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Port Burwell gets a sub, Toronto gets a Cup

Ross Andrews - Various Veins


Lots of things happening, where should we start?

Locally the big news is the arrival of the sub at Port Burwell last Thursday. I haven't gone south to see for myself but I've spoken with people who have.

First news was that the dredging done before the barge arrived didn't allow for the monster to be angled toward the west wall in order for the submarine to be transferred to the shore. A large block of concrete was too much for the equipment to move it to let the barge move inland far enough for the best landing. Just a guess, but probably that obstruction was constructed to support the ramp that connected the car ferry Ashtabula to the CPR railway. Or it may be from one of the two more recent ferries that briefly used the port. They all were moored in that same location.

Since the sub has to be set ashore closer to the lake than anticipated, the soil there has to be compacted before the sub is placed on it and moved one last time.

Shuttle buses have been carrying people from parking areas to where they can watch the action. That's good.

A crowd of the size in the port for these days needs toilet facilities. My informant didn't see any portables. With the temperature plunging, a hot coffee or cup of hot chocolate would be welcome, and maybe some chips and a hotdog or hamburger? One visitor said the only place open was the LCBO.

It was great to see the celebrating in Toronto on Sunday when the home team decisively won the Grey Cup. I admit football is not at the top of my interests. I played touch rugby at the St. Thomas Collegiate Institute during physical education, but not by choice. I understand this is the 100th anniversary of championship games of the Canadian Football League. Rah! Rah! I guess.

There is one good memory in relation to the end of season play. Our son Michael was born on Grey Cup Day in 1957, Nov. 30. I don't remember what teams played or who won. Given my aversion to being tackled by big bruisers back at STCI, probably I didn't know who was playing or where at the time.

Hey, I'm not criticising true fans of the game. It's a far, far better thing to party in the streets than to riot in the streets.

While they weren't rioting, the shoppers going after bargains on Black Friday, or was it Black Thursday, were a pretty aggressive crowd. I don't shop online but I can see why more and more people do.

One thing that puzzles me. Why can marketers offer such bargains at this particular time? Are the regular prices inflated to make up the difference? Dad always said there's no free lunch.

On a personal note, Monday, the day following the Grey Cup game, I celebrate the end of my 84th orbit of Old Sol. I made the first couple of orbits riding the planet Earth at Chatham, Ont. The rest I have passed mostly in Bayham and the surrounding area. I feel fortunate to have lived in this part of the planet, relatively free from earthquakes, floods, the forces of nature, and from political spasms such as the wars and revolutions that fertilize the soil with human blood.

There was the rebellion in Upper Canada in 1837 that took some lives, but it seems from historical accounts to have been more like a comic opera than a class war. That was long before my time. The First World War was over 11 years before I came along, and the second ended before I reached recruitment age.

I could have enlisted for service in Korea, but it scared me half to death to think I might be called into the armed forces at the time. Having shot many groundhogs, rabbits and squirrels by then, I knew the effect of being hit by a bullet. Not my cup of tea!


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