Corrie Street June 28/15

Birthday Party

The scariest bit with Jenny kidnapping Jack was the birthday party jenny-party-tablefor her son Tom. He would have turned seven that day, but he’d drowned in a wading pool. She had left him alone for just a moment.

She doesn’t tell all this to young Jack, just that they’re having a lovely party for a special boy. Paper chains that Jack made hung all around the apartment in Hull. Presents, cakes and little sandwiches on the table.

jenny yells at jack get-to-your-roomJack had no idea what she was talking about, didn’t care, and the only word he said was “Daddy”. Jenny wanted him to share her excitement and he was totally oblivious to the festivities and to her.

Jenny loses it

Jenny screamed at him, and frightened the life out of me. She ordered him to go to his room and he did, quietly and immediately. She then vented her frustration on the decorations, crying while jenny-pulls-down-paper-chainstearing all the paper chains down. Then she phoned Rita.

The rescue mission by Rita, Kevin and Sophie was less scary. This was despite Jenny on the balcony several stories up with Jack, moving to the edge and looking down longingly, way down.

First Rita went to the apartment and was doing a good job of calming this-has-to-stopJenny and getting hold of Jack. Then Kevin couldn’t wait and went banging on the door and yelling. But Rita let go of Jack when she opened the door for him? Jenny, of course, grabbed Jack and out on the balcony they went.

Sophie to the rescue

Ok, not the best tactical moves by either of them, but Sophie’s contribution was beyond belief. Seeing movement on the balcony, she rushes up to the apartment. She could see the glass door open stay-backand her father and Rita there. And out she clattered like a herd of elephants to join them. Of course, Jenny moved back to the corner of the balcony, pulling Jack with her and looking over the edge to the ground.

Thanks to Jenny, it ended well. She let Jack go to Kevin and then balloons-off-balconyslumped crying on the balcony floor until the police carted her off. Kevin had not wanted the police called, fearing they’d “go in mob-handed” and panic Jenny. He and Sophie did that all by themselves!

Iry LeJeune

Lacassine-Special-record-earlycajunmusic.blogspot.ca_2014_08_01In James Lee Burke’s novel Cadillac Jukebox, a New Orleans mob guy brings a gift to Detective Dave Robichaux. A jukebox filled with 45s of classic Cajun recordings from the 1940s and ’50s.

‘There were two recordings of “La Jolie Blon” in the half-moon rack, one by Harry Choates and the other by Iry LeJeune. I had never thought about it before, but both men’s lives seemed to be always associated with that haunting, beautiful song, one that was so pure in its sense of loss you didn’t have to understand French to comprehend what the singer felt. “La Jolie Blon” wasn’t about a lost love. It was about the end of an era.’ (p. 198)

Iry-LeJeune-painting-by-George-Rodrigue-1971-wendyrodrigue.com_2011_04I wondered who Iry LeJeune was. With Professor Google’s help, I found his musical significance and traced his family tree. His 5th great-grandparents are Jean-Baptiste LeJeune dit Briard and Marguerite Trahan of Cape Breton. In the 1750s deportation, they went to North Carolina, then Maryland, finally settling in Louisiana.

Ira LeJeune, called Iry, was born in Acadia Parish October 1928 to Agness and Lucy (Bellard) LeJeune. Agness’ parents, Ernest and Alicia, both had the surname LeJeune.

Iry LeJeune Family Tree

Click image for larger view

When a young boy, Iry learned to play the accordion from his cousin, uncle or great-uncle Angélas LeJeune, a well-known musicianIry-LeJeune-wendyrodrigue.com_2011_04. I could find nothing on Angélas’ parents, but I think he may have been a great-uncle on Iry’s grandmother’s side.

In an interview, fiddler Milton Vanicor and his daughter explain their kinship with Iry. Milton’s wife Odile and Iry were double first cousins – a LeJeune sister and brother married a Bellard brother and sister.

Linda, M. Vanicor’s daughter, says Angélas was Iry’s great-uncle but Milton-Vanicor Leslie Westbrook 2015:06:07doesn’t mention the same connection with her mother. When I saw Iry’s father’s mother was a LeJeune by birth, I wondered if Angélas might be her brother.

