EPISODE 486 PETS; DAISY AND SONNY…’THERE IS A TIDE…WHICH TAKEN AT FLOOD”

Noe:  It is so nice to know that many readers are remembering their pets with joy and sadness.
Keep the joy on the high tide.


EPISODE 486     PETS;   DAISY AND SONNY…


Alan skeoch
Dec. 2021



SONNY AND DAISY


THERE IS A TIDE…WHICH TAKEN AT FLOOD

Remember that line from Shakespeare where Brutus speaks

“There is a tide in the affais of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and miseries,
On such a full sea are we afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.”
    (William Shakespeare ‘Julius Caesar;

Some  fragments of Shakespeare  got locked in my mind.  And this is one of them.
The meaning I made of the tide reference went far beyond the trials of Brutus..
T o me the meaning was as clear as sunshine. There is a tide in our lives…moments
of optimism, adventure, excitement,   Moments that only come on special occasions.
Moments that disappear like the waves of the sea. Moments that must be grabbed
or they will be lost forever.

Our family life with Daisy and her son ’Sonny’ were days of that full tide.   Just how full
I never realized until we talked about it…Marjorie and I…today.  We realized how
lucky we were to have summer holidays, two children, a used van and second hand pop
up trailer those special summers when the ’tide’ was very full. You  will see three dogs
because we adopted poor little Maxie from a retiring farmer who planned to shoot him after
the farm auction.  Like  SAM the cat, MAXIE lived with us for short spell.  But those days…those
years…were full tide years for SONNY  and  DAISY.





\SONNY AND DAISY on a raft in our farm pond (swamp)





WE Decided to take the boys and dogs across Canada on two successive summers
First we headed to Newfoundland.  Our target was L’anse aux Meadows where the
Vikings landed a thousand years ago. To get there we bought a pop- up trailer which
slept 7…4 humans, 3 dogs,

Both DAISY AND SONNY spotted something strange on the east coast waters when
a huge pod of little capelin fish beached themselves rather than be eaten by
the whales waiting in deeper water.







Sonny liked fast food milk shakes.



 copy taken from John Steinbeck’s ‘Grapes of Wrath’ … He pictured farm families fleeing
the poverty stricken farms of the 1930’s.   We were not that desperate.


Daisy must be off exploring…see Sonny and Maxie







We found a bunch of slightly damaged lobster traps and carried them to a small
fishing village. “No, we don’t want them…we get  government grants for lost gear.”


Back home we gathered a gang of kids, five bikes, and two dogs
for a race to the farm.  These were wonderful days caught when
the tide was high. 


Enough?   More than enough some readers must be feeling.
And some readers might feel that SAM THE CAT was neglected as
I only seem to have the picture of him on top of the refrigerator .
Well…I found another pic of SAM (below)


EPISODE 485: WALKING ON EGG SHELLS (the state of teaching today)




EPISODE  485   WALKING ON EGG SHELLS  (THE state of teaching today)


alan skeoch
Dec. 3, 2021


Teaching today is like walking on egg shells.  A slight slip.  An innocent well meant slip can ruin a career. Today I was
Surprised and pleased to receive a note from Jean Graham whose Grandson Logan found this story on the internet. It was written 25 years ago when I was head

of history at Parkdale Collegiate Institute.  I made a mistake with an envelope that could have ended my career.
Thankfully, Ron Graham, was our vice principal.  As I said, teaching today is like walking on eggshells. READ ON;.


Alan Skeoch, about 25 years ago…conducting a Jane Jacobs walk into history


The hall was empty…or nearly so.  I was late for class.  A boy came around the corner.  My oh my, did he look forlorn.  Teachers notice these things.  Body language…facial expression…shuffling…troubled.  That kind of thing.

 
“Things can’t be all that bad, son.  Cheer up.” 
 
And I tapped him on the shoulder with an envelope I was carrying.
No reaction.  Just a blank, maybe slightly hostile stare.  Maybe even a bit of a surprised look since we did not know each other.  No time for much more dialogue.  I was paid to teach and the class was waiting.
 
Sounds like a non event.  Wish that were so.
 
Ron Graham, our Vice Principal and a good friend, came to see me right after the class.
 
