Donn and I got our “back-to-the-USA” fix. We both needed to do some stuff in the Soo, Canada and also across the river in the Soo, Michigan; with the season moving along thoughts of home have begun to creep into focus.

Now, along with my mug of coffee, let me start with this quote. I came across it while I was looking up background on one of the Presidential candidates I happen to be interested in and found it. Here is the quote:

”We are more than just flesh and bones. There’s a certain spiritual nature and something of the mind that we can’t measure. We can’t find it. With all our sophisticated equipment, we cannot monitor or define it, and yet it’s there.” ~ Ben Carson, MD Neurosurgeon

Then last evening I listened to an hour long interview with Keith Richards guitarist for the Rolling Stones who came out with this jewel:

Nobody grows up till the day the grim reaper arrives ~ Keith Richards, musician

I guess that these quotes grabbed me (yup, I do try to tie these things into the Ramblings) because of what I came across earlier this week. Sitting around one evening after a long day I began to cull through some old stuff – organize and erase. I was going through that process when I ran across a letter I wrote detailing the final hours of my mother, our Omi, back in August of 2001. Here is the opening paragraph and I thought it worthwhile repeating, now 14 years later:

Thursday the 15th the call came in that Omi probably would not make it till the 1st (her 90th birthday). Friday on my way to the airport I got word that she had passed on. Arriving at Ontario airport I found my brothers and sister-in-law Jolene almost jubilant. They had witnessed and been part of what they described as a wondrous event. My mother died with peace, joy and anticipation. Quite alert till the moment of death, they described her spirit leaving her in terms that were as powerful as that which they all experienced at the birth of their children. There was a sense of loss, our loss, but in reality it was as much joy watching her experience the assurance that we only talk about.

Adriana, 80th birthday, with sons -s

There is oh so much we can’t fathom. There is so much we don’t have a clue about. There is so much we have to take on faith.

So alike and so different – Cross the border and the biggest change one notices is that oftentimes a statement on the Canadian side concludes with, “eh”. But the differences are myriad. Here’s one such difference.

Yesterday a neighbor was off to get a mammogram. Canada has a comprehensive healthcare system and people are quite good at using the preventative portions of this service.

However, I noted a distinct difference. In the ‘Nati it is fairly often that I see a brightly painted bus heading off to one location or another – the mobile mammogram center.

My neighbor had to drive over 1½ hours each way to get her mammogram—it’s the only scanner in this whole region. It occurred to me that from small towns and the many tiny communities scattered all over this Province there are women making these trips daily, and sometimes multiple times if there is an issue. Winter, summer, rain, shine, and snow these travels continue.

In my mind I realized that a simple solution, better on several fronts, was already a common piece of the landscape south of this northern border.

I asked if they had ever heard of or seen a mobile mammogram bus – they hadn’t. Here, in a place where gasoline costs run between $4.50 and $5.00 per gallon, just think of the savings in time and cost for such a service. Yet, this bus, so common at home, is an unknown in these parts. Major differences really are common – this being just one.

Possibly this difference is as a result of a lack of competition?

An Armada – was formed last Monday. For a week and a half we had nasty weather, cold and wet (yes, our heater was running). Then, this past week, things turned glorious. We jumped on it and six of us, in three boats, trailered them to nearby Tunnel Lake. Tunnel is the largest in these parts – 13 miles long.

We launched on what had been the access road for the, now submerged, town of Hooverville (us guys somehow keep flubbing up by referring to the place as “Hooterville”). The place was flooded over as part of a Hydro-Dam expansion scheme which was built a half century ago. Just this past week I ran into someone who actually attended school in the then existing Hooverville

Let’s forget that two of the boats suffered sparkplug issues (our Sea Nymph included), the afternoon was a huge success. Also, each boat had a front ‘spotter’ since Tunnel Lake is chock-full with barely submerged rocks and hill-tops. We stayed in the known channels, suffered no issue and there were no busted props.

What we did discover was a camp normally accessed by horseback which had a shades-of-the-Caribbean style sandy beach. Here we were, mid-September, running barefoot in our Tees. It was beyond lovely.

DSCF2161     DSCF2177     IMG_7413     IMG_7445


Animal Planet – We’re now hearing loud honking overhead as the geese have begun to migrate south. I’ve emptied and cleaned the Hummingbird feeders – they too have left. The Loons are urging their young to be independent and have begun to cluster into vocal groups. And, in the nearby valley of Wharncliffe, windshields sported their first ice as the morning dew froze. Fall is here – except for the Fall Color which is slow this year.

The Red Squirrels are fattening up and Marcia can be spotted daily as she cleans up piles of eaten and emptied pine cones from the deck. She sure loves those Squirrels (said with real sarcasm).

Fini – This morning I can hear the rains pounding on the metal roof. It is also the day that the long awaited annual 100 kilometer Sylvan Arts Tour  is happening. This tour combines color-tour (nonexistent this year) with lovely top-down driving between tiny little villages in our little Deux Chevaux (not this year if the rains hang in). I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Marcia says that as backup to the Arts Tour she spotted an ad for a yard sale – say it isn’t so!

Also, my fingers are crossed with hope that the work on a Northern Comfort foundation can finally be counted to start in mere days.

Make it a great week and stay safe.



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