Tag Archives: memories

Was My Miniature Poodle Gay?


I was five years old when Beau Brummel joined our merry family. My parents had been promising my brother, sister and I that we could get a dog one day. One Sunday afternoon we were out for a drive. (I guess it was a way to stimulate curiosity in us young’uns!) We stopped for lunch a few towns over from where we lived. After eating, my siblings left the table only to return a few moments later with an announcement: There was a kennel in town. (They had checked the phonebook.) (For those of you too young to remember pay phones, they were in most restaurants and on the street for people to make phone calls without going home. There were no cells phones or Internet in those days. It was the ‘60s Sigh.)

Busted! My father had promised. We came home with an 8 month old, pure bred, champion stock, black, miniature poodle. His front legs had been broken when he was a few days old and had healed incorrectly so his walk was always slightly off. We never noticed.

Beau ruled. Well, at least us kids. He played when he wanted to, he cuddled when he wanted to. And he always looked like he knew better. Because Beau was of champion stock, breeders wanted to use him as a stud. My parents agreed. Evidently it didn’t go well. He didn’t seem to know what to do. The first indication?

Several years later, in another town, we added another dog to the mix. A beautiful Chesapeake Bay Retriever, we called her Blue. She idolized Beau. On the last day of school before summer break, both dogs went missing. Eventually they showed up again and the summer continued as planned until . . .our beautiful Blue was pregnant!

Our first thought was: Beau! You ole dog! But no. We think he pimped her out to another retriever in the neighbourhood: Blacky, a black lab. The pups were stunning! I watched them being born. Quite an experience for a child. Beau hovered like a worried godfather. Second indication?

A few days later my brother, Blue and her five puppies left for university. Beau moped for twenty minutes and then started putting everything back to normal. But he did find a friend.

My best friend lived across the street. Her father was a hunter and had hunting dogs. Strictly off limits to curious children. They also had a male cat. Rusty was an outdoor cat whose job was to keep the mouse population in decline. He was very good at his job. We lived just outside a small city surrounded by forests and fields. It was a great place to live. Rusty was beautiful and affectionate. In those days your animals ran free so chances were good they would meet up. They did. Beau and Rusty became friends. The two boys met up most days and Beau often invited Rusty into the house for snacks or even a nap. Third indicator?

A few years later we moved to another province. Beau never again had a special friend like Rusty. I wonder if they found each other across the Rainbow Bridge?


My Memory Bank



I was talking with a friend the other night and she told me how she was going to take her two young daughters away for a Girls Weekend. I started to remember the wonderful trips I had taken with my parents when I was a child. Some trips were only for a day, a week, sometimes for a weekend and once for month. I cherish those memories! I remember being in a camper trailer and not having access to fresh milk. I was so excited to go a whole week without having to drink milk. I hated the stuff before the trip, loved it afterwards!

More and more of my childhood memories started to pop to the surface. They had been filed away just in case I wanted to look at them again. For a moment I wanted to get lost in the past. I could remember the feeling of my father’s arms as he carried me to bed. I could fall asleep anywhere. I could remember the smell of my mother’s hands when she was baking in the kitchen. I could remember the springy hair of Beau Brummel, our miniature poodle when he had been rolling in something noxious and he knew it. Damn, he was a smart dog!

Sadly, I knew I had to put them back in the vault or I would truly run the risk of getting lost. But I knew they were there. Locked safely away. Or so I thought. My mother started to lose her memories but she had told me the stories so many times I remembered them for her. We used to laugh about it. What happens when I’m gone!

The stories that she told me happened to people who are no longer alive. Who will remember them! My stories, my memories, what will happen to them? What will happen to my Memory Bank? I guess the question is a matter of beliefs. What do you believe? Do you believe that we live on in another form or are we recycled into the ether?

I don’t know. I know what I want to believe. But I don’t know. If Heaven exists it must be pretty crowded. Of course the same thing could be said for Hell. I do not believe the human mind is capable of understanding the next step. I certainly don’t. I don’t think logic comes into it and that is where you rely on faith.

I have my wonderful memories and one day they will all fade into the Cosmo as will I. Until that time I am going to continue to make deposits into my Memory Bank. How about you!

An Embarrassing Memory

 (from http://www.canadogs.ca)

We all have those memories that we wish we could forget. Those instances when we performed in a less than stellar manner. Ah, yes, those embarrassing moments.

More than 40 years ago I behaved abysmally. In my defence I was young and stupid. I use that word intentionally. It’s more than 40 years later and I’m quite sure the parties involved are no longer alive but I am embarrassed at my behaviour.

Why am I sharing this now? Well I had an epiphany. It only took four decades to figure it out! Have I mentioned that I tend to be a little slow? Let me tell you what happened.

