Tag Archives: humor

What Do Women Really Want? After Valentine’s Day Thoughts…. Linda Knight Seccaspina

What Do Women Really Want? After Valentine’s Day Thoughts…. Linda Knight Seccaspina


What Do Women Really Want? After Valentine’s Thoughts….

Linda Knight Seccaspina

I’m not anti-love, in fact I watch an average of 5 Hallmark movies a week. I thought Valentine’s Day was romantic when I was in Grade 1, but by the time I got to Grade 3  it seemed that it was nothing but business transactions between the card and chocolate companies. In fact for a couple of decades I decided I didn’t need some popular opinion to tell me what my wants or needs would be for a man. In fact, I had a list. Yes, I had a list and I remember it well.

In the grooming department I wanted no dirty combs growing bacteria in some back jeans pocket. Of course that would be the rule only if the fella had hair. Lessons on “wipe-downs and aim” would be needed, and green things growing in a toilet bowl were not usually the mark of a real man in my mind.

A  generous supply of toilet paper must be available, and stocking the bathroom with paper towels from the gym, gas station, and other such places was a no-no. Pants should not be considered portable hand towels. Having many empty spools of toilet paper scattered as kick-toys is not a big turn-on for many women. Reminders should be mentioned frequently that if there is no toilet paper in the house your sheets aren’t really clean. Also, I would prefer no mockery at all about the 18 bottles of hair products I have in my bathroom.

In his home, decorating floors is not really an efficient shelf. Retro is not cheap furniture, and using a mattress or a futon on the floor?  Listen, if you’re old enough to bend over to change the sheets, you’re old enough for a big-boy bed. In the retro theme of home decorating, Lava lamps are not making a comeback. Black light went out in the 60s and 70s and that spooky velvet paint-by-number on the wall does not make the entire room come together. Even if he passed the test there was a bottom line. If he has a collection of action figures, he better have a law or medical degree, or better yet- a substantial trust fund.

Real dishes in the kitchen are important to me as I don’t care to eat out of containers and use plastic cutlery. (Please note that these rules changed once I was older and had a  big crowd over)  Obviously, a restraining order and messages from your ex-wife on the answering machine are particularly unappealing to me either. If you disagree with some of these maybe you don’t really want me as a girlfriend or wife, and just be thankful you have that internet connection!

Love should not be complicated– but it is. I’ve had my share of doozies and I’m sure I was a real piece of work to some of my dates. The world is a mess but I’m glad my Steve is in it even though we did have to have a chat about his use of plastic cutlery and paper plates in his kitchen. Since there was no taxidermy anywhere on the walls, I gave it a pass.

A few years ago at the local Heritage dinner a beautiful diamond ring from Burns Jewellers was the big ticket. I joked with Steve that if he won, he was going to have to get down on his knees and ask me to marry him for a second time. He might have passed the list, but he had never gotten down on one knee and popped the question. That was still a stickler on my imaginary list that one might blame the Hallmark Channel for.

Sadly we did not win– but a good friend did. I was thrilled for her– but what did she do? She put the ring down on the table and told Steve it was his. We were flabbergasted, just flabbergasted, and I think I was in shock. In front of a capacity crowd at the Town Hall Steve got down on one knee and asked me to marry him again. I could not stand up, I was completely frozen.There in the middle of Carleton Place on a cold winter’s night in February I got my Hallmark moment.

In my confusion I did not realize Father David was there and we could have done the marriage roundup a second time right then and there. When I mentioned it to the good padre after the fact he said,

“Well, we’ve still got the parking lot!!”

My lists are gone forever and I laugh when I think about it today. The thing is: you should love your special guy or gal all year long, not on one

day, and get rid of the lists. But, you can still  buy me discounted chocolates the day after Valentine’s. You have to admit that nothing is hotter than a bargain!

See you next week!

Trying to Put Humour Into Being Sick –Linda Knight Seccaspina

A Town Founded by Women and Gossip

There was No Shortage of Wives in Carleton Place

It Wasn’t Raining Men in Carleton Place!

Funny Friday — “Look Mac, That Ain’t No Moose” — 1966

Funny Friday — “Look Mac, That Ain’t No Moose” — 1966

CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa CitizenOttawa, Ontario, Canada08 Jan 1966, Sat  •  Page 83

THIS is a story of valor. It is the strange but true story of a Hereford bull, a photographer and me. But to fully understand our brave act we must first go back to that day in November when I was called into my boss’s office. “Jim,” he said, “sit down. I have a job for you.” “Great, Chief,” I said.

“We are in the middle of the hunting season again,” he went on, “and at this very minute the woods are alive with amateur hunters who don’t know the difference between a moose and a cow. They keep shooting horses and cows and even themselves to prove it.” “Sure, Chief,” I said. “Well, Jim, you are going to get a cow and . . .” “A COW!” I said. “… or a bull, drive up to northern Ontario, put it on the roof of your car and drive back,” he said. “You should get some great reaction and prove my point.”

And that’s how it all began. That’s why, at the height of the deer and moose season, thousands of people saw Kingston photographer Fred Ross and me driving around with that animal on the roof. Before proceeding further, I think it is only fitting to extend sincere thanks to all those people who saw us; they were a great help. To those who called our passenger a Hereford bull, our compliments. To those who believed it was a moose, we say nice try. To that man in Peterborough who agreed we had been right in cutting the antlers off our deer so we wouldn’t scratch the paint on the roof we say . . . Sorry, I’m afraid we still can’t think of a thing to say to him.

We put the show on the road or, if you prefer, the bull on the roof at Sudbury. The beast, as you have’ surely guessed by now, had passed away. He had been, in case you haven’t guessed, in the trunk of our car, all 400 pounds of him. Our original plan had been to hoist him up on the roof with a block and tackle but it was cold in Sudbury and snowing. It being Sunday, we decided to let somebody else do the heavy work. We pulled up to a service station and I told the attendant what we had and what we wanted. He thought he might be able to help. “But I’ll have to check with the boss,” he said. I followed him inside the station. “George,” he said, “they have this cow …” “Bull,” I corrected…. in the trunk and they wanna put it on the roof.” George looked at his man and then he looked at me. “Bull he said. “Bull,” I replied. “Sounds like a job for the Cannonball,” he said. Cannonball, George’s big, powerful tow truck, handled the job with ease and we were soon headed south with the bull up top.

