Canoeists in Cars Getting Coffee

With total apologies to Jerry Seinfeld and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

As narrated by Sharon …

***

“Hi, Harry, this is Sharon. In your neighbourhood and wondering if you’d like to go out for a coffee.”

“Sure Sharon” replied Harry.

Now the car I picked out for Harry, although he is more at home in a canoe, is my 2006 Porsche Boxster. This car can do zero to 60 mph in under 6 seconds.  It’s a 5 speed manual transmission, a 2.7-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder that develops 240hp.  The engine is located behind the seats (mid-engine) but ahead of the rear axle. This gives the car two cargo compartments. Very practical.

But it also has the enlarged front and side air intakes for cool styling. Finished off with 17-inch alloy wheels. Inside, two occupants enjoy body-hugging leather-upholstered bucket seats.  Seat warmers included for cool spring and fall temps. Bose surround sound and a navigation system. Not a bad choice for my favourite teacher.

He was rather astonished when I pulled up in his driveway. “We’re going for coffee in that!”

“Oh yes,” I answered, “and with the top down. Harry, this car is like our friendship.  Still going strong after many years and stands out amongst others. Will always be a classic. We are stylish.”

“Alright,” said Harry, “I am definitely in a Seinfeld Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee episode. Drive on!”

It was a wonderful afternoon. Having missed the 50th Reunion of my Junior High School, I wanted to catch up and hear the stories. Harry had attended and had been mobbed by his old students, from science to English to outdoor education. He had been our guide through the wilderness, and school, and far beyond. The lessons we learned on trips with him will remain with us for life. Over those years we became such good friends that I even asked him to give the speech for the bride at my wedding.

“So Harry, what’s retirement like?” “Eggsellent,” he replied, as I got to learn all about his current Caledon backyard hens project. With that teaser, I just had to see the hens, so the Boxster navigated the potholes on the Albion Hills Community Farm driveway to visit the hens.

He’s there at 5:00 in the morning and 9:00 at night and those hens love him. I even got to take home some free run, organic Omega 3 eggs for my son’s breakfast the next day. After the hens, we headed to the Four Corners restaurant in Bolton for that long awaited coffee – and it was a perfect cappuccino.

Then began that exchange of catching up on the many years in between the canoe trips of my youth and the realities of life as a working mom. Harry talked about his family and his children and his journalism. Mostly he reflected about how important his students were to him. I got to share my enthusiasm for golf, my children, and my grandchild. We both reflected on the joys of getting older with my knee problems and his cataract surgeries. But our memories are always young.

My friends and I travelled with Harry on canoe trips from Grade Eight until we left high school. The level of training and our capabilities of performance increased every year. It was almost as though he was waiting to see if we could fly on our own.

On the last night of our final canoe trip to Algonquin Park, my friend Marie noticed another group just upwind from us washing their dishes in the lake. Harry, who taught us to always leave our campsite cleaner than we found it, had spotted this but uncharacteristically hadn’t said anything. Marie marched right over to their campsite and said, “Excuse me, but I don’t appreciate you washing your dishes in our drinking water!”

That was our last trip. Harry told me over coffee that he didn’t say anything that day because he was waiting to see what we would do without him.

“When Marie spoke up that was the precise moment when I knew my work here was done.” We had all learned to fly.

And now I drive a Porsche Boxster taking Canoeists in Cars to Get Coffee. I wish I had been able to be at the 50th Reunion at Zion Heights, but I got to see the joy of it through Harry’s eyes as he talked about how wonderful it was to see almost all of us together again and recount the glory days with happiness.

I dropped him off at his home with the teaser that he could get to drive it the next time. Now I’m off to watch the Seinfeld episode that he said is most like him – Jerry taking Steve Harvey for a coffee. Who knew our teachers were such comedians! And would be friends for life.

Sincerely,

Sharon

Please follow and like us:

A Full and Complete Apology

Well, when it turns out you have done something wrong, apologize at once. In a recent blog entitled “Tiny Timmie,” I mistakenly attributed a quote to a person who dramatically made an emotional delegation to Council on Tuesday, June 5, 2018.

