Posts Tagged ‘Cold Lake’

Growing the Kinosoo Legend

Written by Harold McNeill on October 13th, 2014. Posted in Adventure


 

Cold Lake Water Catchment

Photo (Web Source) (Headwaters of Martineau River, Northeast Alberta): This photo suggests a time in the past when the Cold Lake area was tropical, a time when the tar sands were being formed and when all manner of pre-histortic fish, animals and birds habitated the area.  Is it possible some species from that pre-historic era can still be found? Could the Big Kinosoo be one of them? If you are from Alberta, particularly from Cold Lake, help is needed in Growing the Kinosoo Legend

Link to Next Post: Origin of the Legend
Link Back to 
Adventures Index
Link to 
Part 4, Otter Down in French Bay

Introduction 

My goal in writing this series is simple – to help that legendary fish, the Big Kinosoo who lives deep in the waters of Cold Lake, Alberta, to grow in stature.  While our very own Kinosoo has not yet reached the mythical proportions of the Lock Ness Monster of the Scottish Highlands, Ogopogo of Okanagan fame, or that famous bushman of the Pacific Northwest, the Sasquatch, working together we can change things for the Kinosoo. While anecdotes abound, they are necessary but not sufficient for that fish to reach iconic status. Like the other Great One of Alberta, we want people to become hushed and bow down whenever they hear the name Big Kinosoo.

To do this we must search out new stories, stories that include scientific fact which points toward existence of historic big fish. It would also help have a government or military cover-up, perhaps one that could turned into a full-blown conspiracy. Conspiracies are, after all, nothing more than a few solid facts mixed with a lot of fiction. While our Kinosoo might never become as big as the cover-ups carried out in Area 51 that abuts the Edwards Air Force in Nevada, with new information recently secured from Guy Venne, a man who grew up in Cold Lake, we can make a good start. To ensure our Great One of is given his fair due, we must blend fact and fiction into a credible story just as the other Great One has done.

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Cold Lake High School Years: The Journey Begins

Written by Harold McNeill on April 29th, 2014. Posted in Family 1940 1965


 

Cold Lake Air Force Base

Early in the 1950’s the largest RCAF Station ever constructed in Canada was taking shape in Alberta. The small, remote, communities of Cold Lake and Grande Centre, that grew ever so slowly over the first fifty years of the century, would be shaken to their foundations as they struggled to come to terms with a massive influx of workers and their families. Our family was one of the many seeking to find their way.

Chapter 1:  The Journey Begins 1953
(Link to Chapter 2, Cold Lake High 1955 -1960)
Link Here for other Family Stories in this Series

Dear Reader,

For the several months, I struggled with how to write this post about our return to Cold Lake. To this point, it was easy to tell the stories as they were all generally positive. Even though our family was constantly on the move over the twelve years until this story, everything was relatively stable on the home front. All that changed in 1953 after arriving in Cold Lake and it continued in one form or another until our Dad passed away suddenly in 1965. While I will not dwell on the ugly parts, and there were many, I felt compelled to

Harold Louise Dianneexpress the feelings that enveloped me during those tumultuous years as a means to better understand myself and, perhaps, as a message to others.

I rather expect at least a few of my school friends shared similar experiences and might even take solace in knowing they were not alone.  The background to this story is alcohol abuse, but it could easily have been any of a dozen other things that cause family units to fracture – drugs, infidelity, mental illness, etc.  Children and teenagers, in particular, are vulnerable when this happens and need to know they are never alone, that even when things get really bad, the future can still hold a great deal of promise.

Indeed, this will become evident in parts of this post and in subsequent posts through the High School years and beyond. A great many positive things can happen even if life on the home front has spiralled into periods of darkness.

Photo: If taken between October and December 1958, I was seventeen, Louise fourteen, and Dianne four.  Louise remembered our ages as she recognized the skirt as one she sewed in her Grade 9 Home Ec class. Look at Louise for a moment. For those who know her daughter Karena, can you see Karina’s sassy smile and eyes? Looking at clothes, I also remember the day those grey ‘flecked’ dress pants arrived by mail order from Sears.  They became my favourite dress up in High School.  And, as for that sweet, innocent little girl on the right, my heart aches for having completely missed knowing her when she was young. 

