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Sunday 31 December 2023

Happy New Year

As the sun sets on 2023, we live in hope for a better 2024.


Monday 18 December 2023

Memories of Isabel

It has been a difficult ten days on Prince Edward Island. An accident on the highway took four lives and destroyed several families. However, in such a small community as PEI, the event itself and the circumstances touch the lives of many.

Early one evening, four young people, on their way to a youth group meeting, were struck head-on by a truck which veered into their lane. Three of the young people died at the scene, a fourth is in hospital having lost his two brothers and an eighteen year old friend in the accident. Several days later, a passenger in the truck died. The driver, who is twenty, will be charged with impaired driving causing death.

For me, this has stirred up the memories of the death of my friend Isabel in tenth grade. She was killed by a drunk driver as her family was going to church one Saturday evening. Her classmates sat vigil at the funeral home with her closed casket because her family was in hospital. 

However, I didn’t leave Isabel at the graveside that day. She has been with me through my life, the brilliant fifteen year old who didn’t have a chance to live. She didn’t get married, have children and grandchildren, have a career, or travel. Every life experience was taken away when someone chose to get behind the wheel one Saturday afternoon, taking a young girl’s chance of experiencing the joys and sorrows which make a life. It is fifty plus years since that day and the tears as I write this are as close to the surface as they were back then. Isabel became a statistic but not to me.

As a teacher, I sponsored a group of Students Against Drinking and Driving, S.A.D.D, in a high school where I worked. It was important to me to address the issue with students, creating an awareness of the danger of getting behind the wheel where you make your vehicle a weapon because of alcohol. Young people needed to know what to say and do when others might do the same. Parents needed to provide money for a cab or a ride home. Plans need to be made before the drinking starts. Young people often take such learning into their adult lives.

Alcohol can destroy lives in many ways. An alcoholic in a family can affect generations in that family and society at large in often unseen ways. Weaponizing alcohol by drinking and driving has an immediate effect on others maimed or killed by a choice and those who know and love them.

In fifty years time, others will be thinking about the lives lost recently. Words aren’t enough!

Sunday 10 December 2023

Time with the animals

Temperatures have been low enough the past few days to freeze the shallow water in Bedeque Bay at Summerside. 

The animals which live along the boardwalk have been preparing for these winter conditions and walkers have been entertained by their efforts, including those of the Red Squirrels.

These small, industrious rodents are present most days when we walk the trail. If they are absent, you can bet there is a predator in the area.

Last year, my husband and I watched a squirrel as it harvested cones from a spruce tree, chopping off the cones which fell to the boardwalk where the squirrel hastened to cart them away to its midden*. This year, we watched one of the squirrels harvest winterberry holly berries.

A gazebo overlooks the salt marsh in the area of the trail we frequent. We always begin our walks at this gazebo, to see what is happening in the marsh that day. One day in October, when we arrived at the gazebo, we heard a squirrel in the winterberry holly tree by the side of the gazebo. 

The tree had lost most of its leaves at that point, and the red berries were quite obvious. Watching the tree, we saw a squirrel harvesting the berries, unconcerned about the humans who could almost reach out and touch it.

The little rodent worked furiously to cut off twigs of berries as you can see in this short video here.

By the time we were leaving the gazebo, the squirrel was headed to its midden with a twig of berries in its mouth.

Overhead, the birds always entertain as well, including a flock of Canada Geese which yesterday was headed inland ahead of the forecasted high winds and rain. The birds didn’t have it sorted as to which one should lead the V on the way. 

Eventually a small flock broke away from the undecideds and managed a great V.

On the home front, Daisy, the Golden Retriever, visits every week. This week she met BB, the crow with the broken beak which visits us every day. BB now looks in through the glass in the patio door, usually when we are eating at the kitchen table. Daisy and BB watched each other for several minutes. 

Surprisingly Daisy didn’t bark at the crow. I think now they are friends.

*midden: an underground tunnel where a Red Squirrel stores its food. It is separate from its nest or drey which is in a tree.

Sunday 3 December 2023


Our new Golden Retriever grand-dog, Daisy was six weeks old when she joined our daughter’s family about two months ago. We have spent time with her, including numerous walks, sometimes with her alone when she is in our care, or with our daughter and/or the children. Regardless of the circumstances, Daisy always is entertaining. 

When we walk the Confederation Trail, Daisy walks off-lead and really enjoys running around.

When I am in the rear, taking photos, Daisy runs back and forth between us, just checking in. 

Along the boardwalk, which is much more crowded, Daisy is on lead which she does well with too. 

Wherever she is, she eats leaves, chews sticks, and requires constant vigilance.

After a walk, any mat becomes a bed for a snooze, even if space is at a premium.

Daisy’s least favourite part of any day is when the children leave for school. She watches as they wait for the bus and when it leaves, she whines. The dog always welcomes them enthusiastically when they return.

This past weekend, Daisy and our grandchildren visited on Saturday. I took photos while their grandfather made cookies with the children. Daisy managed to poke her head into the scene too. She would not be denied. 

I can understand why many seniors look for an older dog when they want a canine companion. The time, energy and patience required to train a pup is a huge investment. A friend’s dog recently died

and she is looking for an older rescue dog, like the previous one

My husband and I are happy to have Daisy in our lives. She brings unconditional love, companionship, fur and ultimately returns home. She is as sweet as she is beautiful. However, we’re not sure she knows she’s a dog.