourist destinations in the area generally known as Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound.

That area, and more, is part of the “traditional territory” of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, which includes the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation and the Saugeen First Nation. Continue reading