We knew we had a winner as soon as we met the first car. We were moving slowly and it slowed down when the driver saw us coming. There were five people in the car and, while we could not hear what they said, there was only one word on their lips: COW. We pressed on. By the time we hit North Bay hundreds of motorists and pedestrians, many of them hunters, had displayed some of the greatest double-takes you have ever seen. So we figured it was time to stop. Ross parked the car in front of a Chinese restaurant on North Bay’s Main street, went in and ordered something to eat. I stayed behind and pretended to secure the ropes. In no time at all there was a crowd around the car. “How was the moose hunt?” one of them asked. “See for yourself,” I told him. He walked all around the car, very slowly, looking at our prize from all sides. “Nice size,” he said.

“Have you ever seen a bigger one?” “Oh, they go a lot bigger than that,” said the man. “You should try your luck up around Mooso-nee. They say it’s real good for them up there. We wondered then and we wonder now whether the guy actually believed it was a moose. Meanwhile, Ross was inside choking on his won ton soup as he watched and listened to the Chinese waiters. I arrived in time to hear one ask: “Bear?” “Moose, said Ross. “Hen!” said the waiter and walked away.

By now traffic around our end of the main drag was hot and heavy; word spreads fast when you have a bull on your roof. We didn’t want to cause any traffic jams so we decided to leave town. Just south of Huntsville we were stopped by the police. Ontario Provincial Police Constable Len Schloendorf wanted to know if we had a bill of sale “for that.” We had one the carcass had been purchased from a farmer at Kingston. We levelled with him. We were, we said, conducting a survey. Schloendorf asked as they always do for Ross’s driving permit, saw it, took a few more glances at the bull and waved us on. But we had a feeling he wasn’t really satisfied. We were right. He wasn’t.

A few miles down the road he’ stopped us again. Would we follow him, please? He wanted to check this thing out in detail. We followed him to the police station at Bracebridge where we met Constable Art Dawson, who was on radio duty that night. He and Schloendorf both wanted to know the story. Schloendorf sat down at the teletype and started to punch out a message to the Motor Vehicle Registration branch in Toronto. He was going to ask them whether the rented car we were driving really belonged to the people we said it did. “Hold it, said Ross. “I think I can save you the trouble. I have a letter here from the police chief in Kingston and . . .

They checked us out anyway but, after they had detained us for about 40 minutes, they were laughing. They explained then that they had heard of us from the Huntsville detachment. We had passed the police station there and I recalled the officer who had been standing in the window, because the double-take he took when he saw us was by far the best of the trip. “He called us,” Dawson explained. “But it was difficult to make out what he was saying, he was laughing so much.

Before we left the police they told us that a few years ago someone had shot a Hereford bull “one just like yours” in their area and, convinced he had bagged a moose, had strapped a moose licence to one of the animal’s hind legs, loaded it on the roof of his car and headed home. He didn’t get far.

We got motel rooms at Bracebridge that night and parked our car out front. There was just enough light to do the trick. A few minutes after we settled in someone rapped on our door. It was Constable Nels Kennedy of the local police. “I have to ask,” he said. “I couldn’t face driving past that thing all night without knowing the story. Did you shoot it?”

In return for the facts he told us the one about a hunter who went out for deer in the area not long ago and saw a white goat. He killed it, thinking it was a white deer. He didn’t get far either. Traffic past our motel was heavy that night. Hunters would come up, stop their cars, get out and take a close look. And just at the right moment Ross or I would open the door and shout: “Beauty, isn’t he? Nine times out of 10 they would agree and walk away doubled up with laughter. At times I would open the door, walk out and say: “The only question now is how to cook it. Do you guys know anything about cooking venison? I hear that red wine …” It worked every time.

The next day we pushed on past the little town of Udney on Highway 69 and didn’t stop until we were forced to by cattle crossing the road near Brechin. Two farmers looked at our bull, looked at their herd and broke up. They were Hereford farmers and their animals looked just like our “moose.” We parked on the main street of Lindsay. Ross got out and walked away. I pulled my cap down over my eyes and pretended to sleep. A crowd gathered in no time and one man’s curiosity soon got the best of him.

He rapped, gently, on the window. “Yes, sir,” I said. “Is that, he wanted to know, “a deer or a cow? “Moose,” said I. “Lovely, just lovely,” he said and walked away. I drove the car around town for a while to let Ross get pictures of the people. We stayed long enough for Stu Mewburn, a photographer with the Lindsay paper, to hear about our bull. He saw me turning a corner and Ross nearby with his camera. “What do you know about it?” asked Mewburn. “Not a thing but it looks like a picture to me,” said Ross, who then got a picture of Stu taking a shot of our bull. Peterborough was really good to us. We hit town just before noon and parked in the heart of the downtown area.

Within 15 minutes the local press, radio and TV boys were on the story. We made page 1 of The Peterborough Examiner and later discovered other newspapers and the Canadian Press had carried the story of the hunters who had shot the bull by mistake. A little later in the day we pulled into the Royal Burger drive-in restaurant on the edge of town for a bite to eat. It is one of those places where you shout your order into a microphone.

We knew they could see us and we knew they could see our bull. “Two burgers, two large milks and an order of French fries!” shouted Ross. The girl on the other end repeated the order. We waited a few minutes and then drove up to the window for the food. The bull was about 24 inches from her nose but she didn’t crack a smile. Just before we left the restaurant a man from inside the place came out to the car and asked what this was all about. He said he had a reporter on the line who wanted to know if there really was a car in front of the Royal Burger with a bull on its roof. We told him we preferred not to comment “I understand,” he said. We left town.

We moved south on Highway 14 past the little towns of Bonarlaw and Harold and when we got to Stirling we saw a man coming out of the post office. Ross pulled up. I rolled down the window. ‘Tell me, sir,” I said, “do we turn right or left to get to Belleville?” He said left. I thanked him and started to roll up the window. “Out hunting?” he asked. “Yep, moose. And, with one eye on our bull and one eye on me, he asked cautiously: “Get one?” Proudly, I pointed to the roof and volunteered that we hadn’t done too badly on our first time out “for the big ones.”

