Sunday, May 31, 2015

JESSIE TEMPLAR - BACK AT THE TRACKS

Jessie Templar opened her eyes, and gasped.

JJ, her male calico cat, was sitting on her pillow, looking at her with his head cocked to one side, with that look that meant he was going to pounce. And sure enough, she didn’t get her head up fast enough; he jumped, playfully digging his teeth in her scalp, and doing that Alien thing he did so well to get her up and him fed. Jessie giggled and he released his paws from around her head; she was glad that she had gotten him declawed. He jumped on the floor and took off for the kitchen. Jessie pulled the covers over her head and closed her eyes, but not for long. JJ was a very loud cat and he would not stop yowling until he was fed. Jessie got up, fed JJ, and put on a pot of coffee. She went to the living room and threw open the curtains.

“Oh, my, what a nice day,” she said, and opened the door leading to the balcony. Today was her day off so she was in no hurry to get into work. Rose and Denise were just as dedicated to the flower shop as she was, so there was nothing to worry about. She took a deep breath and went back inside to the fridge. When she opened it she realized that she needed to pick up a few groceries, there was nothing there for breakfast, other than a month old bagel and some outdated cream cheese. She closed the fridge and decided to go out for breakfast; she poured herself a cup of coffee and went to the bathroom to shower and get ready for the day.

Friends CafĂ© was her favorite breakfast joint; the girls were always so polite, they knew her by name and knew her order: two poached eggs, two sausages, and one toast. The day was looking good so far. She finished up then went over to No Frills to get a few groceries. It was nice that they opened up at eight o’clock, great for early risers like her. It wasn’t even eight thirty and the place was crowded already. She filled the cart, went through the checkout, and went home to put the groceries away. She cleaned up her apartment, took inventory of stock in her storage room, went through her closet and got a bag ready to drop off at the Thrift Store, did laundry, and spring cleaned like there was no tomorrow. She couldn’t remember the last time she took a day off during the week—May two-four weekend was a bust; the weather was terrible and none of the girls had any plans, so they had gone into work for a few hours to do inventory—and when she was finished cleaning and organizing, she was glad that she had done it. The place was spotless. She made herself lunch and a cup of tea and sat down. JJ came out of hiding when he smelled food and joined her at the table.

After lunch she decided to go for a walk. She tied up her runners and headed out the door. At first, she was going to walk the neighborhood, so many nice trails in Brampton, then she thought about walking the Chinguacousy Trail, but then she got into her car, sat down, and thought some more. “Where shall I go?” she said to her reflection in the rear view mirror. Then she turned the key and took off.

She hadn’t been to Churchville Village since last fall. And now, driving on the narrow road to the park, passing all those mansion-style homes, she thought of her brother, Phil. He hadn’t called her since he left and she had no idea where he was or who he was staying with. She hoped that he was doing well, wherever he was.

As she approached the parking lot, she noticed one other parked vehicle. She parked at the other end of the lot and got out of the car. Everything was quiet, except for some birds that were busy pecking in the grass. “Kinda late in the day for worms,” Jessie thought.  The sun was shining brightly, but there was lots of shade under the big weeping willows. She had forgotten how beautiful the park was. She walked over to the river, to where she and Phil got drunk that day last summer, and found the same table where they had talked and laughed. She sat down for a few minutes and stared into the water, she glanced over to the other side of the river and shivered, a cold chill went up her spine, making the hair at the back of her neck stand on end. They never did find out what they saw that night.



She got up and looked around. A dog barked somewhere downriver. She walked across the field and headed to the path at the far end of the park. She followed the path along river and picked up the pace. It was nice to get out in the fresh air, to feel the heat of the oncoming summer, and to get the heart pumping. The winter, just like all the others, had gone on too long. Everything was so green, wildflowers were in bloom, and even the dirt smelled fresh; it lifted her spirits, made her high.

Her high became interrupted by the noise of the traffic coming from highway 407, she was nearing the bridge. She came out of the woods and walked through the tall grass of another small field and when she came close to the bridge, she slowed down. Up ahead, under the bridge, a man was desperately trying to get his dog to come out from under one of the beams. It was steadily barking at something in the corner.







