Sharing with you things that are on my mind...Maybe yours too. Come back to Wrights Lane for a visit anytime!

30 August, 2012



George Mogridge (1787 – 1854) was a prolific 19th century writer, poet and author of children's books and religious tracts.  I have written extensively on Wrights Lane about his "Old Humphrey" character.

George Mogridge
In 1833 The Religious Tract Society of London invited Mogridge to contribute "articles on a variety of familiar topics treated in a popular manner." Mogridge chose to write these under a new pen-name, "Old Humphrey".  He originally intended "Old Humphrey" to be no more than a pseudonym, but with the unexpected popularity of the articles, the public were soon keen to know more about "Old Humphrey", and the author's identity became a matter of popular speculation in the press. In response Mogridge began to imbue his pseudonym with the character of an elderly, kind hearted gentleman, responding to one newspaper's article, "Who is Old Humphrey?" with an enigmatic description beginning:

"If you see an elderly-looking man parting two passionate boys who are fighting; giving twopence to a poor girl who has by accident broken her jug, to make all right again; picking up a fallen child out of the dirt; guiding a blind man carefully across the street; or hesitating for a moment if an importunate beggar is an impostor or not and then deciding in his favour; if you see such a one, so occupied, he is not unlikely to be Old Humphrey."

The 'Old Humphrey' articles proved so popular with the public that Mogridge was eventually to write 46 articles and books under that name over a period of 20 years.

From the time I began putting pen to paper, I adopted "Old Humphrey" as my alter ego.  His homespun philosophy and unique 19th century writing style completely captivated me and I have patterned much of my work after him.  I have even concocted imaginary conversations with him.  In fact, I visited him during a quiet spell this evening and we chatted about  a number of things, most notably the "changing times".  Typically, it was a rather one-sided conversation -- me the listener and he the talker.

Knowing full well that I was touching a nerve, I marvelled at how much times have changed since Humphrey was a young man at the peak of his writing career.

"We're always talking about the changing times; but though we moralize much, I fear we mend but little," Humphrey remarked, almost scolding me for bringing up the subject.  "It seems to be kind of privilege, charter and birthright among aged people to praise the past times, and deplore the present.  The shadowy future is not so frequently the subject of conversation."

"In my day, the pulling down of old houses and the building of new ones; the deaths of old men; alterations in the customs and fashions that once prevailed, and the changes in opinions of mankind, have so altered the world that it is indeed other than it was.  We used to take matters quietly and move about more at our ease, but now bustle is the order of the day..."

I took the opportunity to suggest that older people, in particular, might do well to remember that they too are changing.  "You're absolutely right," replied Humphrey.  "My limbs used to be more active than they are; and my brow was once free from wrinkles.  Whether I regard it or not, these grey hairs tell a tale to which I ought to listen.  

"Have the years through which I have passed been many?  You bet, and the fewer then are those that remain to me and the stronger the reason for my thinking less of seasons gone by and more of those that are to come.  

"Let me, then, amid the alterations of the times and the sundry and manifold changes of the world, look to Him who changes not and fix my heart where true joys are alone to be found."

I'll be darned if you haven't done it again Humphrey.  Time stands still for no man, but It is never too late to seek spiritual stability in our lives and we do not have to look far to find it.  Hope you don't mind if I quote you on this, old friend.
"Thoughts for The Thoughtful" by Old Humphrey,  a book left to me by my grandmother Harriet (Peck) Perry.  It was given to her when she was "a little girl", approx. 1865. 

26 August, 2012


"Yes, I cry and feel an intense loneliness that is beyond comprehension.  I can be surrounded by people, even laughing, yet feel like my other half is missing, but I also feel that I must remain British and 'stay calm, carry on.'   I could feel my late father's presence in Roger's hospital room -- 'Steady as she goes dear, steady as she goes; don't flap now'."  -- Liz
Two weeks ago I posted a rather personal story under the heading "Things Happen for a Reason."  It was an account of how, by happenstance, a young widow gifted Rosanne and I with an assortment of vegetables from her dead husband's garden.  The story touched the hearts of many readers of Wrights Lane and for that reason I feel that an update is warranted.

