If this old chair could talk... lakeside stories from a long time ago. It's in a pleasant place, overlooking the water. I think the old man turned it upside down to protect it from the weather, and walked home for the last time.
Often I go to the office early - before dawn on many occasions. I like to do the work I can get done at the start of the day so I can be by the lake once the sun is up.
Here's the view from my office window this morning. If you look closely you may see my nose print on the screen as I pine for my chair beside the water.
Mallards feeding in the small patch of open water in front of the house provided hours of pleasant viewing this afternoon. This handsome pair glided softly and silently through the water, weaving tiny ripples through the shadows of shoreline trees reflected on the lake surface as they searched out their afternoon snacks.
Remember when chicken wings and pork ribs were throw aways because there wasn't much meat on them?
In recent years those parts have not only become popular, but they also command a royal price.
I love them both, but they are pretty pricey so I decided to try some substitutes for general everyday barbequing.
This weekend I bought a pork butt roast and cut it into strips about the size of individual pork ribs, and barbequed the batch real low and slow for about six wonderful, aromatic hours.
Slathered in a nice sauce, they weren't quite like ribs, but they turned out to be most delicious. I'm sure I'll tweak the recipe and process a little bit, but will definitely do this again. They were excellent, and economical.
I have named them piglets.
Mary and I had just gotten home from our anniversary dinner Friday night. Here's a gorgeous April 24th evening view across the lake through our living room window - a scene we've loved for the last 33 years. A stormy sky and the serene, beautiful shadows of the setting sun on a frozen lake paint a magnificent picture.
As we left the restaurant, our hostess, with a smile and a wink, suggested, "I guess you'll have something special when you get home..."
Mrs. MacKenzie, bless her, winked back, and answered very quietly, "Oh, yes! We have a carton of frozen yogurt... chocolate."
Today I noticed little golden globs on many emerging poplar buds. The globs, themselves, are tiny - the size of the head of a pin - but smell wonderfully like a healing salve when smushed and rubbed on the skin. I have heard spring oils from our northern poplar tree buds referred to as Balm of Gilead, but don't think it's the same stuff as the Biblical medicine of that name.
I have never noticed the tiny bubbles emerge like this. I'll have to do some research. Meantime, if anyone has knowledge of this, please share.
The odor is very pleasant and soothing. Almost makes me want to have aching muscles or a small cut to rub it on.
Yesterday my head was in the clouds... I liked this picture because a tiny gnat was perched on my lens. I didn't notice it until I looked at the pictures this morning.
Here is the scene from my deck on the north shore of Pelican Lake this afternoon. To some, it may seem that I am wasting the hours lounging and dreaming at the lake-side.
I have been watching this marvel of nature unfold from right here for the last 38 years. It's spring! The ice will melt ever so slowly over the next couple weeks, and the anticipation of open water and boating and summer will spark pleasant thoughts second only to a young man's fancy of love.
During ice-out, rules are suspended for old guys with high blood pressure and diabetes, allowing them to wash down beef jerky and whoopie pies with a bottle of Shiraz, followed by the smoking of a good Cuban cigar while admiring the graceful gulls squawking and gliding overhead, as baby back ribs smolder and smoke on the barbeque.
The contentment is exquisite.
Yesterday I hiked out to camp to enjoy a warm, spring afternoon. Part way along a trail through the bush is this vista with a river starting to open up where the current is flowing. I'm still guessing May 3 for the official ice-out on Pelican Lake, but it's nice to see some open water on a sunny day in mid April.
Tall tales spun at Toastmasters open house
Tim Brody - Associate Editor
The Sioux Lookout Bulletin - April 8, 2015
A trip to Alaska and a summer at a grandparents’ farm. Two tales that started off simply enough, but soon took some unusual twists.
These were the stories shared at the Sioux-per Speakers Toastmasters March 31, Tall Tales Contest at Queen Elizabeth District High School.
Toastmasters’ guests Dick MacKenzie and Merle Burkholder said weaving and telling their tall tales was a great deal of fun.
“I loved it,” MacKenzie said. “It was wonderful and Toastmasters is always so supportive, it’s a pleasure to speak here.”
“I enjoyed it. It was great,” Burkholder agreed.
MacKenzie enraptured his audience with his tale of travelling to Alaska in his early 20s, visiting the International Hotel (or Big I) and meeting a striking character by the name of Lee Craft, who sported a distinctive handlebar moustache. MacKenzie later shared with his audience how Craft was observed floating up into the air and knocking on the ceiling calling, let me in, let me in.
In the spirit of a true tall tale, MacKenzie said his story started off truly, but then took on a life of its own, “A lot of the story was just totally made up. Nobody floats to the ceiling like a helium balloon but it’s an exercise in imagination.”
Burkholder had his audience spellbound while he wove a tale of himself at age 10, and his brother, visiting their grandparents’ farm.
His grandmother had passed away and he and his brother were tasked with getting rid of her cherry wine supply.
Burkholder told of feeding it to the farm’s chickens who then refused to lay eggs without their morning pick me up.
His story took a twist when he and his brother decided to work for a neighbour who supplied them with wine for the chickens to keep them producing in exchange for shelling corn.
As the summer waned, the boys hit upon the tactic of slowing adding Kool-Aid to the wine until the chickens were drinking nothing but that.
Burkholder said of his tale, “I thought if it’s going to be a tall tale it needs to cross that line into imagination and I just thought, how could that story end?”
Both tale tellers had advice for aspiring storytellers.
“My advice would be to just do it… I just write down some points and mull them over,” MacKenzie said.
“I think storytelling comes with practise and it’s really in the presentation, in the telling, so practise,” Burkholder added.
Burkholder was declared the contest winner, which came as a significant surprise he said, “I really was. I thought Dick’s story was very good.”
Contest chair Stu Cummings explained, “Every year Toastmasters tries to do an open house to bring people in to find out what Toastmasters is all about.
“This year we choose a tall tales contest as a method of doing that. “It’s a sneaky way to recruit people. We get them talking, and enjoying themselves and it’s a good chance for people who have not spoken in public to come out and learn some of the techniques, some of the things we do. We learn a new word every week so you’re increasing your vocabulary. Having fun together, that’s what it’s all about.”
He said of the tall tales format, “First thing is the tall tale must be an original story. It starts out believable and then turns into something that crosses a line somewhere into something that is not believable or least shouldn’t be believable. Your job as the tall teller is to present it as absolute gospel truth and hope people believe it.”
Toastmasters he said, can help people speak clearly, think effectively, lead enthusiastically and be more comfortable speaking in front of others.
“We invite people come in and just sit and listen,” he said. “We don’t want to have someone think as soon as they walk in the door they’re going to be ganged up on to do something they’re not comfortable doing. First thing is getting people comfortable being there.”
If people aren’t sure if Toastmasters is for them, Cummings posed the following, “Have you ever had to go to a job interview? Answer questions you weren’t ready for? Have you ever had your boss say, would you come and make a presentation on this in front of the group? You’ve just been to a seminar and the boss asks you to tell everyone what you learned. All these skills you learn at Toastmasters will prepare you to do that.”
The club meets at QEDHS Tuesday’s at 7 p.m.
- See more at: http://www.siouxbulletin.com/tall-tales-spun-at-toastmasters-open-house?id=1620#sthash.skkQVOeE.dpuf