On growing old, and the health care crisis

Finding Hope Ness

aging(This blog-post was originally published in January, 2017. The current CBC Marketplace investigation being featured by the public network prompts me to reblog, to make the point that this crisis — and that’s what it is — is not new. It’s also worth looking at again because Ontario’s Conservative, Ford government is now in charge, and that doesn’t bode well. And for the record I am well into my senior years, so this is personal.)

First, full disclosure: I am a senior. I have been for more than a few years. I am also the main caregiver of a much older, beloved family member. For some months now we have appreciated the help of the Community Care Access Center (CCAC) in Owen Sound, and the Personal Support Workers (PSWs), visiting nurses and other medical professionals who come to our home. Their genuinely caring attitude has been an important part of…

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Morning surprise is thought provoking

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A stoat, or ermine, caught in my live trap, soon to be released back into nature

I got quite a surprise when I checked the live-trap this morning in the basement cold room where I store produce from last summer’s garden. I’ve been setting the Havahart trap with pieces of squash for several weeks to control an over-abundance of red squirrels getting into this old farm house. So far, I’ve caught seven of them, which I take down the road, far enough I hope that they won’t return.

But this morning, when I saw the trap door had dropped and I took a closer look, I was amazed to see a pure white creature that looked far more like a small weasel than a squirrel. The long, sleek torso was the big difference, though, otherwise, there were many similarities as you can see. Continue reading

On the joys of celibacy

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Something called the incel movement has been in he news lately, in connection with the horrific murder of 10 people in Toronto, and the serious injury of 14 others, when a man deliberately drove a rented van down several blocks of sidewalk.

The suspect now in custody and at last count now facing 10 charges of first-degree murder, may have been radicalized by the hateful, tantrum language toward women often used on websites frequented by unhappy, angry men.

Their complaint is their state of “involuntary celibacy,” hence the “incel” name of their movement.

But I’m confused. I find it hard to understand how a man, or woman, for that matter, could be celibate for an extended period of time and not at some point discover the good side of it. Better than good. I went through a period of celibacy when I was a young man, starting when I was 20 and lasting for a couple of years. Continue reading

Ah, the joys of a late spring

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April 14, 2018, Hope Ness, Ontario, Canada

The local store where I buy my Big Beautiful Boy’s dog food was fairly busy one morning earlier this week. Housed in an older building, the décor steeped in Canadian, farm-store heritage, it’s staffed and operated by folks who call you by name – or soon will, if you’re new. If they say, “have a nice day,” they really mean it.

Continue reading

A time for going home

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A mountain lake in the interior of British Columbia, Canada

It was a moment that lasted all night. At some point though I fell asleep in the passenger seat of his car. I awoke, as usual even then, at dawn. He was gone. Last I knew he was in the driver’s seat where he had been talking his way through the night. He was on his way home to Calgary. He had been away working on a construction project in the British Columbia interior. But a couple of days earlier he had gotten a letter from his wife, telling him she wanted a divorce. She didn’t say so, but he thought maybe she had met somebody else. He was going home to find out what was going on and try to talk to her about it. Continue reading

Community involvement guiding local tourism

 

 

 

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The view from Lion’s Head Harbour

I left a well-attended public meeting this week in nearby Lion’s Head confident the future of sustainable tourism on the Bruce Peninsula is in good hands, and that the challenges it is currently facing as a result of booming numbers in the last few years will be dealt with wisely.

My reason for feeling that way is largely because of the continuing strong involvement of the local community in that effort. Continue reading

“I’ve come for the boy”

(Note: This story is mostly based on actual events, to the extent that they are known. The rest is speculative.)

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Toronto, 1935, looking north on downtown Yonge Street. A City of Toronto Archives photo

The boy was 12 years old in the summer of 1935 during the depths of the Great Depression when a big, black car with unusual licence plates pulled up in front of a rooming house on Brock Avenue in the west-end of Toronto.

It was one of the city’s poorest streets, dubbed “bedbug row” at the time, in the midst of the Great Depression. A tall, slender, impeccably-dressed man slowly emerged from the driver’s door. With one hand resting on the roof of the car he paused for a few moments to stretch his neck, before opening another door to reach in for a briefcase, of the fine, leather style a barrister might carry or, as in his case, a special kind of private secretary. He locked the car carefully and, with the briefcase in his right hand, walked the few steps onto the sidewalk, and then turned up a concrete walkway leading to the rooming house. He walked rather slowly, seeming to put each foot down with an odd tentativeness, as if a visitor from another world. There was some kind of emblem on his jacket, over his heart. A coat of arms, perhaps? Hard to tell from a distance. Continue reading