Jessie sensed no danger and instinctually went over to the man to offer her help.

“Hi, how ya doin’?” Jessie said.

The man turned around, startled. “Oh,” he said. “I didn’t hear you walk up.”

Jessie smiled.

“Reg has been digging and barking up there for the past ten minutes. I can’t get him to come down, and I can’t get up there on account of my bad knee.” He tapped his left knee.

“I think I can climb up there for you, do you want me to see if I can get him down?”

The man was getting tired and frustrated. “Sure,” he said, handing her the dog leash. “If you can get that thing around his neck, drag him on down for me. I shouldn’t have let him run around without the leash in the first place.”

“No worries,” Jessie said. “Everyone who walks here lets their dog off the leash, that’s why people come here with their dogs. There aren’t too many places in Brampton where you can let your dog roam free. Don’t worry about it.”




She took the leash and crossed the railroad tracks to get to where Reg was, the same place where Phil had seen something coming out from under the beams. She climbed up, loose dirt giving away under her feet. Reg didn’t seem to notice; he was too busy digging. She made her way up the steep embankment, dirt and rocks rolling down. It was a good thing she didn’t have sandals on or else she'd never make it. Her head was just about touching the concrete when she got to where Reg was digging. She didn’t see anything but the hole he had dug.

“What’s he digging at?” the old man called.

“Nothing, as far as I can see, probably just some remains of a dead animal.” She was just about to snap the leash around Reg’s neck chain when something flew at her legs.

“He finally got what he was looking for,” Jessie said, looking back at the old man, but the dog kept digging. She bent over again and snapped the leash around his chain.


“That was easy,” she said, and headed back down. That was when Reg realized what was going on and resisted the pull. Jessie lost her footing and went rolling back down the hill. When she opened her eyes, Eli’s blue-eyed stare pierced through them.

SOME POE




A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM


Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow—
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand—
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep—while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?


EDGAR ALLEN POE





FRIENDS CAFE - ALL DAY BREAKFAST




From the outside, it doesn’t look like much. It is a corner unit at the west end of a small one-story building. There is an uncovered patio with some worn tables and faded plastic chairs. There are other buildings around back. The view, upon looking out of the west side windows, is that of the Esso gas station and carwash at the corner of West Drive and Clark Boulevard. If you are sitting at the table facing Clark Boulevard, the view will be that of Clark Boulevard, bustling with traffic at any time of day.

When you open the door you will walk directly past the tables and up to the counter. Here, you will be greeted by one of the friendly, smiling ladies—they are all wonderful, easy to talk to, and very pleasant—and you will place your order. The choices and prices are written on the chalkboard above; just lift your chin a little. After you pay for your order, you may sit at the table of your choice (the furniture is rather dated, but no matter) and one of the ladies will bring your beverage; there are free coffee top-ups. The coffee is a light to medium roast with a slight nutty and chocolaty bouquet. Your food will be served as soon as it is ready. Other than a few pictures of food on the walls, there is nothing much to look at, but you’re food will be served shortly.

The ladies are always working to keep the place clean and the customer is the top priority. The girls tie their hair back and wear black uniforms, and the chef’s hair is covered and he wears whites.

There will be people there who look like they are really enjoying their meals, that’s because they are. There will be a few patrons who sit and enjoy reading the paper at their leisure, while sipping their coffee and munching their toast, but most patrons are not overly chatty, they are there to eat a hearty, nutritious, and well-balanced breakfast and get on with their day. The sign says ALL DAY BREAKFAST, but they do offer a lunch menu as well. However, people mostly order from the breakfast menu. The bacon and ham can be a little salty, but that is the nature of the meat. The sausages are moist, not dried out. The eggs are served any way you want them. The home-fries are actually fried, but not greasy. The bread is like your mama used to make, tastes homemade, never crumbly, always fresh, and slices are thick. Pancakes are almost ½ inch thick and very moist. For some reason, thickly-sliced, firm tomatoes are always served with the breakfast meal. The serving sizes are well worth the money you pay.