Those who read the original story will recall that we did not get the name of the woman who entered our lives in such an impactful way in a Tim Horton's parking lot and of my wish to eventually meet her again.  (For refreshment purposes, the original "Roger's Vegetables..." item is reproduced at the conclusion of this post.)

Well, just as miraculous as our first meeting and every bit as co-incidental, I thought that I recognized the woman placing an order at the same Tim Horton's late last week.  "Excuse me, are you the person who gave us some vegetables from your late husband's garden?" I asked.  The audible gasp and subsequent embrace told me that she was indeed "that" woman.

"I've been hoping that I'd see you again," she said.

A wide-ranging, non-stop, 10-minute conversation ensued during which we shared personal information.  I told "Liz" that I had written about her and gave her the link to Wrights Lane.  We have met several times since then and our supply of Roger's vegetables has been substantially replenished.  I've even heard from a sister-in-law, Katherine, who is married to Roger's older brother.  Our new friendship continues to grow and snowball.

I have discovered a brave and articulate 50-year-old woman with a kind heart and infectious smile -- the type of person who radiates warmth.  You feel like you have always known her.  In an email message to me earlier this week she revealed some things about her self that are reflective of her unique character.  She is the mother of three (two teenagers) and the grandmother of one.

Widowhood is a whole new domain for Liz.  "A walk through no-man's land," as she puts it.  She talked about her journey, her "lifeboat" crew and the new life that lays ahead for her.

"There are no road maps for this journey.  Many women have worn the path smooth, and yet it is still rocky for me," Liz explained.  "Friends and family hold you up for the first few days as one blindly moves through a time warp of surreal proportions.  Then over the course of the next few weeks you find out who the real lifeboat crew are going to be."

She continued:  "My dear friend Celia and I both turned 50 this year.  She started a lifeboat list -- a careful reflection of one's world and the names of those we wanted in our lifeboat if and when the ship was sinking.  We each came up with a mental list.

"Who knew just a few weeks later that my boat would in fact sink with as much forewarning as the Titanic.  I went from listening on Friday, June 29, as a doctor told my husband that she had found possible tumors during an endoscopy, to being told they were performing aggressive life support and finally holding him as he slipped away on the 3rd. of July."

Celia held on to Liz, draped across her back, as life slipped away from Roger.  She then got out the paddles and started rowing her to safety.  Somehow they got through telling the children, arranging a funeral, standing through a visitation of over 150 people and saying goodbye.  They were a very quiet family that kept to themselves.  Liz had friends, but no big social circles.

"Celia steered our lifeboat and many helped her -- people from my list and to my surprise, a number who I had not considered," Liz went on to explain.  "Some people I assumed would be in my lifeboat, jumped ship and swam quickly in the other direction.  Others paddled furiously for a day or two and then slipped beneath the waters of their own grief.

"When it was time to finally move on and to stand on my own two feet -- a little doddery and with a sometimes painfully forced smile -- I let my lifeboat crew take a well-deserved rest.  One day I will need to paddle for them with as much energy as they gave me, or more.

"It was during this period that I met you and your lovely wife.  I think that Roger gave me a little nudge towards new friends.

"So to my new friends, Dick and Rosanne, 'thank you'.  You are a prime example of why my children and I have decided to stay on in Port Elgin.  We had planned on retiring here anyway.  Roger's soul is here, his garden is here and our life will be here."

Roger passed away at a cancer centre in Hamilton, near his hometown of Beamsville.  He will be interred in the Port Elgin Cemetery later this month in a lovely columbarium looking out over towering maple trees.  "We will walk one step at a time through our new lives," concludes Liz.

I know that I speak for Rosanne when I assure this wonderful young woman who is the same age as our oldest daughter, that we will be with her every step of the way.  God is our witness.

Yes, things do happen for a reason...And people come into our lives for a reason.  People always need people!

And yet, it all still gives us cause to think -- and to wonder.


Dyou believe things happen for a reason? I have always leaned in that direction.

More often than not, when something happens in my life, it isn’t long before I can see why. And when I understand the reason why something happened – whether that “something” was good or bad – I get a sense that something, or Someone, has had a hand in my life, or that a anachronistic energy is at work, or some power is putting events into place quite consciously with my/our highest good in mind. 