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Cold Lake High School Years 1955-1960

Written by Harold McNeill on January 24th, 2014. Posted in Family 1940 1965


Introduction Collage

Collage: The above photos provide a small representation of the five years a group of young people spent completing Junior and Senior High in Cold Lake, Alberta. The following story places a context around their world, a world that was becoming vastly different from the one in which their parents and grandparents had spent their teen years.

Link Here to Chapter 1: The Journey Begins
Link Here to Chapter 3: Cars, Girls, Rock and Roll
Link to Family Stories Index

Chapter 2: The Silent Generation

September 1, 2014: Sorry for the delay. Chapter 18 along with about 300 photographs of our High School Years through to graduation, will be posted within the next two weeks.

The Silent Generation, a name coined to define those born between 1925 – 1945.  While it was applied to those of us who filed into Grade 8 at Cold Lake Junior (photos in the footer) in September 1954, we were so close to the cusp it seems to have missed the mark. Our small group preceded the Baby Boomers by a few years and in the months following graduation, we helped to add a tidy number of Little Boomers to Canada’s rapidly growing population.

The Silent Generation! Really? It seems the Time Magazine reporters who defined our group obviously never traveled to Cold Lake High in the late 50’s, nor did they do any first-hand research at those week-end ‘retreats’ at French Bay, English Bay or Marie Lake. For that matter, all they had to do was drop by one of the week-end parties at the Ruggles, Hill’s, Sanregret’s, Poirier’s or any of a dozen other homes when the parents were away. People called us many things, but ‘silent’ ‘grave’ and ‘fatalistic’ were not the adjectives that flowed past their lips.

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Estate Property: Cold Lake, Alberta, City Lot

Written by Harold McNeill on May 30th, 2012. Posted in Guest Posts


These properties are now sold

Link Here for Details  of an additional 96 acres that will be placed on the market been placed on the market as of October 20, 2018

More Cold Lake Posts: For additional historical posts about the Cold Lake Area, go to Homepage Categories and link any any of the categories titled Adventure (for Big Kinosoo, etc), Family Stories 1940 – 1960 (Martineau River, Marie Lake, North Bay, Mink Ranching, etc.), Biography (McNeill and Skarsen families), or Fire Department (History of the US Air Force Base at CFB Cold Lake)  for short stories about life in and around the Cold Lake area during the 1940s to the present day).

View of lot looking West from 13th Street. A temporary fence was
constructed well back from the front property line between 511 (left) and 507 (right), 13th Street.
A temporary 6′ X 8′ wooden garden shed sits on the rear of the property.
(Property Photos courtesy of Stephanie Yochim)

Details of City Lot

509 13th Street,
Cold Lake, Alberta

Legal
Plan 1024203
Block 14
Lot 6A

The subject lot is located in a quiet residential neighbourhood just minutes walking distance from the:

Cold Lake Marina: two blocks East and one block South (waterfront picture in the footer);
Kinosoo Beach: half block West and two blocks North
Heritage Lakeside Trail: two blocks East (the trail runs along the waterfront from the Cold Lake Marina to Kinosoo Beach)
Bibeau Children’s Park: one block East (off 5th or 6th Avenue)

This vacant lot is one of the few remaining properties in the central core of the very popular Lakeside City North. For a full street map and list of vacant lots in Cold Lake North: Link Here, then open “Vacant Lots, Cold Lake North, 2011”.

For Provincial and general area maps as well as additional photos of the City of Cold Lake and area (as footers in acreage description): Link Here.

The subject property is gently sloping back from the roadway and is in an area of well-kept homes and properties.  Two intersecting alley’s at the rear of the property make this lot ideal for the building of a garage and/or pad to accommodate a motor home, other recreational vehicles, boat or a shop. The lot is serviced along 13th Street.

At 43.28 meters long and 14.76 meters wide, the lot is average size for the area and larger than many recently developed lots in other areas of the city.

For details on submitting written Expressions of Interest contact the Executor by email at:   harold@mcneillifestories.com.

Canadian Telephone: 250-889-1033 (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada)

The Expression of Interest is not a binding agreement on either party and is intended only to open dialogue regarding development opportunities and a possible sale/purchase agreement.

Agent contact invited.

Harold McNeill
Estate Executor

Lot Views and Maps

View of back of lot looking North East over the fence from the South property line.