Click on the following link to find the hours of operation and menu. Make Friends Cafe your breakfast place today.


http://www.breakfastbrampton.com/#!breakfast/crrl

Thursday, May 21, 2015

ONE OF THOSE NIGHTS

A long time ago, somewhere in the mid-80s, I frequented this bar—I can’t remember the name of it right now—along the Halifax harbor. I became quite familiar with the manager and every weekend, when I went on my little excursions in Halifax, I would visit him for a beer and a chat. He was like an old friend, someone I could confide in.

One summer afternoon I went to find him for one of our little chats. When I walked in, his wife and children were there and he was having an argument with his wife. One of the regulars waved me over and gave me the jist of what was going on. Apparently, he had caught his wife with another man. After a few minutes, she stormed out the door with the kids. I went over to offer my help.

“Dirty, filthy bitch,” he said. “Oh, I could just ram my hand in her chest, haul out her black heart, and make her eat it!” He poured himself a shot of Johnnie and downed it, then another, then another.

“Hold up, there, buddy,” I said. “Too early in the afternoon to get wasted, and besides, people do the craziest things when they’re drunk.”

He took one last shot, put the bottle back on the shelf, and then poured me a cold one on tap.

He told me that he had closed up early last night; no one had been in the bar for a couple of hours, so he decided to close up and surprise his wife.

“Well, surprise her I did,” he said. “I got in about quarter past one. The house was silent. I took off my coat, my boots, even went to the fridge to get a snack. Heck, I sat down at the counter and ate a piece of cold chicken. Then, I went upstairs; I was a bit surprised to see that Bobby and Rachel weren’t up. I checked Bobby’s room—he wasn’t there, then I checked Rachel’s room and she wasn’t there. So then I headed down the hallway to our bedroom, and that’s when I heard the noises. I knew right away what it was and my heart just sank. That cold hearted bitch. I stopped for a moment, but I couldn’t handle the wails coming out of her. I pushed the door open and there she was, facing me, on her knees…”

He couldn’t talk anymore. I didn’t want to hear anymore. I was pissed. I felt for him. I felt bad that he felt bad. How do you console someone in that kind of situation? What could you possibly say? I took a drink of my beer and waited. I just let him vent.

He went on to say the guy left with a bloody, possibly broken nose, that she wanted a divorce and custody of the kids, and the house and the bar. Plus, alimony and child support.

I had known Harry for a few years and knew that he loved his family and was a very hard-working man. I had seen how his wife treated him and how much of a twat she was. She was judgmental and critical to him and the kids, and was very narcissistic and selfish. Nobody liked her, but everyone loved Harry; he was a good man.

After he spoke with me he had to go see a lawyer, so Jenna, his second-in-command, tended the bar.

“Man, I sure hope he doesn’t lose the bar,” she said.

“Yah, I know, a lot of people would hate to see it go. So many regulars, and the Saturday nights here are awesome.” I said.

I finished my beer, said my cheers to the regulars, and was off. I went shopping and browsing and caught a movie, but I couldn’t get Harry’s predicament off my mind. I went home and got ready to go clubbing. I called a friend and she came out with me. We went to every happening joint along the waterfront, and our final stop was Harry’s. By then, we were pretty tipsy. Well, more like slurring words and walking a crooked line.

My friend, Melanie, and I were on the floor dancing to a funky beat when I noticed that Harry’s wife was on the floor; my blood grew hot in my veins. I grabbed Melanie and we went over to the shooter bar where we gulped Sex on the Beach and Zambuca shots. I rambled on about Harry and what was going on and how his wife was a whore. Melanie was just as drunk as I was and agreed with me, and as we partied the night away, my anger grew.

The next morning, I woke up with an incredible hangover. I puked my guts out, my head was inhabited by rhinos, and I drank a two litre bottle of Lime pop—that I threw up later. As I was coming out of the bathroom, Melanie was heading in.

“What’s that on your hands?” she said.

I looked up at her. “What’s that on your face?”

She went to the mirror. Then she threw up. After a few minutes of hugging the toilet, she managed to get to her feet. I studied my hands.

“What the hell did we do last night?” she said.

“I don’t have a clue.” I said, with my eyebrows lowered. “The last thing I remember is shots at the shooter bar.”

