Monday, October 31, 2011




When I first met Kelly back in the summer of 1993 she was living in Cambridge Ontario and still had 3 of her children living with her.  Sabra, Jason and Ben.  Sarah was already in Vancouver and I think Rebecca might have been in Japan.  I was living in Stratford at the time about an hour's drive west of Cambridge.  Needless to say whenever I went over to Kelly's it was always a bit of a culture shock for me.  Despite being 49 at the time I had never really been around an active happy family before and certainly not teen agers.  Her kids always had friends dropping in and hanging out.  The place was a beehive of activity. The term I would most often hear the guys use with each other was, "Hey Buddy' so it didn't take me long to nickname Kelly's kids and all their friends, the 'Hey Buddy Gang.'



This was all a great learning experience for me and one of the first things that impressed me right from the beginning and continues to this present day is how well behaved and how well mannered all of Kelly’s Kids are.   And, how well they all get along.  No bad apples in this bunch.  They were, and still are, a great bunch of mature trouble free young people and I think that is a direct result of Kelly's personality.   She was one of those Mom's who sidestepped some main stream traditional ways of thinking.  Her independent nature, sense of value and logical approach to life has been passed on to her children and I believe that has stood them all in good stead over the years.   Just like their Mom….they are all good people.



But, I must tell you something about the very first time I walked into Kelly’s house in Cambridge and specifically, walked into her kitchen.  I don't think I have blogged about this before but it was something I saw that day that I still see (to a much lesser degree) today.  We have never talked about it and yet after every meal this little ritual has quietly taken place every day for the past 16 years since we have lived together.  I am an only child and grew up with adults in the house.  My Mother, my Stepfather, my Uncle and my Grandfather.  Every night after supper my Mother would clear the table with help from my Uncle and after rinsing the plates off would stack the dishes beside the sink in a neat and orderly fashion.  The sink was filled with hot soapy water and the dishes washed and dried.  That is the routine I grew up with.



When I first walked into Kelly's kitchen I was staggered by the HUGE pile of dishes all heaped in the sink.  Looked like a bomb had gone off or a whole crowd of people had just stampeded through the kitchen and dumped their dishes willy nilly into the sink.  I had never seen dishes stacked so high in a sink like that before, but as I said, this was my first experience with grown teen agers.  Not just one, but three of them.  It seems teens are always eating, always on the go and always making a mess.  I had to understand and accept that this was the way it was. 


Now, fast forward to today.  Same after meal routine for Kelly and same after meal routine for me.  And, here's how it works every day.   After supper Kelly sets her dirty dishes kind of willy nilly in the sink and that's it.  I walk over to the sink, pick up each dish, rinse it off and stack them all in a neat and orderly fashion beside the sink.  Sometimes one of us may wash the dishes right away but as often as not they get washed the following morning.  No matter if we are on the road or at home we both have our little after meals routine.  And, we have never discussed it simply because there is nothing to discuss.  We are both comfortable in our little habits and see no need to reform the other in new ways of willy nilly or neat stacking:))

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Great to see Kelly visiting this weekend with her whole family.  Not often anymore they can all get together under one roof.  Also great for her to see all the Grandkids and especially the two little ones from Vancouver which I'm thinking may be for the very first time.  Despite all my grumbling and blustering these past 3 weeks about our delayed departure I am glad in the end that it worked out the way it it did and Kelly had the opportunity to spend this time with her family.  Not being a very family oriented person I sometimes forget and fail to understand just how very important the love of family can truly be.  Oh, so much for AL to learn and so little time left for him to learn it.


Halloween night 9 years ago was cold & pouring rain. I remember that specific night because it was the night Kelly and I drove out of the old farm house lane near Fullarton Ontario for the very last time.   We had happily lived in that old tumble down house for over 7 years.   Halloween night Kelly had gone on ahead of me in her little 323 Mazda loaded with last minute household things. I wasn't too far behind her with our 97 Dodge Ram pick-up truck loaded to overflowing with the very last of our possessions. Just enough room in the cab for Max & I. It would be another couple of years before we met Checkers & the Motormouse.  So, with windshield wipers slapping back and forth I headed into the darkened night with the truck heater whirring away keeping Max & I warm & toasty.  I think a couple doggy songs were even sung along the way.  We finally made the 40 minute drive through the cold rain to our new adventure and our new beginnings.  Yes, it was Halloween night alright but despite a nasty 'trick' the weather had played on us, it was a real 'treat' to be moving into our very own warm & very cozy little place.


I didn’t enlarge all the photos tonight because the camera quality was very poor on some of them.

Oh, and what great masterpiece of a meal did I come up with for supper this evening?  Well, that's easy.........porridge:))

GROANER'S CORNER:((    We’d finally built our dream home, but the contractor had a concern: the placement of an atrium window for our walk-in shower. "I’m afraid your neighbours might have a good view of you au naturel," he said.

My middle-aged wife put him at ease. "Don’t worry," she said. "They’ll only look once."

-Tourists see the world, travelers  experience it.
-Until one has loved an Animal, their  soul remains un-awakened.
The only thing better than right now  will someday be the memories of
right  now...AL.


  1. great pics great looking family :)....I can relate to your blog after raising three sons and two daughters...the friends, the mess, the dishes...I miss it all now that they are all grown :)....glad you could all get together...the grands are adorable...

  2. How great for Kelly to be with her family before you leave.
    I think Kelly will wonder about the willy nilly and the neat stacking routine, now that you have brought it up!
    Happy Tails and Hugs to MM and Pheebs, and Happy Trails to you two, Penny, TX

  3. Looks like Kelly is enjoying all the family time... it is sure important! Travel time will come soon!

  4. OK Al,
    If you're really a toast lover then this song is dedicated to you.

  5. Great pictures of Kelly's family. Those grand kids are so cute. I like to have porridge for supper..Skip not so much.

  6. glad you have seen the light and realized how important it was for Kelly to spend some quality time with her kids and grandkids!..soon she will be home and you will getting those motorhome wheels pointing south!!!..enjoy the sounds of silence for now!!

  7. What a wonderful lesson on compromise and acceptance. That's what helps make relationships strong.

    Kelly's family sure looks like they are having a good time. And the grands are adorable. So glad she had this time with them. You're is important.

  8. Wonderful family, and interesting thoughts from you, Al. One of my favorite meals when I'm here by myself is a can of sardines and a can of spinach. Drain the spinach, put some wine vinegar and salt & pepper on it, open the sardines and dump 'em on top. Donna thinks it smells and looks disgusting, so I can't eat it when she's home. Happy Halloween, and thanks for sharing.

  9. I don't generate many dishes throughout the day, so I stack them in the dishpan and do everything after my supper, but I leave them to put away until the next morning. I'll be glad if and when I get the dishwasher fixed and don't have to look at them.

    It's so good that Kelly is able to spend time with her kids and grandkids. The two of you will be on your way south before you know it.

  10. We are going to Milwaukee to see my 4 kids and all the grandkids for Christmas. Your photos have wet my appetitie, thanks for sharing.

  11. Spending time with family is a great way to kick off a long time away from them. We will do the same the 12th...and hopefully leave the 14th.
    What exactly IS porridge??? Last time I heard that word was reading The Three Bears...

  12. Good Post AL,,,,both you and I are busy enjoying our wives children,,

    That's a good thing!

  13. Wonderful blog Al! We have that same situation in our family--Mike is an only child and struggles sometimes to understand the closeness of Janna's family and the need to be with family. You wrote a beautiful tribute to Kelly and her family.