A totally different person had sent me a very degrading note recently, and I completely mixed up the exchanges. My deepest and most sincere apologies to the person who presented at Council. As you wrote to me today, you would never say or write anything like that. In the same vein, apparently someone using your name on social media created the posts that began our first exchanges. That error will be tracked.

For a person who prides himself on triple-checking his science facts, lesson learned to apply the same diligence to social media. The humble pie is all mine.

***

Skid Crease, Caledon

Please follow and like us:

Tiny Timmie

His latest online rant says it all as Tim Forster tries to justify for his partner his perspectives on last night’s Town of Caledon Council meeting:

Council continues to be dysfunctional as majority support funding website that hosts a Blogger that attacks residents, anyone who delegates council, council candidates, and councillors.

In a recorded vote,Thompson, Innis, DeBoer, Downey, Mezzapelli and Beffort could not understand that tax payors money should not endorse a website that condones authors who endorse who claim certain councillors and residents are ‘Witches, bitches, and must be eviscerated.’

Council may want to support their friends but they need to remember they are there to represent the best interests of their residents. This pack mentality has got to go,

Ah, Tiny Timmie, so challenged. First, and beyond your obvious literacy problems, is  that quote about “Witches and bitches must be eviscerated” – that  one is all yours – so harsh. I never said or printed anything of the sort, although I agree with you completely.

First, Tiny Timmie, Council is very functional and does not support the website to which you are referring – they put in advertising from time to time as deemed appropriate by Council.

Secondly, the website is very supportive of the Town and councillors who are working in the best interests of the community.

Thirdly, on my private blog I can say whatever I want about corrupt and misleading Councillors and their supporters who try to smear by rumour and innuendo all of the hard working Town staff and respectful Councilors. Your time is up.

Our Town staff are professional, certified in their fields, and cross-pollinated in their roles at the Town. This is a finely tuned and ever evolving network of forward thinking individuals who are working their hardest in the best interests of the community – all of Caledon. Our clear headed politicians, the ones you so easily condemn – Thompson, Beffort, De Boer, Innis and Downey – are trying their best to maintain sanity in an atmosphere of “Fire, Ready, Aim” by misinformed councillors and citizens.

I’d invite you out for a coffee to have a congenial face-to-face, but the last time I did that to a person with different perspectives I was told to “Eat a shit sandwich and die.” *

What would you like with your coffee, Tiny Timmie?

*Note of correction – the person who made the “Eat … die.” statement was not the person who made a delegation at Council on Tuesday, June 5, 2o18 regarding concerns about bullying. Full apology for any confusion the original blog may have created.

Skid Crease, Caledon

Please follow and like us:

Caledon Poetry

Political Limericks .. all in fun-filled jest:

There once was a “leader” named Doug

Who tried to give babies a hug.

But when he went to kiss ’em

With loud wails they did diss him

Their onesies said, “Beware of Doug!”

 

***

There once was a journalist Skid

Public figures he just loved to kid

They could sure dish the crap out

But Facebooked a holy pout

Whenever they got it back from Skid.

 

***

There once was a coven of witches

Who made everyone shake in their britches

But when held up to the light

They were hardly a fright

Just a coven of impotent witches.

 

***

 

With sincere apologies to Edward Lear.  

 

But to everyone else, as Nellli McLung famously said:

“Never retract, never explain, never apologize.

Get the thing done and let them howl.”

 

Please follow and like us:

Contaminating the Environment

In early March of this year, there were reports of hazardous waste being dumped along the roadsides of Caledon. Police reports from March 5th and 12th indicate that the materials came from a synthetic drug lab. Not only is the air, water, and soil being contaminated, but also the personal and social environment associated with drug production, trafficking, and addiction.

This kind of hazardous waste is easy to spot – usually dark garbage bags or large buckets dumped on the shoulders of side roads away from prying eyes. It makes detection of the perpetrators difficult in a rurban area with homes well back from the road and infrequent traffic to witness the crime.

In my twenty years of community clean-ups in Caledon, I have found more than my share of garbage bags dumped unceremoniously in the ditches. Usually these bags would be filled with construction waste or sod or the excavations from frustrated homeowners digging out the clay from their backyards. Yes, hard to believe, but not all developers lay down the appropriate clean fill and the required 10 cm of topsoil before they lay down the sod.

