Our National Debt

The Bloganuary question today: If you had a billion US dollars, how would you spend it?

I’m not going to figure how many dollars Canadian that would be, but I did a search for how much Canada’s National debt is. Here’s the answer I found:
The total financial liabilities or gross debt of the Canadian consolidated provincial, territorial and local governments (PTLG) was $1,460 billion in 2021 (the fiscal year ending 31 March 2022.)

My billion dollars US should cover that. I live in the best country in the world and it’s been good to me. I’d be happy to pay something back.

Now, wouldn’t my fellow citizens love me if I’d pay off the national debt? Well, maybe they wouldn’t–or only briefly–but it would definitely benefit our country and every citizen indirectly. So that’s probably the best use I could make of such an enormous sum. To hold that much privately and decide how to spend it would be the biggest headache ever.

Okay, I’d probably keep some for personal use and donations. Maybe a million or two. 😉

Some Native Words

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is ESCULENT

Image: Rita E at: Pixabay

Lady Northorpe was throwing one of her famous parties. The guests had gathered in the ball room and servants were offering around trays of food prepared by their chef.

Dame Snootwich ogled the dainties on the tray a servant was holding out. “Oh, these look almost too good to eat!”

The butler, passing at that moment, said, “I assure you, my Lady, our chef’s delicacies are all quite esculent.

After the butler had left the room, Dame S turned to the serving girl. “Whatever did he mean by that odd word?”

“I think it means edible, my Lady. Our butler came from the colonies, a place called Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. They speak some native language there – Cree, I think they call it – so his English has a few foreign words mixed in.”

NYR: Sort out WP!

Good morning everyone. It’s Boxing Day here in Canada and we’re snug and warm after an “Alberta clipper” blew through Saturday night and dumped snow on us. We couldn’t make it to church yesterday because of the snow drifts on our driveway — our son-in-law came with his little Takeuchi skid-steer and plowed so we could join them for Christmas dinner. However, we’re very thankful for “streaming” so we could listen to the service.

I just read the post on Boxing Day that Brian over at Writing from the Heart with Brian and I wrote a nice long comment in response. Saturday when I tried to subscribe to his blog, I couldn’t. In the end I went into my Reader and typed out his URL. But today when I tried to post my comment, I couldn’t. No way. If you read this, Brian, my efforts likely landed in your SPAM queue.

So here’s my take on Boxing Day in Canada. Folks from the UK can add their traditions as comments.
Boxing Day has been a long-standing tradition in England and most of her one-time dominions. I’m not sure if boxing up gifts for others carried over very long after the wars. I never saw anyone doing this here in Sask but I have heard of it being done — maybe by some church-going people?
People could not shop on Boxing Day. It was — in fact is still is in our province — a legal holiday with stores and banks shut. When I was a girl nothing was open on Sundays, Good Friday, Dec 25+26, etc., until Walmart came along and got special exemptions from Sunday + holiday store-closing laws. Now a lot of stores here are open–shorter hours–on Sundays. there will be some parts of Canada with laxer laws on store-opening hours.

Thinking of SPAM queues for a moment, has anyone else noticed that there’s no EMPTY SPAM button anymore. I didn’t realize this until I chanced to click on my SPAM comments queue — something I do every blue moon. I found over 250 messages and was dismayed to find they needed to be individually clicked on. I used bulk edit to delete a page of spam, but still must click each message box separately.

Saturday I made my first New Year’s Resolution in a long time: Sort out this issue with WordPress, whose artificial intelligence steadfastly refuses to recognize my current e-mail address. Are you making any New Year’s Resolutions or have you abandoned the practice? anyway, here’s to new beginnings!

Stream image by Jonny Gios — Pixabay

Ginny’s Adventure

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was MORASS — rather like a cross between a MARSH and a MESS. 🙂

This prompt led me through trees to a low, muddy spot where spring runoff collected and stagnated until the June sun evaporated it. There I spied a young lady lost in this unfamiliar land and heard some of her plight. I sat down and whacked out this story, but then we went to town and I never got it posted. Now here I am finally with my response to the RDP.

Ginny’s Adventure

Ginny wandered through the scraggly poplar woods for hours hoping to find a trail, but all she found was a morass of mud and rotten leaves, a low spot where winter snows had made a shallow pond. She realized the only way around it would mean fighting through willow and dogwood thickets. These had sprung up over the years as birds and beasts, attracted to the spring pond, had dropped around it seeds from their fur or feathers.

Sadly she turned back to the dry ground she’d just traipsed through, then decided to try circling part of the quagmire. Another time when she’d been with her brother when he’d taken his oxen to a pond for a drink, he’d pointed out a trail through the woods. He explained how deer and other animals made trails like that to watering holes. “But beware,” he warned, “because wolves use these trails, too.”