Milton Vanicor died June 5, 2015 at the age of 96. He was one of the last surviving Lacassine Playboys, the band he, his brothers and Iry formed in the 1940s. M. Vanicor was a veteran of the Battle of Iwo Jima. He played fiddle at festivals throughout the United States right up to his death.

Cajun's Greatest album Iry LeJeune
Click for Amazon link

Iry died in October 1955 age 28. Driving home after a gig, he was changing a flat tire when a passing car hit him.

He left a wife and five children. His other legacy was reviving the popularity of Cajun music and making the accordion central to it again.


Corrie Street June 21/15


Monday, the unveiling of Todd’s manipulations was scarily brilliant. it-was-so-easyLike others, I’ve wondered what happened to turn Todd so mean. But on Monday, that didn’t matter. What was more interesting was how he exposed the underbelly of others. As he explained, it was so very easy for him to bring out the veniality and weakness of his mother and brother.

Adrian watched as Eileen’s willingness to deceive in order to get a taste of more, and better, came out. Todd explained that todd-grins-as-adrian-leaves-eileenEileen was dreaming of a 5 star hotel kind of guy, not the guy-next-door whose idea of splashing out was a B&B. But Adrian doesn’t deserve this, Eileen protested. You’re right, said Todd, he’s a nice guy who deserves better.

He neatly turned Eileen’s outrage on Adrian’s behalf back on her. It wasn’t Todd who lied to Adrian and sneaked out behind his back to meet the imaginary Jeff from Dubai. Todd gave her the rope, she hung herself.

A word of doubt

all-that-money-spent-on-flightsJason leapt to their mother’s defence. That gave Todd the chance to tell him he had done the same thing to him with Eva. Dropping a word of doubt here and there about what she was really doing with Tony, and Jason filled in the rest himself.

Jason didn’t trust Eva, didn’t ask her pointblank about his suspicions. Quickly he let himself be talked out of trying to threw-it-out-of-the-prampersuade her to stay. You did all that, said Jason. Todd said, no, you listened and then did it yourself.

Neither Jason nor Eileen could convincingly justify themselves or blame Todd. He set the stage, yes, but they were the actors. Todd explained he did it as payback.


Months ago they didn’t come to his reconciliation dinner, the night he was beaten up and left scarred. That is perhaps the  reason on the surface. The more darwin-sleeps-easy interesting motivation, to me, is deeper. It’s the ability of the trickster, to find a flaw and use it to cause a person to act in ways that go against their self-perception and even harm their own best interests.

If Eileen had truly cared for Adrian and been satisfied with the bird in hand, she wouldn’t have continued pursuing those in the bushes of Dubai. If Jason had completely trusted Eva and had more faith in his own self-worth, he wouldn’t have so readily believed she was enough-of-a-floor-showcheating on him. He would have fought harder to keep her.

Hard lessons, and maybe not fair, for both of them. Todd plays a wonderful Iago and, like Othello, Jason and Eileen are left knowing they had listened to poison.

Dog Gone

Eileen Key’s Dog Gone is about dogs disappearing from a boarding kennel. Cleaning lady Belle wants to help her friend, the kennel owner, keep her business alive so she enters the world of dogs and dog shows.

Amazon link for Dog On by Eileen Key
click for Amazon

It’s a well-intentioned story about dog breeding and showing as well as dangers posed by a black market in purebred dogs. But I felt important issues about pets and show dogs and breeding were muddled in their presentation. Puppy mills, research labs and dogfighting fodder were mentioned as possible fates for stolen dogs. The value of microchipping was stressed, as was the fact that chips are not like a GPS that track the dog. You must have the dog in order to read the microchip.

My biggest problem was with the dog owners. All the dogs were from champion bloodlines. All were used for breeding and were beloved family pets. The expected revenue from the central dog’s puppies was the means for financing the college education of the dog owner’s daughter. Yick, I thought, are they concerned about losing their pet or an income source, one that they stress cost a huge amount to acquire? So visions of backyard breeders recouping the cost of an overpriced puppy danced through my head. The people who say “I paid $2000 for that dog, you know”,  “I can sell those puppies on Kijiji for $800 each, you know”.

