The Pumpkin Family

Written by Harold McNeill on October 30th, 2011. Posted in Adventure


Family Portrait (2011)

The Pumpkin Family

Family & Friends (left to right)

Top row: Harold and Lynn McNeill, Sean McNeill:
Second Row: Kari and Ed Walker with son Grayson, Jay McNeill:
Bottom Row: Brother-in-law, Michel Payeur and sister, Dianne McNeill-Payeur; Chris and Christine LeClair with baby Audrey:
Far Right: Sister Louise and Brother-in-law Frank Yochim

A few neighbours from the field joined the party: Mr. Scarecrow, Jack the Vampire Bat and, on of our favourites, Creepy Spider.

Unfortunately the gourds, pumpkins, grand-pumpkins and great-grand pumpkins of Frank, Louise, Dianne and Michele could not make the week-end celebrations as many remained in the field due to work commitments.

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Leif Eriksson Day: The New Canadians

Written by Harold McNeill on October 10th, 2011. Posted in Adventure


A Nordic History Lesson

The New Canadians

Two fine Nordic specimes, one with traces to another culture, stand with young women
they captured in earlier raiding parties in Eastern Canada. Even a casual comparison
to the painting of Erik the Red (below), demonstrates an
amazing resemblance to these modern day men.

EriksonDay07

A Day of Celebration

As October 9th again rolled around we took the city by storm in our Norwegian horned helmets and ninth century Nordic sweaters. With a plentiful supply of mild tasting Aquavit (45% alcohol by volume), delicate lutefisk appetizers and singing the ever popular Norwegian folk song “There Ain’t No Norwegians in Dickeyville”, we spent the evening celebrating the life and times of Leif Erikson, son of the famous Nordic Explorer, Erik the Red.

While last year we had braved heavy winds and rough weather in our trek around the downtown pubs, this year the wool sweaters and helmets took their toll and we had to carry a few who succumbed to heat exhaustion, well, at least that’s what we assumed, as no one ever heard of anyone getting sick from to much aquavit while eating lutefisk appetizers!  

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Cornucopia Traditions – Alive and Well in Victoria

Written by Harold McNeill on April 21st, 2011. Posted in Adventure


Jamie, Kia and Liala

Traditions

Jamie and Kia Charko

 April 16, 2011

 

The matt upon which Jamie and Kia were married has been in the Simonsen family for over 300 years. During this time dozens of family members have been married. Here their daughter, Liala, shares in the celebration.

Cornucopia Cake: The Cornucopia (korn-yoo-KO-pee-uh) symbol stretches across many cultures and peoples from Ancient Greece to modern day. That it is part of many wedding celebrations is only natural.

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Kinosoo Search: Sampi Gets Hooked, Chapter 5 of 6

Written by Harold McNeill on February 5th, 2011. Posted in Adventure


Kinosoo Attack

Photo (by Sampie’s Brother in Law, Darren Riley): Later at the campsite he explained: “About two hundred meters toward the shore I noticed a a swirl in the water, then spray that was at least five meters in length. Suddenly, a large dark object briefly surfaced. I had the camera in hand so snapped one quick photo as I hollered at Sampi.”  By the time Sampi turned the water had calmed and the shadow was long gone.

Link to Next Post: Dangerous Waters Run Deep
Link to Last Post:  Fish Attack.
Link Back to Adventures Index

Chapter 5: Sampie Gets Hooked – The van Rensburg Story Begins

Darren hollered: “Sampie, get moving, it’s coming straight toward us!” Sampie: “I can’t Darren, the downriggers are still out, give me a second…”  Sampi was still hunched over replacing the line on his rod. Nicole was still busy admiring her catch, so both she and her dad were blissfully unaware of the approaching danger. These words were spoken less than 24 hours after admonitions to the Sampie and Darren to take great care while venturing forth on their first fishing trip on Cold Lake.

The van Rensburg story began in August 2009 while Lynn and I were camping at Cold Lake while visiting my sister Louise Yochim and her family. We chanced to meet a delightful young man from South Africa, Sampie van Rensburg, who set up camp in the site next to ours. Sampie, a gregarious man in his late thirties, was accompanied by his youngest daughter, Nicole, and his brother-in-law, Darren Riley. It was their first time visiting Cold Lake having heard many stories about the giant fish the filled these waters. 

