Monthly Archives: March 2016

Saying goodbye to Florida

It has been a great winter stay down here full of sunny days, friends, healthy food, peace and downright fun.  We head for home with mixed emotion- happy to be soon seeing our loved ones and friends – sad that it is all over for another year.  We have secured a rental for next year so are already thinking about coming back God willing.

In the last week so so we took a few pics to say goodbye for now.  Thanks for following our story.


Bye Fort Myers Beach Pier


Bye really fresh fruit


Bye yummy vegetables


Bye yoga in the park


Bye pool


Bye Resurrection of Our Lord Church


Bye shells


Bye lush vegetation


Bye walks on the beach


Bye seagulls


Bye gray squirrels


Bye Sanibel


Bye pelicans


Bye March breakers on Fort Myers Beach



Bye Fort Myers Beach Doc Ford’s


Bye Florida sunshine

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Estero Cousins and Ball Game

One of the things we like to do in FL each year is meet up with Dave’s cousins who stay in Estero each winter.  Estero is about a 30 min. drive south from where we are so we often meet in the middle to catch up and share Florida tall tales.

This year was no different.  We met Cheryl and Larry at Lakes Park one Friday morning and went to the green market they have there.  We love picking up some fresh vegetables, fruit and an artisan bread.  Then we go for a walk around the park and stop for a picnic lunch.


Summer tomatoes


Having fun at Lakes Park


Our grandsons would love this


With Larry and Cheryl in Lakes Park

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From centre clockwise Larry, Lynn Carson, Cheryl, son Jim, daughter-in-law Lynn at the Grandeeza Country Club for dinner March 2016 (cousin Brian Carson missing)


A new activity this year was to go to a baseball spring training game.  The Boston Red Sox play at Jet Blue Park and the Minnesota Twins at Hammond Field.  John Jarrell kindly gave us some tickets to a Minnesota – Pittsburgh Pirates game.  The seats were excellent and we really enjoyed the afternoon.  Pittsburgh won 2-0 in a closely fought game.  On our activity list to do again next year with the Jarrells.



The Pittsburgh bench


At the game



Pittsburgh beat the home team


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Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Title: Uncle Tom's Cabin (Barnes & Noble Classics Series), Author: Harriet Beecher Stowe

I wanted to read this book because of Lincoln’s purported greeting to author Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1862 when they met:  “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.”

It tell’s the story of Uncle Tom a slave who went from good master to bad.  Tom a devout Christian, is killed by the bad master at the end because he “refuses to let anything separate him from the love of Christ.”  Tom is ordered by Legree to flog 2 fellow slaves and he refuses as it is morally wrong.  Tom is ordered to divulge to Legree where 2 escapee slaves are hiding but again refuses to for the same reason.  In a fit of rage Legree strikes him down and Tom eventually dies of his wounds – a happy man I might add.

Morally uplifting this story was written in 1852 to expose the practices of slavery to American society and promote abolition of slavery.  It set off a publishing revolution that sold millions of copies, propelled slavery to the dinner conversation across America and led to the creation of “Tom” plays and movies that still reverberate today.

Now seen as somewhat racist in its approach due to stereotyping and over the top by others, it was the story of it’s times that polarized Americans and no doubt stoked the fires that led to the American Civil War 1862-65.  There is even an extraordinary endpiece by Stowe that explains why she wrote the story, the moral wrongness of slavery where she includes the North as being guilty too for abetting and enabling the continuation of the problem.

There is some good news.  Tom by his stoic and prayerful witness leads several others to find the Lord and change their thinking and actions.  One slave family makes it safely to Canada and we find them embarking for Liberia in search of their new life.  Slavery was abolished in the U.S. in 1865.

Some points learned.  A slave’s life was not so bad if they had a good master who treated them with respect and care.  However, should the master fall into financial difficulty or die, the owned slaves would be sold on the market.  Families were separated, a bad master could be your new owner and you could be abused, raped and beaten at whim.   A black person could not testify in any court at least in the South.  Hence the master could act as a total despot when no other whites were around as there would be no other witness with legal standing.  Finally the Fugitive Slave Act applied penalties to any one in a “free state” who was found helping a slave to escape the South.