“Boy, I saved your ass, Al!  Took the whole period to do so.”
“What?”  I thought Ron had a joke in mind for his comment made no sense.
“I spent the last 45 minutes cooling Larry down.”
“Who is Larry?”
“Didn’t think you knew him because he certainly did not know you. He burst into my office claiming you hit him in the hall.  Wanted to know your name so he could report you to the super-intendant.  Perhaps even the police.”
“Get off it Ron.  Who is Larry?”
“You may not know him now but you would certainly have known him
if he had laid the charge.  Assault.”
“Ron, I don’t know what you’re talking about.  Some kind of joke?”
“Nope.  Serious, Al.  Really serious.”
“Who is Larry?”
“Larry is a new kid here.  Troubled kid.  Unhappy home life.  I guess you would call him a loner.  He does not trust teachers or the world in general for that matter.”
“What has that got to do with me?  Don’t know the kid.”
“OK.  Did you meet a kid in the hall before class?”
“OH, that kid!  Yes, met him…seemed depressed.  Tried to cheer him up.”
“Did you hit him?”
“Come on, Ron.  Do you think I’m stupid? I tapped him good naturedly with an envelope.  This envelope. ” (The envelope was an invitation to speak to a University Women’s club about teaching if you can imagine.)
“So you did touch him.”
“Hardly  a touch, Ron.”
“Enough for him.  He did not know you.  Thought you had no right to even speak to him.”
“Get off it, Ron.”
“Any witnesses?”
“No, we were alone in the hall.”  Now I was getting worried.  Alone in the hall meant it was my word against this student, this person called Larry.  That spelled trouble.  Teachers walk on egg shells, especially male teachers. 
“So what did he say?”
“He said some weird teacher with  a brush cut and a blue suit jacket hit him in the hall near Room 225, your room…your haircut…your jacket.
And your hand it seems.”
“So?”
“So, suppose Larry laid a charge with the super-intendant and it got down to the Toronto School Board.  First thing that would happen is you would be hauled out of class…told to leave the school and not return until the case was investigated.  Many people would believe you are guilty of assault.  You even admitted touching Larry with that envelope.  Touching and assault can become synonyms.  So you would be out of her on your ass.  Doesn’t matter that you have taught here for twenty years and have a great reputation.”
“Do you mean I would be considered Guilty until proven innocent.”
“Right.  OSSTF would provide a lawyer.  The case could take a year or so and all that time you’d sitting at home.  People would wonder why. Some would assume you are guilty.  Even when the case was rejected, as it would be, you would have that stigma forever.”
“You’re scaring me, Ron.”
“Don’t worry, I got you off.”
“How?”
“I asked Larry to sit down so we could have a chat…to cool him down.”
“And?”
“Larry,” I said, “Mr. Skeoch and I come from different generation. From friendlier times.  We try to treat people in a friendly manner.  We have different values you might say.  Your hat, for instance.  In my time, students removed their hats in the presence of teachers.  Larry then took off his baseball cap so I knew I was getting through to him.  Larry, I continued, I think you are making a mistake. Mr. Skeoch has never hit 
a student in my time.  And he has never sent a student to me for discipline reasons.  Never.  I went on and on.  Made you sound like a prince of the church. Finally asked Larry if he would consider withdrawing the charge.  And he did.  Saved your bacon, Al.  You owe me big time.”
“Phew!”
“By the way, I have enrolled Larry in your Grade 12 history class for  next semester,” said Ron with a mischievous grin.
 
Larry turned out to be a really nice student.  He got to like me.  Greeted me in the hall often.  He became cheerful.  Not sure whether he punched me on the shoulder saying “Morning, sir!”.  I like to think that happened.   I also wondered what could have happened had Larry not withdrawn the charge.  I really did owe Ron Graham  a beer.
 

I taught at Parkdale Collegiatte Institute for 31years.  Never missed a day for sick leave.  Loved the job.  But this incident was never far from my mind which is a sad thing to say.  Walking on egg shells….trying to teach at the same time.  How much social distancing is necessary?  At what point does the distance become so great  that the

joy of teaching ceases?


alan skeoch (circa 1995)
 








EPISODE 484 PETS: SAM ARRIVED…COLDEST NIGHT OF THE YEAR

EPISODE  484      PETS:   SAM ARRIVED…COLDEST NIGHT OF THE YEAR



alan skeoch
DEC 2, 2021




There exists a population of feral animals almost cheek to jowl with those Humans call pets.
One bitterly cold January day SAM arrived at our kitchen window.  He was a stray cat. Perhaps
at one time he was someone’s pet that nobody wanted.  Outside in a bitter cold snap, Sam
realized his only hope was to get inside someone’s house. Why he chose place I do not know.

Marjorie opened the back door and in He bounded.

“What will we do with him?”
“He is unlikely to  get adopted at the Humane Society…he is
too old.”
“Maybe he wants to live with us…at least until the weather changes.”
“Do you think he will get along with the dogs?”
(We had two Labradors)
“Let’s just see how he works out.”

SAM…ON TOP OF THE REFRIGERATOR

Sam settled right in. Stayed with us for a time then died at the farm where
he is buried in our pet graveyard on the old barn hill where Marjorie has
planted hyacinths.

We only have  one picture of Sam…rather unusual.

EPISODE 473 PETS: DAISY AND THE TSREADMILL

EPISODE 473   DAISY AND THE TREADMILL

alan skeoch
De. 2, 2021

Daisy was one of the greatest animals we ever had.  When she died people cried all over Canada.  One man even
sent a note saying he had to pull over on The Trans Canada Highway because of his tears.  Not many dogs get
national attention like she did.   You wonder how that happened. right?   Well the story is a bit on the long side but 
here goes.




DAISY…THE DOG WHO LOVED THE TREADMILL

The idea of having a dog running a treadmill never occurred to me.   I bought the treadmill as an artefact.
As I cleaned and repaired it, our Labrador dog Daisy kept hanging around.  Nosing around.  So I started
a conversation with her.