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Chapter 4: Fish Attack – A Military Aircraft Down in French Bay

Written by Harold McNeill on February 5th, 2011. Posted in Flying Log Book, Adventure


 

RCAF DHC 3 Otter at Cold Lake

Photo (From the files of a High School friend and former workmate, Guy Venne).  The RCAF often moored their DHC-3 Otters at the main dock in Cold Lake and the above aircraft appears to be the same one that is the subject of this post.  Guy had taken several photos of the crash scene in French Bay, but all those photos were seized by the Air Force as part of their investigation.

 The three photos displayed in this story were also taken taken by Guy, one before the crash (above) and two after the craft had been towed to the main dock at Cold Lake. Damage to floats suggested a collision, but the Air Force had other ideas. The whole story was to become cloaked in secrecy (photos in footer).

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The Big Kinosoo: Origin of the Legend – Chapter 1 of 6

Written by Harold McNeill on January 10th, 2011. Posted in Adventure


The Big Kinosoo: Origin of the Legend – Chapter 1 of 6

Native in Birch Bark Canoe

Photo (Web Source): Fishing on Cold Lake in the Early Years

Link to Next Post: Monster Fish
Link to Last Post: 
Big Kinosoo: Growing the Legend
Link Back to Adventures Index

Cold Lake, Late 1800s

The following short excerpt is taken from a story by J.B. Minoose1, a friend of our family, Dave and Laura McNeill.  We lived not far from Mr. Minoose and his family while our family was at the Martineau River logging Camp in the mid-1940’s. This was followed by two years at North Bay (Smith Place) on the North side of Cold Lake, then two years at Marie Lake which was 15 miles west of North Bay (reference Family Stories 1940 -1965).  The Minoose story appears in Treasured Scales of the Kinosoo, a history of families in Cold Lake edited by Laura Dean Skarsen. Laura Dean Skarsen, was sister-in-law of our step-father, Wilfred Skarsen and our mother Laura Isabel Skarsen (McNeill) (Wheeler).  J.B. Minooses (standing, second from right in photo) spoke of his life in Cold Lake:

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Fight for Survival – A Canoe Trip Turns Deadly

Written by Harold McNeill on October 2nd, 2010. Posted in Adventure


Marie Creek

Photo: The calm expanse spreading before us belied the trecherous waters that lay beyond.

Saturday, June 7, 1997

Over the roar of the surging water, I hollered to Lynn, “Drop your paddle, grab a tree root and hold on hard or we’re going over.”

In the bow, Lynn turned. She had been holding her paddle against a tree stump to keep us clear but we were broadside in the creek and rocking badly. Her face was ashen – we were in immanent danger of being thrown into the raging water.

The same direction was given to Sean who was gripping the centre yoke so tight his knuckles had turned white, “Sean, slide over, grab that root and help your mom.”

My voice must have conveyed the urgency, for as frightened he was, he did exactly as told, something he was not always prone to do. Trapped in the stern, just a few feet from the root, my paddle was less than useless. If we didn’t manage to break free and swamped, well…

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Big Kinosoo: Dangerous Waters Run Deep, Chapter 6/6

Written by Harold McNeill on February 6th, 2010. Posted in Adventure


kinosoo beach and campground

Photo (Family Files):  As the sun was setting, we all took a walk along Kinosoo Beach. Those waters may look peaceful on the surface, but in depths lurks a monster that with one look could make that infamous white shark Jaws retreat.   I was desperately worried about the safety of Sampi and his family, but he was a man on a mission and was not about to be deterred.  All I could do was pray they safely returned.

This is the last post in the Kinosoo Series. Perhaps more will be added later
See the van Rensburg update in the footer
Link to Last Post:  Sampi gets hooked
Link Back to Adventures Index

Chapter 6: Dangerous Waters Run Deep

The September long week-end traditionally marks the end of summer in Canada. While September can be one of the most glorious month, the final week-end before school starts brings out thousands of city dwellers and country folk alike as they hit the road for that final week-end at the beach or on the water.