He cautioned us to stick to the back roads and was still standing there when we went into the turn toward Belleville. We stopped for gas at Belleville. “Nice size, eh?” Ross asked the attendant “Beautiful,” replied the man on the pump. Ross wasn’t satisfied. “Have you seen many coming through?” he asked. “Four yesterday.” “Do they run much bigger than this?” “That’s the biggest one I’ve ever seen.” Ross handed him a $20 bill and we waited for him to go into the station for change. Several men in the window were laughing and we figured the man would get clued in before he returned. We were right

“That’s a steer,” he said with confidence when he got back. “Well, you’re close,” said Ross. “It’s a bull.” “Oh, a bull, ehr “Yep, bull moose,” said Ross. “They say they are good eating.” said the man, confused as ever. “Tender,” said Ross and away we went. After emptying a tavern at Napanee we went on to Kingston, where we parked the car in a shopping centre lot. Ross disappeared and I started to secure the ropes.

I soon had a crowd and one of them, a young man in his twenties, got me over to one side and in hushed tones out of the corner of his mouth said: “Mister, that isn’t a moose.” “You’re kidding,” I said. “Look, I’ll lay you $100 to $1 that that is a Hereford bull. Moose are a lot darker than that and they have long noses.” “You’re sure that isn’t a moose?” “Look, my dad raised Herefords for years and I know one when I see one,” he said. “If I were you I would get it the hell off this lot in a hurry.” When he left another fellow took his place. “What have you got there?” he asked. “Moose; what else?” I replied. “Well, all I can say is it’s a good thing you didn’t go duck hunting.” “How’s that?” “You woulda shot an airplane,” he replied.

CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa CitizenOttawa, Ontario, Canada08 Jan 1966, Sat  •  Page 83

Perils of the Cows of Carleton Place or Where’s the Beefalo?

Should Cows and Smart Cars be Tipped?

My Shortlived Bushman Farm Career (Bill Saunderson) — Larry Clark

I’m Done With Winter — Next Season Please! Linda Knight Seccaspina

I’m Done With Winter — Next Season Please!  Linda Knight Seccaspina

I’m Done With Winter. Next Season Please? Linda Knight Seccaspina

Does shivering count as an exercise? I would like to know. One year later we are back to the same issues of living in an older home. Last year at this exact time I wrote:

“I live in an old home that was built in 1867 and various additions were added throughout the years. Everything was built with stone– and the walls are three feet thick. The thickness of the walls holds the heat away for a week in the hot summer and then it becomes an oven. The same applies to winter–keeps the cold out for a bit and then cold draughty temperatures prevail.”

Things have not changed this year and today, because of record lows; I have frozen pipes going up to the only shower that works on the third floor and the laundry room. I try not to get upset about it as there are worse things in the world going on and this will eventually remedy itself with an explosion of water or be fixed. It’s always either A or B and I am amazed how calm I am. 

My California-raised American husband seems to think the temperature change tomorrow by 7 plus degrees is going to immediately remedy this  situation and he has offered not to complain and wash his hair in the sink and sponge bath. As a Canadian, I know this will not help and he is to call the plumber. Of course he is also worried that some partial demolition of a wall is going to be added to another small area we have now. I explained to him that on the last house tour I went too I saw partially demolished baseboards in an older home and I could relate to what was going on. I actually smiled as I knew they once had frozen pipes too.

So how did people live in the past? 

How did we walk to school every day and not complain?

How on earth did I walk back and forth to school 4 times a day and wore knee socks and Hush Puppy Desert boots with a knee length trench coat? I remember being cold. I remember my legs being beet red, but how did we do it? It took my friend Sheila and I 25 minutes to complete the journey to CHS on South Street. To expect a child today to endure this experience for nine months would be unimaginable to some parents now. How did we line up at bars on the weekend without coats not wanting to pay a coat check fee? Today, at this very minute, I swear I’m not going back out until the temperature is above my age.

Groundhog Day this week was supposed to give us hope and happiness. A few made their decisions, and of course one died. Organizers of the Groundhog Day event in Val-d’Espoir, Quebec, broke the news of Fred la Marmotte ‘s demise to the crowd on Feb. 2.

Being so important as a local weather mascot I was shocked to find out they only checked on Fred the night before, and that the groundhog had likely died in late fall or early winter, while in hibernation. Sad, but considering groundhog powers of divination are worse than flipping a coin– I’m fine. It’s Fred. He’s dead—pauvre pauvre Marmotte. Let this be a lesson to never represent your community in the Winter.

As a realist, I woke up this AM to -30 C, with a wind chill in the -40’s. It is going to take a long time before a real Rodent pokes its head out and myself as well. Spring is a long way off and I hope my pipes are unfrozen before then. Honestly, there is no precedent for what outright death, or your shadow means for the forecast. One good note: I haven’t seen a mosquito in months. There’s that…..

I apologize to the folks that just love Winter. You know, those people who try to convert you into their Winter Wonderland. I just don’t like being cold as I am today. I don’t like my pipes frozen, but I will offer you this. Maybe next time when I come back into this world I might give it a chance. But this lifetime I am going to sit this one out. And to pauvre pauvre Fred la Marmotte, late of Val-d’Espoir– maybe he told a local predator that there was going to be six more months of winter so he was eaten. 

Update- the day after I wrote this:

To all of you, and I know there are many out there that experienced damage from the cold these past few days. I want to say– it’s going to be okay. Twenty- five minutes before I was to be at St. James last night to auction off gift baskets the pipe that refused to give us hot water burst.

Apparently the break was at a good location– but is it ever at a good location? So, I went to St. James and my son Perry came over and had it fixed in a few hours. Now like any other old house to badly quote Pink Floyd: It’s now just another hole in the wall:)

See you next week!

