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Winter In Canada With Bear And Dog And Snow

After a late winter snow storm, Grosvenor Park, North Bethesda, MD, USA.

I post this winter tale  when the snow decides to storm and the wind shakes the trees and there in nary a bird to see. It happened a few years ago, and hints at the rougher side of Nature, which is so often just around the corner in Canada.

Some years in the past, I looked after a dog whilst her owners went out of town.

Tibbit is a big, friendly dawg who likes inspecting piles of leaves. She has a long lead which her benevolent human allows to go as far as possible. She knows (better than her accompanying human) that there are treats at the end of each walk.

On Saturday I didn’t get Tibbit out until after dark. We skirted the university (where her masters work) and went up a street bordering the campus. We both liked the Christmas lights. Near the top of the street we met an inebriated gentleman warning us of a bear in the surrounding woods.

“Flush him out,” said he, “And I’ll get my 3 aught 3.”

“Get the rifle first,” I replied, and we went our respective ways.

Now Tibbit and I doubted the veracity of the gentleman, so when we came to a trail through the woods, we took it. I will admit I did peer more intently into the gloom than usual, but one trail led to a larger trail which led back to the university. We advanced without incident.

On Sunday I again walked Tibbit toward the university, though from a different direction. It was a crisp, clear day and she gamboled (as much as the leash allowed ) through the new fallen snow. Sunshine gleamed. This time we were on the other side of the campus, but our walk eventually led to a position about half a mile away from where we were the previous evening.

We followed another trail into the woods and admired the sun through the fir trees. The path was wide and sloped. It came to turn some distance away which would lead us even closer to where we were the day before.

At the top of the slope Tibbit stopped dead in her tracks. She stared and stared. She glanced briefly into the woods but mainly kept staring along the trail. I saw nothing nor heard anything (and I was intent upon both).

Tibbit did not move and made not a sound. She just kept staring.

After a solid two minutes of this I started to backtrack and she made no complaint.

You betcha she got her dog treats.

(image)buckscountyandbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Winter-Storm-1-26-15-1024×770.jpg

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Why There Are Many Reasons To Give Thanks For My Life

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Buddy and I are waiting for a bus. Hours ahead await us on the trip, though we go to different destinations. I guess proximity is the reason he starts to talk to me, there being nobody else close.

This conversation is edited, though mostly for continuity.

Buddy : Gotta great day.
Me: Yes. (and it is – the weather is some grand)
Buddy: I’ve come half way across Canada, and still have to take the boat to Newfoundland. (this means another 8 hours on the bus for him, and 9 hours on the ferry)
Me: Hope you can sleep on the boat.
Buddy: And then another twelve hours hitching across the province.
Me: You sure have me beat. (I have 7 hours ahead of me, half by train)
Buddy: I don’t know what will happen. My friend says the church will help people.
Me: You’re not going home?
Buddy; Nope – all dead.
Me: That’s tough.
Buddy: That’s my Mom there. (he points to one of his bags) Got her ashes to bury.
Me: You have a sad time.
Buddy: Found her at the end of the driveway.
Me: What?
Buddy: In the urn. My girlfriend threw all my stuff out. That’s where it rolled.
Me: All your things?
Buddy: I had to store my stuff. Just money left for the bus and the ferry.
Me: I gotta say that sounds cold.
Buddy: She’s keeping my last disability cheque.
Me: What?
Buddy $1,700. Says I owe her.
Me: Do you?
Buddy: I guess. Anyway, there’s no going back there.
Me: That’s what it sounds like.

(At this point the bus driver arrives, asking what luggage is to go under the bus)

Buddy: Not that one. (he points to the one with the ashes) That comes with me.

 

DE

My Father Was A Veteran Who Marched On Remembrance Day

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My father, Byron Caleb Estey, served in the Canadian Army for the entirety of the Second World War. He was 31 when he signed up, and was a decade or more older than most of the soldiers he served with. At the end of the war, he was offered an instant promotion from Corporal to Sergeant Major. He declined. He had had enough.