Dog Shows

These owners enter their dogs in major AKC shows. But they all have just one or two dogs who are family pets. However, nice as that thought is, I’m not sure it’s realistic. The amount of money involved in dog shows is made clear by Key, both the outlay required to participate at the top level and the rewards for having a champion.

Ok, there are people in the hobby or business of dog shows and breeding that do not have large kennels. But they are pretty few and far between at the top championship levels. Living and breathing dog shows is what most reputable breeders do, and Key’s dog-owners don’t do that. So I wasn’t sure if I was being asked to care about pet owners who enjoy competing at dog shows or who see their purebred as a money-making machine.

Belle, our sleuthing heroine, is a self-confessed non-dog person. Ms Key does not mention any dog in her acknowledgements, which seems de rigueur in doggy books. But she thanks kennel owners and vets. I think they gave her a good crash course in dog shows and pet care.

There is a strong Christian message in the book. Rereading the publication details, I saw Barbour Publishing’s mission is to provide “inspirational products offering… biblical encouragement to the masses.” It fits in easily with Belle’s characterization as a Christian and pastor’s wife. It’s a good light read.

From my St. Thomas Dog Blog, Sept. 16, 2012.


Corrie Street June 14/15

They change so

gavin-photosMichael flipping through the years in a photograph album of his son’s life, starting with baby pictures. When he reaches the preteen years, he starts to wonder. Granted, he didn’t see Gavin during those years, but the boy in the photos bears absolutely no resemblance to the man sitting next to him.

photo-albumThe man he knows as Gavin is sweating it. He knows for sure the next pages, the adult Gavin, will give the game away. Behind them, Gail desperately seeks some way to stop Michael from looking at the pictures or somehow make what he’s seeing seem to fit the story she has helped spin about son Gavin.

david-when-he-was-9Michael says it’s hard to believe how much kids can change. Gail seizes the opportunity. She grabs a photo of young David and shows it to Michael: “This is David when he was 9 or 10. He’s completely unrecognizable.” Michael looks and says “that looks exactly like David.”

Like two different people!

Gail studies the picture, as if she’s trying to see it through that-looks-exactly-like-davidMichael’s eyes. “Give over, they’re like two completely different people.” It was a good payoff for a long wait. The Gavin identity story has been going on for a long time and it’s strained the limits of credibility. It’s hard to believe that they managed to keep the real Gavin’s death a secret from Michael. It was in the newspaper – didn’t someone besides Gail see it?

why-not-have-a-break-from-all-thisHow could Michael not wonder about the secretive talks between Gail and Gavin/Andy and Steph? The man is not obtuse, but somehow he’s missed the tension snapping like lightning around that household.

penny-drops-for-michaelAn audience will suspend disbelief, even to an extreme degree, in order to get caught up in a good juicy story. But it was hard to picture big dramatic fireworks happening with Michael and Gavin/Andy. They’re just too nice, too ordinary.

It’s not over yet so maybe the big drama is yet to come. For me, Warren-Jackson-NickGail’s attempt to save the situation with David’s photo was enough on its own. It was very funny. The joke also worked at a meta level of television construction. Hey Gail, I thought, you should have grabbed a photo of Nick when he was young.  Like this one here. That would really prove that someone can grow up to look like a totally different person.

Royal Charlottes

Charlotte-queen-and-princess-royal-Royal-Collection-TrustThe first British royal Charlotte was George III’s queen. She is best known as the founder of London’s Kew Gardens and for perhaps having black ancestry. Born in Germany in 1744, fifteen generations back in her family tree is King Alfonso III of Portugal and his mistress Madragana of Faro in Algarve, described as a “Moor”.

Charlotte_Princess_Royal_Queen_of_Wurttemberg-1798-wikicommonsCharlotte and George III had fifteen children. Their fourth child was Charlotte Augusta Matilda, Princess Royal. She married Prince Frederick of Württemberg and in 1806 became Queen of Württemberg.