In Cold Lake the campground was booked to capacity and the Marina overflowing with fishing and sailing boats of every make, model and size.  Line ups at the boat launch could stretch for blocks. The bars and night spots opened early and stayed open late. Fishing, sailing, hunting, hiking, biking, water skiing or simply lazing on the beach – the great outdoors around Cold Lake had something for everyone.

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Comments

  • Harold McNeill

    January 13, 2019 |

    Well, my dear, it’s that time again. How the years fly by and the little ones grow but try as you may you will have a hard time catching up to your Daddy. Lots of love young lady and may your day be special
    Love, Dad

  • Harold McNeill

    January 5, 2019 |

    Guess what? My response went to the Spam folder. Hmm, do you suppose the system is trying to tell me something?

  • Harold McNeill

    January 5, 2019 |

    Thanks, Terrance. Your comment came through but went to the Spam folder. Have pulled it out and approved. Can you send another on this post to see if you name is now removed from Spam? I’m not sure why it does that. Cheers, Harold

  • Terrance

    January 5, 2019 |

    A VERY COMPREHENSIVE ANALYSIS. ALL POLITICIANS SHOULD READ THIS.

  • Harold McNeill

    December 23, 2018 |

    Thanks Sis. I will be uploading as Hi-Def so the photos can be viewed full screen. Brother

  • Louise

    December 21, 2018 |

    Amazing collection of photos of the weekend ❤️❤️

  • Harold McNeill

    December 21, 2018 |

    Hi Dave,

    Not sure if you are the same Armit as was at Oak Bay PD or not. Interesting to see your comment on Danny Cain and your birthdays and family friendships. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 19, 2018 |

    Thanks, Lynn. It appears there was a problem with the comment system. Cheers, Harold

  • lynnmcneill

    November 19, 2018 |

    Hi Harold – looks great!

  • Maurice Smook

    August 13, 2016 |

    Hi Jillian,

    I don’t know if you are still checking this site but I had to respond again. February of 2017 it will be 72 years since this battle occurred.

    What caught my attention about this incident was on the Go Deep Documentary that aired on the History Channel. First of all I never known that this battle having ever occurred.

    According to my grade 3 teacher WW2 had never occurred. That grade 3 teacher stated that the WW2 and the holocaust was all propaganda. All of my classmates they believed her. I hate to say this but all I knew was that soldiers shooting at each other.

    I almost was expelled from school. My

    Mom my Dad my brother and my Uncle would have been arrested for propaganda. I paid the price. It was ironic a grade 5 teacher told me that Smooks are all commies. Dad was Conservative.

    All the Smooks that I known are all Conservative. If I had the money I would have loved to sue those two teachers.

    As I said I never heard of this Battle. If it were not for that program I would have never had known.

    I started to do more researching to find out more about the history of this battle. The narrator of Go Deep mentioned the names of the pilots who died that battle.

    I missed 20 minutes of that program but the camera crew had the camera’s pointed towards the sign with the names of the deceits. That is how I known.

    According to the narrator There are three who are still missing. W.J. Jackson, Harry Smook and A. Duckworth. A couple of months ago the staff of Go Deep have located Harry and A. Duckworths aircraft. This is on you tube. Harry and A. Duckworth craft is approx 650 feet deep in the Fjord. The individual who is heading this expansionary mission made it known he will not rest until all three of the missing pilots
    will be retrieved. I am sure that A. Duckworth’s kin are hoping for the same.

    What really puzzles me is that I have sent emails to the Smooks. Not one ever replying. I presume its the same with you. Sad. Dad rarely spoke about his family. It appears there is a big secret of the Smooks. I too assume Harry is a kin to my Dad. Harry maybe a 4th 5th cousin to my Dad. I too would like to know. Harry and A. Duckworth served and died for our country. The other is W.j. Jackson – who is also still missing – having died for our Country.

    In conclusion I still ask myself why is this a huge secret.

    If you are still checking this site please contact me. Maybe we may be kin.

    Take care.