Posts filed under ‘writing family stories’

Through the Locks by Boat

Back to our holidays and something we did for the first time. My husband and I had watched from the sidelines as boats went through locks in Peterborough and in Midland area, but this time we experienced it while riding in our daughter and son-in-law’s boat.

We had a clear day and my daughter packed a picnic lunch, water and juice boxes, and extra snacks for the children. We set off from the trailer and got settled in the boat, life jackets and all.

DSCF9150 We saw a bird on one of the other boats as we pulled out.DSCF9152Here’s a better shot.  It’s a stork.


DSCF9155Leaving the park behind, I noticed how the boat makes a trail that looks like a dolphin’s or whale’s  forked tail. It’s slightly cooler out here on the water with a bit of breeze.



Buckhorn – Lock 31 is a very busy spot in July and August, so keep a good watch for downbound traffic as you turn into the lock.


Waiting at the first lock at Buckhorn for all the boats to be secured. As a boater, our son-in-law is a safe operator.


Looking up to the top to see how far the water will rise. She already is a  good helper in putting out the bumpers to protect the side of the boat. It was also a very warm day and we’re wearing our sunscreen.


I cannot remember all the spots and which ones they were. We went through Buckhorn Lock, 31, then Lovesick Lock, which was #30 on the way to Bobcaygeon.

LoveSick Lock: There’s a story to that name.

Lock 30 – Lovesick, tucked in on Millage Island, is hard to spot, so look for the red day beacon on Wolf Island to guide you in and around the green buoy to the lock.There is no road access to the lock, so the quiet and beautiful surroundings make this the place to be in this area. In peak season, plan on arriving early and grabbing a space on the lower lock wall.You’ll also find space on the upper walls in a park-like setting.

After LoveSick Lock, we passed many rocky islands, with the wind in our face and the sun overhead, then through Burleigh Lock

By this time we’d gone through two locks, had a picnic at Lovesick Lock and then one more lock

DSCF9166 Some grand boats on this stretch of water. Think we’re back at Buckhorn.


Many interesting cottages and homes along the lake


DSCF9170Getting to be good boaters



Canoe pulled up to that island. Is there even a cottage there?

DSCF9209 The open water, the sky. The sun was hot but we’re cooler on the water. Still a sunburn at the end of the day in spite of  applying more sunscreen part way through our outing.

DSCF9213 Along the lake shore on our way back to the resort. It’s been a good day and the girls are tired.

DSCF9172 A nearly deserted island?

DSCF9200 On our way back to the resort, and the girls slept part of the last stretch. It was a good day.

Photos copyright C Wilker unless otherwise noted


August 26, 2015 at 10:56 am 4 comments



A bird sits on the topmost branch of a cedar in our backyard. He looks one way and then another. I open my office window a crack to check if he’s singing. He’s not, at least at this moment. And then he takes flight and I cannot see him anymore. The sun is shining in a light blue sky that holds fluffy white clouds. The air is still cool, but the snow banks have been shrinking and what’s on the sidewalks is turning into a small lake.

I thought to wear my rain boots instead of heavy winter boots yesterday when I prepared for my walk, and it was a good thing, for as the sun warmed the atmosphere, the puddles on the sidewalk and near street corners had grown large enough to slosh through and get one’s feet very wet.

Two young boys, just home from school, stood on top of snow piles next to the sidewalk and gathered whatever snow they could grab and tossed it in the water on the street. Perhaps they were checking how fast the snow would melt, or was it a science experiment, trying to displace water from the already growing small lake on the road?

Teens skateboarded down the middle of the street, talking as they went, and separated enough to let a car pass as it came close.

The streets are widening too, with the receding snow. I haven’t seen a robin yet, but I’ve heard the cardinal call. Is it spring yet?

After a long winter, with much snow and dark nights, I’m ready for spring to show its face, ready to see the earth come alive and the buds form on the trees, but I am not rushing time, for each moment we have is one we will not have again.

In the past few weeks, we’ve heard news of the death of three people, two elderly relatives and my friend Kathy, which has been difficult. Good-byes are hard, even knowing they go on to heaven. Those days of mourning are not to be rushed.

