Gifts of Summer

Wow, summer is something to behold in the deep south of Southern Ontario. To begin with, things grow like the dickens, and this year in particular there’s been an abundance of rain. You’ll sometimes hear folks complaining, (those who had their heart set on working on their bronze tan) but let me tell you, the produce yield we’ve had this year as a result of the extra precipitation has been unreal.

If you venture down the Chrysler Greenway, which runs 42 km from Oldcastle to Leamington, there are many sections lined with lush trees, bushes and flowers; there are even little ravines – rare for the characteristically flat Essex County.  If you look carefully you’ll find a number of wild berry bushes that are chock full with fresh fruits; mostly wild raspberries and mulberries. Bring a basket, or fill your boots – it’s free.  It’s amazing how us Canadians take for granted these kinds of freedoms when right this minute on the other side of the planet there are 10 million people that couldn’t grow one berry if they used all their power and will.  I suppose it is easy to forget when they are on sale at Costco for a 3 bucks a pound.


Last night was a great night on Main Street.  The Kimmerly’s invited Toronto hip-hop artist (arrested at the G20 protest) Testament to rEvolution Gallery for a live performance.  The majority of the audience were under the age of 10, and were treated to a politically charged and inspired performance by the young Scarborough native.

I was a little surprised that he (Testament) didn’t edit his set by inserting a ‘flipping’ or ‘dang’ instead of the many expletives he spat out, although since his delivery was honest and authentic, I have to forgive him for that.

The 5 Kimmerly children were in attendance with their mother Tamara and their father Qpaukl, who run the gallery.  Qpaukl is the town tattoo artist and Tamara is a clothing designer – they both work out of the rEvolution space.

Jedi Kimmerly

This is the kind of event this little town needs more of.  It embodied community, youth, music and art;  not to mention it was affordable entertainment for the family.  Did I mention there were free celery sticks?  Thanks again to the Kimmerly’s.

The Harrow Fair

This showcase for Agriculture and Livestock in Essex county has been in existence for 150 years.  There were long haired rabbits, emus, ducks, geese, of course cows, goats and sheep; horses and every sort of show hen imaginable.  My favourite thing is that there was a room specifically for eating pies; blueberry, pecan, bumble-berry, gooseberry, raspberry, strawberry, strawberry-rhubarb, apple and so on…  and the produce contest was outrageous;  I’ve never seen fruits and vegetables so large in my life.  There was a watermelon the size of a pig, and a pumpkin bigger than a Volkswagon Bug.

Fanfare aside, this event opened my eyes to some really beautiful animals.  One in particular was the Jersey cow.  What an elegant looking being.  They are a small breed of dairy cow.  These ones in particular had short chocolate-hair, and they were lean and long.  I’ll tell you, this visit made me think that India’s got it right. The resources that the animals provide with the milk and in turn the cheese, yogurt & cream give them such a value; and their calm demeanor.  It seems like a shame to slaughter them.

The day was topped off with a ferris wheel ride.  We got the see the fairgrounds from a couple of stories up.

What a pleasant day.

See you there next year.  I’ll join you for some pie.

The Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 188

My grandfather was in the Navy.  James Anderson McMullen.  He would have been disappointed with me if he’d a known I walked into the legion with my baseball cap on.  Twice.  They reprimanded me both times, and I don’t blame them. I owe a great deal to the generations before me who fought so that I could enjoy a Labatt 50 for 3 bucks in 2010.  I don’t mean to undermine the importance of it, but if they knew how much drinking that cold one over a conversation with a friend on home turf meant to me – they’d realize I wasn’t undermining it at’all.

This painting is on the east wall.  In fact the artwork in there is impeccable.  There is something about Canadian war nostalgia that I can’t get enough of.

These guys weren’t there that night, but they were at some point… probably one night in ’67.  Playing cards and drinking 25 cent Labatt’s Blue.

The Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 188 in Kingsville is a wonderful place.  You’ll always be greeted with a hello (unless you have your hat on), and the weekend brunch is a bargain.  Come with your family, or come alone. Regardless, you’ll feel at home.

Office Phone: 519-733-5162
Hall: 519-733-9081