Archive for March, 2008

Happy Easter

March 24, 2008

When I was a child, Easter was a time of year that we could look forward to getting some new clothes. Since we lived mostly in Northern communities, Easter NEVER came early. March, April and May were mid-winter to us. Most of the time, there was still some ice on the lakes in June, and I have seen snow in July. Imagine my surprise, one year when I came to Montreal from Chibougamau for an Easter holiday: I had borrowed a shorty fur jacket, China Mink, (what the heck was that, anyway?) I was freezing when I boarded the bus in Chibougamau and I had to find more appropriate clothes while in Montreal, which was 80F. I felt as though I had been dropped off on another planet!

Back to the Easter clothes. People didn’t buy clothes as often as they do now. Easter, Christmas and Back to School was pretty much it, with a few emergencies in between once in awhile. Closets were smaller, we didn’t have credit cards, and we wore the clothes we had whether we liked them or not. Hand-me-downs were pretty ratty by the time anyone passed them along once they had gone through the family.

The Easter I was eleven is etched in my repertoire of crystal clear memories. It was 1954 and times were getting better, I guess, because I got a new dress, a coat, shoes, a hat, white gloves and a draw-string straw purse. I was so proud and excited, I could barely walk down the street to the church. And then of course I could barely walk home…those new shoes made blisters on my heels! And yes, by the way, I have been humbled on more than one occasion in my life! Just in case anyone is wondering about that.

I often wonder what it is about a memory that makes it “stick”. More often than not, the unhappy, embarrassing, wretched experiences seem to find a little corner of my brain to nest in. Maybe, it’s because those times are so few compared to all the happy times I have been fortunate to have had.

As I sat in church this morning and listened to the Pastor preach his sermon about the Resurrection, I reminded myself to be thankful for my life, my family and friends, my memories and my faith. Amen.

My Florida experience.(You can’t win ’em all…)

March 19, 2008

The Florida Aquarium

We are back from Florida two weeks earlier than planned. Somewhat disappointed, but safe and sound and better informed. We had gone there, planning to drive around and pick a place we could migrate to for a month or two in winter. We discovered that place won’t be in Florida.

On the bright side, we enjoyed The Florida Aquarium, Busch Gardens, the beach and Dolphin Aquarium in Clearwater, and Crabby Bill’s. Lots and lots of terrific shopping too. The weather was fine except for frequent tornado warnings, that don’t seem to scare any of the locals so we didn’t worry either. We enjoyed the fantastic temperatures and the very friendly, accommodating native Floridians and other Snow Birds that we encountered along the way. Local drivers were very patient and courteous with us.

However, we were very uncomfortable with the number of crimes every single day and night. The police helicopters buzzed overhead at night with search light beams and police and ambulance sirens screamed all day and night long, followed by the news reports of murder and mayhem.

Several well known restaurants we went to, were not really up to scratch in the cleanliness dept. When I am handed a sticky menu, I consider it a “tip-off” and I take a better look around. That was an all too frequent experience. At one McD’s, I was in the washroom when one of the employees exited a cubicle and walked right out the door (no stop for hand washing). I made a point of looking for her, and there she was behind the counter serving up the fries! (no gloves) YUK!! I left. The public washrooms in some very big stores and restaurants were a disgrace. It was all too common.

We didn’t take walks in our neighbourhood during the day and did not even entertain the idea of going out at night to a movie or a show. Sure enough, we saw surveillance videos of muggings right in plain daylight on the news!

Don’t misunderstand me, we have plenty of crime in Canada too. Muggings, murders, break-ins, but not the volume. That was disconcerting.

It would be interesting to know what the local politicians in Florida have to say about a tourists “take” on conditions. One would think that Government and businesses would be doing everything possible to improve their local economy and attract every tourist dollar.

We will continue to search for a suitable place to spend the winter months, but it won’t be in Florida!

PS: We came home to more snow banks and more on the way just in time to welcome spring. Maybe we can take up skiing…NAH!

Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens Flamingos