Sand in the Trunk and Other Winter Things – Linda Knight Seccaspina

It’s Too Cold to Be Pretty — Winter 2021

The Winter of 1916

“Au Gratin” Ramblings from Linda Knight Seccaspina

“Au Gratin” Ramblings from Linda Knight Seccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina

Perth Burying Grounds, Perth, Ontario that day when my outfit ‘bled” lol

“Au Gratin” Ramblings from Linda

Linda Knight Seccaspina

This week my friend Bobby Lyons from Cincinnati posted a Facebook ad that Walmart in the United States is now selling “Funeral Potatoes”. I was gobsmacked to learn that this beloved old recipe was now being sold in the Walmart frozen aisles.

Believe it or not, “Funeral Potatoes’’ is not actually the technical name–it’s usually called Cheesy Potato Casserole in your recipe Rolodex. This casserole is often found served with ham on festive holiday dinner tables as well as luncheons following funerals which is how they got their name.

Why are funeral potatoes so delicious? I chalk it up to the heartfelt care and sympathy with which they’re prepared. In reality, you’re eating tons of carbs and fats which do make us quite happy. Though they have a sombre name; Funeral Potatoes are truly the ultimate comfort food to show your support and sympathy for a grieving family.

To make them yourself, you could follow the Pioneer Woman’s go-to funeral potatoes recipe on the internet. There are countless variations of the casserole-type side dish, but the general recipe calls for: ‘taters’, cheese, some kind of cream soup, sour cream, and a crunchy top made of breadcrumbs or potato chips. While you are at The Pioneer Woman website also has a funeral cooking episode you might want to take a gander at. 

Of course this reminds me of an elderly friend that was cremated and I went to the services to pay my respects. As I inched my way up to the Urn that held the departed ashes I heard an elderly man say as he glanced at her remains.

“You know looking at her now she seems to be a lot smaller than I remembered.”

Last summer while shopping in a store in Perth,ON. someone looked at my hands and asked if I’d been to the doctor to see about my circulation problem. I gave them a quick look. My hands were as blue as the ocean from my outfit and I knew if my hands looked like that my face probably had shades of blue dye on it too. Admittedly, it was probably because the poorly dyed black lace jacket caught in the rainstorm stained my face and hands.

Like so many afflictions, dye leaks don’t discriminate by age, location or background and it can strike anyone at any time. Parked outside of the Perth Old Burying Grounds I looked in the car rear view mirror to see if any of the blue dye was on my face. I shrieked in horror that in exactly 5 minutes I was expected to join the Mahon Family Reunion at the Old Burying Grounds as a speaker. I looked like I had died with shades of black and blue around my eyes and cheeks. Also wearing a traditional black Victorian Mourning outfit this was not a good look for a cemetery!  With a very used Kleenex I attempted to get the ‘death warmed over’ look off my face.

According to the web the only cure for this situation is to wash your garment inside out, three or four times, in cold water before you wear it. Never, and I repeat never, wear something like that on a rainy day and never put your stained hands on your face.

How did black turn into navy blue? Seems that good-quality black dyes were not known until the middle of the 14th century. The black dyes produced were often more grey, brown or bluish. Also, and still done today they first dye the fabric dark blue, and then dye it black

Anyway, it was all fine, no one thought I had climbed out of any plot in that cemetery, and that night at the buffet line some older gentleman looked at me quite intently. As he heaped huge spoonfuls of Funeral Potatoes on his plate he said, and quite seriously I may add,

“I like you, because I like my women like I like my potatoes, Cheezy and Au Gratin!”

See you next week!

Iveson Funeral Original Photos

The Last Man to Let you Down? Political Leanings at Local Funeral Homes?

Embalming 1891 – A Local Report

Cemetery or Funeral Cake

Just a Field of Stones Now? “The Old Perth Burying Ground” Now on Ontario Abandoned Places?

The Old Burying Ground — Perth

The Saga of Grumpy Boots Linda Knight Seccaspina

The Saga of Grumpy Boots Linda Knight Seccaspina

The Saga of Grumpy Boots Linda Knight Seccaspina

For years I have not worn Winter boots. Not that I am trying to show off any daredevil feats or anything, but I can’t seem to find anything that fits my feet properly. I used to list shoe shopping under special skills on my resume as I was that proficient. But as the years have gone by my feet have grown their own way. My right foot wears a size 10, which is strange because years ago I slid into an 8 and wore them 12 hours a day on a retail concrete floor and then walked home. I  remember squeezing my feet into every vinyl concoction of trendy shoes. My left foot is a strange one however and I don’t really know what size group it falls under anymore. Since I delivered a 10 pound male child decades ago the top of the left foot has been puffy much like a fine cheese souffle for the last 36 years. The nurse said not to worry at the time of my son’s birth because it was only postpartum fluid swelling– and it would go away. Well that fluid, brought its home furnishings and plants and has squatted on top of my foot since that day in 1985.

Having a normal right foot and a puffy left foot means buying footwear is an issue, and sometimes I feel so alone when the world turns grey and cold with my black Naturilzer flats. It’s not like I can hike anymore because of my mobility, but it would be nice for my feet to feel part of Winter. My son tried a few years ago and bought me lace up hiking boots. They fit perfectly  and had ample room to get the foot in perfectly but I needed help lacing those suckers up. I needed a team to get those boots on. Oh had it been in the late 1800s I might have had able young men crowd around me for the chance to be chivalrous, but not anymore. My husband has a hard enough time getting his Converse sneakers on being an American from California. He views this Canadian snow as just  something he has to deal with every year – and bending over for a period of time is becoming difficult. (Shh, I didn’t say that)

Alas, if it were only boots I had issues with I would not be writing about it. Last year I walked into Walmart on a quest for comfy shoes. Instead, I purchased two pairs of high heel shoes that cost only $5.00 each. I was thrilled when I tried them on and vowed to wear them everyday for one hour until I got used to them.The next day I donned the leopard 4 inch heels trimmed in red and walked from the car to the row of grocery carts. By aisle two I was hanging over the cart to support myself and my feet were now in excruciating pain.

A farmer in overalls was also checking out my shoes and followed me to aisle four pretending to buy peaches. He returned a few times still eyeing the shoes, and I don’t think I ever realized the power of heels in a rural area. I paid for the groceries and literally crawled back to the car in pain. As soon as I sat in the car I ripped them off, and the feeling of relief was much like being constipated and then having it all disappear.

