Friday, July 12, 2013




Blue skies & big fluffy white clouds were a relaxing part of my day as I drove to & from Stratford Ontario earlier on.  Picked up my buddy Jim at 9:30 this morning & we were off to a nearby Tim Hortons coffee shop for a three & a half hour conflaberation.  Lots of old memories to get caught up on, a couple muffins to eat, some new memories to take under consideration, & some good old shaky philosophizing mixed in with a shabby dose of theorizing.  No Bullshooting for Jim & I, we have always been straight shooters with each other since the day we met nearly 34 years ago.  And therein I believe lies the success of a long & lasting great friendship.


I left Bayfield on the early side this morning because I wanted to take a couple minutes to cruise around a few of my old familiar neighborhood haunts before picking Jim up.  Some may remember my story of THE ROCK a couple months ago.  Drove by the house I lived in when that Rock story took place.  Below is a photo of that house which I took driving by this morning.



I called Stratford home for over 20 years back between 1975 & 1995.  A lot of old friends & tired ghosts for me there & an entirely different era of my life.  Driving through the south end of the city this morning it was as if I was returning to a long distant Planet I had once lived on in a different dimension.  Had been over 10 years since I had last cruised through the old neighborhood & although it looked the same it didn’t look much like anything I had remembered.  Oh, the old haunts are still there but many looked different to me, many had been altered, many had just ceased to be as I remembered them.  Saw the old abandoned & now derelict fleabag Hotel where I once had a room for a couple months back in early 75.  It was the heyday of the bad old days.  Another Hotel across the road where I once wasted countless hours of my life in the late 70’s.  Driving by these two old buildings this morning I could hear the voices & I could see the faces of old friends who in 1979 suddenly vanished from my life literally overnight.  Some I saw around town in following years & most I never saw again.  I got myself sober, a lot of my old friends didn’t.


After picking Jim up we headed a few blocks from his house to the east end of Stratford.  An area I once knew like the back of my hand.  An area as familiar to me as my own face.  But an area, like my face, which has changed so much in the past 10 years I was temporarily discaflabberated.  Have you ever peered at your face in the morning mirror & become temporarily discaflabberated?  Scary!!  The east end of Stratford’s Ontario street did not look as I remembered it.  There were trees where there had not been trees.  A giant Walmart under construction where there had been a car dealership for as long as I could remember.  Old business's gone & new ones in their place.  I had to ask Jim several times just exactly where we were because many of my old familiar reference points had been altered.  For a fleeting moment I was disoriented.  Entering the new Tim Hortons where once a Kentucky Fried Chicken place had stood I again felt like a visitor from another World.  I had no recollection of a KFC on that corner years ago despite driving by that intersection thousands of times in my 20 years in the city.  Even tonight typing this my mind is still searching through memory banks trying to come up with a visual image of that KFC.  So far no files have been found………………………


I don’t have to be in a city, I only have to be near a city, to be reminded of why I do not live in a city.  Any city.  Our 7 years in an old country farm house took care of any further urban living for both of us.  And for Kelly, Pheebs & I, that has turned out to be a good thing.  But here’s something odd.  My friend Jim grew up on a farm, drove tractors, plowed fields, herded cattle, & pitched hay.  I on the on the other hand grew up in a small village near a city & never did do any of those things.  We both randomly ended up in Stratford round about the same time many years ago.  Jim is still there & has no desire to ever live in the country again.  I on the other hand rebounded out of the city to land in the country with no desire to ever live in a city again.  Ahhhh, tis quite a pair of diverse lads we sometimes are………………me & my old buddy Jim:))


GROANER’S CORNER:((  Some female philosophy tonight:

Two ladies sitting chatting……….."Your a widow aren’t you.”  “I am, & may my husband rest in peace till I get there”.

“Has there been any insanity in your family”?  “Yeah, my husband thinks he’s the Boss”.

“We women are Angels and when someone breaks our wings, we simply continue to fly on a broomstick.  We are flexible like that”.

- Tourists see the world, travelers experience it.
- Home is where your pet is:))
- "If having a soul means being able to feel
love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals
are better off than a lot of humans."
(James Herriot)
- The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails -William Arthur Ward
- The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...AL.
- It is not so much having nothing to do as it is not having the interest to do something....AL.


  1. My mom was raised on a farm and left home at age 18. Never would have gone back except to visit her family. I, on the other hand, had some of the best times in my life visiting that farm and wishing I lived there. I probably wouldn't have lasted long at it either.

  2. After living away from Los Angeles for over 38 years, I can't stand the smog, the traffic, or the congestion. I don't even go back to my home town anymore...too many people! I love wide open spaces!
    ~Cheryl Ann~

  3. Interesting Blog my friend. I lived 45 miles out in the country on my parents ranch, We raised cattle and did not farm at all. We fed the cattle wild hay that we cut and stacked all summer so they would have something to eat on those cold snowy winter days.

    Our closest neighbor was several miles away and we only got to town maybe once a month.(if that) That was an isolated lonely life, but I didn't know any better and I loved it.. No phone, no television and only a battery operated radio that we could only listen to for an hour or so in the evenings. Batteries were expensive...
    Gosh Al, maybe I outta write a BLOG.... ☺☺ Take care.

  4. We were looking for that KFC in Stratford a few months ago, for a quick cheap tuesday lunch,they gone.
    A Walmart in Stratford wow, really growing.
    I lived in Toronto the first 18 years of my life, transferred job to Kitchener, then Waterloo then moved to the Village of Plattsville (pop700), now the last 7+ years Rv around the country looking for small towns and villages with peaceful campgrounds and the desert in Arizona has our name on it too.

  5. I like the occasional visit to the city, but have no desire to live in one either.

    So glad you had a nice visit with an old friend.


  6. I am with you when it comes to cities, and I grew up in one. It is a strange feeling to return to a place where you spent so it has much time and have no reference points,it has happened several times.

  7. Wonder why we are like that? I grew up on a ranch/farm in the middle of the Texas Panhandle. Would I go back to that life? No way Jose. I am 1/2 mile from the busiest freeway in southern C.A. and love it.

    Jeanie and I love the solitude of Boondocking in the mountains but when the day comes when we can no longer do that. The OC ( orange County) is where we will be.

  8. Your pictures are great as they always are but I miss seeing Pheebs smiling face on your header picture.