We went to the kitchen, made coffee, and tried to figure out why we had car grease, or oil, all over ourselves. We went back to the bedroom, coffee in hand, and examined our clothes. Mine was full of oil, as if I had performed an engine oil change. Melanie’s was more torn than oil stained and her nylons were shredded, with grass on the knees. My hands were black and Melanie’s face was dotted with oil stains. We then flipped our purses out on the bed, but there was nothing to tell us about what we had done. There was change, blush, and lipstick, but nothing else. When we looked at our shoes, they were full of mud and grass.

“Holy, shit, Melanie, what the hell did we do last night? I don’t remember a thing.”

“Me, neither, I don’t even remember leaving the club or how we got home. Did we take the ferry over or did we take a cab?”

I laughed. “I don’t have a fricken clue!” 

We looked at each other and just laughed. What else could we do? We were in our twenties for cryin’ out loud! We just assumed we had fun and that was it. We went to the living room and watched a movie, forgetting about it, and nursing our hangovers.

The following Saturday I took Melanie to see Harry. When I walked in, I was surprised to see Jenna tending bar.

“Hey, girl, what’s up?” I said. “Harry’s not in today?”

“No," she said. She leaned in close. “He’s at his wife’s funeral.”

“What? Oh, my God! What happened?”

"She got into a car accident last Saturday night. Mick was tending bar, Harry was with the kids. Apparently, her brakes failed and the guy who was driving her home, lost control of the car at the intersection of Robie and South Street, near Dalhousie. She was killed on impact, and the guy is in critical condition at Victoria General. Harry said the mechanic who checked the car said that the brake lines had been tampered with.”

When I looked at Melanie, she was white as a ghost.

“It’s a good thing he was with the kids, or else he’d have a lot of questions to answer,” she said, and then went to serve one of the customers.

I grabbed Melanie, who was about to faint, and left. We rode the bus back to my place, neither one saying a word. We were torn about what to do. Could we do something like that? Could we be capable of such a thing? We chatted all afternoon, analyzing the situation, going over the scene at the bar, trying to remember, but we were utterly blank.

Just then the phone rang. We froze. I went to pick it up.

“Don’t!” Melanie said. “What if it’s the Police?”

I considered it, for a moment, then called her crazy and answered the phone.

“Hello?” I said, barely breathing.

After the conversation, I hung up, sighed, and fell into the armchair, laughing.

“Who was it?”

“It was Mick, the bartender at the club. We stayed until closing and Mick was going to give us a ride home, but his car wouldn’t start. When he opened the hood to see what was wrong, we started acting like mechanics and started fiddling with the engine and stuff. We got grease all over ourselves. He said that we were laughing and giggling and falling down all over the place.” I laughed some more.

“But how did I get all torn up?”

“He said that you needed to pee so you went into the bushes, but it was more like a muddy hole, and you were crawling around in there. He said that we had to haul you out. Then he called a cab and he dropped us off here and went on home. He just called to say that he had the money we lent him.”

“I don’t remember lending him any money, do you?” she said.

“Nope, but I don’t care, because I didn’t kill anybody!”

We were both so relieved that we got out a bottle of Vodka and mixed a couple of Screwdrivers. We swore that we would never get that drunk again. Later, we got ready to go out clubbing, both of us feeling pretty damn good.


A MAN CALLED KING - Part 2



“Joe,” Betty said, “I have to tell you something.”

When Joe sat down, she handed him a picture. “Is this the old man you saw last night?”

Joe looked carefully, perusing the picture with tired eyes. He examined the photo for a few minutes, eyeing the hair, the young face, the mouth, nose, and chin. The man in the photo was a lot younger than the man he had seen the night before, he wasn’t quite sure it was him, until he looked into the eyes. Yes, the eyes, they had the same mesmerizing look.

“Yes, it’s him, the eyes are the same, it’s him alright. He said his name was King. Who is he, really?”

Kerry came in with a pot of tea and poured for all. Kerry and Joe sat quietly while Betty told them what had happened to her so many years ago and why her husband, Pastor Lloyd McArthur, was so quick to get rid of him. Many years ago, when Betty was a young married woman, she had an affair with King because, apparently, her new husband, the pastor, was unable to give her the thing she wanted most, a child.