At the same time, we also await the arrival of a new member of our family, at the beginning of life beyond the womb. And I do not want to rush those last days of the mother-to-be preparing her heart and mind for the birth of her baby, or the baby’s father to recover from what may have been a viral bug. He needs to be well to attend the birth of their first child. The obstetrician has said, “It’s time.” And so soon, we shall meet our new grandchild who has indicated life through many kicks and movements within its little warm fluid-filled sack.

In the church year, we’re in the season of Lent, a slower more reflective time, with dark shadows, death, and a lot of waiting. It’s interesting how Lent parallels our anticipation of spring after a long winter, in the northern hemisphere, and how that promise of joy comes at Easter when we often see the first hint of flowers coming from the cool earth.

New life, and that brings me back to the anticipated baby.



I think this baby may yet beat the arrival of our spring flowers, and then we shall be stepping lively to meet this little one and congratulate the new parents. There may be tears, of both joy and sadness, when this baby arrives. Perhaps we’ll even sing as loud as all the birds together. The baby’s young cousins will meet the baby they have been waiting for, and welcome the baby with kisses and gentle hugs.



March 13, 2015 at 3:14 pm Leave a comment

Shakespeare Had it Right

This morning I posted over at Canadian Writers Who Are Christian as I usually do once a month. Here it is:

In his time, William Shakespeare knew a thing or two about the stage, but curiously, a thing or two about life as well. He wrote:

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

You may not think you’re on a stage, but really you are. While you might not be acting to earn your wages, people still watch what you do, how you behave.

Think of all the people who have been part of your life for a short or long time. Friends who seemed to disappear from your circle when they moved away or when life circumstances changed for one of you and you were no longer able to spend time together. Or a friend died and you seemed cut off from the family since you were merely a friend and not family. Many exits and entrances indeed. 

Read more here.

cradle Bethlehem

May God give you much peace and joy this season in the middle of wherever you find yourself.

December 12, 2014 at 3:32 pm Leave a comment

A much-needed vacation


Last weekend my husband and I headed off to Buckhorn Lake area in the Kawarthas for a short much-needed holiday. Well, perhaps I should speak for myself as needing the holiday. As much as my other half resists packing and leaves it to the last minute, I believe he enjoyed the time away.



Our GPS took us a lot of back roads once we got off the busy 401 and through a city. It seems as though the workings of the GPS are quite creative in passing by small towns and communities along the way, but I took each turn as it came and only overshot an exit twice in the whole route. On a country road, it’s usually pretty easy to turn around and get back on the path. We took a few stops along the way of what turned out to be a four-hour drive with stopped-up traffic on the big highway—one for food and stretch break and the second to ease some tight muscles in my leg.  Here’s a picture from one of our stops when we were at  about the three-quarter mark.




And then our arrival at Grandview Resort where family members anticipated our arrival. We got the tour and saw the room where we’d be sleeping. It’s a fine-looking trailer inside and the deck space, built by our son-in-law and his father, that extends the living area in the daytime.  One of the especially nice things about this park is its  commitment to being a clean and well-kept park, one that families can enjoy with a curfew at night so all are respectful of each other. Our family members have friends nearby with small children so they have playmates to spend some time with.






We had supper, cooked on the grill, and sat outdoors to eat. No bugs yet.  Then were off to the playground for the children to run off some energy before bedtime.





And the ducks played on the water too.






And of course the big kids—young adults— played badminton or tennis nearby.



There’s a marina on the lake for those who have boats …




And you might think there’s a golf course around here, but you would be mistaken. People ride around on the carts and car and truck traffic is lighter because of it. The park is quite large and the owners, wanting to be mindful of the environment, insist on electric carts. The mindfulness extends to recycle bins for each trailer and a station to drop off garbage and recycling.





And what is camping without a campfire? We did struggle to keep the insects—mosquitoes—from feasting on us, and that’s even with using repellant.


We made a new version of s’mores with the tiny cones that one uses for ice cream cones, rather than the graham crackers. Wrapped in foil and laid near the heat of the fire, it made a small yummy treat. The idea came from one of our daughter’s friends who visited the weekend before.