This kind of waste disposal  is illegal dumping, and the fine for that in Ontario is $500 to $5000; the cost for illegally dumping hazardous waste is much higher. A recent case in Leamington, ON saw North Shore Express Ltd. Fined $150,000 and its owner Daniel Andrew Tiessen sentence to 30 days in jail and two years’ probation from holding a position of responsibility in any corporation. And that was for non-hazardous sludge.

In 2013, Walmart was fined $82 million for illegally dumping pesticides, bleach and fertilizers into American municipal waste streams. Walmart was not alone in this wrongdoing – Target, COSTCO Wholesale and Walgreens also shared fines in the millions to tens of million dollars. The bigger you are, the harder you fall.

That applies as well to the other type of type of environmental contamination going on in Ontario right now. With Provincial and Municipal elections coming up in the next few months, you can expect the toxic sludge to be flowing fast and furious as candidates trade barbs with incumbents while they campaign for a place at the public trough. Here in Caledon, it has already started.

While we are fortunate to have a majority of our Town Council possessing integrity, civility and respect for both each other and the majority of residents in Caledon, there are always the usual suspects. And as new candidates and coalitions jockey for their voices to be heard, the nasty underbelly of political campaigning gets exposed. During my brief stint as a federal political candidate I was cautioned that “Politics is a blood sport.” After watching the leader of my Party at the time get betrayed by competing power brokers, I withdrew rather than play that game.

However, some are playing the blood sport very well in Caledon. In my mailbox this week I received a plain brown 8×10 envelope with a stamp (but no postmark) with a printed sticker to my name and  address No return address, and inside was an equally anonymous single sheet of dark red paper, an interesting choice since it is very difficult to photocopy clearly.

This single sheet attempted to cast aspersions on a sitting Area Councillor by including an accusation that his donations to a certain federal political party, and a candidate’s leadership campaign last year for that same party indicated that he was “Trump-esque” in his philosophy. It referred to concerned residents in Bolton which is not even a major player in this Councillor’s Ward. Further it included a copy of Elections Canada funding records showing the details of those donations. Something that is easy to obtain if you sit on or have access to the executive branch of a political party.

As of the time of publication, both the Conservative Party of Canada and Elections Canada had responded positively to my emails, and both groups were actively working on identifying where the information originated. Since the stamps for the mailings had to be purchased, and it turns out it is connected to a municipal candidate, it would be considered an expense for a municipal campaign. Financed municipal campaigning is prohibited before May 1, 2018.

There is also the case of a sitting Regional Councillor for that same Ward who was recently the target of a vicious social media smear campaign impugning her integrity for her association with a controversial political leader. These attempted smears are egregious for two simple reasons. First there are no Party alignments in municipal politics – councillors are elected as independent citizens. Secondly, a person’s personal choice of political philosophy and associates is their democratic right. It is a person’s actions in public that speak louder than words. Both of these sitting incumbents are intelligent, social justice focused, economic conservatives and as far from anything “Trump-esque” as I can imagine.

It is hard to know where toxic waste like this originates. One could presume it is coming from competing candidates, or maybe a disgruntled citizen, or a litigious developer’s lobby group. So far there is only one declared candidate for that Ward, but there are other factions in the Town of Caledon who would love to see their voices come to power.

Well, if they play the game with toxic waste and hazardous materials, they should be outed, publicly shamed, and fined in the order of other “illegal dumping” penalties, including a lifetime ban on running for public office or campaign lobbying anywhere, ever again. This is one time I agree wholeheartedly with the “Not In My Backyard” philosophy.

Any person or their team who hides behind anonymous slurs and misinformation campaigns should be run out of town. This same kind of dirty politics cost my Ward one of the best, most genuine, hard working and honest councillors ever elected. We cannot afford to let it happen again. Caledon citizens be alert! Whether they are dumping hazardous waste into our ditches or our mailboxes or our social media sites, it’s all toxic. And we all need to remember that the price of good governance is eternal vigilance.

The way I see it.

***

Skid Crease, Caledon

* images from oaklandnet.com and stockfresh.com

Please follow and like us: