Saturday, 21 June 2014


At the wheel, my thoughts immediately revert to the 1971 TV thriller Duel, starring Dennis Weaver and directed by the then relatively unknown, Steven Spielberg.  Travelling a lonely country road, Dennis Weaver is stalked by a frightening and never seen driver of a tanker truck. Mundane location! Ordinary truck! Spine chilling tension. A great nail biter!

Here I am on Brock Road heading south to Highway 407. How more innocent a drive can I make?  Yah, sure, except a giant tandem gravel truck sits a paint coat away from my rear bumper. I up my speed to 90 km from the prescribed speed of 80. Still there! Now 100. Still there! Now 110 and I am travelling at 30 km over the signed speed limit. Isn't there something about losing my car at this level over the limit? And.....he is still there!  Where are you Durham Police when I need you? An ugly apparition fills my rear view mirror.

Narrow road shoulders allow no pull-over escape and so, white knuckled, I arrive ultimately at the safety of Highway 407 as the menacing giant rig roars past, continuing down Brock Road, likely in search of his next victim.

These 18-wheel gravel-toting behemoths, in their deadly rush to arrive who-knows-where, far too frequently bully ordinary drivers on both the Bloomington Side Road and Brock Road.  I have a close friend, an excellent driver and owner of a not insignificantly-sized vehicle, who has totally abandoned driving the Bloomington.  Since when do their sheer size and weight give them the right to so blithely ignore posted speed limits and defy our provincial rules of the road?  My sense is that some of these truckers take perverse glee in terrorizing smaller vehicles.  A power thing?  Perhaps I should purchase a Sherman tank with fully functioning howitzers.  Okay, tail me now, I imagine yelling a la Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Dear Durham Police, if you can't be there, then please just deputize me.  I so wish to pull over a few of these giant bullies and charge them with dangerous driving.  Charged enough, they will get the message.

Uxbridge mayors have long unsuccessfully attempted to reduce truck traffic in the main downtown intersection of our little town. Indeed, the Town of Markham has banned trucks from travelling through their downtown core.  Unfortunately for Uxbridge, Brock Street ( not to be confused with the aforementioned Brock Road ) is a regional road and Durham regional approval to prohibit truck traffic has not been forthcoming.  Thus the occasional rumbling, diesel-smelly invasion of these massive mechanical nightmares attempting to make the sharp turn at our four corners ( Toronto St. and Brock St. ) is not unusual.

Sitting at the four corners intersection this week, I witnessed a tandem gravel truck round the corner, definitely barreling through the turn in excess of the local speed limit.  Worse, the driver had his elbow hanging out the window, hand holding a cell phone to his ear as he engaged in an animated conversation.  I almost suffered whip lash, so quickly did I attempt to turn and spot his licence plate number.  No luck!  Oh, how I wanted to chase after him!  I am incensed. This is not the first time I have witnessed a trucker in this location on his cell.  Crossing Toronto and Brock Streets on foot to shop, go to the theatre, grab a coffee or find an eatery are the elderly, children, families..... Have these truck drivers forgotten the deadly weapons they are driving?  This is a tragedy waiting to happen.  Dear Durham Police, if you cannot monitor this corner, then please just deputize me.  I will handle the problem. Give me a month.  I promise that you will no longer see truckers illegally texting or using cell phones.

This past Friday saw a tandem gravel truck roll over at Lakeridge and 47.  The big rig driver took the corner too quickly.  Imagine that!  A trucker speeding!  Was he also on his cell?  That's too close to home for me.  Come on Durham Police, please just deputize me!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014


How many times, in general conversation, have I recently heard the Election Day excuses?  I don't have time to vote.  I am not well enough informed to vote.  All politicians lie so why vote!  I don't like any of the candidates. Whine! Whine! Whine!  Where is my violin?

The newest movement to decline your vote sends steam shooting out my ears.  A voter, in protest against all candidates and parties, potentially takes their ballot from the Returning Officer and then hands it back unmarked. Such actions are recorded as a protest ballot.  That this suggestion to decline your vote comes directly from one of the parties currently running in the Province of Ontario election is an unconscionable affront to all those who fought for the very freedoms we now enjoy.

This past June 6th, the 70th Anniversary of D-Day and the beginning of the end to World War II, was celebrated.  In World War II, a staggering 45,400 young Canadian men and women lost their lives fighting for the very rights so many would now "take a pass on".  How dare you!  I defy you to stand in France amongst the crosses in any Canadian armed forces cemetery - World War I or II - and tell "them" why you didn't vote.

No time to vote?  It takes only moments out of your very important, busy life to check off a ballot. Not informed?  A plethora of web sites and news articles summarize the party policies and stances in terms a Grade 7 student could easily understand. Don't like any candidates. Vote for the one you dislike the least. Just vote! Exercise a right preserved by the sacrifice of so many young lives and envied by so many nations.

To partially paraphrase Franklin Delano Roosevelt ( I have jnserted 'Canadian' where he wrote 'American' ), Nobody will ever deprive the Canadian people of the right to vote except the Canadian people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.

See you at the polls tomorrow.

Monday, 9 June 2014


I blame Christopher for this blog. On sabbatical and en route to California to present a paper, he is in from St. John's for ten days. And I can think of no better excuse to host a family BBQ lunch.  With a single remark during Sunday's lunch, Chris gives wings to my thoughts and emotions and full-blown nostalgia ensues. 

Observing the three-year old daughter of his cousin, Jen, tear around our back lawn, her blond hair blowing in the breeze and her contagious giggles spreading joy, Christopher chuckles.  Brinley is just so a mini-Jen. Look, there's Jen, he gestures as he points at Brinley.  Glancing up at our neice, what I see now is a tall willowy, gorgeous blonde.  Jen, in fact, is so stunningly beautiful that did one not know the warm, caring heart that beats below that statuesque exterior, an insecure woman could easily be put off. How did she grow up so quickly, I ask myself? Where did those precious moments go?

Time's fleeting nature is again evident as I witness our granddaughter, Morgan, holding Jen's newest addition, 2 1/2 week old, Blake.  

Downy soft hair, pursed lips, perfectly formed fingernails, teeny tiny, sock-covered feet, all wrapped in that heady baby powder fragrance. In awe, Morgan gently cradles this precious bundle.  When, I wonder, did our cherished granddaughter morf into this lovely young girl? My senses in overdrive, I can see our son, Matthew, holding an infant Morgan, totally smitten with his new daughter.  Wasn't that just yesterday? Where did those precious moments go?

The arrival to our BBQ of one important guest is delayed.  Matthew, having completed the Ride To Conquer Cancer earlier that morning, has phoned to say he is on his way. Lying in wait and finally seeing the familiar car arrive, in a flash of blond hair Zachary roars out our front door to throw his arms around his Dad.   

Daddy! he joyously greets Matthew. My mind immediately beams me back in time.  That little blonde head racing across the front lawn could be Christopher or Matthew welcoming Jim home from work.  When did our two sons grow to be men? As a matter of fact, when did Zachary grow so tall? Where did those precious moments go?

Did I take those precious moments for granted, I ask myself? Did I savour them enough?  Time flies on the wings of lightening.  Children grow up in a heartbeat.  Except for the gift of our memories, those precious moments can never be called back.  Fleeting time relentlessly moves forward.  And so I look around at beloved family gathered and remind myself that nothing is forever and to enjoy the moment, this moment. Who was it that said, The bad news is that time flies; the good news, you're the pilot.  I am once again reminded to cherish every precious moment and hold it in my heart.