Early campfire for the children one evening before bedtime.




And what is a holiday for except to check out the local places.  We drove into Buckhorn and stopped at the favourite ice cream stop. After washing sticky fingers and faces, we watched a boat go through  a lock before going on its way into the next lake.




And a photo by the Buck statue that gives Buckhorn its name.




Even a golf cart has some protection from the rain. We did get a ride on one and a tour of the park. Perhaps a future purchase?


A picnic with our daughter and son-in-law’s friends wrapped up a good weekend with only rain in the late evenings.



Watch for Part Two of our holidays– a day at Lang Pioneer Village


Photos by C. Wilker, L. Wilker or a family member.





July 20, 2014 at 1:32 am 2 comments

Storytelling–Carolyn R. Wilker


Today I posted over at Canadian Writers Who Are Christian. Read about books, reading and storytelling. While storytellers know the story and tell from the heart, books are another form of storytelling, especially fiction and creative nonfiction.  Stories grab our attention and take us places, but they must also bring us back to where we started.

 While you’re there, be entertained, inspired, and enter into thought-provoking posts by Linda Hall, Peter Black, Glynis Belec and other Canadian writers.


barn-int-books-and-angel                                                                                                                                                                   A storytelling library at The Story Barn in Baden (now closed)


And while you’re  here, consider a storytelling concert hosted by the Baden Storytellers’ Guild at Waterloo Region Museum, Kitchener, ON, on Sunday  March 16th from 2-4. Tickets available at Museum.

Help us celebrate World Storytelling Day!

March 11, 2014 at 12:48 pm Leave a comment

Black History Month–Maranatha– Part 2



The chicken was delicious. Everything was good.

Over the yummy Caribbean lunch, we talked with people at our table, several who are members of Maranatha. Dana and her husband, from Toronto,  were guests of a member. Dana asked how we, who were not from one of the islands, liked the Caribbean food. I said we’d enjoyed it the year before and this year was no exception. The chicken was especially delicious.

Angie, who sat around the corner from me, said, “You can have more, if you like.”

“Thanks, I told her.  Think I’ve had enough and will save a space for dessert.”

Making my way to another table, I asked Sylma Fletcher if I might get a few of her photos for my blog and she was happy to oblige.

Dessert included a celebration cake and plenty of fresh fruit.


Celebration cake; photo credit, Sylma.


Ken Daley art

One of two pieces reproduced for the service program, and gracious permission by artist Ken Daley to  use it on my blog.

The afternoon program began back in the church sanctuary, perhaps a little later than planned, but there had been many people to accommodate in the fellowship hall and the extra time offered a good chance to meet people and chat. For me it included the mother of a child I had once taught in preschool. It’s always a treat to see Chloe and say hello.

_SYL6733Drumming  group from Cameron Heights; photo credit, Sylma

First off in the program was the Cameron Heights drumming group under the direction of their leader, Tim. He gave us some history on how these drums were made, which was fascinating. Then the group went through a drumming routine. Who would know that a drum of that size could produce such variety in sound. But then I am not a drummer.

_SYL6742                                                                                                                  Cameron Heights Concert Choir, under the direction of Mrs. Brenneman; photo credit, Sylma

After the drumming group, the concert choir filed up to the front and Mrs. Brenneman, their leader, told us about the first two African pieces they would sing. After finding their note on the piano, they began singing accapella. The third song was a piece by Bob Marley, African-American singer. The choir performed it, to our delight, and then we were given the opportunity to join them in the four parts. What a wonderful piece and so enjoyable to sing. The tune was in my head for some time after the event.

_SYL6779                                                                                                                                                                              Peter Braid, MP; photo credit, Sylma

Peter Braid, guest and Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Waterloo riding, spoke about his opportunity to attend this event. “During Black History Month, our community comes together to learn about and celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black Canadians” and how we celebrate our diversity at such an event as this. He thanked Pastor Peter Kuhnert and the Maranatha congregation “for bringing Black History Month to life.”