“Joe, when Kerry told him about King, he was furious, and while some of the members of the church were here last night, he was home plotting revenge. He’s out of control, Joe.” Betty’s tears fell down her cheeks and Kerry put an arm around her to console her. “He never did get over it. And, what’s worse, is that he thinks that King took advantage of me and raped me, but that is not what happened; he just won’t believe me.”

“Where is he now?” Joe said.

“I don’t know. When he left this afternoon, I went to my sister’s house. I went back home, and then I got a phone call a little while ago about the fire, so I came here.”

“Betty, I think King has had some kind of revelation, or it could be that he is just a senile old man. But, nonetheless, I believe that he has changed. I believe that he is harmless.”

“Yes, you know that, and I know that, but Lloyd doesn’t. I’ve never seen him like this. I’m afraid of what he might do. He’s already caused property damage. What are we going to do?” Betty said.

Joe got up.

“Where are you going?” Kerry said.

“I’m going to go over there and see if I can’t knock some sense into that old coon.”

“No, wait, let me call first, maybe he’ll answer the phone, if he’s there.” Kerry picked up the receiver and dialed the number, no answer. She tried once more and still, nothing.

The three of them sat back down and Kerry made another pot of tea. It was almost midnight and Kerry kept calling periodically, but still no answer from the pastor. Betty was tired and Kerry suggested that she sleep in the guest bedroom for the night. Betty agreed and felt relieved that she didn’t have to see her estranged husband. Kerry brought her to the bedroom and gave her a nightdress to wear and got her settled in. She went back downstairs to find Joe on the phone.

“Was it Pastor McArthur?” she said.

“No, Kevin. He’s agreed to go back to King’s house. He says that all the other men who were at the fire tonight are accounted for; they are at home with their families. I think the pastor may have went back to finish the job.”

Kerry followed him to the shed, to the gun cabinet. “Do you think he’s lost his mind? Do you think the pastor would actually hurt King?”

Joe opened the cabinet and pulled out a rifle. He reached for a box of ammo and then locked the cabinet again. “I don’t know, Kerry, but I can’t help but feel that this is my entire fault.”

“Joe, if you hadn’t seen that sign, someone else would have.”

“Listen, go back in the house, lock up and turn out the lights, and then go up to the bedroom and keep an eye out, just in case he comes here looking for Betty. If he does, or if you hear anything, call Gus next door and he’ll be here in a heartbeat. I’ll be back as soon as I can.” He kissed her on the cheek and started the truck. He watched until she got into the house and then he was off.

Kevin was waiting for him on the step when he drove up to his trailer. Instead of driving the truck, Kevin suggested they take the ATV and use the old railroad trail to get to the other side of the road from King’s property. If the pastor was waiting for King, then they might have a chance to blindside him. Joe thought that it was a great idea. It was now almost one o’clock and the moon was full. On the way, Joe told Kevin about Betty and King and it all made sense now. 

They were coming upon a fork in the road, and Kevin turned out the headlights. He was going to park the ATV in a grove of bushes, but when he got closer he caught sight of something shining in the moonlight. He stopped and they got off the bike to investigate. It was the pastor’s truck. Just as Joe had thought, he had come back to finish the job.

“Shit, we’re going to have a hard time trying to find him now.” Joe said.

“Not with these.” Kevin said, as he raised two pairs of night vision goggles. “I got these babies last year when we had the licences to hunt coyote. I never thought I’d use them for something like this though.”

Joe was impressed. They had about a thirty minute walk ahead of them before they got to the main road, and then about twenty minutes on that dirt road to King’s property. Kevin hauled the bike to the other side of the road and pushed it into the ditch. He covered it with some bushes and then they started their trek to the main road. The wind picked up, which was both good and bad. Good because no one could hear them coming, but bad because they couldn’t hear anyone coming.

They soon came upon the main road. Each of them scoping the area with night vision goggles through the rifle scopes. Joe saw something in his scope, but it was just a rabbit. Joe signaled Kevin to move on across the road, proceeding with caution, and then Joe followed. They hiked the rest of the way, Joe on one side of the road near the trees and Kevin on the other, both wearing the goggles. When they were almost all the way there, the wind came to a complete stop, and a strange feeling overtook them. The image in their goggles became like white noise, static.  Joe made his way to Kevin and they had to stop to gain their bearing. It was as if the air had suddenly become electrified. When they looked at each other, each still wearing the goggles, the hair on their heads stood on end. Kevin giggled nervously.

