Up the River

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1 March 2016 - 14:34, by , in Blog, Propane News, No comments

Yet again, not much change in the price of propane. The price has fluctuated some this past month, but hasn’t really changed much, which is good from the budget standpoint. I can’t find a crystal ball that might tell me what the price will do in the future, so I guess we’ll take it as it comes.

I just received from the province of Ontario several notices of upcoming events. The first notice said that the price of the new cap and trade practices will add $0.03 per litre to the price of propane heating fuel at a date to be announced, and the second notice was for us to go on some government website to familiarize ourselves with the new reporting requirements related to compliance with this new cap and trade process. In other words, it will tell us how to collect this new $0.03 assessment, where to remit money collected, and how long we have to remit this collected money. Oh yeah, no doubt there will also be some warning related to the penalties for non-compliance. Thank you Ontario premier for more layers of red tape and extra costs to sellers of all heating fuels and purchasers of these products.

Of course we had Valentine’s Day in February, along with all the marketing hype that goes with it. I’m a bit of a humbug when it comes to a lot of these holidays that are driven by retail marketing strategies. I always felt if you were going to do something special for that special someone, or just any someone, make it a surprise. Do it when they don’t expect it. Much more impact. Now, back to Valentine’s Day. I remarked to my sweetheart in advance of Valentine’s Day that the majority of this marketing is aimed at the female population, because in my opinion they can be easily swayed to get on board with the event and thus put pressure on their male counterparts to step up to the plate and deliver the required heartfelt card, chocolates, jewelry, or whatever. She agreed with me, but she had that longing look in her eye to which I thought ‘oh man’.

A couple of days later, one of our newer staff members (a young single man) asked me what I was getting my sweetheart for Valentine’s Day, and I replied ‘a new refrigerator’. That had him scratching his head for a minute until I explained that at my advanced age, with marriage vows many, many, many, many years behind me, a new refrigerator to replace our current ailing one was a much more practical and functional gift, which I’m sure would be received with joy and enthusiasm. Who was I kidding? We need a new fridge, but Valentine’s Day was a different issue. The young man wandered away with a look on his face like ‘huh’. I’m sure he was hoping a box of chocolates or flowers would get his romance moving in the desired direction. I must remember to ask him if he had a good Valentine’s Day.

As for me, the new refrigerator was installed two days before Valentine’s Day. Later that day, I turned to my sweetheart with my one hand on the new appliance and announced ‘happy Valentine’s Day!’ to which she also said to me ‘happy Valentine’s Day’. We both had a chuckle and carried on with our day. The afternoon of the day before Valentine’s Day, I found myself at Zehrs. First stop, card aisle. Pick a card with a scene or image sure to bring a smile. The card has to be blank inside, because I usually write my own verse–this card has a short verse but it fit the picture and left lots of open space for me to pen something appropriate. Now, just because I don’t particularly like pre-hyped special days where you are expected to come to the party, doesn’t mean I’m stupid enough to think that letting them slide by unmentioned is a smart thing to do. Next, I was off to the flower section to pick a nice potted plant that is colourful and will keep growing, so that every time she sees it in the window she can smile and know I fell victim to Valentine’s Day.

I’m usually (always) up before my sweetheart, so this Valentine’s morning I slipped out to the garage to retrieve the card and plant, placed them on the kitchen table, and when she arose, there they were. Mission accomplished. I must remember to check the calendar and find out which special occasion is coming up next. Heaven forbid I miss one!

It was awful to see those two University of Guelph students who died kayaking on the Credit River in February. I saw the television coverage and thought, what were they doing on the Credit River this time of year? Then I thought my question was a little unfair. I have lived around the Grand River from the time I was a kid. Being an outdoorsy type myself, I have had many years of experience during all seasons to become familiar with moving water both liquid and frozen, experience these two young people had not yet had the chance to learn. One day, many years ago, a friend and I, along with two other man teams, canoed down a stretch of the Upper Credit River. It was late spring and the water was still a little high. This stretch of the Credit twists and turns with a strong current, and is quite picturesque. I wasn’t very familiar with the skill level of the other two canoes, but this looked like a straightforward trip down the river–until we rounded one particular bend.

Up ahead a large tree had fallen across the river from bank to bank. At this point, the river had no choice but to flow up against and under the tree. No big deal, a little portage and we would be on our way. The first canoe slid into the left hand shore at the end of the tree, which was once the top. The second canoe decided to go up against the log portion of the tree, and my buddy and I chose the right hand bank by the roots. As we were getting out of our canoe, I saw the second canoe floating sideways toward the log, when one of the paddlers put his paddle out to hold the canoe off the log. This action pushed the paddlers off balance toward the upstream side of the canoe, which dipped and immediately filled with water, spilling the occupants into the river.The canoe was sucked down under the tree, as were the paddlers. One man grabbed some exposed branches and was trying to pull himself up onto the log, the other guy went under. My buddy and I scrambled out onto this fairly substantial tree to grab hold of the fellow in the branches. I was ahead of my friend so I called out, ‘you grab him, I’ll look for the other one’. A short distance out onto the log, I looked down in the water and there was this poor guy underwater, trying to surface as the current pushed him down into a mess of branches. I anchored my legs around a branch and reached down into the water. Thank God he had long hair, because his armed seemed to be below him and hair was all I could grab. As I started to pull on his hair, his arms came up to mine. He looked up at me from under the water and I can still see the fear in his eyes. I’m a pretty big guy, and it was all I could do to get his head out of the water far enough for him to get air. I yelled for my buddy and the other guy, who was now out of the water, for help. The two of them leapt into action, and between the three of us we were able to pull this man free from the current and up onto the tree. The guys in the first canoe could only watch as they couldn’t get to us through the branches at that end of the tree. The canoe that went under was jammed tight under the log and into branches maybe eight or nine feet down. I had heard the canoe was later retrieved, after the river water receded. At the time, we made a big joke of the incident, but it could have had a very different ending. When I think of those two kayakers coming up against the river ice in midstream and tipping over, they would have slid under the ice with nothing to grab, and that was it. You have to feel for their poor families.

My sweetheart heard me commenting on this tragedy, and how it could have been averted if they had though ahead a bit farther. She then reminded me of the time she and I took our canoe from Galt (now Cambridge) to Paris on the Grand River when it was in full spring flood, full of ice floes and floating trees. Usually takes four to four-and-a-half hours to canoe this route. That day it took us one hour. I think youthful exuberance won out over common sense.

Smile at people, say hello, hug your kids and be a friend.

Have I told you lately that we sincerely appreciate your business? Because we certainly do.


Peter Rivers,

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