I gave away my last pair of leopard stilettos to a friend of mine after keeping them in my closet for ten years. They had thin gold heels, and the suede was soft as silk, and they had only been worn once for about 8 minutes. Placing them on my feet as I sat on the couch at a monthly church lady meeting; I gingerly walked over for tea with a performance worthy of an Academy Award. The ladies marvelled at how I had walked in them all day and I never acknowledged anything different. What a shoe Oscar moment that was, and really, it wasn’t the place to fib at a church meeting.

So here’s a toast to 2023 and another year without winter boots– unable to find a practical boot for the right foot and a winterized cardboard shoe box for the left. Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz proved shoes on a gal’s feet can change your life, and Cinderella made a point that just one shoe can procure you a Prince Charming. Well, let’s just say I am a permanent fan of the Vivienne Black shoe size 10 from Naturalizer, and  just one step closer to Velcro shoes. Cowboys die with their boots on and I am just going to die comfortably with my flats and no Winter boots. But, this week I found out I was not alone. Standing in the Royal Bank I saw two senior ladies in white running shoes. I asked one of them if they were good for Winter and she laughed and said,

“It’s all I can wear dear, but I have cut some bread bags to wear over my feet!”

I smiled and thought- life is always full of interruptions, complications and possible uses for  empty bread bags isn’t it?

Here’s to Verna May Wilson Hadlock’s Shoes Linda Knight Seccaspina

The Ball of Small Shoes

Dueling Shoes and Fiddles and Step Dancing Contest July 15 1974

James Watson– Bigamy and Shoes

Did The Bootleggers in Lanark County Wear Cow Shoes?

Sand in the Trunk and Other Winter Things – Linda Knight Seccaspina

Sand in the Trunk and Other Winter Things – Linda Knight Seccaspina

Sand in the Trunk and Other Winter Things – Linda Knight Seccaspina

Two months ago I got my winter tires on my car. As I listened to the roar of the heavier tires, and watched them throw my tire sensor system out of whack, I had to laugh at some old memories.

My late husband Angelo used to argue that winter tires were “for people from Toronto who have to call in the army to shovel the sidewalks when it snows.” That was until one day he backed down my father’s snowy Miltimore driveway in Bromont and removed part of his fence. Not content with believing his Delta 88 could do such a thing he attempted to reverse again, only this time he hit the mailbox.

Through the years as he got older he began to realize living in a rural area needed snow tires. One day I overheard Angelo tell my oldest son Sky to get his head out of the sand and put some winter tires on his car. I just smiled and realized things just take time to sink in. It was similar to that proudest moment of being a parent when my child agreed it was finally cold enough to wear a hat.

Arthur Knight, my late Dad, always insisted that you kept bags of sand in the trunk for traction in case you got stuck in the winter. His 70s Ford Pinto was loaded to the brim with bags of sand, and when I went to visit him he always insisted on tossing some in my trunk too.  

It was supposed to add weight, and if I ever got stuck, the sand could be used for traction, he said. I never actually got stuck, so I never had to use the sand.  He said he learned the hard way hitting every ditch on the Brome Pond road one winter with no sand or salt in the trunk and a bunch of lightweights riding in his car with him. Somehow I doubt that a couple of sandbags, add or subtract anything is meaningful to the traction of a vehicle today that already weighs a few tons when empty, plus a few hundred pounds with a driver and passenger. But, weight was significant in the days of rear wheel drive, because most of the weight was in the front. I can well remember in my youth, the only way I got up an icy hill (not having heeded my father’s advice about the sand) was to have a couple of my friends climb into the trunk to put some weight over the back wheels.

Every year AAA publishes advice for winter driving and putting sand or litter in the back of a car is always on the list. I personally prefer cat litter because it’s relatively inexpensive (non clumping, non scented) and provides decent traction.

I decided to look this traction myth up on Snopes.com and the page was completely blank. Had Arthur Knight had it all wrong? I found a few discussions on a few automotive boards and one man had this to say.

“So while extra weight generally improves traction, the only safe place to put it is in between the wheels. That’s why, for traction, we suggest car-pooling. In fact, when recruiting car-poolers, you could start by putting up a sign at Weight-Watchers.”

After more research I decided to go back to Snopes where I found another link about the topic. Again the page was blank and the lone entry was about a woman called *“The Human Couch”.

Word on the street goes that a very large woman had to be brought to the ER after she had experienced shortness of breath. While they attempted to undress her an asthma inhaler fell out of one of the folds of her arm. A shiny new dime was under her breast and a TV remote control was found somewhere else on her body. Her family was extremely grateful that she was okay, and that they found the remote.

It’s easy to see I don’t care for Winter one bit, and if there is one good thing that comes out of snow, cold and ice is the fact I haven’t seen a mosquito in a really long time.

*( Brown, Mark.  Emergency! True Stories from the Nation’s ERs. –New York: Villard Books, 1997.   ISBN 0-312-96265-7   (pp. 32-33).

Findlay vs. Bailey in Carleton Place —Horses vs. Cars

When was the First Car Fatality in Carleton Place?

When Things Come 360 –The First Automobile Fatality in Carleton Place– Torrance, Burgess, and Names Names

The Carleton Place Bathroom Appliance Cars

Rollin’ Down the Mississippi River —- Tunes and Cars of Carleton Place 1971

Fleas, Skunks and Other Irritants — Linda Knight Seccaspina

Fleas, Skunks and Other Irritants — Linda Knight Seccaspina

Fleas, Skunks and Other Irritants — Linda Knight Seccaspina

I have encountered my fair share of skunks growing up as a child in the Quebec townships. But, last week my husband Steve got sprayed by a skunk in the yard while the sun was coming up. It seems everyone has come to me throughout the years to remedy an immediate crisis.

Like my sons when they were young, my husband came into the bedroom and almost killed me with the stench. I pretended to still be asleep, but believe you me I knew what was cooking in the bedroom, and it wasn’t love. No matter how many Pepe le Pew jokes you make I wondered if I should wash him in tomatoe juice and baking soda as soon as possible.