Their eldest, and heir, was George. At age 23, he secretly married a Catholic widow, Maria Fitzherbert. The marriage was not legal. He had children with her and other women, but none could be his heir.

Princess Charlotte, heir to the throne

A “suitable” wife, Caroline of Brunswick, was chosen for him. An heir, Princess Charlotte Augusta, was born in 1796. George and Caroline Princess_Charlotte_of_Wales-Dawe_1817-wikicommonsseparated soon after. George became Prince Regent in 1810, taking over from his father whose mental illness had incapacitated him.

Seven years later, at the age of 21, Princess Charlotte died in childbirth.* George III and Queen Charlotte had many other grandchildren but all were illegitimate. With the Prince Regent unable to divorce and unwilling to share a bed with wife Caroline, he would have no more legitimate heirs. His brothers were hurriedly married off so there might be an heir and some spares.

George, Prince Regent became George IV in 1820. Next in line was his brother William, Duke of Clarence. But William lived with an actress Dorothy Jordan and their ten children. In return for his debts being paid and the promise of the throne, however, William agreed to leave his Fitzclarence kids and their mother.

He married Adelaide of Saxe-Meingenen. Their first daughter, Charlotte Augusta, lived only one day. A second daughter lived four days. William IV reigned seven years, until 1837. His heir was Princess Victoria, daughter of the next eldest brother, the late Edward Duke of Kent, and his wife Victoria of Saxe-Coburg.

Princess Charlotte
Family Tree of Charlotte of Cambridge (click for full size)

Queen Victoria

When Victoria was born in 1819, the Prince Regent said no to the names Charlotte, Augusta and Georgiana, all closely associated with the crown. He agreed to Alexandrina, after her godfather Tsar Alexander I, and Victoria, after her mother.

Victoria became queen one month after turning 18. After three kings in three decades, she reigned for 63 years. She named one of her five daughters Augusta, but none Charlotte.

Augusta-Caroline-Charlotte-wikipedVictoria’s younger cousin got all the royal names, however. Princess Augusta Caroline Charlotte Elizabeth Mary Sophia Louisa of Cambridge was the daughter of George III’s seventh son Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge. The title passed to Augusta’s brother George, the last to hold it until the present Prince William. Princess Augusta died in 1916 aged 94. During preparations for Edward VII’s coronation in 1902, she was called upon for advice. She was the only person in royal circles who could remember not only Queen Victoria’s coronation but also King William IV’s.

carlota_mexico*Charlotte’s widower, Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, later married Louise-Marie, daughter of the future King Louis-Phillippe of France. They named their first daughter Charlotte in honour of Leopold’s first wife. She became Empress Carlota, married to Maximillian of Mexico. Her brother became Leopold II of Belgium, inheriting the throne from his father.


American Pharoah

american pharoah in belmontSaturday, I saw something I’ve never seen before: the winning of the American Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. I hadn’t expected it to happen, but I hoped. American Pharoah made it look easy. It’s not.

He’s the 12th horse to win it in almost a century. The last time the triangular statue was handed to an owner was 1978. Thirteen times triple-crown-trophy-2015in the 37 years since, it’s sat in a secure storeroom at Belmont, waiting to be given to a potential winner, only to be put in storage again. The trio of 1970s winners were represented Saturday: Secretariat’s owner Penny Chenery, Seattle Slew’s trainer William H. Turner Jr., and Affirmed’s jockey Steve Cauthen.

five-and-a-half-lengthsAmerican Pharoah is bred and owned by Zayat Stables. He will stand at stud at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud Farm in Kentucky. It will cost a lot to get one of his babies. Breeders are likely poring over his pedigree and those of their mares, trying to choose one with performance and conformation in her background that, with luck, will enhance and balance his.

The best to the best

unofficial-winnerBreed the best to the best, and hope for the best, is the rule of thumb. Getting the “superhorse” is the dream, and they’re one in a million – literally. Stats on NBC’s Belmont broadcast showed that, since Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978, 1.4 million Thoroughbred foals have been born.

