’19 A To Z Challenge – J

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My little home town was dying, as I was born.

The word that I want to discuss, is

Jubilee

the celebration of any of certain anniversaries, as the twenty-fifth (silver jubilee), fiftieth (golden jubilee), or sixtieth or seventy-fifth (diamond jubilee).

the completion of 50 years of existence, activity, or the like, or its celebration:

Lighthouse

IN THE BEGINNING,
among other things, my home-town was a Great Lake port. A dock was built, almost a mile out into Lake Huron, to an island, to provide calm moorage. Small, sail-powered lake freighters brought wheat from the prairies, iron ore and timber from Northern Ontario. Before the existence of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, these goods were shipped by train to the Toronto area, below Niagara Falls.

The availability of cheap lumber encouraged the establishment of three furniture factories, and later, a plywood plant. There was money to be made – money to be had, and local tax revenues allowed the town to pay for many civic projects. Even today, it is the smallest town in Ontario, with a hospital.

In 1897, Queen Victoria celebrated her 60th anniversary as ruler of the Empire – her Diamond Jubilee. The town had recently foreclosed and seized the property of a sulkie racetrack, half a block wide, and two blocks long, just above the downtown area. Some namby-pamby toph who had not done market research, found that he couldn’t get enough paying customers from dock-wallopers, train crews, and factory workers. They might have watched horses that actually ran, but not swishy ones that only trotted, and dragged a cute little cart behind them.

The town filled in the track and manicured a baseball diamond and outfield. They put up a safety screen behind home plate and built a set of wooden stands. The 8-foot whitewashed wooden fence and ticket gates from the racetrack remained. To honor Victoria, and her achievement, they named it

Jubilee Park.

Then, times and technology changed. Lake freighters became larger, built of steel, and motor-powered. They could steam all the way to the mouth of the Niagara River, and the now-common trucks could move freight faster and cheaper. It is well for the town that, as its freight industry died, the tourist industry burgeoned. There are more summer cottages, paying year-round taxes, than there are residents’ homes. Still, the bloom was off the rose.

By the time I was born in 1944, the plank seats of the bleachers had become wowed, dried and splitting. As a child, for years, I wondered about the purpose of a decrepit, cabin-like construction beneath one end of the bleachers. When I finally thought to ask, I was told that it was a long-extinct concession booth.

Later, smaller, steel-framed stands were built down the first- and third-base lines. Perhaps being too lazy to walk any distance, many men parked right behind these stands. Many a pop foul sailed over the bleachers, to dent fenders and break mirrors and windshields. The attraction of small-town softball is long gone. The town has built a children’s playground in what used to be the parking area. I have not been back in years, but it would not surprise me to find that USB ports have been added, to recharge kids’ electronic devices.

Time relentlessly marches on, but us old-timers can only shuffle along, muttering, Remember when?”

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Remembrance/Memorial Day

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Sunday, November 11th is Remembrance Day

Remember the lost!
Remember the cost!

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This year’s Nov. 11 ceremonies will commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice, the 10th anniversary of the first National Peacekeepers Day and 100 years since the end of the First World War.

Remember to Remember!

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2017 A To Z Challenge – Kitchener – Krug Street

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We’ve had enough History, so this post is just a little background (With me in the foreground, of course) of where I’ve lived for half a century.  Both Kitchener, and Krug Street fit in the

Letter K category.

The cheapest way to honor someone, is to name something after them.
So, Henry Hudson, you discovered a gigantic bay at the top of North American. It’s just a big hole in the continent that lets all the cold in. It’s covered with ice and polar bears.  It’s not good for anything, and you found it while you were searching for something else for us that you never did locate.  I’ve got it – we’ll name it after you.  That way, you’ll be forever associated with an expensive, pretentious Canadian department store.  Aren’t you honored??
So it is with both Kitchener, and Krug Street.

When the first white explorers came here, over two centuries ago, they called their pitiful little collection of huts, ‘Sand Hills,’ because that’s all that was here – a collection of minor hummocks that would bleed sand if you scraped the thin topsoil off. It first officially became Ebytown, to honor Benjamin Eby, a take-charge (and anything that wasn’t nailed down) early settler.

Later, as more hard-working Germanic, Mennonite and Pennsylvania-Dutch settlers arrived, they renamed the burgeoning, now-prosperous town, ‘Berlin’, to honor the capital of the country that they’d been driven out of. By 1912 it had grown large enough to become a city.

In 1916, in the middle of a World War that the honored country had started, it was felt that a more English name would better show Canadian, and British Empire loyalties….by the now-increasing numbers of English-descended citizens.

By late June, the final shortlist of new names were: Adanac, (Canada, spelled backwards) Brock, Benton, Corona, Keowana and Kitchener. Kitchener was a late addition to the shortlist of possible names, as it was added shortly after the death of Horatio Herbert Kitchener, a difficult and controversial man, who had died June 5, 1916. This is perhaps an understatement.  He was an entitled, arrogant, martinet of a man, who had invented the concentration camp during the Boer War.  I’m not sure how much ‘honor’ was involved, and he didn’t live to know about it

Kitchener

This is the darling lad that the city was eventually named for, in a recruiting poster for the Boer war.  As my American readers may realize, this was the inspiration for the “Uncle Sam needs you!” poster of the first and second World Wars.