“Daisy, did you know that dogs life you once ran this treadmill?”
(Swear she knew what i was saying.}
“A dog would be led up the back while the brake was on…the  treadmill would be hooked to
a fanning mill or some other farm implement.”
(Daisy looked deep into my eyes…and listened.)
“Do you want to give it a try, Daisy?”
(I swear she nodded…stood at the back  of the treadmill.)
“Hop on, then.”
(And she did.  Honestly, that was all the training she had. Zero…)
“Holy Samoley, Daisy, have you done this before?”
(She looked at me  almost saying in the silence…”How could I , you got me as a little pup.”)
“Let’s see what happens when I take off the brake after hooking the handle of a fanning mill to the treadmill…
just give a minute or  two.  There,all hooked up.  Are you ready?
(Daisy wagged her tail….I know you won’t believe that but she did.)
“Ready? 
(And I released the brake…the treads began to turn as Daisy set her paws up and down.
And everything worked …the fanning mill was ready to clean grain using dog power…the 
old machine rattled and the graim sifter shook.  And Daisy wagged her tail looking
right into my eyes.   Who will believe me?)


Daisy as a little pup.



Daisy on the dog treadmill…all ready to go.


See Daisy sitting on the ground at Sherwood Hume’s Family Farm Festival years ago.
The treadmill is hooked to a small fanning mill.   All that Daisy needed was an
audience…perhaps some applause.

THEN I MADE A BIG MISTAKE…WISH I HAD BEHAVED BETTER
(“A fine example of a dog owner”…I say that sarcastically)

We did many shows with Daisy but the best and the worst was at the Hume
farm.  You have already read the best  Now for the worst. You will not think
well of me after reading but you will still admire Daisy.  Here goes…

We had a big crowd around Daisy as the treadmill revolved and the grain screens
shook.  Admirers all.  Even, I suppose, the woman with the grim face admired
Daisy.   But she sure did not like me.
“How could you treat a dog like that? It’s brutal.”
“Never thought of that.”
“How long will she have to do that?  Abuse!”
“I let her work until she drops…” (Wish I had not said that…but the words just blurted out.”
“You abuse her like that until she drops….”
“Yep.  And when that happens I go to the dog catcher or Humane Society and get another dog.”
“Well….we’ll see about that. I’m going to get the police.”
And away she went.

Daisy was still turning the machine.  Her tail was still wagging.   Strange that the
woman did not notice.   The crowd hooted….applauded  either the well intentioned woman
or my smart assed comment.  It did not really matter.  This was showmanship at its
best.  

Did the police come?  No.  We had a group of volunteers, mostly women, who blocked
the  front of the farm that day lest we had unwanted visitors.  Some men were drinking
beer which posed a far more serious situation than Daisy’s work on the treadmill.  We did
not have a liquor licence which would have led to big time trouble.  We wished the beer
drinkers knew that.  They were like me…well intentioned but stupid.




Daisy





THE DAY DAISY DIED

AT the time we had Daisy I was a small time journalist and broadcaster on CBC radio.
Not big time.  My radio slot was around 5 to 10 minutes. Usually my stories were received
locally in Southern Ontario.  But sometimes they went out to a wider Canadian audience.

“Would a story about our dog Daisy be OK this week?”
“Why Daisy?”
“She died this week.  Dog lovers know how that hurts.”
“OK”

So  I wrote a radio script about Daisy.  It’s still around our house somewhere
as is a tape of the broadcast.   I tied Daisy to our daily life.  “Daisy was more like
a person than a dog.  Marjorie’s farm relative would have said ’she were the  knowingest
dog that ever there was.  (musical words She loved us.  She was there as the boys
grew up.  And we loved her back…took her wherever we went.  She knew as many swimming
holes in Ontario as we did.  One year we parked Daisy and her big pup Sidney on an island
in Lake of the Woods  while we took a canoe bound for another island a few miles distant where
there were blueberries and maybe a bear or two.   We were way out in the open water when one
the boys looked behind us.  Spotted two black dots in the Water.

“Mom, look back there…I think Daisy and Sidney are following us/“

So we turned around and got both Daisy and  Sidney into the canoe.  With
difficulty.   I say this so you  would understand just how close Daisy was
to our family.  She did not want to stay behind.

Daisy died yesterday. We will miss her.

My story was much longer.  While telling the story I noticed the studio was
empty.  Usually my producer or radio host or technician were present.  Not that day.
I was all alone.  Where were they?   Crying in the sound booth behind my back.
I was crying as well.  My voice broke a couple of times.  Tears do not come easily
for me but they sure did the day that Daisy died.

I often think of Daisy.  And the image of  that radio listener on the Trans Canada Highway
comes to mind as he slipped to the gravel shoulder to wipe his tears.  Any person who cannot 
love a dog seems slightly less than human.  I mean a dog like Daisy.

alan skeoch
dec. 2,2021



EPISODE 471 A WINTER DAY BEST FORGOTTEN, NOV. 30, 2021 ‘THE BOB CAT WILL NOT START”

EPISODE  471     A WINTER DAY BEST FORGOTTEN,  NOV. 30, 2021  “THE BOB CAT WILL NOT START”


alan skeoch
nov. 30 2021


VAZZZZZOOM!  SHAWN GOT THE BOB CAT STARTED…SAVE US ALL


Overcast sky and snow flying with the wind.  A good day to stay in bed…but there was work to do.
Too much work to do. I wonder if I can record the day in pictures?