American Pharoah was born February 2, 2012 to Pioneerof the Nile and Littleprincessemma. Look through his pedigree (tap chart to enlarge). You will see well-known names. On his sire’s side are Mr. Prospector, Northern Dancer and Bold Ruler, sire of Secretariat. On his dam’s side are Northern Dancer, Secretariat and Raise a Native.


Triple Crown Club

The great Man o’ War is found in eleven of American Pharoah’s 16 great-great grandparents. Man o’ War could have, should have, been a member of the Triple Crown club. He won the Preakness and Belmont in 1920, but did not run in the Kentucky Derby. At the time those races were simply three of many, so whether to run or not had no great significance.

triple crown silks-belmont-parkBeing only five weeks apart with differing distances that test a horse’s ability, the three stakes races were first called the Triple Crown by a journalist in 1923. But they didn’t become that officially until 1930. That year, Gallant Fox won all three. Sir Barton in 1919 was the only other horse to have done so. Therefore, in 1947, ten years after his death, Sir Barton was included as the first Triple Crown winner. I’m sure that, had he run the Derby, Man o’ War would be in that select group.


Corrie Street June 7/15


zeedan-looks-at-leanneShocked frightened faces smudged with soot. A body bag at the entrance to Victoria Court. The end of the week, and the end presumably of Kal Nazir.

Zeedan hissed at Leanne, “it’s your fault.” Technically, he’s correct. Kal went in Carla’s kal-body-bagburning flat to save Leanne. She had gone in to save Amy. So, if she hadn’t, what would have happened to Amy? The firetrucks took forever to get there. An explanation was given by Sally: the ring road was closed and they couldn’t get through.

It was a great fire, with nail-biter episodes. I enjoyed it all the more nazirs-see-body-bagbecause I did not know it was coming. There had been no spoilers for me. I realized on Tuesday something bad was going to happen, and was likely to involve fire. But that was due to foreshadowing in the writing.


Liz came out to the Rovers’ back patio, cigarette and lighter in hand. life-without-riskJulie and Sean had just finished their decorations for the wedding reception. Swathes of gauzy, shiny fabric everywhere. Little fairy lights dotted throughout the drapery. Synthetics and electric wires installed by Julie and Sean: it screamed fire hazard!

They even knew the risk and warned Liz against lighting up. One might ask, why did they choose such decor for a smoking area? That’s tracy-at-windownot what Liz asked, however. Instead she posed the question, “what’s life without a little danger?” as she flicked the lighter. She did not see Tracy Barlow standing in her upstairs window looking at her with malevolence.

Tracy soon spoiled the day for Liz, then she moved on to her plans for Carla. Tracy did not know that Liz asked Carla to look after Amy for the night while she planned her actions toward Tracy and the unfaithful Tony.

In another bit of foreshadowing, we had seen Sinead give Steve a gift amy-with-candleof wedding favours. She had made candles. After the reception, Amy comes home with Carla, looking forward to a big-girls’ night in such a “tasteful” flat. She’s still wearing her bridesmaid dress and carrying a wedding candle.

She wants to take the candle to bed with her, in Carla’s room, and light it there. Let’s keep it here in the living room, Carla says. ‘Where amy-on-ladderit’s safer’ goes unsaid.

After they’re asleep, Amy in Carla’s bed and Carla on the couch, in sneaks Tracy. She needs some light, and has forgotten a flashlight I guess. She sees the candle.

Musical Ride II

The RCMP Musical Ride was in Sussex this week at the Princess Louise Show Centre. Tonight they are giving a very special ride in Moncton, to honour the three Mounties killed there one year ago. A lot of emotion for them, one rider told me. Some have been stationed in Moncton. All know someone stationed there or nearby. A difficult performance for them and one they feel very deeply.

Teddy in PLP stall before musical ride
Teddy in PLP stall

So too for us in all the New Brunswick audiences. Remembering the horrible day that took the lives of Constables Fabrice Gevaudan, Doug Larche and Dave Ross and wounded Constables Eric Dubois and Darlene Goguen. We are privileged to have the horses and officers of the Musical Ride with us at this sad time.