Braid had the opportunity to be part of the delegation to South Africa, representing Canada, for the funeral of Nelson Mandela, whose “example of courage and hope was an inspiration to many.” He said, “It was an honour for me to represent my constituents and all Canadians at Nelson Mandela’s memorial in South Africa last December… We entered the stadium to the singing and dancing of thousands of South Africans. While there was a tinge of grief in the air, the atmosphere was primarily one of celebration.  A rejoicing for what Mr. Mandela accomplished for their nation, and gratitude for his long walk.”

Braid said it rained the day of the funeral, and it was unrelenting, but “Africans consider rain a blessing, and fitting on the day of a funeral.”

“It’s as if the heavens were crying” one South African said to me. “Let freedom reign.”

Braid also brought good news about scholarships to be named after Mandela, a fitting tribute to the man. More information will be available later in the year, he said. “Education is the most important weapon you can use to change the world.”

When he had finished his greetings, Ms. Maedith Radlein, a retired school principal, shared her story of overcoming challenges when she first came to Canada and the ones her children also faced. Although she had already been a teacher, she achieved her Canadian certification and then moved on to be a principal of an elementary school. She spoke of feeling as though she was invisible at times, but after much persistence and learning she was successful. She challenged black youth to be persistent and to believe in their goals and to work toward them.

Claudette P. Smith, author of Stone Markers of Grace: A Lasting Legacy gave a short and entertaining reading from her new book. Then an audience member made an announcement about a new film, The First Grader, available in the library, and the program was complete.

Pastor Peter Kuhnert closed the service with prayer. Attendees left the sanctuary to visit with others, clean up after the meal, and go home. It was another successful event.


DSCF6839I think that Mrs. Smith’s book may be added to the book table next year. Some books of interest in their collection, ones the book club has read and discussed.


Peter Braid wrote on Twitter that day after the event: “As I do every year, I enjoyed celebrating Black History Month with the very welcoming congregation at Maranatha Lutheran Church today.”


With thanks, once more, to the artist, Ken Daley; Peter Braid, MP; and photographer Sylma Fletcher (for LINK) for permission to share  their art, photography and words on my blog.

March 5, 2014 at 4:54 pm Leave a comment

Day after Christmas

Christmas Day, we went to our daughter Laura and son-in-law’s home and spent the later part of the day with our children and grandchildren. My next younger sister will be hosting her family gathering today. Still others will have spent the day by themselves or may have attended a Christmas service. There’s more than one way to pass the day.

For us it was a special—and delicious— dinner together, with turkey, dressing, vegetables, mashed potatoes and ham. We went light on the dessert fare, but sent a treat home with each person—those mint mint smoothies by a certain candy-making company in Stratford, Ontario. No one goes away hungry unless they so choose. Plus the day was an opportunity to spend time together and talk about things important to us as well as watching the children play.

The children were excited about the gifts under the tree. Four-year-old Evy asked, “When will we open gifts?”

“Very soon, sweetie,” I said. “Your Mommy is just putting away the food.”

And she grinned. For she was looking forward to that time. The brightly wrapped packages had no doubt sent out their beckoning beams. Before long we gathered in the living room—adults, children and even the dogs, Buddy and Fin.

Daughter Sarah asked if the children would like to help give out the gifts and both gathered around  their aunt, nodding heads and jumping up and down. And so began the next part of the evening, the opening of gifts, carefully selected for each person in our gift-giving draw. A teen liked his new hoodie and the i-tunes card and showed me how he could download the gift right there. A coffee maker for the Grandpa in the group so he can make one cup at a time.  Fleece hats for the children to wear when they go outdoors and slide down the hill on their new toboggan.  that was brought in near the end, a gift for their family. The Alice Munro short story collection, another highly rated book for an avid reader in the crowd. An herbal tea selection for me, the “Gandma” as my grandchildren call me. Last but not least was a mini trampoline for the energetic youngster’s indoor play.

DSCN0949DSCN0962DSCN0950 DSCN0979

There’s always help to open our packages, w hen there are small children and that makes it even more fun. Two small ones modelling their new fleece hats, me opening a package and a small one ready to help, which she did. Auntie Adrienne and the two-year-old having a conversation.

We are blessed indeed, that our family is nearby and that we can spend Christmas with them.

December 26, 2013 at 2:52 pm Leave a comment

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