Monthly Archives: January 2016

I do not like practical jokes. . .


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I do not like practical jokes. Don’t get me wrong I can admire a good practical joke but too many of the ones that people think are funny, aren’t. The victim is often made to feel stupid and I don’t find that funny. I have been the recipient of a few practical jokes that didn’t make me laugh. However . . .

Many years ago I was part of a Boy Scout troop at the Rover level (16+) when the troop is allowed to go co-ed. Myself and two other females joined with our male counterparts. We had known them for years. One summer we planned to go on a weeklong canoe trip. We decided that we should ask the Girl Guides join us. Unfortunately most of them were not as experienced in canoeing as we were. As we were going to be out in the actual wild wilderness we thought we should have a training weekend. And that is where the fun began.

Usually the first night at our campsite we would indulge in a big bowl of chilli. It would sit and bubble through most of the day. The smell was tantalizing. The rest of us would go about our business making sure the newbies knew how to light a fire and all the other skills that are necessary when you were nowhere near civilization. Two of us spent a great deal of time that day collecting flies. You heard me. I had a little glass jar that I used to collect the dead insects. I made sure most of the newbies saw us going around looking for flies, swatting them and putting them in my jar. A few asked me what I was doing and I explained that they were seasoning. I got quite a few odd looks but I never explained further.

The next step. A few minutes before we were about to eat I lifted the lid to the pot and with absolutely no fanfare tossed the contents of my little glass jar into the chilli. I made sure I was seen. Hee hee hee.

Those that had been around for a while knew exactly what I had just done and proceeded to offer up their bowls for a scoop of chilli. The newbies looked on in horror as we enjoyed our repast! The seasoning was perfect.

We didn’t let them stew for long. Before I had left home I had filled up an identical jar with spices that would taste good in a chilli. The contents from the good jar got tossed in not the flies. But for a few minutes they didn’t know that!

The evening ended on a high note with all suitably sated by the exquisite chilli served under a canopy of stars with good friends. Another one to remember!

The Mists of Time

This story i for Linda G Hill.  It is a ghost story and a love story and it is historically correct.  I live in the town mentioned and their park is still here. Check out Just Jot It January at

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No one knows exactly what happened on that final day or even what actually happened during the preceding weeks. He was one of the countless summer visitors that would arrive from places like Toronto by steamship. As many as 3000 people would visit Oakville in a single day. They mingled with the local folk in the beautiful summer days of that year. His name was Aloysius.

Her name was Mary. She was born on the 15th of April in the year of our Lord 1881. Her father worked in the Carson & Sons Planing Mill. He worked there for 30 years and for half of those years he carried a secret.

Mary didn’t have a mother. Or rather she didn’t remember her. She died while giving birth to Mary’s younger brother, he didn’t survive either. When she was very young Mary learned to take care of the house and her father. It’s what women did in those days, they took care of things.

Jacob was a good man, was Mary’s father. But he didn’t know what to do with his little girl. She wasn’t a little girl anymore. She was a young woman, a young, beautiful woman. Like the youth of all centuries she wanted some excitement. So on that fateful day she left the chores in her home to go for a walk in George’s Square.

Mary was positively giddy. It was a beautiful day, bright sunshine, a gentle breeze, and the smell of flowers the air. She didn’t go far; there was a park very close to her father’s work. He used to take her there when she was a small child. It was a favourite place for people to congregate. It is believed that’s where she met Aloysius.


Mary turned around. What she saw made her smile and blush at the same time.


“Are you from around here?” The smiling gentleman asked.

Mary blushed again. “Yes I am. Are you lost?”

The gentleman breathed deeply and put his hands in his pockets. “I have just come up from the city and I’m wondering where are the best places that I should visit. I’m only here for the day.” He looked down at this beautiful raven haired young woman, he was quite tall, “Would you be willing to show me the sites?”

Mary had been feeling the need for little excitement in her life, and here it was standing right in front of her. He looked to be a gentleman from the city, perhaps a wealthy gentleman. She was at first a little nervous but it was a beautiful day and she was feeling adventurous.

“I would love to give you a tour of the town. My name is Mary.”

“And you can call me Aloysius.”

“That is quite an unusual name.” She tried to hide her smile, unsuccessfully. Then she thought that perhaps she had been impolite.

The gentleman in question simply chuckled out loud, “I was named after my father, by my mother. It is quite a moniker.” His smile deepened. “It’s nice to be a little different.”

As the two walked through George’s Square they became more comfortable with each other. He was a young gentleman well attired and well spoken. She was a young girl, barely a woman with a girlish delight in being free.

We can’t know what was actually said when the two met but Mary kept a diary. Years later it would be found and many of the questions surrounding their story would be answered.

Aloysius was indeed a gentleman. Actually he was a gentleman’s gentleman. He was in service in the city of Toronto. Every Sunday he was given leave to pursue his own interests, whatever they may be. Once he met Mary he spent every Sunday of that fateful summer in the small town of Oakville, on the shores of Lake Ontario. They would visit the strawberry market, walk along the shoreline and picnic under the trees. Their friendship grew and over the many weeks so did their love.