Below are photos of horses and riders before, during and after the performance. Click or tap to see a larger view.

Tacking up

Cybil and rider Cpl. Beverly White
Cpl. Beverly White puts bridle on Cybil
Riders prepare
Riders prepare in PLP barn

Musical Ride

Line up at opening of show
Opening of performance, Princess Louise Show Centre
Viper and rider Jeremy Dawson
Viper with rider Jeremy Dawson of Newfoundland
Lances forward
Lances forward

Meet the horses

Viper meets and greets
Viper meets and greets audience members
Steele and Cst. Hugues Dionne
Steele and Cst. Hugues Dionne

Cooling out

Returning to barn at PLP
Returning to barn at PLP after show
Cooling out horses
Cooling out horses beside barn
Rider walks horses

The week before, the Musical Ride was in nearby Hampton NB. Click here to see my post and photos of the horses’ arrival at Butternut Stables and their parade through town to the performance field.

My Dog’s Arthritis

my dog runs at Clearville beach, Lake ErieMy Standard Poodle Leo has arthritis in his spine and left hip. Joint degeneration. His running, jumping and dancing on hind legs must be curtailed. I am sad and furious.

He’s maybe 9, no longer a young dog. So you might say: he’s had good years, aging happens. I’d agree – but. He only had 3 “good years.”

Leo spent 5 years of his life in a cage, not running, probably not even walking much. When he came to us, he had trouble climbing a step. At first, he just didn’t know what to do, he’d clearly never seen steps before. But even when he figured out how, he didn’t have the strength in his legs to do it. He gained strength. He loves to run fast, climb hills and dance.

Puppy mill dog

He’d been a breeding dog in a Georgia puppy mill. That’s why I don’t know his exact age. I know from the record that came with him that he’d been purchased December 12, 2003. He was at least 6 months at that time, I figure. I doubt they get them until they’re of breeding age. Why feed unproductive mouths?

Poodle running at Conservation Area, St. ThomasHe got out in September 2008 via a rescue group and came to Canada. He and his Labradoodle cellmates were not seized in a raid that closed the puppy mill. The rescue group bought them. They were old breeding stock, used up, and young dogs who hadn’t sold. No one put the miller  out of business, he just got cash to buy new stock. I know it was a man, white-haired. They’re the only people that Leo was truly scared of when he came to us.

So his joint degeneration makes me angry, angry at that white-haired man in Georgia and all puppy mill operators. They use up animals’ God-given vitality without care about what quality of life those generations of dogs will have. They abuse animals in order to make themselves “a living.”

Joint degeneration ends agility

The note on Leo’s rescue assessment says he’s “a really nice friendly Poodle doing agility jump at Moore Water Gardens Port Stanleyboy. He would do great for agility or obedience.” He loves agility.  I took him to a horse show once and he jumped the low bars set up for kids and ponies.

Now he eats ‘joint health’ kibble with glucosamine and omega fatty acids. He takes anti-inflammatory and pain pills. The medications are his for life, as worry is mine when he slips or limps. I hope only to avoid surgery. He can still run, his doctor says, just don’t overdo it, watch for signs of pain. Get in the habit of nice walks.

Puppy mill or not, he might develop arthritis at his age. My other dogs did. But they had more than three years of healthy freedom before bone and joint degeneration afflicted them.

Raise dishes

Here’s a simple thing I did: put his dishes in flowerpots. The higher one is for Leo’s bowl raised in flower pot for dog with joint degenerationdog bowls raised with two sizes of flower pots photo D Stewartfood so he doesn’t have to lean down, thereby avoiding strain on his joints. The lower one is for water that he shares with smaller pets. Here are more good hints for arthritic dogs.

Country Club for Pets in London ON set up the agility course that Leo tried near Port Stanley at Moore Water Gardens. Since I posted this (St. Thomas Dog Blog Dec. 30/11), Leo’s arthritis has worsened but he still gets around. We tried laser therapy but his condition is too bad for it to help. For younger animals or less severe arthritis, it’s well worth a try.