I was in my late teens and while I had an aspect to my character that was quite shy around people, I was a beast when it came to defending my family. At the time we shared our lives with a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. She was beautiful, friendly and not particularly bright. We loved her dearly. And she clearly loved everybody  without exception. I used to take her for her last walk of the evening when it was dark. It was the wintertime so it was cold but not a lot of snow. The air was crisp and we were having a wonderful walk. She was off leash which was legal in those days but she was well trained enough to return when I called her.

We were walking in a residential area near a Catholic church. In the distance I could see what appeared to be a man in a dark coat and a small dog. Blue, my Chesapeake Bay, saw them too and raced to say hello. Her tail was wagging furiously. The individual in question picked up the little dog and tried to kick Blue. She was quick, the kick missed, I called her back and I got angry. At no time was Blue aggressive.

I proceeded to chastise the individual loudly and vehemently. Two more steps and I saw the white collar on his neck. He was a priest! Now one would assume that when presented with someone of the clergy, one would proceed with more decorum. Not a chance, I was angry!

But I did recognize the significance and changed my tactics.

“How dare you call yourself a man of God! I won’t share the same space with you if you feel you have the right to abuse one of God’s creatures . . .”   Like I said, I was angry, a redhead and a family member was involved. You might call that a perfect storm.

Many years later I’m able to look back and understand his point of view. A strange animal, no matter how friendly it appears, can be frightening. I should have stopped and assured him of how gentle Blue was. I didn’t. I held my anger like a shield and refused to let him in. Sometime later when we returned from our walk along the same path, I saw him again. He was waiting for us. But I was still in the throws of that anger and I refused to speak to him. I’m sorry for that.   I am sorry that I missed out on an opportunity to connect with another human being.

Sometimes those memories that we hold onto are there for a reason. Maybe we need to be humbled occasionally by our remembered mistakes so that we do not repeat them. I can never make up to that man for my inadequacies but I can hold onto his memory as a lesson. He was an important individual who has helped me to become the person I am even without knowing his name. And I hope I never forget the lesson he taught me.

The Passage of Time.



Today my breath is exposed

There’s a chill in my bones

I cuddle deep inside

Hiding from the winter air.


Soon flowers will rise

And life will spring forth

From their cold death

Sleeping no more


With bated breath

I await the warmth

Promised in the breeze

Of a summer’s morn


As days follow weeks

We fall once more again

To cherish the brightness

The colours awash and dying


Break not this yearly cycle

The beauty of each season

One by one they adorn the earth

And mark the passage of time

Seven Women on a Train


Sounds like a joke doesn’t it? Well it was a good one! Allow me to set the stage. A friend and I were going to watch the Cirque du Soleil when it was in town. We were quite excited but it required a little bit of travel. We had to take a train from where we live to another town 30 minutes away. For those who are in the area we went from Oakville by Go Train to Toronto.

Now our Go Trains travel by rail around southern Ontario. They are vital to moving people to and from their work. I have used it occasionally and being in the wheelchair I am always concerned. But they are brilliant. I can fit on any car and they have a special platform where the train stops perfectly in line. A ramp is put out and I get on. There’s also a conductor in the car to deal with any issues I may have. Because I’m special! Ha ha ha! Anyone with special needs is given the care they require. Okay the stage is set.

The car we got onto was pretty full and people were asked to move so that I could sit comfortably. There was a baseball game in town so there were a lot of people. In the seat next to me and in two other seats across the aisle were five ladies. They were of varying ages but all were teachers. Some still working, some retired. A few times a year they would leave their husbands/partners/children and go on a trip together. This time it was Vegas!

I have never been to Vegas but enough of my friends have that I know the excitement is real. I am by nature a talker. I get that from my mother. Well the seven of us started to talk and we laughed and we laughed. The conductor on our car was, how should I say this politely, hot. And I’m not referring to the temperature in the room. When he walked the length of the car all 14 eyes pivoted in his direction. We were all of an age that we had no problem acknowledging the Scenery. I then piped up that eye candy was good for the soul. Another round of hilarity!

By the time we reached the next town these five women felt like long lost cousins that we loved dearly. They continued on to the airport and my friend and I attended a marvellous display of acrobatics in the Cirque du Soleil.

Had anything that morning been slightly off we would have gotten onto a different car and I wouldn’t have that wonderful memory of those five beautiful women living life to the fullest. Thank you ladies and I hope Vegas never recovers!

Micro Decisions

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We make them, hundreds of times a day. What hand do I use to shake that of another? When I walk do I step out first with my left foot or my right foot? Do I smile at a sunny day or do I grimace? These are not conscious decisions but rather decisions that are made in a split second. They are decisions that are based on habit, inclination or perhaps even whim.   Rarely do we spend time thinking about the ramifications of these micro decisions. We simply make them on the fly.

I have a habit of preparing in advance for unknown situations. That sounds like an oxymoron. Since my mind is always coming up with scenarios, I simply extrapolate. If I am faced with situation A then I have prepared a reciprocal response for the situation. If I am faced with situation B then I have an appropriate response prepared. Obviously I cannot prepare for every situation, given that it is unknown. But I have enough of an arsenal prepared that I can usually wing it.