“All quiet here on the farm…snow on the ground…more snow in the air.”
“I think I’ll go down to the other place…got a load from Movie coming back.”
“Lunch at noon.”


“All hell turning loose down here.”
“I need the bob cat to get a load of machines to the barn”
“Not so fast…bob cat won’t go….wet gasoline maybe….damp and cold here which
is not good for electric starters.”
“I’ve got a five ton truck at the road with machines to get off, “ 
“Well look at what we are facing…


-8 to 10 double axle dump trucks with garden soil…
-a prefab swimming pool to load and get to West Toronto…
-a broken down Case bob cat
to load and get to a mechanic.”
“Try that Gas treatment…a fluid ….often works…”
“VAZZZZOOM…VAZZZOOM.”
“We are back in business….what comes first?”
“The guys at the road with the big drill press…”

And so the work began…continued until the sky got really dark.

alan

EPISODE 480 PETS: TARA THE COONHOUND TO

Note: Readers are reminded to search their memories about their own pets otherwise this
exercise is a little too self centred


EPISODE 480    PETS CONTINUED— TARA THE COONHOUND  and GEORGE the female cat whose name did not fool Tom Cats, etc.


alan skeoch
nov. 2021

DATELINE  1964


JUST couple more pictures of Presque Neige when she lived in midst of wolves and bears and geophysicists




MARJORIE loved the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark which she tried to replicate
in our daily life.  But that was the 1960’s.  First let me tell a story of George
in the 1950’s.  Before marriage…the teen age years. The story will likely make you angry.


DATELINE   1950

GEORGE was our family cat after SMOKEY died.  We did not have a family dog
until Marjorie got TARA THE COONHOUND from the SPCA.

GEORGE was chosen as a name in an  attempt to fool Tom cats.  To discourage them
from hanging around as they are prone to do when a cat comes into heat.  The ploy  did
not work.   George had a bushel or so of kittens which we distributed to homes in west
Toronto in the 1950’s.   In those years cats were abundant largely because pet owners
refused or could not afford to neuter their pets.

GEORGE (Dad set us all a fine example using George as bait)

Dad gave Eric and I a BB gun about 1953.  At least he put a dollar downpayment on the
gun and mom paid the rest.  Guns are dangerous things we discovered.
Dad believed in leading by example.  Rarely a good example .Our house at  455 Annette Street
was not an architectural marvel.  It has been built without much thought.  No kitchen There was no kitchen
in our part of the house.  Second floor of three rooms.  Cramped.  A previous owner had tacked
an 8 x 10 frame oddity on the back of the house which became our kitchen.  There was a small
window.   And it was here that Dad sat in the dark on Christmas Eve with the BB gun.  Like a sniper
in World War II, he waited patiently puffing on the dead stub of a White Owl Invincible cigar. Waiting
for George to spread the word the she was receptive for clandestine visits by the opposite sex.
In no time at all two or three Tom cats began to howl  on the back fence…”howl”…like the Mills Brothers in concert.
Then dad poked the BB gun slowly out the back window.  Took aim and fired.  I don’t know if
he hit anything because mom caught him and chastised him with the usual “Oh Red, you
fathead, a fine example you are for the boys.  Put that gun away.”  George continued to spread
the word and the Tom cats continued to howl.  Our cat was personal property.  Others were
fair game.   George always had her kittens at the bottom of the narrow stairway under our tiny
kitchen.   One bad result of that was fleas..  We could not get rid of the fleas and I remember crushing them
between my finger nails as they spurted my blood.  Ah, yes,  lots of nice memories of George.

DATELINE  1970

TARA (The hound who never got a chance to hunt)


TARA was the first dog we had after Marjorie and I tied the knot.  Marjorie got her from the
 the SPCA.   She was a registered Coonhound but not quite big enough for purists.  So she was given to the SPCA to sell or do whatever had to be done.
Maybe TARA WAS not aggressive enough for She would follow a scent only a short distance always keeping us
in sight.  She was motherly… liked to mother our two boys as if they were her own kin.  Her gentle nature
and mothering instinct gave Marjorie an idea.  

“Why don’t we find a male coonhound?”
“  Do you want any male, let’s say a Jack Russell
or a Great Dane?”
“No, we must find another coonhound…black and tan.

Aside:  Now I must be circumspect … ie. careful…in what I write says Marjorie.

“Alan, I found a stud owned by a man in Clarkson…he’s willing.”
“Is his dog willing?”
“Of course…I’m taking Tara over today.”
“Have you supervised a sexual act before?”
“I told you to hold your tongue, Alan.”
“Mum’s the word…my mouth will be sealed with duct tape.”

And so the breeding got underway.  Rather unusual

“Alan, … something has gone wrong.  The male has turned around…he could hurt himself…Tara is facing
north while the male is facing south…terrible situation…I  must do something…”

So Marjorie rushed to the garden faucet…got a pail of water and threw it on the dogs much to their surprise….Marjorie
was relieved when they separated.

Have you ever heard of the term “locked”?  I thought not. When dogs have sex they “lock” …one faces one way, the other
the opposite.  Their sex does not usually entail a pail of cold water.   But it worked.  Tara got pregnant and had 11 puppies
one of which was the stud fee.   The others all went to non hunters as mentioned in an earlier episode.  Maybe worth 
repeating.  