I cannot pass up the opportunity to share with my readers an incident that happened to Rosanne and I today.  Most unusual, touching, coincidental -- predestined in retrospect.

We were sitting in the parking lot of our local Tim Horton's this afternoon enjoying a refreshing Ice Cap with a shot of Espresso.  Because of the bright sun we did not park in our usual handicapped spot, opting instead for the partially shaded protection of the front entrance.  Rosanne had just expressed a craving for Borscht (Ukrainian beet soup) and was wondering if the weather was too hot to make it.  A van momentarily pulled up beside us and a pleasant-looking middle-aged woman got out and opened the side door of her vehicle, pulling out two large plastic bags overflowing with green leaves.  Obviously, vegetables of some kind.  Rosanne said she thought she saw beet greens, marvelling at the coincidence.

Very curious, I thought.  Why was she going into Tim Horton's with something like that?

In a matter of minutes she returned to her van, hesitating as she again opened her side door.  "Do you people have a garden?" she asked through Rosanne's open window.

"No we don't," we replied simultaneously (due primarily to my recent hip replacement surgery).

"Well would you like some cucumbers?  I was going to give them to some ladies but they are not here today", she explained.

"Of course," said Rosanne..."How much do we owe you?"   

"Nothing.  They're from my husband's garden and he just died.  I have far more than I can ever use now.  Here, would you like some beets and kohlrabi too?  You might as well have it all, if you would like."

"Oh, thank you so much," said Rosanne.  "I'm Ukrainian and we'll make some Borscht...We just love beets!"

I can't believe it," said our benefactor, top lip quivering.  I just knew there was something special about you and I don't even know your name.  My husband was Ukrainian too and he would be so pleased that I am giving this to you."

Rosanne, being Rosanne, immediately welled up.  The emotion was just too much for her to contain.  "I'm so sorry.  What was your husband's name?" she asked, tears streaming down her cheeks.

"His name was Roger and he was as much Ukrainian as you could get," she explained with a forced smile as she settled behind the steering wheel of her vehicle.  "Don't be sad," she added..."Roger sent me to you!"

"Enjoy your borscht!"

With that, she pulled away from her parking spot and was gone.  It all happened so quickly that we did not think to get her name.  We sat silent for a few minutes, processing what had just transpired.

We'll toast Roger tonight...and make some Borscht in his honor tomorrow.  Maybe even throw in a little kohlrabi for good measure.

Rosanne and I will continue to rationalize all of this in the next few days.  One thing for sure, we are glad that Roger chose to connect with us in such a special and unusual way.  We will not rest until we meet his dear widow once again...We need her to know that we totally understand and appreciate this other-worldly happenstance that she initiated ever so spontaneously.  If it is meant to be, it will happen.

23 August, 2012


I derive great comfort from my collection of old books, the majority being handed down to me by late family members, primarily my parents and grandparents.  For any readers interested in such things, I feature a few of them herewith.
Shown here are six religious books of Irish origin, published between 1830 and 1840.  In spite of extensive research, I have yet to determine how they happened to come into Wright/Perry hands.  Inscriptions in the books indicate that they were gifts to members of the Hewitt family (Sarah J. Hewitt and Fredrick Hewitt) of Corunna, ON. at various intervals in the 1800s.    Last year I ran and ad in the Sarnia Observer newspaper in an attempt to connect with Hewitt family descendants still living in the Lambton County area but I did not receive any responses.  Included in the collection are (front, left) "The Lord's Supper" by Rt. Rev. Thomas Wilson, D.D., sometime Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man; "Irish Melodies", front centre, (oldest in the collection) by Thomas Moore, ESQ; "The History of Joseph", right front, by The Religious Tract Society, Instituted 1799; top left, "Solomon's Temple Spiritualized" by John Bunyan; top centre, "Prayer" book, The Church of England and, back right, "Haromy of the Gospels" compiled from the headings to the sections of Creswell's Harmonia Evangelica.  The mystery of the collection and how it came into my family's possession, will more than likely never be solved. 