This comes out of a childhood where I was never prepared. I was painfully shy and terrified of everything and everyone. Especially people. I just assumed that whatever I said would be wrong or idiotic. I lived in constant fear. To protect myself I started paying attention to other people and how they dealt with each situation. It appears I had a good memory.

Moving ahead several decades and I discovered a new weapon. I joined the drama department in school and started acting. I was good. So good in fact that, in almost any situation, I could hide behind the character of me. I believe that this is where my storytelling comes from. And I’m not the only one.

Everyone has something they’re good at. They don’t always know why and it’s not always just due to training. Some people just seem to have an inherent ability to be brilliant. We can all be good at something, But there’re those that excel. Why? There is no answer. And that’s fine. We need a little mystery in our lives, a little magic. People ask me where my ideas for stories come from, where do my poems begin, my quips? Quite frankly I have no idea! It is the way my mind works. I love words and how they fit together, the sounds they make and the pictures they can invoke. See I’ve actually no idea!

What is it about you that excites you?

Real Reality?


cropped-cityescape.jpgThe other day I was waiting for a friend and I did something that I love to do. I watched people. As I’m habitually early everywhere I go I had quite a bit of time to sit. It was near a bus station so there was quite a wonderful cross-section of people. Some people were coming, and some people were going. Some people obviously had very important places to be and some had the world at their fingertips.

A group of young man approached me. They were close enough that I could hear their conversation. I was quite surprised. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been. One was extolling the virtues of a sports team, but I must question his schooling. His short conversation (that I overheard) was a full of vulgar expletives. I am not a prude but I do believe that level of vulgarity belongs in the locker room, not on the street where there are children.

These young men did not appear to be thugs, they seemed to be relatively well dressed (they were headed to a baseball game, so no suits in sight). They obviously had money to spend. So I can only surmise their need to speak such language falls to lack of respect. Quite frankly, lack of respect for themselves as well as those within earshot. What happened?

When I was a child respect was the word you lived by or your backside got a tanning. Everyone was Mr. or Mrs. or Miss. If you got caught swearing your tonsils got washed out. It’s not something you forget easily. We held doors open for others, now it’s done automatically by a machine! What are we teaching our children? We are teaching them that it’s someone else’s problem. We are teaching them that it doesn’t matter and by extension that they don’t matter. Everybody matters!!!! Our children need to know that. They need to know that the beautiful models they see in the glossy magazines are not real. They are airbrushed and primped and made up by other people. Reality isn’t real.

I just saw on TV that there is a movement for reality by some celebrities. They want to world to see them without makeup. I hope it takes off because that is what our children need to see. Everybody gets pimples and everybody has a bad hair day. Nobody’s perfect.

When I was a kid I didn’t worry about how I looked, I was a kid. I did kid things. I played in the grass, I rolled in the mud, I got dirty! And I loved it! I have wonderful memories from my childhood and I hold on tight to them. I wonder about the kids today hooked up to their computers, isolated from reality. What do they do when the power goes out? Do they know how to play? I’m glad I’m not a kid today. I’m glad I’ve got my memories.

If only . . .


Do you ever do that? Do you ever wonder what would have happened if . . .? I try not to do it. But sometimes . . . The human mind is perhaps our greatest gift and our greatest curse. We have the ability to think, to create wondrous things. But we also have the ability to sabotage all that is good by simply worrying about it.

I have a great life. Unfortunately I am occasionally asked about what I have lost. This is not a topic I usually dwell on. For one simple reason:   it is too depressing. Okay, Let’s play the game. What have I lost? At the top of the list are family members and dear friends. I weep for them but they will always live in my heart and in my memories. We have all lost those we love.

What else have I lost? I no longer have the ability to stand or walk. That sounds like such a big thing and some days it is. But I get around from the seat of my wheelchair just fine. I was watching something on the news the other day and I saw people canoeing. I was once very good at that. Made me think nostalgically of the trips I’ve taken. I’ve been rock climbing, canoeing in northern Ontario, sailing, horseback riding, swimming. sports, travelling and more. The list is extensive. I always maintained that I was here for a good time not long time but it would be nice it was a good, long time!

Well, good is what you make it! I may not ever be able to do some of the things I have done in the past but I have my memories and they’re great! I have pictures of the places I have been and I can look back and relive those times. I can. But I don’t spend my time in the past. I loved it then. But now is the time for me. I want to enjoy my life now and I will work bloody hard to see that I do!

I never want to forget my past, good and bad. Because that is what made me, me.   All the experiences I have had, all the people I have met, all of it went towards making me the person I am today. And I like who I am. Do I wish that things had progressed differently? Sure. But they didn’t and this is my life and I will cherish it with every breath I breathe, cuz this is all I got and it ain’t bad!