I liked this book more than I thought I would.  4 out of 5 stars.








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City of Palms

McGregor Blvd

McGregor Blvd in Fort Myers

Fort Myers truly is the city of palms.  From the Royal palm lined McGregor Blvd above, to the numerous palm varieties in everyone’s yard to the palm sheaves given out on Palm Sunday at church.  Here are some typical varieties of palm trees in our immediate neighbourhood.

The Royal palm can grow to 80 feet in height.  Smooth gray-white trunk topped with a green crownshaft and a long luxurious frond.  They are sought after in landscaping of houses on large properties and lining roadways and walkways.


Royal palm

The Coconut palm can grow to 50 feet tall and produces coconuts at random times after 6 to 8 years.  The coconuts take a year to ripen.


Coco palm

The very common Queen palm is fast growing attaining 40 feet.  Inexpensive, they are very popular and produce orange fruit which drops and can be messy.


The Queen palm

The Latania comes in a red and blue variety and has gorgeous fan shaped fronds that grow to 8 feet across.


A beautiful Latania

The Canary Island Date palm is sometimes also called the Pineapple palm.  The crusty thick leaf scar pattern and huge crown of stiff leaves are reminiscent of a pineapple.


Canary Island Date palm

The Washingtonia  palm is also known as the Mexican fan palm have very beautiful trunks and rich fan like plumage.  They are a favorite with builders and can grow to 100 feet tall.


A stand of Washingtonia

The Foxtail palm is known for its smooth gray trunk, bright green crownshaft and big tufted fronds that each resemble a foxtail.


Two Foxtail palms with a curved trunk Queen to the left

On Palm Sunday I was curious to see what would happen.  The ushers brought out several bundles of palm leaves wrapped in clear plastic.  They gave them out as we exited the church.  It is safe to say that they were not too worried about running out – they could have grabbed more growing not 20 feet from the door.  The City of Palms – no more appropriate place to be on Palm Sunday.

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Sanibel Friends – Part 2

Again this year we visited Dick and Carol Lindman, our good friends who live on beautiful Sanibel Island.

We met Dick on the Camino de Santiago de Compostella in Spain on our very first day in 2010.  Our paths kept crossing throughout the pilgrimage and we struck up a friendship.  Not having obtained his contact information, I subsequently found him and Carol using Google, having remembered he was a pastor based in NW Arkansas.

Since then we have visited Dick and Carol in Arkansas, Arnprior, Connecticut and now Sanibel twice.  They are a lovely couple and we enjoy catching up with each other on family and spiritual related matters.  When Dick and Carol came to Arnprior in 2012, they payed a visit to the Galilee Centre with us to discuss our Camino pilgrimage experiences.

This year was no different.  We visited Dick and Carol in their beautiful home 2 blocks from the beach.  We then enjoyed a delicious sea food meal at Traders before saying bye for now again.  Truly blessed to have you as our friends.

A few pics to tell the story better.


Dick 2nd from left on the first night of our Camino


Dick, Marie and friends in Obanos at the annual commemoration of Sts. Felicia and Guillen


Dick and Carol at their Arkansas home


In Connecticut


At their home in Sanibel


Lovely gardens and lanai




This year after catching up again


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Sanibel Friends – Part 1

Sanibel is a barrier island that juts out to the north west from the coast at Fort Myers.  It is about 20 miles long by a few miles wide.  With a population of 6500, it is about half the size of Arnprior.  There is a second smaller island called called Captiva connected by bridge at the end of Sanibel.

The island is known for its natural beaches, nature preserves and shelling.  It is also known for its traffic jams in winter.  There are thousands of vacation rentals and the rush from the mainland to the beach and back causes daily monumental traffic jams.  The toll bridge cost of $6 is a small deterrent it seems.  However if you are fortunate enough to live or rent on the island, you do most of your travel by bicycle on the many miles of bike paths for that purpose.