“What is this? Is it an electrical storm?” Kevin said.

“I don’t have a clue, but I don’t like it.”

“What should we do?” Kevin’s voice was shaky.

“I’m not sure, what do you think?” Joe looked at him. Kevin’s hair was standing on end. He giggled. Then Kevin giggled, and for a moment they both got caught up in it and forgot about where they were and what they were doing. The goggles started to fog up and when they took off their goggles, they noticed a bright light up ahead.

“Okay, enough of this sneaking, let’s go.” They started running up to the field, neither one caring about what lay ahead.

“You did it, you coward, you took advantage of my dear sweet Betty and you raped her!”

“No, Lloyd, no, please believe me, I didn’t know she was your wife until afterward. Please, Lloyd, please.”

It was the pastor and King. The pastor had a rifle to King’s chest. And there was light, growing brighter, and lighting up the sky.

Joe and Kevin were in the middle of the field, coming upon them.

“Don’t do it Pastor McArthur, Lloyd, please don’t do it!” Joe said.

“Stay where you are, Joe, or I’ll put a bullet in this sonofabitch’s chest.”

Kevin stopped, but Joe didn’t. “Lloyd, Betty is at our house. She wants you to come home. She doesn’t care about King. She just wants you home safe.” Joe tried hard to settle him.

“Did she tell you, Joe? Did she tell you what this monster did to her? Did she tell you what he did?” He was a raging bull, full of years of pent up anger and contempt.

“Please, Lloyd, it’s all in the past. She says that she just wanted you to be happy. She did it for you, for the both of you, so that you could have a child.”

“No, he raped her! He raped her!” Tears ran down his face, but the rifle in his hand remained pointed at King’s chest.

Joe looked into King’s eyes. There was something in them. Joe could see that he was not scared. He didn’t want to die, but he wasn’t scared to die. He stood there, with his hands in the air, knowing what was coming, but he wasn't afraid. He looked like a man finally at peace. He smiled at Joe.

Joe was right at Lloyd’s back now. He could grab the gun, but could he do it without it going off? He didn’t think so, so he pleaded and talked the pastor down. “Please, pastor, think about Betty, think about Tom; you raised him as your own and now look at that boy, a grown man with a family of his own. Think of your grandkids, Lloyd.”

All around them the sky grew brighter and even though Kevin and Joe were aware of it earlier, the pastor had not noticed, until now. Now, the light was so bright that it was blinding. No one could tell where it was coming from; it was just there, growing brighter.  Joe saw his chance and grabbed the rifle. The blast from the gun was like a clap of thunder and rippled through the atmosphere like an atomic bomb. Joe saw the bullet as it went, in slow motion, to King’s chest.

But the bullet never made it to King’s chest. The bullet went through the static that was left of King. King began to dissipate even before the bullet left the chamber and what was left of him was like dandelion pollen blowing in the wind. The bright light had faded and the wind had commenced. The moon was full and the sky was bright with an abundance of stars. The three men were dumbfounded. Joe put the gun down and Kevin walked in closer. A light shone from the porch of the house.

“What just happened?” Kevin said. “I mean I saw it, but I don’t believe it.”

The three of them looked around, dazed. The little black dog came from the porch and sat at Joe’s feet.

“I think that we should just forget about this, about everything that happened here tonight. In my opinion, Lloyd, you were never here. I’ll tell Kerry that Kevin and I came back, but there was nobody here, and that King was nowhere to be seen. No one needs to know.”

Pastor McArthur looked solemn. He looked to the smoldering church, and then he looked at the ground and said, “I think you’re right, Joe, I think you are right. My God, what have I done?” He put his face in his hands, held it, then ran his hands through his hair. “Mother of God, what have I done?” He fell to the ground, screaming for forgiveness.