“Do you hunt?”
“Of course, Coonhounds are great hunting dogs,”
“Not my coonhounds.  Sorry…no puppy for you.”
“Why not?”
“Many  reasons the foremost of which is the sad life lived by a neglected hound in a barn near us…  chained up inside for
most of the year.  Never gets free until hunting season.  One week.  Most of the time He paces the circle of his life in the darkness of the old stable. .  Not going to happen
to Tara’s pups.  Sorry.”



We kept one pup that we named SHADOW.   HE was as lovable and obedient as Tara until a
car got him as he bounded home to see us one spring day.  All of us were devastated including his mother.
That’s him looking at you in the picture above.


SPARTACUS (the gelding and both coonhounds out for a ride on a November afternoon._)

Just to get these stories straight, Marjorie is the prime mover with regard to animals..  I am just a witness.  In the 1960’s Everything seemed to
happen all at once.  Marjorie got pregnant … not in a locked manner.  Then she adopted Tara at the dog pound.  Then she
got Spartacus, her gelding. Rescued by a friend from the horrors of an estrogen farm.  We still  had the cat, presque beige, and
i think we had a couple of chameleons that got loose in our apartment never to be seen again.   In due process Marjorie got pregnant 
again and had to sell Spartacus as bouncing around on a horse is not good for babies.

We were not an unusual family.  Most of our friends also had babies, dogs and cats.  The horse may have been an exception.  Seems that the term
extended families meant animal adoptions.


TARA watches Marjorie and Kevin.  Her thought?  “What is this baby bottle routine…unnatural.?


“Alan, can’r you find something to do other than babysit while the dogs and I take Sparky for a run?”


So I began collecting horse manure…piled sacks of the sweet smelling crap on top of our Renault 16.

“What in hell’s half acre are you collecting that for?”
“Horse manure is best for growing mushrooms….piling it in a huge box at home…need a couple of tons.”

The mushroom venture was a failure…produced one mushroom and that was tiny and warted looking.
But I enjoyed the venture.   Sweet smell.  But had a bad effect on sale of our car which went to a scrap
dealer I seem to remember.

PET STORIES WILL CONTINUE IN FUTURE EPISODES…WHETHER YOU LIKE THE STORIES OR NOT


Names of PETS yet to be renembered

DAISY
SONNY
SAM
SPARTACUS
ORONYATEKHA (TIKHA short form)
SYDNEY
CINDERS
WOODY
  -and others
FAYLA  (The hero dog)
NORMAN



Here is Andrew and a dog  I do not recognize speeding on a skateboard in Ohio



BELOW IS A WONDERFUL PICTURE TAKEN THIS MORNING…NOV. 28,2021…AS OUR FIRST SNOWFALL ARRIVED


Fwd: EPISODE 480 THE CASTLEFIELD INSTITUTE… WHERE OLD FRIENDS MEET NOV. 29,2021




From: “alan skeoch” <alan.skeoch@rogers.com>
To: “John Wardle” <jwardle@rogers.com>, “Marjorie Skeoch” <marjorieskeoch@gmail.com>, “alan skeoch” <alan.skeoch@rogers.com>
Sent: Saturday, November 27, 2021 6:28:22 PM
Subject: EPISODE 480   THE CASTLEFIELD INSTITUTE… WHERE OLD FRIENDS MEET   NOV. 29,2021



Note: I INITIALLY SENT THIS NOTE TO A FEW PEOPLE…I.E. THOSE WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED.  QUITE A RESPONSE SO

I AM SENDING IT TO USUAL GROUP…A REPEAT FOR SOME OF YOU.  TRIGGERED BY RESPONSE FROM KENT

  AND RON AND OTHERS.   MOVIE PEOPLE WILL NOT BE INTERESTED I  FEAR…UNLESS THEY WANT TO MAKE
A FEATURE FILM!!!

Just a note about our Castlefield Institute…and our free swinging discussions of world affairs


EPISODE 480   THE CASTLEFIELD INSTITUTE… WHERE OLD FRIENDS MEET   NOV. 29,2021


alan skeoch
Nov. 2021

The Castlefield Institute has been in session for several years now.  It has even survived the Covid 19 shutdown
thanks to this daily Institute news letter which circulates to members. (and some non members)  John Wardle founded the institute to honour John
Ricker now well into his nineties and sharp as a tack.  Usually we meet in person once a month.


John Ricker once said “I have come to like dogs better than humans.”  …. which is not true .  The dog we all knew was named
Montesquieu  one of the leading forces in the French Revolution. A John Ricker hero.  A painting done by Paul underscores how close John Ricker
was to  this little white dog who often stole sandwiches and cake when members of the institute were distracted.


Wilf started us off on the right foot with a bottle of champagne to loosen our tongues.


John Wardle read letters of greeting from Phil Sharp and Bill Saywell and Bryce Taylor and verbal regrets from Sam Markou.


Then the toasts began and the laughter…and the stories some of which might actually be true.

The Institute members spent time discussing the impact of Covid 19, the state of the American nation, the local political scene
in Toronto and the future of our world.  Jumped around a bit.


Milton really warmed us all up with tales of the University of Toronto history department some years ago.  Seems most of the profs
had a weakness for Scotch Whisky.   Milton’s comments were spell binding at times when he got serious.  At other times however
he let his natural humour surface.   



The kitchen cabinet meeting before the formal meeting began.


John Ricker…musing.


We have all walked our way through our slice of history…and wondered at the meaning of it all.  We can lament some things and rejoice
in others.   And laugh at those who puff themselves up.  And cry for those who cannot do so.


In a serious moment, one of the Institute members asked John Ricker “John, I would be interested to know how your mind worked
in 1945 when you returned to Canada after the terror a a tail gunner in a Lancaster bomber…after knowing that many of your 
friends had been killed…what was on your mind after the war was over    You were still a kid really.  You had career choices.  Why did you decide to become
a history scholar?”

“I wanted to understand the forces that allowed so many people to fall into crucible of war.”  (paraphrase)



And when all was done…a case of wine appeared with a bottle for each of us.  Merry Christmas.  “If you do not take a bottle then
John will have to drink it all.”



I tried to grab a bottle for Sam Markou and Phit Sharp but was stopped..  Not trusted.



Paul did the painting of John Ricker and his dog.   He is also the author this year of a major book on aboriginal history.  (title?)



EPISODE 479 SOME ADVICE ABOUT AUCTIONS: NOT ALL ARE GREAT…FROM STORY 2017 TITLED “DON’T PULL MY LEG”






From: Alan Skeoch <alan.skeoch@rogers.com>
Sent: 02 October 2017 01:13
To: Marjorie Skeoch
Subject: DON’T PULL MY LEG! …”I NEVER PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN”

 

EPISODE 479     DON’T PULL MY LEG!…THE UNDERSIDE OF THE AUCTION CURCUIT (STORY WRITTEN IN 2017

alan skeoch
Oct. 1, 2017


ON Oct 1, we got up at 6.30 a.m. and then drove for two hours to get to Mitchell’s auction barn.
Maybe I used the wrong term.   It was not a barn.  it was a long tin encased shed open at both ends.
Not very charming.  Worse than that, I spent the previous day cleaning up the truck for our first Sunday 
auction.  Like going to church wearing our 
Sunday best.    We had been sucked in by advertising.

So here is a short story…a conversation with an imaginary friend who wants to go to a farm auction.
A person like Voltaire’s
 Candide…innocent, naive, daft.

CONVERSATION

“Sorry but I don’t think you would want to go with us to a farm auction.  It’s a mugs game…auction searching.  Not pretty at times, downright disappointing at other times.”

“DON’T PULL MY LEG, YOU JUST DO NOT WANT ME TO COMPETE WITH YOU AT THE AUCTION”.
(Comment by s person like you…a person who wants to go to a farm auction:)
I WANT TO GO…TO FOLLOW YOU…”

“Are you sure!  I mean are you really sure you want to go to an auction?   I mean are you ready for disappointment?”

“Yes, yes, yes…I know the difference between an advertisement and reality.”

“Well, take a look here…we drove a long way to get to this auction and we only stayed for an hour…”

“Oh, but I would have loved it.  I would have bought something. “

“Just what would you have bought…pick and choose below.”


“CLUES that this would not be a stellar auction…look at the back of these heads…mostly men…virtually all men.  Looking for old motors…pieces of motors…grease from motors…the smell of motors.”


“Why are we here Alan?”

“I hope to get that grindstone…but must admit the situation is not promising. Someone just paid $200 for an old bag cart.”

“Alan, the auctioneer just sold an old Crokinole board for $100.   Worth about $5 tops.  This is not a good place.”


“Always something to admire Marjorie…look at these exposed gears.  Imagine one of the kids getting his or her finger stuck in there.”



“Alan, you are after that dog treadmill…I know it.  We already have one.  And the auctioneer is getting $50 for old signs…the mill will be …”

“OK, I agree, let’s hit the road.”

“You don’t usually give up that easily, Alan, why … WHY?”

“The geese just flew over.  Even they did not want to land here.  There heading south as should we.”


“But first let me try to capture the mood of the sale.”

“Nude manikins, you mean?”

“Nope, look beside the manikins…those are two real wooden legs….those legs could tell a real story.  Some poor soul wore them.  Perhaps a veteran from  World War II…perhaps he
was the man who owned all these things.  There is a story here…”


“Now, I know you want that turnip seeding machine….”

“True.”


“Alan, the auctioneer just sold an old Coca Cola bottle for $10….and look at those other bottles.  Crown Royal bottle!”

“That Crown Royal Bottle is worth 20 cents at the liquor store.”

“just try to bid ten cents…just try.  I haven’t seen anything selling for less than ten  dollars…most things in the fifty or sixty dollar range.”


“Ahah!  Another story here.  This 1929 Plymouth.  Seems to be in fair condition.  Comes complete with spare parts…spare wheels…even a 1966 licence plate.
And it has ownership papers..  What would you bid?   “


“We are heading home.  I noted that the fellow with the six quart basket thought he got a treasure of some kind.  Look at the way he is carrying…cuddling…his purchase.”

“Marjorie, could we stay around for the nudes…and the wooden legs?”

“Sometimes you do foolish things, Alan.”