 Instantly I sat up and asked a very stupid question.

 “Did you REALLY get sprayed by a skunk?” 

Steve replied with a sad tale about the wee critter lifting his little bottom up in front of him. Now my husband is an American from Berkeley, California and one would think the message about skunks had gotten that far west by now.

What to do? What to do?

It’s not like I can tie him up outside for the day, or get the garden hose out and hose him down. 

It reminded me of the year 2006 when a small flea had been found by my son, and he had told everyone it had not been found on the dog– that they were somewhere in the house. After assuming the necessary precautions, nothing else was found. All of us, with the exception of my oldest son, had green lighted everything. The crisis was over as far as we were concerned. At approximately 2:30 am that night a large flashlight was pointed in my face while I was fast asleep. It was flea fighter son number 1 with a look of terror on his face.

“Mom, I have been in here for 10 minutes shining this flashlight on my white socks and I have found two fleas”.

Apparently the white socks were used as bait and displayed whatever he thought was a flea in fine form on the white colour.

“I can’t sleep upstairs,there are fleas everywhere,” he said.

I strongly and silently disagreed with this as we have gone through this many times with other creatures and insects such as bats and spiders. It never fails that when the oldest is not Kosher with something he comes downstairs to his old room where I sleep so he can sleep in his old bed. 

His former room still holds his childhood Bobbleheads, Beanie Babies, hockey posters, and two small pocket mirrors taped to one of his shelves across from his bed. He constructed those mirrors at age 9 as a plan to see if the boogeyman was coming into his room.

“Mom I don’t think anyone realizes how serious this is as no one will own up to the grave problem we have here,” he continued.

I shot him a look that said everything. How could I take anyone seriously that was going to walk around all day in the summer heat in long jogging pants with white socks pulled up almost to the knees and white shoes. Mind you the white shoes were very soft leather fashionable ones from Aldo. But still–no dice kid!

In the morning he cleaned his room for the upteenth time in 24 hours. He vacuumed, he sprayed, he vacuumed again, and then more spray. To appease my child I vacuumed everywhere also and he followed me and sprayed again. In this house that’s a big job and I was sweating like a dog– the same dog who caused this issue who was now relaxing outside on the veranda not worrying about fleas.

After lunch son number 1 yelled information down the stairs each time he thought he had found new alerts about fleas on the internet. Anyone who has been sick and looked up things on the web knows for a fact that you can scare yourself for life with some of those articles. So far, not one flea had been found, but I began to Google “Symptoms of Toxic Brain Freeze from Aerosols” on the internet.

That night Sky came down the stairs dressed in the same outfit as the night before. White shirt tucked into white printed PJ pants, and white socks pulled up to his ankles. I was exhausted from his shenanigans, and so was the dog who was still crashed out on the veranda. With that he wrapped himself up in two sheets much like a mummy with a giant flashlight in one hand and a cell phone in the other. I shook my head and realized that thoughts like fleas jump from man to man– but they really don’t bite everyone. The dog looked at me and nodded his head in agreement.

Epilogue- 18 years later come Spring, when the spiders begin to venture out I get the occasional text photo from my son about the spiders in his basement– and asking if he should sell his home. 

As for Steve I just called him at work this morning and told him his Warrior’s Tshirt didn’t make it no matter how many times we washed it –but he will be allowed to stay as he has now passed the smell test.

Trying to Put Humour Into Being Sick –Linda Knight Seccaspina

Trying to Put Humour Into Being Sick –Linda Knight Seccaspina


Today is Saturday, August 6th as I write this and I am back to what one could call normal?

Day 4–a Recap

I am not hiding the fact that I have “the plague” as they call it– as it is nothing to be ashamed about. This is a new reality we have to live with and I know now that I also had it in January of 2020. My doctor could not  put his finger on it because there were no antibody tests then. But, having it now just reaffirms what I had in 2020 before the surge. Instead of a few days, it was two horrid months long. We have come a long way, but these are the facts now. We have to live with it. It is the new flu– and it’s awful–hands down. 

Looking in the mirror this morning I look like Bette Davis on a bad day with a semi swollen face and bags hanging under my irritated eyes. I decided to write a blog called “I Look Like Shrek” and then chose not to share it with anyone. Do I really want people to have that impression of me? If I really was Bette Davis I would have ‘my people’ helping me get through this awful day. But I am not her, so instead I daydream about how I longed to be a movie star when I was very young.

Most of my friends know that my favourite actress is Bette Davis. There is absolutely no one that can get her point across in three seconds or less like she could. As a child I used to buy Popeye candy cigarettes and flash them back and forth yelling in my mother’s high heels,

“It’s going to be a bumpy ride!”– or something to that effect.

But, Bette Davis is not wetting her pants today and doing a laundry load of underwear. The sheer force of nature is running through my body with each sneeze. Only I am feeling the true warmth of being sick and trying to sit in various positions tobe comfortable. I am suddenly longing for the time I can stop crossing my legs when I sneeze. As Bette once said:  “Old age is no place for sissies!” and maybe I would be dry as the desert now if I was 31 and not 71.

But, once upon a time I was young and every part of me worked. My mother Bernice Ethylene named me Linda Susan after her two favourite actresses: Linda Darnell and Susan Hayward. From her hospital bed to her wheelchair at home she commanded my father to enroll me in every dance class known to man. Mother Bernice wanted me to become another Joan Crawford as she was her favourite actress and lived, ate and breathed Crawford.

My mother, who was also tone deaf, thought I was born to sing like Deanna Durbin. Every week Reverend Peacock would choose one person to perform a solo at Trinity Anglican Church in Cowansville, Quebec, and my mother called him and suggested that I participate.

Sunday came way too fast and barely standing next to the choir I began to sing. At the end, I hear no bravos in the congregation, but by verse three people are covering their mouths with their handkerchiefs. At the end of my song Dickie Miner in the front pew breaks out into a fit of laughter and ends up on the floor.

I go back to my seat and see Reverend Peacock look down at me through his bifocals in bewilderment. Miss Watson, age 69, the spinster church organist, stamps on the organ pedals and rolls into the next hymn at death defying volume. My musical career ended that day, but Bernice kept insisting that it was okay because they always had stand-in singers for Joan.

