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Jim Cumming - From the Publisher's Pen

Jim is the publisher of the Fort Frances Times Ltd. He writes a weekly column and can be contacted at jcumming@fortfrances.com

Noises seem louder than ever

Why do birds begin singing at 3:30 a.m. before there is even the hint of a sunrise?

Why on nights of high humidity are the sounds of the trains amplified?

All of these questions—and even many more—have crossed my mind this past week as I have awakened from a deep sleep.

We don’t have air conditioning in our home and really only see a need for maybe a week a year. Instead, all of the upstairs rooms have large fans to blow air from open windows across the rooms.

Family visits a cherished time

We have a habit on Sunday evenings. We call our sons shortly after they should have finished supper in Calgary.

It’s been ongoing since they left home for university more than a decade ago.

One might think that with Twitter, Facebook, Facetime, and Skype, the old-fashioned phone call no longer would continue to be used. But it is our preferred way of keeping in touch.

A guilty pleasure

When I was growing up, one of the carrots my mother would use to get us to help when she was baking was the opportunity to lick the beaters or spatulas.

Or sometimes when she was baking cookies, my mom would roll some dough into a small ball and offer it to us to taste the cookies before they were baked.

Chocolate cake batter always was my favourite, although a lemon cake was equally good.

Getting ready for big party

This Friday begins the great countdown to the 150th anniversary of Canada.

On the 149th anniversary of Confederation, we will begin making preparations for the grand celebration one year from now.

This past month, my wife and I were fortunate to visit Newfoundland—the last province on our list of places to see. It has a different history than the rest of Canada having been a colony of Great Britain through to 1948, and has its own customs and special celebrations.

Fishing memories with my father always treasured

Facebook and Twitter were alive with photos and memories of dads on Sunday.

I didn’t post anything, but the number of memories of fathers got me to thinking about the impact my father had on my life. I remember a saying he often used: “If everyone is thinking and saying the same thing, then someone is not thinking.”

He could play the “devil’s advocate,” taking a contrary view to determine how well thought-out your argument or opinion was.

So much to learn about ‘The Rock’

Marnie and I believed it was important for our sons to see and experience all the provinces in Canada, and we travelled to all of them except for Newfoundland.

Well, last week Marnie and I travelled across Newfoundland—from Corner Brook to St. John’s and part of the Avalon Peninsula.

We stayed at B&Bs, where we met interesting travellers along the route. The B&B hosts also are a trove of information about the communities they live in.

Hoping plan won’t blow up

Premier Kathleen Wynne and Environment minister Glen Murray are going to save the planet with their new “Climate Action Plan.”

After the Ontario legislature begins its summer vacation, the “action plan” will be released. They really don’t want any embarrassing questions asked in the House.

Time to relax at cabin

What a difference a week makes on the lake.

Rainy Lake was magnificent all weekend. The freezing temperatures had disappeared and the stillness of the lake allowed the sun to raise the lake’s temperature by 10 degrees C.

Cottagers were arriving and opening their camps. Our neighbour, Larry Greif, arrived early in the week having driven through a snowstorm on his final day getting to Fort Frances from Arizona.

By Tuesday he could trade in his jeans to shorts.

Weather made work tough

The day was chilly. The air filled often with freezing rain bits almost feeling like hail as it pitted your face this past weekend.

My wife and I headed to the cabin last Wednesday afternoon to get a jump on finishing off several projects. It was a cool 10 C with a slight misty rain in the air. The cabin was cool but we soon had a hot fire roaring in the wood stove.

Two pails of water were brought up from the lake for cooking and doing dishes. Our new water system had to be finished before we could start the water pump to deliver water to the cabin.