Perhaps animals had made a trail to this pond. She gathered up her long skirt again and began to make her way around the clumps of brush. It didn’t take long until she did discover a narrow trail. She thought about those wolves. Or even deer.

“Mother deer can be very protective,” Herb had said. “You don’t want to pester one guarding her fawn, or you’ll feel her sharp hooves.”

For a moment she gave in to the despair she felt about this her whole situation. Anger flared, too. It was beastly of father to gamble away everything they had! Now mother was in a pension for impoverished gentlewomen and she’d been shipped off to Canada, a nuisance to Herb and his new wife. And now she’d made things worse by getting lost in this forest.

She considered her options: turn back and keep wandering, lost, through the woods until they came searching for her–or some animal did her in. Or she could take this trail and pray it would lead her out of the woods and she’d meet no vicious creatures on the way. She felt the urge to try. She had no clue where it would lead her, but at least she could walk on the path’s packed ground instead of crunching over layers of leaves and twigs. Hopefully it would lead her out of these smothering woods.

Following the trail for what seemed like an hour, she reached a clearing. Some homesteader had cut down the trees here for his stove; only the stumps remained. Part of clearing his 160 acres. And father on, she could see a green field, maybe his very first crop coming up.

Ginny threw up her arms in a gesture of rejoicing, and resolved to never go wandering in these woods again. She may not like being here in Chesterville, living in a four-room house with her brother and his wife, but she wasn’t ready to die, either.

The Bookseller

Here’s my response to Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt. According to Lexico, a bibliopole is a bookesller, a dealer in rare or used books, and we did have one a few towns away. If you’re interested, read the Fact at the end.

Still there


Still there, they say. Rows of shelves full floor to ceiling; more books stacked in the aisles of his store. Next of kin don’t want them. Bibliopole Ralph Crawford has passed on – but he couldn’t take them with him.

A rather eccentric older man with poor eyesight and thick-lens glasses, Ralph Crawford was a seller of old and rare books. He moved to a small town in this area from the Maritimes and became a local “character.” He bought an old bank building in Perdue, SK, to be his bookstore, with offices upstairs where he could live, then brought his stock in several semi-trailer loads, set up shelves, and established his store.
Ralph’s store smelled musty and looked somewhat like the illustration above, but he knew his stock and could find subjects and authors for you. He did a lot of mail-order business, I’m told. He lived here maybe fifteen years? I heard Ralph passed away a couple of years ago. His relatives all live on the East coast — so now what does the town do with all those musty old books? Last I heard the question remains unanswered and the books are still there, waiting for someone to air them out and read them.

Big Cake for a Big Man!

FlyLady Marla C has focused on dealing with paper clutter as her “Habit” this month, so I’ve been going through old files. This news clipping was among Mom’s paper stash and I incorporated it with mine when we moved her. It’s an article with a photo of the mammoth cake given to P Burns for his 75th BD.

At 7-ft high, the base 8-ft square, this is one hefty birthday cake!

Rancher, businessman and politician, Burns was born in 1856 to Irish immigrants near Oshawa, Upper Canada — now the province of Ontario. He settled in Manitoba, farmed and started buying beef cattle. Later he moved to Calgary where, in 1890, he built his first slaughterhouse and began supplying beef to the city and surrounding area, also to the miners during the Yukon gold rush days. His business became the well known Burns Meat Company.

In 1901 Burns married Eileen Louisa Francis Anna Ellis, the daughter of a Penticton, BC, rancher. Sadly, the couple had a stormy marriage that ended in separation. Their only son, Patrick Thomas Michael, wasn’t robust in health and was found dead in his bed at the age of thirty, an apparent heart attack.

Called Alberta’s “Cattle King,” Burns was one of the “Big Four” ranchers who founded the Calgary Stampede in 1912. He was a special guest at the Stampede on July 6, 1931, and his 75th birthday party was celebrated with this seven-layer cake weighing 3,000 pounds (1587 kg). The banquet was attended by various VIPs: AB Premier Brownlee; the Lt. Governor of MB, and Prime Minister R B Bennett. The cake was cut into 23,000 pieces and given to residents of Calgary.

When Patrick Burns died, the Alberta government had a real windfall, as the taxes on his estate were enough to eliminate the provincial deficit and balance the province’s budget!

In life Burns was a generous man and in his will he left bequests to the Lacombe Home, the Salvation Army, the local Children’s Shelter, widows and orphans of men in the city’s police force and fire department, the Roman Catholic bishop of Calgary, the Collège Saint-François-Xavier in Edmonton, the Navy League of Canada, the Canadian Red Cross Society, the Junior Red Cross, the British Empire Service League, the Canadian Legion’s tuberculosis section, the 103rd Regiment (Calgary Highlanders), the Boy Scouts Association in Alberta, and the Southern Alberta Pioneers’ and Old Timers’ Association.