Here's a prized collector's item, "Uncle Tom's Cabin" or Negro Life in the Slave States of America, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, published 1852.  "Uncle Tom" Josiah Henson, of course, found his way to Kent County in Southwestern Ontario by means of the "Undergound Railway" and settled on a tract of land called the Dawn Settlement which would eventually encompass the Town of Dresden.  In February, 1852, Messrs Jewett and Co., of Boston, Mass, put Harriet's manuscript to press in book form and on the 20th of March it was published, selling more than 5,000 copies in the first week -- a record in those days.  It is believed that this particular copy is a second printing of the book.  I regret its deteriorating condition and handle it with extreme care.

Interesting ads, reflective of the times, appear on the inside of the front and back covers of "Uncle Tom's Cabin".  Click the image to enlarge.

I still find remnants of Four-Leaf Clovers like this one pressed with wax paper in to books formerly belonging to my grandmother Louise Wright. This particular "good luck" clover leaf is at least 140 years old, by my estimation.

22 August, 2012


It is so very important that we all try very hard not to dwell in the past.  It gets us absolutely nowhere.  It is a different story, of course, if we learn from past experience and rationalize it to better our lives in the future.

Ever notice that young children often experiment with walking backwards?  They like to see how far they can get and how fast they can go while their eyes are fixed on where they have just been, rather than where they are going next.

Why do we adults rarely do this?  Because we have all learned at an early age that it is a bad idea.  The same thing, then, should apply to "backward" thinking or reflecting.

Every so often I find that it is in my best interest to consider the amount of attention that I am giving in my life to an issue that really relates to the past and is now totally out of my control.  Invariably this little exercise in self-shaking results in an abrupt turnaround for me.

It feels much better when I can see where I am going.  Kind of helps me get there.

20 August, 2012


Rosanne has always surprised and amazed me with off-the-wall things that she says.  Regular readers of Wrights Lane well remember numerous stories about her ability to give words a new/wrong twist.  I have likened her to comedian Norm Crosby, the master of malapropism.

She has been on an extremely heavy dose of medication this past year in an attempt to counteract and minimize the effects of a severe case of colitis.  She is currently on a program designed to gradually wean her off the drug Prednisone and it is causing her to be constantly exhausted.  In other words, she sleeps a lot...and dreams a lot.

When she wakes up from numerous sleeps throughout the day, it is often as if she  is still in a dreamland state.  Sometimes she is annoyed because she has been unable to finish a particularly engrossing dream.

The other day when she awoke from a lengthy nap in her recliner chair, she was typically bleary-eyed but had a satisfied smile on her face.  "What are you smiling about?" I asked.

"I was making you happy," she replied.

"You were making me happy? I repeated.

"Ya...You were so happy!" she said as if reinforcing the reason for the smile that was still on her face.

I chose not to ask for further details.  Some things are better left to the imagination.

18 August, 2012


A boy, hospital waiting room and a coffee
I was sitting in the ambulatory care department of the Owen Sound Hospital along with at least 30 other people earlier this week.  We were all in various stages of recovery from fractures and knee and hip replacement surgeries and there for follow up consultation appointments with our doctor.

Seating was at a premium because typically everyone (except me) brought along a husband, wife, friend or various other companions.  Typically too, the clinic was running an hour behind and it was only 8:45 a.m.  I took one of the few vacant seats next to a young woman with three boys between the ages of six and 11.  I would later find out that the eight-year-old had a broken arm, the result of a fall off his bicycle.

Understandably, the boys were quickly becoming bored and had adolescent ants in their pants.  At one point they left the waiting area to go exploring up the hallway and when they came back their seats were naturally taken.  "I told you," said their mom.  "This is a busy place and you can't leave and expect your seat to be there when you come back." 

One young lad sat on the floor and another found a spot on a magazine table.  I squeezed over on my two-seater and invited the older boy to sit beside me.  Without hesitation, he took me up on the offer with a satisfied sigh of relief.

"Thanks," he said.  "What's wrong with you?"

Not quite believing what he had just asked me, I repeated his question:  "What's wrong with me?"

"Ya," he replied.

"Well I have a problem with my hip," I explained, choosing to spare him the details; but that wasn't good enough for him. "Oh, are you here to have it xrayed or something?"

"No, I've already had that done and I had surgery a couple of months ago.  I'm here today just to have the doctor take a look at my hip and to hopefully say that I'm good to go."

"That's good," he answered.  "My brother is getting his cast off today and I hope he is good to go too."

I put aside the Sports Illustrated magazine that I had been reading, knowing that this was no ordinary crew-cut 11-year-old.  I sensed that I was in for a good old fashioned chat.

I asked him what he was doing for excitement this summer and he quickly replied that he spent a lot of time racing his dirt bike.  "It's a 300cc, two-stroke engine BMX and it really goes," he enthused, sounding very much like an expert on the subject.

That prompted me to ask what he planned to do when he grew up and he said that he was not really sure.  Putting the ball quickly back in my court, he caught me off guard once again with a question out of left field : "What do you want to do?"

Pressed for an answer, I jokingly said that I always wanted to be a fireman because it looked like a fun job to me.

"What do you do?" he responded, not letting me off the hook that easily.  I explained that I became a newspaper writer instead, but that I am now retired.  "That's interesting," he said.  I could almost hear the wheels spinning in his head.

Since we had long passed the one hour mark in the waiting room, I asked him if he had breakfast before coming to the hospital and he said "no, we were in too much of a hurry to get here, but we're going to McDonald's after."  I suggested that since we still had a long wait ahead of us, maybe he could go down to the cafeteria and get something to tide he and his family over until lunch time -- maybe a cookie or a muffin.

"That's a good idea," his mother chimed in as she dug into her wallet for some money.  "Why don't you do exactly that?  Get us each a muffin."

He and his brothers were no sooner gone on their muffin mission when the mother lamented the fact that she did not ask for a coffee too.  I thought the same thing myself as I was also breakfastless on this particular morning and for the same reason.

In no time at all the energetic trio was  back and digging into their bag of muffins.  The older boy carried a tray with two coffees on it.  "Here," he said to this mother, "I got this for you too," prompting an "O, you are so awesome," hug from her.

"I got one for you too, sir," he added in re-claiming his seat next to me.  Totally shocked (what 11-year-old is that considerate?) I thanked him profusely and offered to pay him but he said "That's okay, it was my mom's money."  Everyone within hearing distance laughed at that one and his mother winked and silently mouthed the words "don't worry about it" in my direction.

The coffee never tasted so good, even though I do not take sugar in it.

Eventually the attendant nurse announced "Jeffrey Hunter" and my not-so-little-anymore buddy jumped to his feet exclaiming "that's us!" as he led the charge up the hallway to the examination rooms.  The next 15 minutes were suddenly very quiet and I returned to my Sports Illustrated.

When the family finally emerged, one member minus a cast on his arm, I commented "free at last" and the mother nodded in agreement.  "Good talking to you," said my new young friend, pausing for a moment before asking: "Are you finished reading your sports magazine...Can I have it?"

"You sure can, young man...You sure can.  It was nice talking to you too!"

16 August, 2012


I am amused by door-to-door sales people.  Sometimes I ignore them.  Sometimes I tolerate them.  Sometimes I have fun with them.  It all depends on my mood.

This afternoon I was attempting to to clean out a sadly neglected flower bed at the front of my home.  From up the street I noticed the give-away figure of a young salesman dressed all in black and carrying a clip board.  I just knew he was going to stop and talk to me.

"Doing some gardening today?" asked the lad of East Indian extraction, trying to be conversationally observant as he approached me.  "Nice weather," he quickly added without giving me a chance to come up with a hoped-for sarcastic answer to his first question.

"It's not a bad day," I replied, before posing the natural next question: "What are you going to try to sell me today?"

"Nothing," he smiled.  "Are you going to buy something?"

ME: "Not likely...But what aren't you going to try to sell me?"

HIM: "I'm with Eastlink Communications.  Have you heard about us?"

ME: "Yes I have.  As a matter of fact, I'm a subscriber."

HIM: "Is that right?  What services do you get from us?"

ME:  "We get telephone and TV cable from Eastlink."

HIM:  "Is that all?"

ME: "What more do you want?"