He was with the 90th Anti-Tank Battery. He was the member of the crew who calculated the coordinates to aim the gun and destroy targets. He did this up through Sicily and Italy, except for those times when he grabbed his rifle to shoot at soldiers shooting at him.

I imagine I could write pages repeating the anecdotes he told – and maybe some day I will. He didn’t talk all that much about the war, and when he did, I’d guess 80% of his stories were humorous. The other 20% were not.

I regret not discussing his war experiences more with him, but he did not encourage it. I once asked how close he got to the German soldiers. He said, close enough to kill them.

He hated Germans and Japanese all of his life. I understand that this is not the way of most soldiers. They mellow. They come to understand that soldiers on the other side were doing a job, just as they were. My father was not one of these. Those 20% of his stories explained his attitude to me.

He fought in – arguably – the most horrific and bloodiest battle in the war, the Battle of Ortona over Christmas week of 1943. He marched over piles of bodies, and crawled over piles of bodies. Such were the details he would tell. He didn’t speak of his feelings, or use words like “horror”.

On Remembrance Day he would march in the community parade. He rarely lingered for a meal or beer or camaraderie at The Legion. He did not seem affected by the memorial event, and did not talk any more or less about his experiences just because it was 11 November.

Because his tales were more funny than not, I’ll close on what might have been his last funny story.

At his death, the Royal Canadian Legion wanted to conduct a small ceremony at the funeral parlour. They requested that his medals be pinned to his chest. But, the medals could not be found. This was odd, because they were important to him, and he always wore them for the Remembrance Day parade.

It is excessive to say that the whole house was searched – but not by much. Drawers, shelves, boxes, closets, clothes, were repeatedly searched. Nothing. The Last Post was played over a Veteran with no medals.

Months later, when the house was being sold and possessions were being removed, his clothes were searched before being given away. In the side pocket of a jacket he never wore were the medals, all spiff and shiny.

He would have smiled at that.

Dale Estey

 

(image)http://i.pinimg.com/236x/60/fc/c6/60fcc6ed57cfd2fb5d3373758564c568–division-guns.jpg

A Story Of Frolicking Beavers For Canada Day, July First ~ 150 Years

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First of all, we know that Canada Day is really Dominion Day. But – that said – there is still no better symbol for Canada than the industrious beaver.  But even  hard-working beavers (perhaps, especially hard-working beavers) need their time at play. This is what I saw.

I was walking along the river and heard the strangest noise.

It was one of those noises which, when I found out what It was, sounded exactly as it should. A beaver was chewing at a branch on the bank of the river. First there were small rolling noises, as the branch went through its hands. Then the ‘gnaw gnaw gnaw’. And then the turning noise and the cycles were repeated.

This went on fifteen minutes or so, until the beaver and I both heard noises in the water.

We both saw another beaver approaching. The beaver-at-gnaw quickly went in her direction (though I can only guess which sex was which). They swam toward each other then rubbed faces. The approaching beaver made small bawling noises like a young calf. They rubbed bodies and seemed to sniff each other. They then swam in different directions.

This performance – the swimming away, the languid circling, the approaches – went on for twenty minutes. A couple of times the ‘gnawing’ beaver clambered over the over beaver’s back, but this lasted just a few seconds. The beaver that had first approached rubbed noses once again, then made the bawling sounds one more time.

I never appreciated how large beavers are until one of them came up on the bank. The water was clear enough to see their feet and tail move underwater (I wonder if the portion out of the water might have the 1/10 proportion of an iceberg). The sun was setting and they became difficult to see. However they decided to part anyway. One began to go down river toward the harbour and one headed to the other shore. For me an experience of a lifetime.

DE

(image)teachershelp.ru/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/beaver1.jpg

Pictures With Banff & A RobinThis week’s best under #Canada (20 Photos) — theCHIVE

via This weeks best under #Canada (20 Photos) — theCHIVE

It’s that time- best {well – many good} pictures under #Canada (20 Photos) — theCHIVE

 

 

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via It’s that time- best shots under #Canada (20 Photos) — theCHIVE

People, spectacular places, and POUTINE! A look-see @Canada from sea to sea to sea to …mountains.