“But all our friends want to come to farm auctions…maybe some are here already.”

“If they are here, they are hiding and quietly turning their ignition keys to make a stealthy escape…”

“JUST AS WE ARE ABOUT TO DO.”




NICE LOT OF PUMPKINS AT THE ROADSIDE ALONG THE WAY…

“Marjorie, do you think the movies would be interested in a pair of wooden legs?’

“Keep your eyes on the road…we are heading south with that flock of geese.

alan skeoch
Oct. 1,k 2017

EPISODE 478 OUR PETS…AS FAR BACK AS MEMORY SERVES… DEEP IN THE PAST…HEADING FOR THE PRESENT….WHAT ABOUT YOUR PETS?



EPISODE 477    OF PETS – AS FAR BACK AS MEMORY SERVES…DEEP IN THE PAST, HEADING TO THE PRESENT. WHAT ABOUT YOUR PETS?

alan skeoch
nov. 2021


This episode is designed to test your PET MEMORY.   Most of my readers had a long sequence of  pets in their lives.  How many do
you remember?  Names?  Little things that made them memorable.


WHILE many of our pets are long gone.  Some deep deep in the past.  Some before our time.  Many
live on in our memory cells.  Let’s just see what we can retrieve.


Picture of Marjorie’s head peering over a tool chest with WOODY, our current Labrador dog 
keeping a close eye on both of us. (circa 2020)  In this series we will retrieve our pets…memory at work.

“Do you remember Your pets, Marjorie?”   A comment Just to see if she could remember the pets that made our lives full of
affection, excitement, compassion and tears.   Marjorie did better than remember she wrote them down in the proper order.
Now my task is to put flesh on their bones.   Most memories revolve around cats and dogs.  But not all.  We had ducks, a goose,
chameleons, frogs, a horse…so many.

PETS ON THE EDGE OF CONSCIOUSNESS…A BEGINNING


NAME UNKNOWN.   the cocker spaniel in the cart pictured below was a part of the Hughes family before little Marjorie was born.  Her brother Doug 
trained it to be a wagon passenger as you can see below.   Marjorie remembers only Bonnie, a later pet.  “BONNNIE was a black cocker spaniel who had a single puppy called BUDDY when she 
was ten years old.  Daddy gave him to a baseball player.”   She missed him but had her two cats, TOM and PETER and a garage full of rabbits.
She thinks both Tom and Peter did breeding duties in the neighbourhood.  Today that is unusual but the music of tom cats howling was common in
the 1940’s and 1950’s.  




Doug Hughes with his cocker spaniel,  name unknown.  Circa 1939.




TINKER was the first cat I remember.  She was not remarkable in appearance but she sure had nine lives.  One of these lives
were expended in the winter of 1944  when Dad decided it was easier to drop her from the porch than the front door.  Our porch was
high up in a Victorian house divided into apartments. Our rooms were a good 20 feet in the air   When Tinker fell she disappeared in
the snow.  Emerged nonchalantly.  The great snowfall of  1944.   I was six years old.

Pets in Freeman family picture below…a horse and a dog along with 8 children one of which is my grandfather.   Location?  Lyons Hall,
near Kington, Herefordshire, England, about 1900.  Half of the children came to Canada but not the horse or dog.

Pets were important.



SPOT was the name of this little dog,  At least that name comes to mind.  I have no memory of him or her.   Mom, Elsie Freeman, married Arnold
Skeoch in 1937.  Both were the children of farmers in Wellington County, Ontario. I was born in Toronto in 1938.   Wish I could remember Spot but cannot.
I only remember TINKER because of dad’s novel way of putting her out on winter days in 1944.  i.e. Dropped from our flat in an old Victorian house
at 18 Sylvan Avenue, west Toronto.


PETS FULLLY FLEDGED IN MEMORY BEGIN NOW

PETE was granddad and grandma Freeman’s farm dog.  So lovable…so glad to see my brother Eric and I on our regular week-end 
farm visits.  Unfortunately he chased sheep.  Angus McEchern on the neighbouring farm had she and decided to scare Pete with a 
bullet as Pete skedaddled home.   Angus shot Pete dead.   Everyone, including Angus , was devastated.





IS this a picture of Pete?    Thought so for years. but now ir seems I was wrong. Look closely.   Below is a picture of
Pete’s dog house beside the farm house.  Not pretty but wrapped in sacks for warmth.  In winter Pete lived in the
front room…only room heated by a big wood stove.






SCOTTIE, a black scotch terrier replaced Pete.  Not as lovable as Pete but he was loyal and stuck around the farm.  Not a sheep chaser.
Grandma gave him to me  the day she died. “Alan, look after Scottie, I will not see him again.”  So Scottie became a city dog which took
some getting used to…like crossing Annette Street in Toronto…when he tried a car got him and he rolled down the road after the impact
then got to his feet and scampered back to our house.  He was tough.  And he had notions about romance.  When I tried to kiss Marjorie
in our old ’53 Meteor, Scottie growled and put his head between ours.  Protecting Marjorie maybe…or protecting me.