The following summer, Joe and Blackie, were hiking through the woods. Blackie had run ahead and was now barking up a storm. When Joe finally caught up to the little black dog, he was sitting in the middle of a circle of burnt grass. All the hair on Joe’s body began to stand on end, and in the sky the sun grew brighter.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

MOTHER'S DAY AT SANDBANKS BEACH RESORT

As soon as we heard that it was going to be over thirty degrees and sunny on Saturday, we immediately made plans to get out of the city and to a beach! We figured anything north would be cold, so we decided to check out Sandbanks Provincial Park in Picton, just a three hour drive from Brampton on the 401 East.

Of course, now that our son is 14 years old, we three can no longer easily fit into a tent and sleep on a double sized air mattress. Oh, the good old days when he was a small boy, all those fun times camping; I miss them so. But it's just as well, I'm not as young as I used to be and much prefer to sleep in a comfortable bed than on the cold, damp ground.

So, I went to the web and searched for hotels/resorts around that area and found a place called Sandbanks Beach Resort, which was near the Sandbanks Provincial Park. I know you can't really tell what a place is going to be like from pictures displayed on the website, but if you go to TripAdvisor and read some reviews, you can get a pretty good idea of what to expect.

I called the resort on Thursday night and, luckily, the cottage I wanted was vacant. I booked it right away and we set out Friday evening.  Three hours later we were getting settled in a four-bedroom, 2 bathroom cottage overlooking West Lake. The view was gorgeous, the park was pretty near empty, and the only noises we heard the entire weekend were birds singing and an occasional boat motor. Talk about your peace and quiet.

The owner of the cottage was a friendly, helpful, and gentle soul. He was a knowledgeable host. We didn't get the chance to meet his wife; however, I am positive that she possessed the same character traits.

The cottage itself was quite comfortable; I grew up in a house just like it so I was right at home. It was equipped with everything you could possible need: toaster, kettle, microwave, coffee maker, utensils, cutlery, dishes, pots and pans. The owner, Tim, said that the water was good for drinking, but we brought our own anyway, just in case. The only things we had to bring were bed linens and towels. There was Wi-Fi, satellite TV, and a gas barbecue on a large deck. Also, a swing, two picnic tables, and a small picnic table for kids.

On Saturday we drove a few minutes just down the road from Sandbanks Beach Resort to the Dunes Beach, which is the beach located on the south side of West Lake. There you can hike the sand dunes and get a spectacular view of both Lake Ontario and West Lake.  We toured the beach and hills around 2 o'clock, so the sand was very hot in some places. As always, my partner wore a thin coat of sunblock which didn't quite protect him from the sun's rays and by the time the evening came around, he was red as a lobster.

When we got back to the cottage we had to hit the showers as the sand was literally stuck to our skin. I made some fruit smoothies and we enjoyed them sitting on the dock. The weather was amazing; not hot, not cold, just right.

Later, we took a canoe ride and almost tipped over; three in a canoe is not a good idea. Of course, we did not stray too far from shore. We did see some interesting properties along the bank. Some cottages were vacant, others were occupied. It was nice to see others enjoying the day.


After our canoe ride, we put chicken and burgers on the barbie for dinner, and then sat around a campfire and watched the sun set. All in all it was a wonderful day. And, and, there were no mosquitoes! I guess it was too early in the spring for them, great for us. 

Here are a few pictures of our trip.


Waiting for the Delissio Pizza to come out of the oven. 


So excited to get out of the city.














2 piece bathroom. (I forgot to take a pic of the main bathroom, which was bigger.)

View from the deck.


Panoramic view from the deck.


So nice to wake up to birds singing rather than sirens.
West Lake.


Hot! Hot! Hot!






Lake Ontario in the back.





Where's my fruit smoothie?

















The perfect end to a perfect day. 





Here's a link to the website: http://sandbanksbeachresort.com/

Go ahead and book your family getaway now, and tell Tim that I sent you.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

WALKING CHINGUACOUSY TRAIL

I started at Countryside Drive, just west of Naperton Drive.


There's a duck in there, somewhere.

Traffic light at Sandalwood Drive and Dixie Road.

Peter Robinson Blvd.



The view from Harry A. Shields Parkette.

Just past the Bovaird/ Dixie intersection - SE corner.

Plaza at North Park Drive.

Maitland Street.



Williams Parkway.

Heading toward Horton Crescent.


Hanover Road ahead.

Bramalea City Centre ahead and just beyond that, home.