writer traveler photographer

Day 1 … easing into TJP

4wide smCanada Day happened to coincide with two things: a) our twin grandkids, Lucy and Ellie (3 years and 3 months old) arrived around noon after a trip on the Digby Ferry and, b) it was the first day of The July Project (TJP).

Knowing there were some Canada Day celebrations at the Yarmouth South Playground, I thought it would be fun to make the 20 minute trip into town with Barrie and the puffins.

The girls enjoyed getting flowers painted on their cheeks, watched a local dance troupe perform, and had fun on the playground equipment. Alas, I was using a new-to-me camera for this hunk of the day, and err, ahem, it didn’t have a card. Not knowing this, however, I clicked away, feeling pretty chuffed about having such great captures.

I only discovered the “no card” scenario when I went to retrieve the photos tonight. Although I don’t have anything to show from our time at the playground, a head-full of memories surfaced from this part of town.

Verna MacDonald–one of my best buds at Saint Ambrose Elemetary School–lived on Barnard Street right next to the playground. It was such a treat to go to her house after school and to be invited to stay for supper. Her mother often cooked hash, made with mashed potatoes, canned corned pork, onions, and sometimes mashed turnip. I so loved that. In fact, I bought the ingredients and plan to cook it tomorrow.

But a couple of things hit home about South End. Unless I’m going to Emin’s Meat Market (arguably the best place in this part of the province to get store-made sausages, double smoked bacon, and mouth watering steaks)  there’s little reason for me to go to that part of town. Or so I thought.

Mandy R 2Unfortunately, South End has a bad rep. Sure, it’s the seedy side of town. But there’s buckets of history; lots of characters; and plenty going on. It has a pulse and a heartbeat. (Check out this photo … makes me smile. Big story behind this! More later.) I’ll be going back during TJP and letting you know when, where, and why.

So, heading there today got me to thinking of people and their names. A story from years ago came to mind. When a new youth program started there, the Bishop came calling to meet the young people. Charlie Paddock stood at the head of the line, taking care of introductions. When one of the boys stepped up to be introduced to the Bishop, Charlie could only remember the boy’s nickname. Unfortunately, thinking the nickname wasn’t appropriate for a cleric, he asked the youth to give  the Bishop his name. The boy piped up, I’m “Shitstick.”

I decided to call Charlie today and yak about nicknames. We had a good yarn; he suggested I call Patty Crocker. Collectively we remembered some of the guys—like  Hot Dog, Bimbo, Sweetie Pie, Cowboy and Conky. Some of the gals were called Tootsie, Chicken, and Lotty Pancake. Everyone in one family was called Patch Ass. Many of those folks are still alive and with any luck, I’ll meet some this month. Speaking of nicknames, a few weeks ago, Melanie and I came up with nicknames for each other. She is Mae Belle; I am Sandy Pines. Rather tame in comparison.

3webMeanwhile, back home, I made a few notes about going back to South End to dig deeper. Already I’ve been invited to Rosemary Guyette’s home, which happens to be where Yarmouth’s first hospital was located—smack in the middle of that part of town.

Oh yes. The puffins? Before going for a skinny dip back here in Canaan, we had a merry walk in the woods. (For some inexplicable reason they decided to wear their life jackets over their tutus for the excursion.) I showed them some ferns, and how to scrunch Sweet Grass with their fingers and inhale the fragrance. When I said, “I love the smell,” Ellie replied, “I lub it too.” Then Lucy presented a fistful to the dog, and said “Smell Alaska. Smell.”

ps. Today was a great reminder to take the time to remember. And to smell.








  1. July 2, 2015    

    Appreciated hearing about South End..
    Sweet Grass Sweetness ! Just picturing wee ones in tutus and life jackets – maybe planning to dance lightly on the water? What a charming contrast.

  2. July 2, 2015    

    Congratulations of launching the July Project, Sandra!

    Your twin granddaughters are precious. We’re about to have twin grand children in late summer. A girl and a boy. Exciting!

    Enjoyed your post, sometimes we do have to take time to remember. 🙂

  3. Jennie Morrow Jennie Morrow
    July 2, 2015    

    The Shitstick story is priceless!
    There used to be a used furniture place in South End that I liked going to. I’m trying to remember the name of the man that had it- can’t believe I’ve forgotten it. Anyway, nice man. I think he had the business partly because he enjoyed having people come around and also as a service to South End. We would chat. I told him I was getting a divorce (as I was) one time when I went there for a few things that I needed and as an expression of sympathy he gave me a red potato masher. I think of him every time I use my red potato masher and i get a little smile inside from his kindness.

  4. Margo MacGregor Margo MacGregor
    July 2, 2015    

    Congrats on launching the July Project! Sounds like a great start and can’t wait to keep reading and to see more pictures 😉

  5. Irene Gordon Irene Gordon
    July 2, 2015    

    Hi Sandra,
    I loved day one of your project. Lucky you, having twin granddaughters. We have three grandsons, so we share our siblings granddaughters. Our eldest grandson (Jesse aged 13) made us very proud at the awards ceremony at his junior high when he was on the honour roll and won three other awards. Also, as a former long distance runner, I am particularly pleased that he ran one leg of the relay race at the Manitoba Marathon and his team came in second in their category.

    Your story about visiting your old neighbourhood and people you knew long ago brought back memories of last summer when I visited five women I’ve been friends with since high school or earlier. They all still live in Saskatchewan where I grew up, but in different places. The result was that I made a circuit around southern Saskatchewan to visit them all.

  6. Joyce Glasner Joyce Glasner
    July 3, 2015    

    What a wonderful start to TJP! Love the pics of the Puffins and the sexy Southend. Can’t wait to read the next installment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Welcome! This is where I occasionally post a story that's not filed under My Work ... or give a behind-the-scenes commentary (when fit to publish.) You'll also find notices about upcoming workshops, such as memoir or travel writing. Enjoy your visit and come back often. Better yet, subscribe!

EDITORS, please click on My Work and Photo Gallery in the menu bar to get the big picture of what I do.


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.