Friends of the Richelieu. A river. A passion.

"Tout cedit pays est fort uny, remply de forests, vignes & noyers. Aucuns Chrestiens n'estoient encores parvenus jusques en cedit lieu, que nous, qui eusmes assez de peine à monter le riviere à la rame. " Samuel de Champlain

"All this region is very level and full of forests, vines and butternut trees. No Christian has ever visited this land and we had all the misery of the world trying to paddle the river upstream." Samuel de Champlain

Monday, March 12, 2018

Chez Morisset

Photo: another old Richelieu landmark

Another Richelieu landmark was brought down to rubble this morning. The two story house on Richelieu`s main thoroughfare belonged to a family who lived upstairs and whose father kept a truck-stop kind of restaurant where one could have his home-cooked meals, buy a newspaper, candy or gum and cigarettes while listening to the jukebox, center of attention to the local teenagers.

When I was a child, on hot Sunday summer afternoons, my father would bring us there to have an ice-cream cone. My father also bought his Montreal Star newspaper there, and sent me there Saturdays to pick up his copy put aside for him. That is the only time my father wanted me there: he strictly forbade me to buy candy, gum, or hang out with the gang listening to the latest hits of that rock and roll he did not care too much about.

The owner of the restaurant had a daughter about my age who went to the same school as I did, but she was much more popular than I was, of course, her having a juke-box and restaurant and all. I was never really accepted by her or her friends because I was not allowed to hang around in the restaurant. I did not mind that too much, because I much preferred to spend my time by the river or in the surrounding fields rather than stay cooped up in a smelly restaurant all afternoon. Because, of course, everybody smoked in there, and me and my parents did not.

When the father/owner of the place got too old to stay in business, the place tried to survive as a breakfast truck-stop, then a dairy bar during the summer months, but the locals simply did not go there any more, and truck traffic was now mostly on the Eastern Township Highway, a couple of kms upriver. So Mr Morisset had it good while it was going. It was never the same again after he left.

And now the building is demolished....

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Asburdity of Man

"Young man, nature is not frightening, it`s people who are frightening! You just need to get to know nature and it will become friendly. This creature known as man is of course highly intelligent, he`s capable of manufacturing almost anything from rumours to test-tube babies and yet he destroys two to three species every day. This is the absurdity of man." - Gao Xingjian, Soul Mountain

Monday, February 19, 2018

Le monde des bilingues

"Il semblerait qu`il y ait quatre catégories de facteurs qui contrôlent séparément ou souvent groupés, le choix de la langue chez le bilingue: les interlocuteurs, la situation dans laquelle a lieu l`échange, le sujet, et enfin, la fonction de l`interaction. Concernant les interlocuteurs, un facteur important est la maîtrise qu`ils ont des langues. Normalement, on choisit la mieux connue par les deux afin d`assurer une communication efficace." - François Grosjean, Parler plusieurs langues - Le monde des bilingues

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The distant sound of water flowing over the dam

"Before she closed the door behind her, Jane turned for one last look at the river. The eternal promise of spring hung in the air and the rain that fell seemed perfumed with it - almost the smell of green itself.

Closing the door, she heard- before it shut - the distant sound of the water flowing over the dam, and she closed her eyes to watch the river in her mind, flowing downstream to continue its everlasting journey towards open water, open skies and the promise everywhere of life. "
- Timothy Findley, Spadework

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Owning a home

"And if you owned your own house - had taken up residence elsewhere - at whatever distance you could achieve - then you were safe. No more clawing fingers - no more cloying demands. Freedom. Freedom from the dead weight of the past." - Timothy Findlay, Spadework


It was in the middle of winter. A Friday or Saturday evening. I must have been 18-19 or 20 years old. About the time I would go find work for a while to pay for going back to CEGEP. Just trying to get a DEC certificate - in anything!

My father had made a fire in the fireplace, prepared drinks for my mother and himself, and they were sitting face to face each side of the fire. Soft background music was playing.

I had taken a shower in the awful shower stall my father had built in the basement, and realized I had to cut my toenails. So still in pajamas and robe, I sat on the floor in front of the fire and cut my nails, throwing the cuttings in the fire.

I don`t recall the exact words my father used, but he wanted me to do the job elsewhere. He did not keep the house very warm, and the central furnace thermostat was in that room with the fireplace, so I did not particularly want to be elsewhere right now.

But it occured to me that I was not wanted. And the house I considered was my home clearly wasn`t. Not really.

That gave me an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. To feel unwanted. And homeless. I never felt so bad in all my life. And promised myself I would do ANYTHING to not feel that way ever again.

And so my main goal in life was to become a homeowner. So if nobody wanted me, at least I had a home I could call my own. And nobody could kick me out. Or tell me what to do - or not to do.


I shall add here that when my husband and I first bought the house in 1979, my parents invited us for dinner to celebrate, and after the meal, my father told my husband and I that because my husband had such a "shitty job" (job de trou de cul), my husband and I should not count on my parents to help us pay for the mortgage, or to babysit our children, for that matter. Their years of raising children were over, he said.

I can`t imagine saying that to your only child. But there you are...

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Ten Catmandments

- Thou shalt have no other gods before thyself

- Thou shalt not kill, or at least, if thou art going to kill, thou shall have a game of football with the thing thou is going to kill before thou properly finishest it off

- Thou shalt repeat the internal mantra " I hate this! It`s fucking great!" about the majority of life experiences.

- Thou shalt not drink the water put out for thee by thy humans. Thou shalt instead demand to drink the freshest water in Christendom straight from the tap, although if that is not forthcoming, thou shalt protest by drinking any old rainy algae-spattered crap thou might find in next door`s garden.

- Thou shalt ignore any toy thy human has bought for thee, especially the really expensive ones, but thou shalt dearly cherish the packaging of said toy, and have hours of fun with it.

- Thou shalt forget thy mother and father quite quickly when seperated from them, and if thou happens to see them again, thou shalt sniff their bottoms then hiss at them intimidatingly.

- Thou shalt snack voraciously, stealing at least one fish before the age of three, always remembering to leave something black and hard to remove behind after every meal, and getting irrationally excited when thy biscuit dispenser is topped up, even though thy new biscuits are just the same as those underneath.

- Thou shalt not commit adultery, except in a kind of "dry hum" way, with thy owner`s cleaniest knitwear and bedding.

- Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour`s cardboard box.

- Thou shalt never forget the rule that thy affection towards thy human should rise and fall in direct proportion to the amount of miscellaneous crap stuck on thy fur at the time.

Tom Cox, The Good, The Bad and The Furry