Wednesday, March 25, 2009


There's an old adage that goes "you are what you eat" meaning good health can be enjoyed through a healthy diet. Maybe we can can also reason that "You are what you think" or more accurately "if you think it; it shall come to pass" ( self fulfilling prophesies of sorts )

I believe we all have a sense that there is some truth to this and can all cite examples relating to health, happiness and even wealth.
Different people look at this in different ways and even if you don't see it as a universal truth, you have to admit that it's helluva coincidence, the way things go some times.

Just look at what happened with the Canadian economy. We were merrily going along, last summer, admittedly spending too much and saving too little; when first we heard that things were not so good in the "states". "Well hold on a minute here, we can't be financially flourishing, when just south of the border, things are so dire."
What followed seemed like a media frenzy bent on a race to report anything negative in this country that seemed to mirror what was happening in the U.S.
Peoples' perception and attitude soon changed and "the rest is history".

I understand that it is a worldwide recession and because of today's marketplace being a global one, we cannot expect to remain unscathed; yet I still have a sense that human nature and ultimately a "law of nature" had a major role in our misfortune.

After a long cold winter, during which everyone seemed to "hunker down"and hibernate, and generally cease to do any new business, I have been hearing reports and noticing an awakening of our marketplace.Even media reports have been cautiously optimistic as of late.
I'm not sure if it's the early spring weather we have been enjoying, or the feeling of rebirth and new beginnings that this time of year seems to bring to our collective consciousness, but I as a realtor have witnessed a recent flurry of activity ....and am damned thankful for it.

But who to thank? and how long will it last? Perhaps just as long as I and the multitudes like you and me, expect it to.
It can't just be that simple can it?
Positive thinking, ....the laws of attraction,....Carma,.... it goes by many names but can be generally found in every culture.
On an individual basis this theory seems to apply just as well.
Over the years I have known many people with many different outlooks on life and I have always made a conscious effort to gravitate towards positive people and distance myself from negative types.
Have you ever known anyone who was truly negative yet enjoyed health, happiness or wealth for that matter?
Not likely.
On the positive side of the equation I can think of many.
Most recently I had an interesting conversation with a elderly couple. Topics ranged from the weather to world events to politics to health, and so on. They had a spirited, yet friendly opinion on everything. They seemed to share a great zest for life and I suspect that very outlook played a part in their longevity. She is 85 and he is 87.
The subject of conversation eventually came around to pets ( as it usually does with me) and they tearfully related to me that they had just 10 days ago euthanized their beloved 13 yr old German Shepard.
They explained to me that they will be adopting another dog soon but were considering an adult rather than a pup this time. My thoughts immediately went to their age; with the average life span of a dog being about 12 to 15 yrs. I "did the math" and assumed what would be their concern. They however went on to explain to me that they simply would prefer to match the new dog's energy level with that of their own.
Now that my friends is a positive attitude and one that we would all do well to gravitate towards.
"All the best to them!" As they embark on the latest chapter ( and likely not the last) of life with their new pet.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Recently we in Coldwater marked the passing of Wayne Smith. A long time resident and well respected local businessman; Wayne was a 23 year member of the S.G.B.R.E.A. He was an associate broker for many of those years with Remax Georgian Bay Realty Ltd.

I guess you could say he "gave me my start in real estate", or "took me under his wing", "was a mentor of mine"; any of those cliche's probably fit, but mostly I think back about him as a friend. He offered counsel and advice many times during the years that we worked together at times when I sorely needed it. But mostly led by example, in this way he taught me "courage in the face of adversity" as I watched him stoically deal with and never "knuckle under" to a long series of health issues in his later years.
He also taught me, that in business, "always expect the best from people and their dealings with me, but definitely also prepare for the worst."
He would say "That way, you don't get your ass in a sling" (An example of just one of hundreds of colorful phrases and sayings that he had archived and could conjure up and present to you, in assessment of most any of life's situations)
Another Wayne Smith truism that I vividly recall being dealt out to me was as my 40th birthday was approaching. He said; as he looked up from his newspaper and over his glasses, "Don't sweat turning 40! Just wait til ya hit 50 Dougie!....It's a bobsled run to a pine box after that."

Having just recently turned 50 and even more recently dealt with Wayne's passing, I can't say that his words haven't come to mind as of late.

Aside from real estate sales, another of Wayne's keenest interests, shared by his wife Jo-anne as well, was of horses.
Limited as my knowledge was of the subject, I always enjoyed to hear what was happening at the races, the selling of one horse, or the acquisition and track record of another. It was a subject that Wayne was expert in and would "light him up" like no other.
Over the years I believe I met most if not all of Wayne's horse buddies. Co-owners, trainers, drivers, and even a few of the horses.
Most recently it seems that their group has developed a champion. Something that both Wayne and Jo-anne are understandably thrilled with, and proud of. His name is "Armbro Chronicle"

As I now sit and think fondly of the years that I worked with Wayne, I guess I could sum things up by saying "they were good years. Our differences were few and our sales were many!"
I count myself lucky to have known him.
And as for his many quotes and sayings....
"Things just got a little less interesting here in Coldwater with his passing."
He will be missed.