Map #1: General Area. The property is located about halfway down
13th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenue (see also, Map #2)

Map #2: Sectional from above map
(Lot yellow, red street and alley)

Cold Lake Advert Poster

Cold Lake waterfront and the downtown core

 

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Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada: Estate Property

Written by Harold McNeill on October 1st, 2018. Posted in Guest Posts


Subdividable, Income Producing Property with a
CNLR seven well, Super Pad, Oil Lease

Expressions of Interest are invited for this
94.69 acre parcel of land.

Photo: Looking North along Hwy #897, the property begins on the left at the intersection of
Township Road #640.  The subdividable acreage with seven oil wells is located close to the Municipal Airport and the City of Cold Lake.

(Reference maps and directions to the property are located in the footer)

This property is listed with Kelly Baker of Re/Max Platinum Realty in Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada.  (Link Here)
Cell: (780) 545-5955
Office: (780) 661-7653

Primrose Highway Property

Pt SW 1-64-3 W4
Municipal District of Bonnyville #87
Cold Lake,
Alberta, Canada

The property was part of the original McNeill Family Homestead taken over as a tree-farm by our parents, Dave McNeill (1908-1965) and Laura Skarsen (McNeill) (Wheeler) (1918 – 2008), in the early-mid 1900s.

Dave and Laura were among the second wave of homesteaders in the Cold Lake area who helped to settle the land as they raised three children who later graduated from Cold Lake High School in the 1950s and 60s.

This acreage is in one of the finest recreational and economic development areas of Canada’s bustling northwest and just 5 kilometers by modern paved highway from the City of Cold Lake, a rapidly growing community of 15,000 situated on the sandy shores of the deepest and best known lake in Alberta and Saskatchewan (Link Pictures of Cold Lake). Together the two western provinces are the fastest growing and most economically vibrant in Canada.

Local Area Map (left): The subject property is designated by the small red dot just South of Ethel Lake and East of Hilda Lake. The City of Cold Lake, which includes the Canadian Forces Base, is designated by the larger red area. Maps #3 and #4 inserted as footers, provide the specific location and travel distances from the City of Cold Lake.

While the area is known worldwide as being the southern heart of the Athabasca and Cold Lake Oil Sands production area, it is equally well known as a pristine wilderness, filled with freshwater lakes, streams and forests teeming with hundreds of species of fish, wildlife and birds. It is also on the northern migration route of one of the largest populations of water foul in North American.

Access to this wilderness area can be found as close as Marie Creek, an easy ten-minute walk (1.5 km) from the property. A short canoe ride down the creek will place the adventurer among colonies of Beaver as they cut trees, build dams and swim among bulrushes filled with hundreds of nesting songbirds and ducks. In the early spring, the creek is teeming with spawning Jackfish and year-round moose, deer, bear and other wildlife can be found in area forests.

Photo: From a family canoe adventure on the flooded Marie Creek. This photo was taken while standing on Highway #897. Link to the full story for a further description of the area.

The City of Cold Lake provides a full range of business and recreational services with two large, modern malls (photo below of the Tri-City Mall) that hold the usual array of national and international retail outlets. As well, numerous boutique speciality stores cater to individuals wishing to escape the mall scene.

The historic Cold Lake Marina (photo in the footer) provides full service for sports fishermen searching for giant trout and walleye and, as well, provides full service to recreational sailors and boaters.

In the winter a variety of sports opportunities is available including ice fishing, hunting, snowmobiling throughout the countryside and at the full-service ski facility at Kinosoo Ridge. The new Cold Lake Energy Centre recreation building provides service and entertainment equal to or better than that found any city across Canada.

The new regional hospital in Cold Lake Hospital is just 10 minutes from the property along the secondary road that runs by the Regional Airport (see maps below). Regular school bus service is provided along Highway #897.

At Canadian Forces, Base Cold Lake, Canada’s largest and busiest military base, military personnel and civilian workers provide year-round training in addition to hosting many NATO countries during the annual spring Maple Flag operation. A small section of CFB Cold Lake is dedicated to a commercial air terminal from which regularly scheduled flights is provided to Edmonton, Calgary and other key points in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The area also hosts world-class oil production facilities that provide heavy demand for high paying professional, skilled and labour services. Rounding off the economy is a strong retail and service industry that feeds the local community. With a number of infrastructure developments both in progress and in the planning stage, it appears area growth will be maintained for many decades into the future.