Daydreaming over, I come to the conclusion that I’m going to use up a box of Kleenex every hour and it’s going to be a bumpy ride for the next few days. There is no one that is going to stand in for me like Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, but I am lucky it’s only for days and not months or maybe even worse. For the first time in history we can stay inside and watch as much Family Feud (Canadian or American) as we want while chasing it down with a cup of Chicken Noodle Soup. Being sick has made us realize the things we take for granted in life are never to be ignored again, not to mention life itself.

Be well everyone!

Being Old is No Place for Sissies! Part 2

Being Old is No Place for Sissies

This Old House….. Linda Knight Seccaspina

Men that Stare at Balls —  Superbowl Sunday February 5, 2102 — Linda Knight Seccaspina

Men that Stare at Balls —  Superbowl Sunday February 5, 2102 — Linda Knight Seccaspina


Men that Stare at Balls– Linda Knight Seccaspina

The things I know about football:

My father cheered for the losing Toronto Argonauts until he died and even when comedian John Candy took over as owner, he still could not resurrect their life-force.

There is a difference between the CFL and the NFL and it has something to do with the size of the field but don’t ask me about it.

Upon leaving a Canadian University, my best friend’s boyfriend got picked up to play for the Edmonton Eskimos and after a week of practising with men that were double his size he left. The town of Cowansville, Quebec talked about it for at least a year.

I once was a cheerleader for the *Cowansville, Quebec Colts, who only won one football game in two years. I had no idea what they were doing on that field but I can still remember the cheers word for word.

American lobbyist J. C. Watts once played for the Ottawa Rough Riders and was dating one of my staff at the same time. He came to dinner one night and absolutely hated my Italian soup. Watts played football the next day and blamed my soup for feeling ill. No one else was sick so I cursed his game.

When the clock says there is 5 minutes left in the game you know that it’s really somewhere in the neighbourhood of at least 22 minutes.

                                                             Superbowl Sunday February 5, 2102

I have always been on a stadium free diet and knew that “The East Coast Bowl” extravaganza would be on all day.  The only thing I cared about on Superbowl XLVI was the commercials and seeing Madonna. My joys would be the halftime show and eyeing the linesmen bend over during the game. Between you and me there is nothing better than seeing a man in tight pants blocking other players.

If it were not for the commercials and Madge I would rather watch a faucet drip or knit a sweater for the Easter Parade.  Tom Brady’s wife, Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen, did send me one of her mass emails begging me to send good vibes and prayers so her hubby could win the game. Stupid is as stupid does.

Of course I have already watched most of the commercials online but still enjoyed watching David Beckham once again for the same reason I like the linesmen. I still think some of the commercials should be more geared to women. Women are the ones who are busy dishing out stadium style snacks with the Slim Jims lined up in the dip like goal posts.

There is nothing worse than listening to hours and hours of male cheering for those on the field that are getting beaten up and tackled. I have also heard them say that the next best thing to being in the stands is sitting on the couch with friends. Their fragile egos are so geared to sports that if they can’t be out there playing then they like to watch. Note to all the women is that particular view on football seems to be the same way they feel about sex.

This year was the best lip synched show thus far, featuring Madonna and friends. The “Like a Virgin touched for the 3000th time” is nothing but an icon to me. People complained that Madonna could have been the mother of any of the players and everyone wanted to hand her a cane. May I remind you of former older entertainers who also did Super Bowl appearances, like Bono, Springsteen, Aerosmith and the list goes on. I scream double standards and age discrimination and was shocked Betty White was not joining her on stage to do squats and ride the male ponies.

If you were not into football there were the alternatives from the puppy bowl to marathons of AbFab and Downton Abbey. Personally I would take Patsy and Edina’s drunken insanity on AbFab over football any day. I did however vote for Maggie Smith from Downton Abbey for MVP.

Does the football game really say that there is less aggression in women or is it really a matter of a man’s dreams and personal glory? I understand men do not like to explain football to women and I have absolutely no interest in asking why the man in my life does the end zone shuffle screaming,

“We’re number 1!” We’re number 1!”

In the end I may not care for the sport, but I do cherish the few moments during a football game when you can watch a loved one “move like Jagger”. Got to love your personal linesman and worth every second of the irritating sporting event.

Notes from the Peanut Gallery:

What “self-respecting guy” would shell out $14.95 for a pair of Beckams briefs? I can get a 5-pack of boxer briefs at Wal-Mart or Target or Costco for about $12.- Walter B

*Yamaska August 8, 1962

Brome-Missisquoi Junior Football League Schedule

Aug 5 Cowansville Colts vs Farnham Frontenac

Aug 11 Farnham Frontenac vs Knowlton Larks

Aug 18 knowlton larks vs cowansville colts

Aug 25 Farnham Frontenac vs Cowansville Colts

Sept 1 Knowlton Larks vs Farnham Frontenac

Seven 8 cowansville colts vs knowlton larks

Sept 15 Playoffs

Sept 27 Playoffs

Oct 8 Playoff

Yamaska, August 29, 1962

Cowansville Junior Football Club, after a long stand, will host its first game in Cowansville on Saturday, September 1st against the Knowlton Larks. This game will be played at the Municipal Playground, located on Bernard Boulevard, and at 2 PM. There will be a parade if the weather is favorable. She will depart from City Hall at 1hr 15p.m. leading Cowansville Youth Harmony, followed by the league, executive club and players in convertibles. If sometimes it rains, there will be no parade but the parade will still take place at the usual time of 2 P.M. The parade will be rescheduled to next week when Cowansville hosts Farnham Frontenacs.

The Colts will try to hold on to the top spot in the league, having a slight lead over the teams.

Come support your local football league.

The Yamaska Sept 5, 1962

Cowansville Colts play their first game at home. Knowlton Larks win 21-18

The Cowansville Colts were hosted by the Knolwton Larks this past Saturday, September 1. The game took place at the Stadium on Bernard Street in C’ville. Spectators witness a football game being held for the first time in Cowansville. Even though the Larks defeated the Colts by a small three-point margin, these teams displayed a well-balanced game.