Friday, March 6, 2009


"Well, it seems that winter's finally winding down" and yet, things are not always as
they seem.
A case in point; last year at this time I might have made the same observation and as it turned out, winter "hung in there" well into April.
So better to keep quiet until the robins are back and even then...don't be too sure.
I did, however get a recent phone call from Morley Marchant, a friend of mine whose alot more sure of himself than I. "last day for good snowmobiling this year" he matter-of-factly announced.
"Have you been up and unhooked that dock from the shore yet? you said you were." Ive been busy ..and waiting for the..uh...
"let's go" he says.
Now the prospect of travelling on late season trails and ice would normally worry me a little, but in this case I'd be travelling with a well seasoned guide.
Well seasoned is probably an understatement in Morley's case, I can't think of anyone more knowledgeable about that part of the Severn River, nearby lakes,and the thousands of acres of crown land surrounding them.
He's about 20-25 years my senior and has spent most of those years living and working in the exact area I just mentioned.
As for the snowmobile trails? He used to operate a groomer on them and runs them now, "pernt-near" daily. "pernt-near" being a Waubaushene term meaning "almost" (go ahead, and use it if you like.)
So I agreed; partly because I wanted to get that dock situation sorted out before the ice goes out, which then surely, damage would be done to it. The other part being because I didn't want to "wimp out". Morley is more than a few years older than I, yet possesses more energy and determination than many men half his age.
So off we went on what turned out to be a great day on the trails and lakes.
We took our time and toured most, if not all the surrounding lakes. Largely uninhabited and accessible only by air or bush trails, they are, and the landscape abutting them, both rugged and beautiful.
With no recent snowfall, I could clearly see the evidence (tracks) of all manner of creatures; winged as well as furry and four legged. Some seemed aimless wanderings in search of food, some seeming like signs of pursuit/escape or struggle and all telling a story of survival in this northern wilderness. The deer are still mostly yarded up and can be seen in abundance along the trail, looking on with cautious curiosity.
After taking what was surely (and thankfully) the long way around, Morley pulled over when we came off the ice at Wood Bay and said "take the lead; next stop Lost Channel". Since we were now in the middle of my "stomping grounds" and I knew the exact location of the dock that was the subject of our quest, I did.
With the dock unbolted and then lightly secured to the shore with nylon rope, we relaxed a bit and then headed off to retrace our path back to Severn Falls.
Sipping a beer and enjoying the warmth of the fire with Morley and his wife Marg, I hesitated, but finally mentioned that I could already "feel that trip" in my shoulders. Morley's response was "What?...but your only a young fella. Wait til you get to be my age and then tell me about your shoulders"
I thought about that statement for a while and then thought to myself, "Yep; I wouldn't be surprised if I do tell him about it then."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Sipping my coffee this morning and enjoying the warmth of March morning sun, I noticed that the cat was in attack mode and ready to pounce, (if only she could get through the patio door)
Expecting to see some unsuspecting chickadee or the like, I was surprised to see a newcomer to the feeder. A "cute" little fellow, all decked out in his suit of red.
This little red squirrel was quite chipper (not that I've ever met one that wasn't) and in quite good shape, considering the winter we've had.
I later shook out some extra seeds onto the deck for his benefit and for ours too as they are fun to watch feed.
Somehow; I guess because they are smaller than the usual denizens of our feeder (the lumbering big black squirrel) they seem fragile and in need of our support.
After all there even seems to be fewer of them.
But I think that nothing could be farther from the truth. They are known to be very aggressive and territorial (like maybe the "George W Bush of the feeder crowd.)
I know this from personal experiences. Once many years ago and once last fall.
My experience many years ago was to witness an adult red squirrel in an altercation with birds at the top of a Little fir tree next to my driveway. He /or she was at the very top and leaping at and swatting at a pair of what I think were blue birds, circling and diving at him. It was like the "Empire State Building scene" from the King Kong movie. Next I saw what the commotion was about,when during a break in the action, the squirrel went down, perched himself on the edge of the bird's nest and proceeded to pluck the chicks one by one from the nest, bite them through the back of the head and drop them to the ground. When I went over to investigate I discovered the bodies of two more baby birds near the base of the tree.
I remember asking Dad at the time, why the red squirrel would hate the birds enough to do this? And he told me that it was not a result of hate, but simply animal instinct. The territorial instinct of the squirrel is so strong that it's behaviour is merely a reaction to creatures that would compete with it for food. (so unlike King Kong and the airplanes, Faye Ray had nothing to do with this event) It was simply instinct.
The next time that comes to mind, crossing one of these "cute" little red squirrels was last fall when one took up residence in my garage. I noticed him a few times around the yard first, he scolded me and we both moved on. Then I bumped into him in the garage, which startled me and seemed to do the same for him; but as the days went on he began to leap from rafter to rafter knocking things about, doing more charging and challenging than escaping from me.
I cured that behavior with the use of a radio playing loudly and a tune up and test of my snow blower in the garage. He got the hint and moved on to quieter digs.
It was only later while searching for stored Christmas lights that I realized the damage he had done in there. He/ or she had went through that garage like a buzz saw cutting holes clean through cabinets, snow sleighs,tarps,a plastic pumpkin,a straw filled scarecrow, and most of the way through a 2x4 supporting the storage cabinet.
Destructive little beggar eh?
So I'll sit and sip my coffee and marvel at the dexterity of his little hands and teeth opening the bird seeds, but before I head in to my Remax office to begin my day I'll just spy a bit on the little monster to see which direction he/or she leaves in. NOT towards my garage I hope.