HIM: "If you have a computer we can bundle Internet for you too and save you some money?

ME:  "I know all that but I prefer to stay with Bell Sympatico for my computer.  I just do not want to disrupt a system that is already working well for me."

HIM:  "Okay then.  Do you have any complaints or problems that I can pass on to our people at Eastlink?"

ME:  "Glad you asked...We have lots of complaints and problems.  Got a few more minutes?"  I was joking of course.  But I don't think he knew that.

"Alright.  Have a good day!" he said evasively as he turned and hustled up the street without looking back.  I think he had selective hearing.

(Tomorrow: A conversation with a 10-year-old boy in a hospital waiting room.)

13 August, 2012


Dear Mr. Harper:

Please find below a suggestion for fixing Canada's economy.

Instead of giving billions of dollars to banks who will
squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses,
consider the following plan.  You can call it the "Patriotic
Retirement Plan":

There are about 10 million people over 50 years of age in the
work force.

Pay each one of them one million dollars severance for early
retirement with the following stipulations:

1) They MUST retire.
Ten million job openings - unemployment fixed.

2) They MUST buy a new car.
Ten million cars ordered - car Industry fixed.

3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage -
Housing Crisis fixed.

4) They MUST send their kids to school/college/university -
 Crime rate fixed.

5) They MUST buy $50 WORTH of alcohol/tobacco a week...
And there's your money back in duty/tax etc.

It can't get any easier than that!

P.S. If more money is needed, have all members of
parliament pay back their falsely claimed expenses and
second home allowances.

I anxiously await a positive response.

Sincerely yours,

11 August, 2012


How many times have we heard the expression 
"Life is a journey, not a destination"?

I heard this quote recently, and it suddenly made 

me realize how easy it can be to worry 
constantly about the future… and forget to 
focus on the now.

You see, when you invest all your energy 

into what hasn't even happened yet (and 
may never happen at all) sometimes 
days, weeks or even months can go by 
before you realize you haven't taken any 
time to...stop, "smell the roses" and enjoy the 
present moment.

A wonderful young woman by the name of Natalie

passes along three simple tips we can all use to
snap ourselves back to "enjoying the here and now 
of life's journey".

1) Appreciate nature once a day. 

"Maybe you'll pass a beautiful tree on your 

way to work today, or perhaps a 
spectacular sunset will catch your attention 
as you go about your evening. 

"Whatever it is, take a few minutes to stop 

and fully take it in. You may be surprised 
how quickly you'll shift into a more 
peaceful, positive vibration."

2) Compliment a friend or loved one.

"Do you have a friend who always makes 

you laugh? Or a loved one who is always 
there for you when you need a helping 
hand? Let them know you appreciate them 
and you'll both enjoy a surge of positive 

3) Practice a random act of kindness.

"Take a moment to hold a door open for the 

person behind you or even just say, 'Good 
morning!' to a stranger on the street. It's 
amazing how something so simple can put 
a smile on someone else's face…and yours.

"Practice just one or all three of these tips and 

you'll instantly raise your vibration… AND 
attract even more positive energy to you!"

Thanks for reminding us Natalie that "the best

things in life are always be free" -- and easily 
within our reach.

07 August, 2012


Saugeen River Range Light overlooking Lake Huron.
We are delighted to learn that The Honourable Peter Kent, Canada’s Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, has designated three of our Southampton lighthouses as Canada’s first heritage lighthouses under the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act

The Saugeen River Front and Rear Range lights, the McNab Point light in Southampton and the St. Paul Island Southwest Lighthouse in Dingwall, Nova Scotia, were designated on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

“I’m delighted to feature these four noteworthy examples of Canadian lighthouses as our first designated heritage lighthouses,” said Minister Kent. “With the help of local communities, the Government of Canada hopes to protect as many examples of these important symbols of our seafaring heritage as possible.”

The Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act identifies and protects federally-owned lighthouses on Canada’s coastal and inland waters that have significant heritage value. The Act was adopted in May 2008 and is administered by Parks Canada.

The St. Paul Island Southwest Lighthouse lit the “Graveyard of the Gulf of St. Lawrence” for nearly 50 years. Today it is a cherished symbol of Canada’s maritime tradition and will be a significant component of the St. Paul Island Museum in Dingwall for years to come.