PETE  THE SECOND Was our first family dog.  His arrival and Dad’s retirement coincided so Dad took over walking the dog by driving Pete
down to High Park and letting him run free.  He loved to run…a super athlete.  No danger that the dog catcher would get him and if
there was trouble dad was quite ready for an argument.    Pete was with Dad the day he set the whole farm on fire.  Grass fire out of
control.  Dad came home with his pants and bare legs blackened with ashes.  Pete thought Dad was trying to outrun him but Dad was 
trying to stop the fire with his coat.  Burned about 10 acres of the 25 acre farm.  Pete was easier to control than Dad.



PRESQUE NEIGE, below,  was a sort of belated wedding gift from Faye Nichols when she took a job in the Arctic.  See the dusting of gray
on her head?  Otherwise she was ‘almost snow’.  When I got a job in the bush north of Sault Ste Marie in the summer of 1964…a geophysical
prospering job…Marjorie joined your crew a week or so after we got established art Paraise lodge on the Algoma Central Railway line.
Marjorie’s arrival was surprising.  When we flagged the ACR engine to stop, Marjorie descended dressed like a queen carrying two
prize objects.   One was her sewing machine.  The other was Presque Neige.  Amusing because there was no electricity for the sewing machine
and there were wolves howling at night for Presqjue Neige.We had a grand time on that job singing the fold songs of Ian and Sylvia,
Gordon Lightfoot and Johny Cash  while Presque sat on Marjorie’s knee oblivious to the wolves.



Marjorie flagging down the train on the wilderness route north from Sault Ste Marie.



Marjorie dancing with Serge Lavloie beside the tracks with the fellow looking amused.  Presque Neige nowhere in sight.  Too dangerous 
to let her run free.  


Presque Neige was quite content in our little cabin.


My Arctic sleeping bag could hold two people and one cat.

NEXT?  COMES TARA…THE Coonhound that never got a chance to hunt raccoons.

EPISODE 478 “DIDN’T SLEEP — COULDN’T SLEEP… TGE “SEE” MOVIE AUCTION NOV. 17, 2021

EPISODE 478     “DIDN’T SLEEP—COULDN’T SLEEP  … “SEE” MOVIE SET … AUCTION  NOV. 17,  2021


alan skeoch
Nov. 2021

(Warning this story is self deprecating…does not make me look brilliant)




DIDN’T SLEEP—COULDN’T SLEEP

I did not sleep a wink the night after the November 18, 2021, Movie prop auction .  I am 83 years old, you’d think I would have learned
something in those years.  Nope.  Did not learn.  Must be a low I.Q. (i.e. intelligence Quotient).  What a mess I got into at the 403 Auction.
It took three large trucks, a dual axle trailer , one small van (mine) and five men too get me out of the mess.  Let me repeat…3 big trucks, 
1double axle trailer and a GMC van that was once a small bus. It’s 
true.  Even now almost a week later I get goose bumps thinking about that sunny cold morning I arrived at the storage yard to pick up
my purchases.  

Nothing small.  All purchases huge.  Impossible to lift.  But they had to be removed in between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m.  Or else!
It was the ‘or else’ that scared me the most.  Look at the smiling face below.  He is a very nice person.  Quite jolly really.
But the terms were clear.  I had to get my things out of the storage lot by 3 p.m. or pay $500 for any skid I did not load
By mischance I had many skid loads.   On my own I would be lucky to get 1 skid load off the site.   This could cost me thousands.


So I called my son Andrew.
“Andy, I have got myself in a bind…need big time rescue”
“What this time, Dad?”
“Let me put it this way…I will need 3 big trucks, 1 dual axle trailer and my GMC van”
“I get it..  Did you get the gantry at the 403 auction?”
“I did…and  a whole lot more.”



“No problem, dad.”
“Easy for you to say,”  …Andrew did not know the scale of my troubles.
Take a look at one of my purchases below.  And I bought two of these.
I doubted they could even fit in a bin on the hydraulic lift.


HOW DID I GET INTO THIS MESS IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Let me start by blaming J.R. Grassby.   He sent an email saying the 403 Auction of sets from the movie ’SEE’ might
have some things that would interest me.  And there were dozens of interesting things.  On Line bidding.   That meant I
would sit at my computer and push a Bid button on the evening of Nov. 17.  Easy to do.  Just push the button.    But I had 
to be fast…had to beat other bidders to get my bid in on the last second.   I was not ready for the speed closing.

The closing occurred almost before I could bid.   Thankfully the gantry was near the last and I was able to get it
for Andrew…but not cheap.





THE INVOICE

I had been successful in my bidding on a whole bunch of things.   Truckloads of things that you will see
shortly.  How did I end up with things i did not expect?  Simple really.  I put down ‘practice bids’ on things I thought would go higher.
So i could practice hitting the bid button not expecting victory.  The final invoice was clear:

lot 52 – WOOD HORSE WAGON


Lot 64  TWO MARKET CARTS



Lot 74   WOOD CART WITH LEATHER COVER

(NO SIGN OF THE LEATHER COVER…MY LOSS I SUPPOSE)

LOT 75   TWO OLD WOOD CARTS


LOT 76   TWO ICE CREAM CARTS



LOT  1011   TWO ROLLING TOOL CHESTS WITH STAND



LOT  1012   METAL GANTRY  20,000 LB. CAPACITY



LOADING AT 8 A.M.