Wednesday, 21 August 2013


I am getting off to a slow start today. As morning ablutions become more challenging, as does dressing, I am just taking longer to get up and about; the change continues. It's not a bad thing; it's just a thing. So far I have made it halfway this morning. The other half is getting pants, not an insignificant issue in that I try to stand when I pull up my pants. Standing only happens once or twice a day now, usually with lots of effort and assistive devices like bars or the lift in my truck.

Yesterday was an interesting day, driving from Charlottetown to Souris and then to Wood Island on PEI. From there, I took the ferry to Caribou, NS . My plan had been to drive north in Nova Scotia, heading up the Sunrise Trail yesterday and then on to the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island today. On a whim, however, I decided to go to Halifax instead. It is the one advantage of not planning; I can do things on a whim.

Yesterday was interesting in another way. I met a couple of people, each with their own stories. The first was a woman in the lobby of my hotel. She was waiting for her husband; he had taken a couple of sleeping pills the night before and he was having trouble getting up. She went on to talk about why he took the pills. He has terminal cancer. It had begun as colon cancer which was successfully treated, or so they thought. It has metastasized, relocated to his liver and multiplied. Now he has numerous liver tumours. His doctors can only offer palliative chemo-therapy in an effort to reduce his pain. He is 58 years old, the same age as me.

Later in the day I found myself at the Wood Island Ferry terminal with an hour or so to spare. So I went to a local institution, Crabby's Seafood Shack, where I met Mr. Crabby, or as I was to discover later, Kip. Kip had come to PEI in 1973, not to escape the draft as he was quick to point out, but because the election of Richard Nixon soured him completely on the wisdom of his home country.

In 1986 after working in a variety of jobs on the island, Kip and his partner John got themselves this fishing shack on the dock next to the Wood Island Ferry and began selling fresh, local seafood. They did well and ended up buying a brand new commercial fishing boat. They fished for cod and when the cod ran out, they fished for redfish. They did well selling their catch along with local seafood from others in their neighbourhood. Mr. Crabby's expanded; they started selling cooked seafood as well as fresh.

Then, in order to spend more time on the shore side of the business, they hired a skipper for their fishboat. That first season with a hired crew, their boat went to the bottom just off Newfoundland. Fortunately the crew got off safely; unfortunately the boat was only partially insured, a not uncommon situation here on the East Coast. The boat had been John and Kip's retirement plan; they were going to spend summers here, fall coasting down the the Antilles, winters in the Caribbean, and spring coming home. Now that was lost to them; both Kip and John were working well into their sixties to keep things going.

Two men, two life plans that changed, randomly. Everyone's life is like this. Things change, sometimes completely randomly, sometimes good, sometimes bad. Life begins, changes, and ends. That's the way it is.

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