An engineer friend from university days, John and his wife Anita Jarrell have been renting on Sanibel for many years.  We have visited them many times now it seems so again this year was to be looked forward too.  We met at the Mucky Duck community beach bar and restaurant on Captiva.  Days later we visited them in their beach front condo.  They came here yesterday for a visit and we will be seeing them one more time before their return to Saskatoon.  Here are a few pics of our get togethers this year.


Captiva Island beach


Beach entrance to the Mucky Duck


The crazy parking lot at the MD.  You keep looping around until a space comes available and he calls your number.  Public parking is very limited on Captiva and Sanibel.


Marie, John and Anita


Another perfect sunset on Captiva


Piles of shells on Sanibel Island


John.  Originally from Toronto, he spent his career in the uranium mining and processing business.


Life is tough.


Yet another perfect sunset on Sanibel.

John and Anita spent another week at a second condo on Sanibel this year.  We were fortunate to visit them there too.  A few more pics tell this part of the story.



View from the lania


Live Florida Fighting Conchs on the beach


Wedge salad with friends

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Spotlight the movie and book

Spotlight the movie took best movie in the Oscars this week.  We watched it last night.  I was disappointed as they made the story about the investigative team and how they overcame RC archdiocese resistance to get the story of child abuse and cover-up out, rather then what was going on in the church it self.

By coincidence, I had just finished reading the book and did not even know until Oscar night that a movie of this story had been made.  Here is my book review.

This is the story of how the Boston Globe broke the story of massive coverups of sexual abuse of boys in the Boston Archdiocese by Cardinal Bernard F. Law in 2002.
Basically they asked the court to order the Archdiocese to release all related documents of priests that had been accused of pedophilia. The court agreed and the walls came tumbling down.
It seems Cardinal Law routinely transferred priests that had been accused of abuse to other parishes where they were free to molest yet more victims. The most famous case was that of Fr John Geoghan accused of dozens of molestation over many years. All told there were more than 70 priests accused of abusing over 500 victims, that had been whitewashed in Boston. Nationwide, as a result of the cathartic release the Boston story had, there were shortly 1500 priests accused of 7500 abuses.
The book was disappointing as it talked about case after case with much less analysis of why the abuse in the first place and why the coverup in the second. The Catholic Church hierarchy at the time are painted as being extremely arrogant and the Church as harbouring some very dark secrets.
The book does mention that offending priests were routinely sent for treatment to specialized facilities such as this one in Canada
After treatment and assessment, the hierarchy were usually advised that it would be safe to return the priest to active duty.  No one properly understood at the time what they were dealing with and the extremely high risk of recidivism involved in pedophelia.
There is now a zero tolerance for priests “credibly” accused to sexual abuse of minors. Very few Bishops were prosecuted for their complicity in the coverup. Cardinal Law eventually resigned but was moved to a prestigious Vatican Church to finish out his years.
All in all a sordid story of betrayal and lack of accountability that drove millions away from the Catholic Church in English speaking counties. 2.5 of 5 stars.
However some good has come of this.  The zero tolerance for sexual abuse and reporting procedures now in place in RC dioceses and archdioceses.  The USCCB issues a comprehensive annual report of sexual abuse cases each year found here:
I have yet to find a similar report in Canada.  However Sylvia’s site does a good job of tracking priestly abuse cases in Canada:

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Our New Digs

We moved across the street for March to a 2 bedroom unit as we could not stay where we were as it was booked for March.  It is much more fancier inside and out.  Here are a few pics – lot’s of room for visitors if you want to fly down for a stay!

While the unit is nice, it is a little more pricey.  The pool water is at 32 deg C and the pool get’s very crowded in the PM.

People are very friendly.  We met Alice Marie next door as we were moving in.  Two couples from Ottawa and a bunch of nice people from Wisconsin.

Our walk to Walmart is only 5 minutes now and it’s about the same distance now that we we had before to walk to church.  Bigger TV, better A/C, nicer beds.  We are really enjoying our new abode.

Oh yeah, and the pizza place is much closer!



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