While more than 15,000 people lived in the city at the time, 346 people voted for the name “Kitchener” on June 28, 1916, from approximately 5,000 eligible voters.

The Krug (kroog) family has been a moving force in Berlin/Kitchener for many years, both politically, and industrially.  In 1887, Hartman Krug established a furniture factory opposite the G.T.R. (Grand Trunk Railway) which he built up into a large institution.  He was also a charter member of the Interior Hardwood Company, and subsequently purchased the Doon Twine plant, and brought it into the city.  His son Henry was President of this company, and his son Rudolph succeeded him at the H. Krug Furniture Company.

I guess when you bring half a keg of gold coins with you from Pennsylvania, and use them to build a company, expand two more, and provide employment for hundreds of people, the least the frugal burghers could do, is name something after you – and the sewage treatment plant was already taken.

Krug Street forms part of one of Kitchener’s famed 5-point intersections. It approaches the 4-lane feeder road at a 45° angle, while Lancaster Street wanders in at 45° from the opposite direction.  After confused and delayed drivers manage to cross at the lights, they/it become(s) Cedar Street.

He decided to build a home about a mile from city center, away from the hoi polloi who toiled in his factories. Soon, the town council, made up of other rich, privileged white men, decided to assume responsibility for the oddly-angled lane that his estate, and now several others, was situated on.  They improved the road, and, in thanks for what he’d done for them and their town, named it after him and his family.

Krug Street

Ode To Contessa

 

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Contessa – my little one – my Missy – my Lady Cat – my gravatar partner – the one who happily, excitedly, ran to greet me each day as I left the bedroom – has died, and I cried like a baby!

It was not unexpected, but it was no less painful. A retired breeder, she was with us just over 5 years.  She was 16 years old, but many Bengals live to be 20.  She was supposed to be the wife’s cat, but she adopted me and kept me in line just like she did the dog.

A couple of years ago, she developed some sneezing, coughing and wheezing. It was feline asthma.  The vet warned that, when we lost her, it would probably be to breathing problems.  Month by month, the coughing grew more common.

About a month ago, she caught a head cold. Nose was stuffed up and runny.  From February last year, to her vet appointment this year, she dropped from 8 pounds, to seven.  Whether because she felt poorly, or just couldn’t smell her soft food, she stopped eating.  By the time we got her to the vet again, she was down to 5 pounds.

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He gave us some antibiotic, and some high-calorie food. We got the medicine in, but not the food.  When Bengals stop eating, it’s almost impossible to break the cycle.  They will starve themselves.  She spent a week in the computer room, taking the occasional sip of water.  She finally came out and collapsed on the carpet in front of the bathroom door.  The end seemed inevitable.

As I sat in the living-room, reading, I suddenly realized that she’d dragged herself downstairs and was on the floor at my feet. I like to think that she wanted to be near me at the end.  Minute by minute, her breaths became shallower.  I hoped that she would quietly, painlessly drift off.

I had called the daughter and asked what to do with her when she passed. Daughter said that, as soon as I was sure she was gone, to seal her in a plastic bag and put her in the freezer, until a decision could be made – burial with a marker in the back flower garden, or cremated, and her ashes returned?

I’d had a long, hard day with the wife in the hospital for a knee replacement. I left a plastic bag and a note for the son.  I tried to go to bed at my usual 5:00 A.M., but I couldn’t sleep, and I couldn’t leave the problem to the unsuspecting son.  Besides, if she wanted to be with me, the least I could do is be there for her at the end.

I put clothes back on and went and sat beside her, occasionally stroking her. I couldn’t read.  I couldn’t think.  I alternated between the chair, and pacing the floor, cursing Fate and the Universe, and crying.  It seemed each breath was a little shallower than the last.  At one point she raised her head to look at me.  I want to believe that she was making sure that I was still with her and was comforted.  Then she sank back down and I thought that had been her last breath.  A couple of minutes later, she shook her ears and moved her head.

Around 6:00 AM, she seemed to spasm. Her front legs didn’t work, but she used her hindquarters to scoot a couple of feet across the floor.  I was afraid that she was in distress.  I rushed upstairs to the computer.  Our vet is 15 miles away, and doesn’t open till eight, but there’s an animal hospital a mile down the road which opens at 7:30.  I could take her there as soon as the son gets home with the car, to have them end any pain.

Around 6:20, she rear-leg drove herself over into a corner, behind a scratching post. Cats want to die alone, with dignity.  She managed to flip herself over onto her chest and tummy.  She lowered her face, her mouth and nose into the carpet, and….

I lay beside her, gently touching and stroking her, and crying my eyes out. When the son got home, we bagged and froze her.  Next week, when the wife can walk, we’ll take her to our vet’s.  The price for a job-lot cremation is $25.  A single-animal cremation, with her ashes returned is $200.  The son says he’ll split the cost.  We’ve done it for the others.  Honor says that we shall do it for her.