The McNab Point and Saugeen River Front and Rear Range lights are very good examples of the pepper pot lighthouse design used extensively in Canada in the 19th and 20th centuries. In association with the nearby Chantry Island Lighthouse, they help to establish the area’s maritime character and are key symbols for the port community of Southampton, which is proud of its maritime heritage.

To form a protective harbor at Southampton, two breakwaters were constructed: one extending seaward from the beach in Southampton, and a second arching towards the mainland from the northern tip of Chantry Island. A pair of range lights was established to help guide mariners into the protected anchorage. The front light was placed at the outermost part of the breakwater connected to Chantry Island, and the rear tower was erected on the northern cape of Horseshoe Bay, just south of Southampton. In 1901, the rear tower was relocated across Horseshoe Bay to McNab Point. 

More designations will follow. Parks Canada has received petitions nominating 348 lighthouses in eight provinces. The Government of Canada is working with communities and community groups like the St. Paul Island Historical Society and the Town of Saugeen Shores to identify new or complementary uses and a new future for Canada’s lighthouses.

The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada was established in 1919 and is supported by Parks Canada. It advises the Minister of the Environment regarding the national significance of places, persons and events that have marked Canada’s history on behalf of the people of Canada. Parks Canada manages a nationwide network that makes up a rich tapestry of Canada’s historical heritage and offers the public opportunities for real and inspiring discoveries.

Next time you pass through Southampton, make it a point to stop and enjoy what the oldest Lake Huron port in Bruce County has to offer.

05 August, 2012

In keeping with the "things happen for a reason" theme introduced in my previous post, I ran across this little story and thought it was worth passing on.  Some readers may have already heard it.   There are hundreds like it.
Years ago in Scotland, the Clark family had a dream. Clark and his wife worked and saved, making plans for their nine children and themselves to travel to the United States. It had taken years, but they had finally saved enough money and had gotten passports and reservations for the whole family on a new sailing liner to the United States. 

The entire family was filled with anticipation and excitement about their new life. However, seven days before their departure, a dog bit the youngest son. The doctor sewed up the boy but hung a yellow sheet on the Clarks' front door. Because of the possibility of rabies, they were being quarantined for fourteen days. The family's dreams were dashed. 

They would not be able to make the trip to America as they had planned. The father, filled with disappointment and anger, stomped to the dock to watch the ship leave - without the Clark family. The father shed tears of disappointment and cursed both his son and God for their misfortune. 

Five days later, the tragic news spread throughout Scotland - the mighty Titanic had sunk. The "unsinkable" ship had sunk, taking hundreds of lives with it. The Clark family was to have been on that ship, but because a dog had bitten the son, they were left behind in Scotland. When Mr. Clark heard the news, he hugged his son and thanked him for saving the family. He thanked God for saving their lives and turning what he had felt was a tragedy into a blessing. 

Although we may not always understand, all things happen for a reason.

01 August, 2012


I have always been sensitive to the issue of being a good listener.  Giving undivided attention to the other party during a conversation, in my mind, shows interest and respect.  On the other hand, body language always tells me when I am not being listened to and I am left feeling that what I am saying is not important and is lacking in some way.  Listening, truly listening, impacts many aspects of our lives and at so many different levels.  The following article is the best that I have ever read on this subject.

Do you think you're a good listener? Do you feel really listened to most of the time? I've been teaching extraordinary listening for 25 years and I still fall down on the job. And I've noticed that listening poorly has become pandemic. The problem is that people have forgotten how to really listen. Our survival in ancient times depended on listening to survive, so all senses were acute. Nowadays, we've created a shield around us so we don't have to sense much anymore. With so much noise pollution, we've become numb. With virtual communication, we don't have to listen. Our eardrums may just become obsolete from lack of use.