The ride was preceded by a parade that rocked City Hall formed by the Cowansville Junior Harmony. She was followed by convertibles carrying Brome-Missisquoi Junior Football League executive and Cowansville Colts Club executive, as well as Horseman M. Armand Beauregard reppin’ the city. Plus the Cowansville players in their blue and white uniforms followed.

The referee was under Mr. Hubert Dubois former Assistant Chief of SRFU and assisted by Dick Ferris of Farnham, Rupert Dobbin of Sweetsburg. A large crowd of supporters were present to support the local club, as well as supporters from Knowlton Larks and Farnham Frontenacs. The latter being the club that will meet Cowansville this week on September 8th at 2 p.m. in the Cowansville township.

Thank you to Cowansville Junior Harmony for showing out during the parade as well as at halftime convertible owners who provided their free help during the parade. Thanks also to Mr Hubert Dubois of the QRFU Montreal has provided his good competition in terms of professional arbitration and it is understood that he will come for future parties. Although the Cowansville Colts lost this game, they are still a great team in the league, and that will be proven at the next game in Cowansville Saturday, September 8th at 2 p.m. vs. Far Frontenacs. Lava.

Come along and support our local club.

The Yamaska 19 Sept 1962

Farnham Frontenacs defeat Cowansville Colts in the last minute it was a surprise 21-19 definite record

COWANSVILLE – In a surprise final, the Farnham Frontenacs lined up to make the winning touch over the Cowansville Colts who will play strongly into the end of the game or the Frontenacs made the final touch to do so win the game. It was apparent that near the final minutes Cowansville’s defensive line was considerably weakened and Farnham’s backfield used a bit of strategy to lock in all the winning points. Colts scored 6-0 in the 1st quarter, 7-6 in the 3rd 19-15 But in the end, the Colts just didn’t look like they were able to go ahead enough to stay near a touchdown margin.

While it was another disappointment for the Colts who just missed a loss to the Knowlton Larks last week, the Colts will play next week for a semi-final first leg, the first ever will be held in Knowlton next sat 15th sept. The second leg will be held at Cowansville, the semi-final will be the series total points between the two clubs. The semi-final winner will play first place with the Farnham Frontenacs in a 2 of 3. Today’s points were counted for Cowansville by: M. Liberty (13), D. Peacock (21), each having a touch, and P. Jordan scores a hit. Farnham was G. Harrison (31), one touchdown, R. Pie (25) two touch, D. Root (27) and H. Takeda got one and two points, respectively.

Colts cheerleaders supported their club perfectly like Farnham’s well organized. M. H. Dubois de Montreal QRFU referee was umpiring the game with the help of Dick Ferris from Farnham and Rupert Dobbin from Sweetsburg. M. A. Just from cowansville was taking minutes and M Ray Tetreault of Farnham was the corrector on these. Young football fans are invited to go to Knowlton for English school semi finals.

Come and support your local club.

Yamaska Oct 17, 1962

In the Brome-Missisquoi Junior League Farnham’s young representatives finished their season in style by winning the Grand Final at Knowlton Larks 24-19

Outliving the Warranty–Linda Knight Seccaspina

Outliving the Warranty–Linda Knight Seccaspina

Outliving the Warranty–Linda Knight Seccaspina

Everything I do these days seems to get a roll of the eye from the younger generation. I honestly don’t know how I got this old, but it beats being dead.  I’ve been told by my sons on previous birthdays the candles on the cake cost more than the birthday cake itself now. So what?

Of course it is a different world these days, and there is no just turning on the AM radio in the morning, or listening to weatherman Percy Salzman at night on the black and white television with only three channels. Now we have computers, social media and cellphones to babysit until we doze off in our living room chair at night.

According to my sons I drive way too slow and should not be on the road. Well, there is the fact I drive only in the radius of the county, but either I am not pushing the gas pedal hard enough, or I am talking and pointing to something without checking what is coming my way. Yes, sometimes that can be a problem, I admit it.

Then there are my oversize glasses. I bought them specifically for style as it hides the bags under my eyes and I am getting more bang for my buck with large lenses for vision. Yes, it is one step under needing a seeing eye dog. However, one day my eldest drove by me on the road and my glasses were way down on my nose, and he said the next time he saw me like that he would disown me. I told him someone must have sent out a memo stating that after 65, wearing huge glasses is in.  I reminded him that people start to shrink as they get older, and glasses need to grow in the opposite direction. He wasn’t buying it!

I have also learned that in most cases if you call your kids and leave voicemail, good luck to you. If you send a text you should get a return message in 3-4 working days if you are lucky. It’s similar to laundry: washing- 30 minutes, drying-60 minutes and putting it away-7-10 working days.

How can you convey to your kids that we are now older? It takes longer to get out of the chair, or off the couch with possible sound effects. They need to understand we have aches and pains and maybe cleaning my fridge is not at the top of my list.  Yes, I am not a young Mum anymore— but that’s the journey talking and one day their strange noises will be a lot louder than ours.

Then there is the debate about Instagram and Facebook. Yes, I am on Instagram so I can see my grandkids photos where the younger family hangs out, but I am, and have always been, an enthusiastic Facebook user. Instagram just doesn’t seem to have my age-group variety of Memes, photos of other folks’ grandkids and funny cat photos.

Bottom line is, even if my kids think I am old and out of touch, that’s nonsense. In our heads we are anything but. We are just all enthusiastic, and just love remembering and telling stories about our childhoods:

“Jell-O moulds with fruit trapped inside, and drinking out of the hose and the outdoor street lights being our guide to go home at night. Those are experiences that kids today just won’t have”.

At my age I am going to continue to fumble and mumble and tell people to speak up for the rest of my life. Criticisms of me slowing down will not bother me at all either. Last week I wore my underwear backwards all day for some reason, but I knew in my heart it didn’t matter. That’s because I still remember the old days of  being told to make sure you have clean underwear on– no matter which way it faces. In the olden days it was the fear of accidents, now it’s the possibility of meeting up with a full body scanner somewhere. It’s cheaper anyways to go through the airport than setting up an appointment with your doctor.