I don’t know how such a small, little lady managed to occupy such a large part of our hearts and lives. She was definitely part of our weird family.  Like any human relative or friend, she will be sorely missed, and never forgotten.  I/we thank you, my regal little Countess.  Be at peace!

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***

I composed this post later in the morning that it happened, to help myself deal with her passing. Thank you for reading my very personal tale of loss.  I’ll be back soon with something a bit more up-beat.   🙂

Rylah Reblog

Extra Extra

This is not precisely a ‘reblog.’ I have decided to republish a Second Opinion newspaper column, submitted about 15 years ago, by my daughter, who now presents her opinions on her own Ryl’s Rostrum website.

Lady Ryl of Kitchener is a single mother learning about New and Old Age spiritual practices.

New Age religions also teach love and honor!

I found it disconcerting that, in her Second Opinion, Erika Kubassek could be so biased in her opinion concerning the New Age movement.

I am an apprentice of the Old Ways, and see more good in them than she would have people believe.

I know people who follow the new Earth-based beliefs and ideals, and see nothing destructive about their way of life. I have friends who are pagan in their belief, yet have raised their children to be kind and loving.  In fact, they have been a model to change abusive parenting habits, which my maternal relatives’ Christian family passed on, as “the way children should be raised.”

By whose standard does Kubassek feel that New Age ideas are counterfeit? Could it be that my maternal relatives’ negative and abusive past should be the ways to build my family’s future, just because they were “Good Christians?”

She says that the New Age quest is to replace Christianity, and asks what spirits we are replacing it with. We are not replacing Christianity, but are endeavoring to find our own self or ‘spirit’, not some preformed and unbending mould that we must fit into.

For those who follow a different path, conceivably it is because we have failed to find fulfilment in sturdy Christian values.

I accept that some will twist this to their own advantage, but haven’t some “Good Christians” taken over lives in the name of God? Paganism is not the slaughter of life to evil gods, nor the mass suicide of some cults.  For the people of the Heaven’s Gate, and Solar Temple cults, taking their own lives was a choice made of their own beliefs, sadly, taking their children along with them.

If Kubassek wishes to lay blame on New Age, and state that we are diametrically opposed, then perhaps she would like to meet a woman who would have given up on life, if it were not for the love of life that her ‘pagan’ enlightenment gave her.

We also teach to love and honor others, ourselves, and all life. All we seek is to find self-realization and fulfilment, and allow other people their own choice, without judgement or harassment.  The Romans, Greeks, Canaanites, Anglo-Saxons, Celts, Gaels, French, German, Dutch, Swedes, Finns, Native-Americans, Africans, Mexican, Japanese, and other nations in the world that originally started out with life-oriented ‘pagan’ beliefs, also gave birth to the ‘new’ religions.

The pagan creed has only one rule, but it is important. “Do what you will, only harm no-one!”  Perhaps Kubassek might be a little more ‘Christian’, and “Do unto others as she would have them do unto her.”  Now, doesn’t that sound familiar?

Remembrance/Veterans

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No matter what you call it, this is a little reminder that tomorrow is Remembrance/Veterans Day. Take two minutes at 11:00 AM to stand quietly and remember, respect and honor those in the Armed Services, past and present, who have given so much, so that we can have peace and security.

Take some time tomorrow – Hell, take all day if you want, and take a bit of time any other day, whenever it’s possible – to shake the hand of a veteran, or current Serviceman. Smile, and say, “Thank You!”

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A To Z Challenge – J

April Challenge

I know that I published some jokes for my A To Z Challenge, under H for Humor recently, but after that sick joke of a post for the letter I….

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Inspiration.  I’m going for a beer.  You’re on your own.

…I felt that you deserved a little more real humor, so for the letter

Letter J   I’ve decided to honor you with a few more Jokes.

***

Two blondes are walking down the street, when one of them finds a mirror. She keeps looking into it, puzzled.  “I just know I’ve seen that face somewhere.”

The other one takes it and looks into it and says. “Of course, you silly, it’s me.”

***

A lawyer and a judge went on a three-day deep sea
fishing trip. The lawyer who had never been to
sea before was green at the gills. He was
standing at the rail contemplating feeding the
fish.
The judge came up to him and asked if there was
anything he could do.
The lawyer retorted, “Yes. Overrule the motion.”

***

Q. What are the three types of men?
A. The handsome, the caring and the majority

***

Some people are sitting in a bar when one guy
says, “My name is Larry, and I am a SNAG.”
Another guy says, “What’s that?”
The first guy says, “That means I am a Single,
New Age Guy.”
Another one says, “My name is Gary, and I am a
DINK.
A girl asks, “What’s that?”
He says, “That means I am a Double Income,
No Kids.”
A woman says, “That’s nice. My name is Gertrude,
and I am a WIFE.”
Larry says, “A WIFE? What’s a WIFE?”
She says, “That means, “Wash, Iron, Fuck, Etc.”

***

Q: Why is a lawyer like a pickpocket?
A:  Need you ask?

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If Trump is the answer, it was a stupid question!

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