Seniors Situation Room by Dawn Ford – Guide Dogs & Remembering the Roxy FEB 17, 2015



DawnFord_SSR_YouthfulAny senior attending one of those special dinners at Logan’s Art Gallery is in for a surprise when they leave…a gift of a cup and saucer. Nice gesture on Mike’s part. Heard the food is wonderful also.

One day when it was snowing and blowing recently and the trees were bending their limbs in the high winds, the sky was cold looking and colourless. I thought of that same kind of colourless sky during the infamous Ice Storm of 1998.

That particular Monday we woke up to freezing rain. My husband, who was blind, had an appointment that day with the Vet for his Guide Dog Hayden but the roads were too icy and we had to cancel it. He routinely took Hayden and his retired Guide Dog Neptune out to our backyard to a relieving spot on a regular schedule. He insisted on doing that even in the icy mess out there. I was the ‘cleaner upper’ on the spot which was getting trickier for both of us as the ice built up.

By Tuesday night, I was out on the front lawn shovelling the crusted icy snow to try to make a new relieving area. Out of the darkness I saw a figure coming toward me from the corner of St. Felix and Iroquois Drive. It was a young man from Akwesasne. I will call him Jake. He was visiting his sister at the corner and had seen me shovelling and had come to help. Together we carved out a new spot. I was very grateful for his help.

The next day, there seemed to be a lull in the intensity of the rain and I was able to go to the A&P to get a few supplies and a BBQ chicken, just in case. I think it was later that day that the power went off for about 8 hours. The wires on St. Felix and Iroquois are underground I was told so we were a bit luckier than most. Jake arrived to help me build a big fire in the fireplace. By supper time, the power was not on yet so I prepared a cold supper for us. Turning my back on the table where I had just placed the BBQ chicken, I heard a rattle of plates. Guide Dog Hayden, a tall Black Lab ,had the whole chicken in his mouth. What a job it was getting it out of there; he wasn’t willing to let it go. Luckily he didn’t get any loose bones down his throat. We had tuna that night much to my husband’s chagrin.

A neighbour let me put my car in her carport. We had just got it in when some branches, laden with ice, broke free from a nearby tree hitting the ground just inches from my fender. Neighbours came to help take the limbs away from her driveway and walk. It was nice to have good neighbours.

I remember hearing on the radio David Murphy who was an announcer on CJSS at the time. He was sending out messages for help for people who were in need. It was a wonderful service by the radio station and David and other announcers did a great job of helping the community. Suddenly he announced that my elderly sister and husband back on the Tollgate were having a major problem. Soon friends, family and some army personnel arrived to help them. She was so grateful.

On Thursday there was water dripping from the ceilings in the living room and kitchen. I had to get pails to keep some control over the water that came trickling down and make sure the dogs didn’t drink any of the dirty old water.

I think it was that day that we were without power for 12 hours. Jake came over with hot coffee he had made on a barbeque. He told us he was leaving to go home and we thanked him for all his help. He was a great guy and I wish I could find his full name again. We saw him later in the summer and he was engaged. She is a lucky girl. Probably has some kids by now, maybe young teenagers.

On Friday the relieving area and the entire front lawn were covered with branches and I told my husband that we would have to use the driveway as a relieving spot and that because it was so dangerously slippery I would take the dogs out. I had made a mixture of the sand I had left and some fine cat litter and put it on the driveway hoping for some traction. I didn’t know how effective the sand mixture would be on the ice. He refused saying once more that it was his job to take out the dogs and out he went. I was right behind him. We stood in the dark with the branches of a neighbour’s tree bending over our heads crackling as we waited for the dogs. We could later hear the trees crackling in the night. It was eerie listening to that sound.

On Saturday it finally eased up. A knock came to our door that afternoon and a man told me that the big tree on our lawn was going to fall on the house. Luckily D&D construction were able to come and take care of it. The tree stretched over our whole lawn, across the road and onto my neighbour’s lawn as they worked to cut it. They also cleaned up all the many branches from our trees in the back yard which looked like a tornado had gone through. We had the trees ‘topped’ in the spring but lost one of the Ash trees. Besides needing to have the roof repaired in two spots, our fireplace chimney was also damaged and had to be repaired.

Compared to what happened to a lot of people and what they had to go through, we were very fortunate And what about the homeless people and animals?? Must have been awful in that wet and cold. I think about them today out there in this frosty weather.

Through all that week of the ice storm, my cat didn’t seem to be bother or inconvenienced one bit by anything. She ate, slept and played whenever she wanted to. She sat on her favourite chair in the living room even when the fireplace as blazing. She still tried to grab the dogs’ tails when they went by her a bit too close for her liking. She did go snooping into one of the pails knocking it over which sent her running. Luckily, I had just emptied it and she didn’t get wet. Nice to have that contentment when there was commotion all around her. She just sat there like the princess that she was, ice storm or not.

original roxy staffIn the fifties, at the old Roxy theatre, if you sat on the main floor at the back, you weren’t sure during a western movie if that’ pop pop’ you heard was the gun shot from a cowboy’s gun or the popcorn machine. Used to make us laugh..guess we laughed easily, eh?

And people could smoke in the balcony. That would make the hairs on our head stand up today to think of it but even worse, you could smoke in the hospitals. I remember seeing some doctors walking down the hall with a cigarette in their mouths. At night making rounds to check on patients , I would come across a patient sitting up smoking in their beds. It was allowed then.

Imagine the old days when they had lit candles on the Christmas trees. It is a miracle more buildings didn’t burn down. Thank heavens they don’t do that today.

A friend said this sign was in a taxi cab in which he was a passenger : ‘Driver doesn’t carry cash – he’s married.’ lol.. ..cute, eh??

Here is a cute joke which may be signs of what is to come:

Daughter: ” Daddy, I am coming home to get married. Take out your cheque book. I am in love with a boy who is far away from me. I am in Australia and he lives in the UK. We met on a dating website, became friends on Facebook, had long chats on Whatsapp, he proposed to me on Skype and now we’ve had two months of relationship through Viber. Dad, I need your blessings, good wishes and a big wedding.”

Father: “Wow! Really!! Then get married on Twitter, have fun on Tango, buy your kids on Amazon and pay through Paypal . And if you get fed up with your husband…sell him on Ebay.”

Have a good week, Dawn

If you wish to sponsor this column email for more information!

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of this site, their staff, or sponsors.)

Comment policy reminder

CFN has a new comment policy. You must use your real first and last name. As well if your email bounces we will terminate your posting privileges.

We value all input from our amazing CFN viewers and are always trying to improve the viewer experience which includes making this a safe, informative, and entertaining platform.

If you have any questions please email


  1. I enjoy Dawns column so much. Her humour and subject matter are interesting and supportive of especially the seniors who need all the help and support they can get. Keep it up Dawn!!

  2. I second that. Dawn is a very interesting lady.

Leave a Reply