This weeks best {Maybe} photos under #Canada (24 Photos) — theCHIVE

From country to city. Not my personal choices, but there is still much that is interesting and evocative.

DE

via This weeks best photos under #Canada (24 Photos) — theCHIVE

Finalist In International Flash Fiction Literary Contest

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I am extremely pleased to announce my Flash Fiction was chosen as one of the 250 finalists, from the 35,609 stories from 149 countries, entered in the International IV Edition of the Flash Fiction Competition Museum of Words.

 

This is the story, found on page 208 of the Contest Winners Booklet:

Dale Estey
 

Canadá

The old rabbi moved on his bed.

The young man raced over.
«Yes, Rebbe?»
The old rabbi opened his eyes, showing the
cast of death that has almost consumed him.
«Ka…» he groaned.
The young man had been told the dying
rabbi would never regain his senses. He leaned closer.
«What do you want?»
The old rabbi struggled for breath.
The young man gazed at pallid features and clouded eyes.
« What can I do?» He put his ear over the gaping mouth.

«Ka… Ka…»

One last ragged breath, a hollow whisper.
«Kafka died for your sins.»
This is the Prologue from the Winners Booklet:

Prologue

After four Flash Fiction Competitions, from the Museum of Words organized by the César Egidose-Serrano Foundation, we can proudly say that the competition has had an undoubted effect internationally.In this year ́s edition we have received 35.609 story entries

from 149 countries.These figures prove an undoubted success of which

we feel genuinely satisfied. And not only for the number of participants or because the prize awarded is per word the highest in the world, but because the huge participation from almost the totality of all countries of our planet supposes also that we have reached the most remote corners in which to entrust the message of the César Egido Serrano Foundation that is none other than to spread the word as a tool to encourage coexistence between cultures, religions, ideologies … our aspiration is not an ingenuous fantasy.

We are aware, very aware, that we live in some potentially tragic times; one only has to view the media from day to day. Violence is a part of human nature, wars have been –and still are- a constant in the world since the beginning of humankind, in today ́s world the deadly power of technology multiplies the threat to the extent of making it a true possibility that the species could become extinct.This is a fact, we do not want to

mislead ourselves, but it is also true that people have the ability to use dialogue and with it, the power of words, so conflicts can be resolved in an effective way.Words solve problems without leaving glimmers of resentment or rancour.

An idea is not a fact, it is a desire, and by means drives it, grows, and expands. That is why our idea (utopian yes, but not ingenuous) are always linked to the contest so ideas as are spread to more people in more countries. Because if history has been rife with violent coflicts, it has also left evidence and clear examples of what we are saying is also possible. We should remember Gandhi or Mandela (leading figure of who we have dedicated this contest) who managed to prioritize dialogue and understanding and the use of words in violent times.

We will continue with eagerness, we know that if it was already a reality we would not be necessary.That is why we are here with these finalists as proof that projects like ours expand with unstoppable strength.

– César Egido Cerrano
The booklet is available here:
DE

The View From The Lighthouse

It’s hard to pry me from a bench.

There was a documentary about Maine lighthouses on the local PBS last week. A relatively (in this day and age) ancient documentary, as one of its features was the current (then) president, George Bush (HW) giving a speech. So at least a quarter century ago.

I have enjoyed going to lighthouses for longer still. If anything, I just keep finding them more evocative. I have a couple of chapters of one of my novels set in a lighthouse. A number of years ago, from high cliffs over the Northumberland Straight, this is what I saw one afternoon from a lighthouse.

One old fishing boat:

One sleek new fishing boat:

One chubby fishing boat:

One fading green fishing boat:

One distant white sailboat under sail:

One close white sailboat under sail:

Two small outboard boats:

One tugboat pulling . . .

One rusting barge.

Happily, the Cape George Lighthouse was recently listed as a Heritage Site by the government of Canada.

DE

(photo) https://opto.ca/sites/default/files/pictures/featured_items/nova_scotia_-_cape_george_lighthouse.jpg

(news item) http://globalnews.ca/news/2089945/14-lighthouses-across-nova-scotia-granted-heritage-status/

(Cape George Lighthouse) http://www.parl.ns.ca/lighthouse/

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