Today, both the best of the past and present are available as the modern paved roads and two airports provide easy access to Edmonton and Calgary, at which International Airports connect Alberta and Canada with the world. As Cold Lake is at the end of the north-east highway line, one can then enter the Canadian northland which today remains much as it was in centuries past.

Further Property Description

This single parcel of the farm/development land is serviced by a Class 1 paved highway (#897) referred to as the Primrose Highway. It is fifteen minutes from the City Centre, five minutes from the Cold Lake Municipal Airport and ten minutes from the CFB Cold Lake, the largest military training base in Canada (see precise distances under Map #4 in the footer).

Well maintained gravel roads on the South and West boundaries provide ready access to three of the property borders and access to the North Side via the CNRL 20-acre lease. A small part of the property lies West of the North-South portion of Township Road #640.

Power, gas and telephone are easily accessed along the main highway and an extension power line runs along the south boundary road.  See attached maps for property location.

The area along the Primrose Highway is now hosting mixed agricultural operations, hobby farms, country residential and recreational properties (photos in the footer). It is clean, quiet and offers easy access to a number of pristine freshwater lakes and streams such as English Bay, North Bay Recreational areas on Cold Lake, Marie Lake, Marie Creek, Ethel Lake, Hilda Lake, Wolf Lake and numerous others within minutes of the property. Other remote lakes and resorts may are easily accessed by float plane.

Oil Well Lease

The energy firm, Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL), a major player in the Oil Sands Development, leases the Northeast corner of the property where they have producing wells that are kept in immaculate condition. A 5-acre pad, now referred to as a “super pad” now hosts three producing wells and four further wells that await an increase in oil prices.

The highest and best use of the property would be with single family residences, continued as recreational property or as a hobby farm.  While it is heavily treed (a mix of poplar and spruce) there is also some open pastureland. While the soil classification indicates there are limitations that restrict the capability to produce forage crops, improvement practices are feasible.  There are no adverse easements or encroachments.

The potential for sub-division exists as permitted by the Municipal District of Bonnyville (#87) under the Land Use By-Law. Reference Agricultural Land Section #65.4, p. 38ff (LINK). Several small and one larger sub-division have been completed on neighbouring. 3 – 5-acre parcels in the area. These parcels were sold in the $90,000 to $100,000 range in 2010 and since then have increased in value. (reference development map #5).

Lots in the City of Cold Lake range from $150,000 (low end) and for larger area developments, acreages would run from $500,000 upward.

Whether you wish to build a multi-million dollar home or a log cabin retreat, this property provides ample value.

Expressions of Interest

For details on submitting a written Expressions of Interest contact the Executor by email at:   harold@mcneillifestories.com.

Canadian Telephone: 250-889-1033 (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada)

The Expression of Interest is not a binding agreement on either party and is intended only to open dialogue regarding development opportunities and a possible sale/purchase agreement.

Agent contact is invited, however, there will be an expectation of the Agent having a specific offer against which a suggested finder’s fee for a confirmed sale would be made in a formal Offer to Purchase.

Other options exist.

Harold McNeill
Estate Executor

Below: Maps #1 and #2
Provincial/National Orientation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Below: Map #3
Subject property, named Skarsen L., marked in yellow

 

Below: Map #4
The general area of MD and City of Cold Lake
(travel distances below map)

Directions to property from  the City of Cold Lake

From the intersection of Hwy #28 and #55, travel West for 8.2 km on Hwy #55 to the intersection of Hwy #897 (Primrose Highway). Turn right and travel North on Hwy #897 for 5 km. The property (in yellow) begins at the intersection with the gravel road (Township Road #640) and continues north along the left side of the Hwy #897 to the CNRL lease which marks the NE boundary).

The property is bounded by roads on three sides (Highway #897 (Green) and Gravel Roads (Red))

From the CFB Cold Lake rear gate, travel north for approximately 5 km. on Hwy #897 to Hwy #55, then through the intersection to continue North as noted above.

 A secondary highway (running north of and parallel to Hwy #55, provides access to the Cold Lake Regional Airport (small aeroplane on the map and as footer below). This is the secondary road is also the shortest route to the Regional Hospital, Kinosoo Beach and the north end of the City of Cold Lake.