If listening is taken for granted, how important could it be? The experience of listening poorly and listening well is the difference between eating the white pith of an orange and really savoring the burst of the sweet juice. When you're not listening well, you're not fully present. You miss what's behind the words, the deep truth that's coming from a person. It's not about hearing the words spoken per se; it's about connecting with the heart.
Listening like it matters is especially important with kids. Adults rarely listen to kids, ask them what they think about things or truly engage them. We fail to do this because we're so wrapped up in training them and taking care of their needs. We create generations of children that aren't listened to. This habit gets passed on from generation to generation and is the source of all kinds of societal ills that change when we are deeply listened to at an early age. When he was a small child, my nephew would put his hands on your cheeks, turn your face to him and say "You're not listening to me!" Wouldn't it just be great if everyone did that?
We don't listen much to adults, either. In many families, there is someone who talks on and on because no one listens to them. They don't listen to themselves, either. When I was trying to find a copyright attorney for CTI, I went to five people before anyone asked me one question about my needs, concerns, budget or even my business. They just talked at me.
There seem to be two types of failing to listen well: First, in times of conflict where there is tension or disagreement. Personally, there are so many times when I have been arguing with someone that I realize that we have not been listening to each other. We're both being "right" about our point of view. Usually, after the third time I've repeated something, it dawns on me that listening isn't present. When people know they are not being really listened to, they tend to repeat themselves.  When one us  truly starts to listen to the other person's experience, intimacy deepens. The space relaxes. We reconnect.
It's important to remember that listening well isn't about agreeing. By really listening to the other, you're not voting in favor of their ideas. It's just listening and understanding the other person's experience. This offers the opportunity to "take a space ship" to another person's world... to really inhabit their experience.
Deeper understanding and connection are almost always an outcome, along with an opening for conversation that is more creative and that can result in a "third way" -- not your way or my way, but a magical and creative solution that is even better than one of those things.
We are trained to listen to the content or for the problem that needs to be solved rather than to the person speaking, so communication doesn't really happen. When we think we've got it, we stop listening. But the other person is attempting to connect with us, not just convey info. Or we listen just enough so we can simultaneously formulate the response we want to make. That doesn't help us increase intimacy or allow us to truly utilize and create from each other.
Secondly, there's the day-to-day numbness that comes from being preoccupied with the task and forgetting about the people. This happens all the time in the business world, in offices and boardrooms, even in my own workshops. I have to remind myself sometimes that people come first, tasks second.
So, the first kind of listening poorly (in times of conflict) is actually an opportunity to wake up and come out of the daze of the second kind (in numbness) because conflict is so stimulating and it really gets our attention. What if every time we found ourselves in conflict or tension, we realized we had stopped listening and started doing so consciously? We need to learn to listen to the person, not the problem. Sometimes action needs to be taken, but mostly it's just about understanding each other. I think that level of understanding would change the world.
How to listen well:
1. Let go of multitasking. Take a breath and put your attention over on the person speaking. Let them be the most important thing in the world for bit.
2. Let go of judgment and your need to problem-solve. Put your attention on the person speaking, not the problem, and just listen.
3. If you are having trouble concentrating, repeat the words the other person is saying silently in your mind as they are saying them. This really helps to bring focus.
4. It's not just about listening with your ears. We need to listen for the space between words. We teach this to the coaches we train. Think of an antenna pointed towards another human. The heart, spirit and mind are listening too. Not just to the words coming across. But listening into them.
5. Ask curious, open-ended questions. What about that was important to you? What's next?Learn to use powerful questions to facilitate dialogue, thinking and listening.
6. When they're done, say "Thanks for sharing that with me."
Deep listening is transformative for both parties. It connects us. We feel really held and known, seen, we feel that we belong, can breathe, relax. It doesn't matter what someone says back to me, if I'm upset, if they listen to me well, it makes me feel like what I say matters, and that means the world to me. Listening well is about being in a good relationship with each other. You can meditate for ten years or you can just listen to the people in your life.
Karen Kimsey-House, MFA, CPCC, MCC, is the Co-founder and CEO of The Coaches Training Institute (CTI), the oldest and largest in-person coach training school in the world, and the co-author of the best-selling Co-Active Coaching: Changing Business, Transforming LivesKaren was one of four pioneers of the coaching profession, and in honor of its 20th birthday this year, she is sharing her insights about human transformation in a ten-part HuffPost series,"Disrupt Your Life in a Good Way".