EPISODE 802 THE SPEECH THAT WAS NEVER GIVEN
NOTICE OF ANNIVERSARY: 800 STORIES
I HAVE NOW WRITTEN OVER 800 STORIES SINCE FEB. 27, 2020 WHEN COVID 19 PUT
THE WHOLE WORLD ON FIRE EIGHT HUNDRED STORIES!! AMAZES ME.
I HAVE TRIED TO WRITE A STORY EVERY DAY. WHY? TO ENTERTAIN READERS SOME
OF WHOM BECAME SHUT INS AS THE PANDEMIC SPREAD LIKE A DEADLY WILDFIRE.
JUST WRITING THE STORIES HAS MADE ME AWARE OF MY GOOD FORTUNE IN LIFE.
TEDDY ROOSEVENT URGED PEOPLE TO ‘GET ACTION: DO THINGS’. I THOUGHT THIS WAS
GOOD ADVICE WHEN I READ IT BACK IN 1953. I HAVE BEEN A LUCKY MAN. LOTS OF ACTION.
MUCH OF THIS LUCK HAS TO BE ATTRIBUTED TO MY WIFE MARJORIE WTH WHOM I
HAVE SHARED SO MANY ADVENTURES.
ON THE EVENING OF FEBRUARY 29, I WAS ASKED TO DELIVER A SPEECH ON
INVASIVE SPECIES IN THE GREAT LAKES. WE HAD 100 GUESTS AT THE STONEHOOKER
BREWERY IN PORT CREDIT. MY SPEECH WAS PLANNED TO BE 30 TO 40 MINUTES LONG .
THAT SPEECH WAS NEVER DELIVERED BECAUSE MARJORIE TOOK 21 MINUTES TO
INTRODUCE ME. IN EFFECT SHE BECAME THE SPEAKER. PART WAY THROUGH HER
INTRODUCTION SHE KNOCKED A WINE BOTTLE OFF THE LECTERN. IT SHATTERED
ON THE CEMENT FLOOR. BUT MARJORIE NEVER STOPPED. A FRIEND, SHAYMUS,
GATHERED UP THE BOTTLE FRAGMENTS AS MARJORIE CONTINUED TO SPEAK.
OUR SON ANDREW RAISED HIS ARM AND POINTED AT HIS WATCH. MARJORIE DID
NOT STOP. SHE HAD PRACTISED HER SPEECH AND WAS HELL BENT FOR ELECTION
TO DELIVER IT. THE AUDIENCE ENJOYED HER SO MUCH THAT I TAILORED MY SPEECH
FROM 40 MINUTES TO 10 MINUTES…WHICH SATISFIED THE AUDIENCE. WHAT A JOY
IT WAS TO LISTEN TO HER. HOW MANY HUSBANDS HAVE HAD THEIR WIVES DO SUCH
THE NEXT DAY, MARCH 1, 2020 COVID 19 BEGAN TO SPREAD AROUND THE WORLD
KILLING HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS.
TODAY, APRIL 20 2023, EIGHT HUNDRED STORIES LATER COVID 19 IS STILL PRESENT.
SO I WOULD LIKE TO PRESENT THE SPEECH I NEVER GAVE IN CHUNKS….IN SHORT
STORIES SOME OF WHICH YOU MIGHT KNOW BUT OTHERS THAT MIGHT
CATCH YOUR INTEREST.
SEVERAL PEOPLE HAVE ASKED IF I AM WRITING BOOK. I AM NOT. A BOOK DEMANDS
TOO MUCH TIME. LIFE IS TOO SHORT FOR THAT. MY STORIES ARE SHORT…TAKING
JUST A LITTLE LONGER THAN IT TAKES FOR A WINE BOTTLE TO FALL FROM A LECTERN
AND SHATTER.. THEY CAN ALL BE FOUND ON THE INTERNET TITLED ‘ALAN’S OEUVRE’
(ALAN’S WORKS) THANKS TO DIRK TOWNSEND. OR SIMPLY ‘ALAN SKEOCH.CA’
SOMETIMES THE LANGUAGE IS A LITTLE COARSE…SOMETIMES PERSONAL…SOMETIMES
ISSUE ORIENTED…WHATEVER! JOHN WARDLE HAS PUBLISHED EACH STORY IN HIS
DAILY JOURNAL, THE CASTLEFIELD INSTITUTE, WHJICH HONOURS JOHN RICKER WHO
MOIVATED SO MANY OF US TO ENJOY THE STUDY OF HISTORY AND TO JOIN TOGETHER
IN THOUGHTFUL CONVERSATION ABOUT THE WORLD AROUND US.
THIS IS NOT THE END OF THE STORIES. MY TARGET IS 1,000…WHILE MEMORY SERVES.
APRL 20, 2023
EPISODE 802 REFLECTIONS ON FOSSILS ON RATTRAY MARSH SHINGLE BEACH, PART 1
Marjorie Skeoch with Jack, our grandson, on the wondrous shingle beach
at the outlet of the Rattray Marsh in Mississauga.
alan skeochMarch 11, 2020“Let’s take a walk, Marjorie,
“pretend we are in a time machine…and can go back in time.”
“Where?”“There is a shingle beach AT the Rattray Marsh…good place to start.
(Note, the Rattray Marsh is one of the wonders of the City of Mississauga, It slumbers behind a rock strewn beach of Lake Ontario. The southwest quadrant ofMississauga…almost approachable….definitely unforgettable.)
“This Shingle Beach is one of the marvels of Mississauga…strewn with small flat slabs of water washed shale.”
“Wouldn’t a sand beach be more charming?”“Not at all…no story obvious in grains of sand….but this shingle beach can be read like a book.”“Easy to trip and fall here.”“Right…if you do trip and fall you will find yourself among interesting company.”“Piles of flat stones.”“Piles of blue shale….”“Do you know how old these pieces of shale are?”“I don’t even know what shale is”
“Shale was once mud…pressed by the weight of untold piles of mud…heavy…so much sothat this ancient mud became sedimentary rock called shale.“Our city, Mississauga, sits on top of a vast expanse of ancient mud…for that matter the ancient mudonce ground and dried became the cement that holds up all the buildings in Mississauga.And for seventy years, 1850 to 1920, slabs of this shale were pried up by crowbars right fromthe shingle beach where we are standing, pried up in great slabs, manhandled onto schooners and sailedto Toronto as the foundations of all the great buildings of the time.”“Do you mean the Stonehookers?”
Stonehooking was a brutal profession. Today, now that the stonehookers are gone
and their ships are rotting hulks at the bottom of Lake Ontario or ground into sawdust or
charcoal by the passage of time and neglect, there is a tendency to romanticize what
was near the bottom of occupations Canadians chose in the 19th and early 20th century.
Just imagine spending your work day wading in water lifting slabs of stone with crowbar
and a hooked rake…piling the stone on a small flat bottomed scow…transferring tons
of stone to a schooner…sailing to Toronto three times a week with 9 to 18 tons of stone
…piling the stone on a rotting pier with raw sewage bubbling up…then getting $10 to $15
…and sailing back to Port Credit with a return load of horse manure. Toronto was a city
with thousands of horses on the streets in 1900.
END PART ONE: STONEHOOKING 1900
PART TWO: THE SAD FATE OF THE PINTA, SUNK WITH ALL HANDS NEAR MARIGOLD POINT, PORT CREDIT