From (back in) the North Woods, Good morning all:

Wisdom Of The Week:

“I believe that our Heavenly Father invented man because he was disappointed in the monkey.” — Mark Twain

What originally was a quirk, our overnight drive to the cabin when we came up in late June, has now become standard fare. Yes, we did it again. We left ‘Nati-town at six PM last Wednesday, and arrived at Bruce Mines and Bobbers (their little breakfast nook and regionally the best breakfast place around) by five AM. Marcia and I snoozed in the car till they opened at 5:30 and had their great traditional breakfast. When we reached the cabin an hour and a half later we found the tin of Tim Hortons coffee exactly where we left it. In fact, I am drinking some now.

Before you think us nuts, let me quickly finish up the reason for our night-drives. The trip had construction sites from Cincinnati through to Ann Arbor. During daytime these have substantial delays – we experienced none. By the way, many of these sites had large signs stating. “funded through the America reinvestment act.” In other words, “don’t you worry; these repairs will be paid for by your grandkids”. OK, back to our night-drive. The further north you go the less truck traffic is on the road (most tend to be packed in the rest areas). Both toll bridges have major construction work and at night – no traffic. Then, at 3:45 AM going through Canadian customs is a thirty-second event.

The big news here is that the ongoing civil employees strike in Toronto just settled. The Mayor of that city completely caved to the union’s demands. According to what I read in the Globe and Mail, the citizenry of the city is livid. My opening quote came from the Globe and Mail and references their thoughts on their Mayor.

My experience is that Canada is a completely loveable place, other than that it is run like a small town. Early in the week my property tax bill arrived. I copied the page that had the details on it and wrote a check. The details state that this can then be given to any financial institution. Yesterday a hardware run forced a trip to town (Monday is a bank holiday – Canada and the UK have so many holidays that they have run out of names and hence they all have become “bank” holidays) and I stopped by the local credit union – a financial institution.

After they stamped my receipt they realized that they could not take my check since I was not a member of their credit union. I now was left with my stamped – and then voided – receipt and check. Over to the bank went. The bank could not take my check since I did not have the original receipt with the proper perforation on it allowing them to tear the slip off. I mentioned that what I had was identical to the original but my copier was not able to insert a perforation, and after all, wasn’t my check the critical piece in the transaction.

Finally the teller brought the bank manager over who promptly agreed with me. However, since the dear folk at the credit union had stamped and voided the copy of the original receipt they could not accept and use it. I even offered to write a note and sign next to each of the two voided stamps. No luck.

Finally I stuck the voided receipt plus my perfectly good check into an envelope and marched over to the post office. The clerk looked at the envelope and advised me that I could save postage by just going over to any financial institution. I just smiled and said “oh, let’s just mail it.” “Fine” she said, “that will be 57 cents.” That is when I realized that I only had American money on me.

Yesterday afternoon Donn and Marlene picked us up in Paul’s steel fishing boat for a run to nearby Pickerel Lake. This requires amazing navigational skills since the 700 yard connector between our lake and Pickerel has rocks, submerged logs, and a couple of beaver dams. The weather happened to be great especially considering that the locals refer to this year as “the bummer of a summer.” We had a fine time.

In fact it was so good that Marlene and Donn both decided to throw a line into the water and do a little trolling. At first I felt a little lost, just sitting there watching as they merrily trolled along. It was only after their lines crossed and within seconds became a two-inch ball of intertwined nylon filament that my role became clear – I became the ‘keeper-of-the-line’. It was also the end of the trolling.

My current cabin read is The Ship and the Storm the story of the four-masted windjammer ship Fantome getting caught in Hurricane Mitch while cruising off the coast of Honduras. It got my attention since Marcia and I both got caught up in Mitch while visiting Guatemala. We were stuck for three days, not all that much wind but horrific rains. All travel was ordered halted due to floods. Since our hotel could not bring in staff and supplies we were all sort-of hanging out and the same foods magically rolled out and appeared on the same buffet tables, meal after meal. After coming home I was prescribed some serious medication to clear up my intestinal condition—thanks Mitch!

We’re preparing for Pieter and Jeanne’s visit mid-week. Our plan is to make it a great week. Trust you’ll do likewise.



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