During this time Mary’s father was under the impression that she was helping out at their local church. As he was not one to attend services he never questioned her supposed attendance. So he was completely unaware of the growing relationship between Mary and Aloysius. He wasn’t the only one. While they never intentionally hid themselves from Mary’s friends, they didn’t frequent areas that the others normally attended. But eventually the summer ended and so did the steamship from Toronto.

“Mary I’m asking you to come back to Toronto with me. You can live with my sister until the wedding. I know I can find you work with the mistress of the house. She is always looking for competent maids or perhaps a tutor for the children.”

Mary held the hands of the man she loved but she could not look him in the eye. “I have told my father nothing. He doesn’t even know you exist. I can’t just leave him”.

“Beloved I have to leave. This is the last boat of the season. I have no means to support myself here in Oakville. I have a good life in Toronto. We have talked about this. Let me approach your father and ask for your hand in marriage. He must agree.”

Very slowly Mary withdrew her hands from the grip of the man she loved. She still had not looked into his eyes. “I will speak to my father and I will return here shortly. The boat doesn’t leave for several hours. You must trust me. I will return.”

Slowly Mary raised her head and looked deep into the eyes of the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. Her hand touched his cheek gently, no words were necessary. She smiled and left him waiting on the pier.

When Mary returned home her father wasn’t there. She knew he sometimes went into the plant on Sundays so that is where she went. It’s difficult to know what actually happened on that tragic day in Carson and Sons Planing Mill. What we do know is that Mary died in there. She may have fallen or she may have been struck down. No one knows or no one is speaking of it.

Mary’s father would not speak of that day except to say that there was an accident. Aloysius waited on the pier but his beloved never showed and he didn’t know why. He left on the last steamship of the summer.

The next year the steamships did not return to plying the waters near Oakville for passengers and Aloysius was unable to return to Mary. He tried writing letters but they were never answered. Many years went by, Jacob mourned the loss of his daughter but he never spoke of it to anyone. Some said they often found him sitting on a chair outside the Mill talking to himself. It sounded as if he was talking to someone else but no one was nearby. There are those who said he was talking to his daughter, or the spirit of his daughter. Perhaps he was trying to atone for what had happened. Jacob never said and he died the year the Mill was closed.

Aloysius eventually married. He had three daughters, the last one he called Mary. He was never a happy man; he rarely smiled and was never seen to laugh. After many years of marriage his wife died and his daughters married and had children of their own. In time Aloysius once again visited Oakville. It had been a lifetime and the town was no longer sleepy anymore. It was vibrant and alive. Aloysius went back to the places that he and Mary had once known. The shoreline was much more built up and the main street had more stores. The house where Mary had once lived was gone. George’s Square was still there and the trees were bigger and more lush. Aloysius sat on a bench and remembered how happy he had been so many years ago and he wondered if Mary was happy now.

It was dusk when a married couple out walking in the fresh autumn air noticed a well-dressed older man sitting on a park bench. When they returned from their constitutional the gentleman had not moved. The man stopped to inquire if there was anything wrong. That’s when he discovered that Aloysius had died. He had died in the last place that he was happy.

There are those who say that on a warm summer night just about dusk if you’re very careful and very lucky you can see the misty outline of two people sitting on a park bench. One shape is that of a well-dressed gentleman, a young man and the other is of a very young woman with long dark hair.

Perhaps what they could not have while they lived, they found together in the mists of the spirit world.

the end



Just Jot It January

The prompt for today is  “Mendaciloquent”  by Coralee at If you don’t already know her, click on the link and check out her blog!

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I cannot tell a lie

My mendaciloquent skills are lacking

So never fear the truth

cuz the other’s what I’m tracking!

As aways many thank to Linda G Hill for Just Jot it January at



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A simple drop

When hits the ground

Waves reverberate.

But nothing


The silent ear

No sound

can penetrate.

No crying child

No whistling train

Can breach

The wall

Of sound.

A spoken word

A hearty laugh

Cannot the barrier


But a gentle hand

A smile in sight

Is louder

Than them all.


I happen to love bizarre words. My favourite? Prestidigitation. Or as the French say Preston did you get the. . . . . Okay my dictation device didn’t understand it in French. Basically it’s exactly the same word with a different inflection. I chose this word for Just Jot it January by the effervescent Linda G Hill. This is going to be fun!

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I do not do magic. However. I believe that all good writers use the basis of prestidigitation in their stories. Think about it. We all love the twist, the red Herring, the misdirection in a good mystery. Is that not simply literary prestidigitation?

Okay to save you a trip to the library, the word simply means ‘slight of hand’ or in the broader sense ‘magic’. Now you know why I love this word! As writers we all want to create a little magic through our words. We transport the reader to a place, a situation, that they can immerse themselves in from the safety of their armchair. That is what reading meant to me as a child. I feel as though I have been to Africa and then the moon. I once swam into the Marianas Trench at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. I have slept beneath a Sycamore tree and run with the bulls in Pamplona. All between the pages of a book.

Magic has two components: the performer and the audience. Books have two components: the writer and the reader. The magic is the relationship between the two that exists within the words. How something from the back of my mind can resonant in the mind of another thousands of miles away or just next door is magical.

So my friends go forth and indulge in a little literary magic!


Check out the rules at:  It is seriously worth it!