Aerial View (#5) With sub-divisions and topographical lines superimposed.
(see notes below)

Skarsen L., property begins north of Township Road #640 (under the words). Property sub-divided on the opposite corner includes two 3 acres and one 5 acre parcel. Further east, on the next quarter, is Country Residential (CR2) and north, across the Township Road from that parcel, are two further parcels, zoned CR1 and CR2 as well as one CR2 (not quite visible) in the top right corner of the map.
Sprinkled throughout the area are other 5 and 10 acre parcels.

Property Pictures

Looking across Hwy 897 and down gravel access road. The property begins on
the far right corner.

 Photo:  The south boundary gravel road turns north to run along part of the west boundary. If you look at Map #5 below, you will note a portion of the property has been sectioned off
on the left side of the road (perhaps 5-7 acres).

 Photo: North-east corner of the property along Highway #897, shows the small
portion of land cleared in preparation for the Canadian Natural Resources Limited lease. (Checks are being made with CNLR to see if this access road is available to use for general use to access to the North side of the property)

Neighbourhood Properties in the Million Dollar Range

The Original Family Farm is now sold and a new house built on the property.

(Above Photo)  This was part of the original W & L Skarsen farm where our mother and stepfather lived for nearly thirty years. The original house, built in the 1940’s and moved in the 1970’s, now sits behind this new home at the corner of Highway #55 and Hwy #897.

(Two Photos Below) This property now sits directly across from the property listed for sale. The driveway to the 20-acre CNLR (oil well section) sits directly across from the driveway to this property.

Other neighbouring properties are shown below.

Typical building site on various properties in the area.

Miscellaneous City and Area Photos

Cold Lake Marina

Evening scene looking over Kinosoo Beach

Cold Lake Regional Airport is 5 minutes south property (reference map inserts)

Additional photos in the Photo Album
attached to this post

 

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Fire Walkers: Chapter 1 – A Nuclear Challenge

Written by Harold McNeill on February 23rd, 2011. Posted in Fire Department


P1180045

Photo (1961): USAF Crash Rescue Crew From Cold Lake taken while in training at CFB Camp Borden
(Photo: Courtesy of Guy Venne)

Top Row: U/K, Ken Cuthbert, Les Eshelman, Al Edstrom, Ed Vallee, George Grimstead, Morris Hill,
Wally Armstrong, Fred Bamber, Roy MacDonald, U/K, Art Axani
Front Row: U/K, Instructor, Instructor, Harold McNeill, Instructor, Guy Venne, Instructor, U/K,
Denis Armstrong, Derek Bamber, U/K
(All names subject to clarification — Click photo to open, then click again for full-size download or printing. Names in bold, all Cold Lake High School buddies)

October 14, 2017 (4200)

Fire Walkers: A Nuclear Challenge

2011 will mark the 50th Anniversary of a unique experience in my life and that of several friends and neighbours from the Cold Lake area of Alberta. Forty-five men, ranging in age from twenty to thirty-eight, were selected to work as Civilian Crash Rescue Firefighters for the US Air Force at the Strategic Air Command base being built at the RCAF Station Cold Lake. For a full list of names of those selection Link here to Chapter 6,

Two other SAC bases built in Canada were also selecting civilians to perform the same duty – 45 for Namao (just outside Edmonton) and another 60 for Churchill in Manitoba. All were to be trained over the summer and fall of 1961 at the Crash Rescue Fire Fighter School in Camp Borden, Ontario, a school that had an established reputation as being the best in the business.

While a few of the men destined for Cold Lake had small town, volunteer firefighter experience, most, including myself, were taken in as raw recruits. Over a period of five months spread over two training groups, the men moved from the training stage to manning a full-service Fire Department.  This included a process to select a Fire Chief and Crew Chiefs from within the ranks of those trained at Borden.

The expedited process resulted from the reluctance of the RCAF, in the politically charged climate of the deep Cold War, to have RCAF personnel fully integrated into what was essentially an independent USAF operation on Canadian soil.

For their part, the USAF was not able to field a sufficient number of firefighters to perform this duty due to a rapidly expanding Cold War StrikeNuclear Explosion Force that stretched around the world. This included manning over 450 SAC bases within the continental United States, Alaska, and Hawaii.

The threat of a nuclear attack and potential annihilation of mankind was one of the most feared events throughout the 1950s and 60s. The proliferation of nuclear weapons following the Second World Wars and the resultant partition of Europe lead to almost continuous conflict from 1914 through 1975 (the end of the Viet Nam War).

An all out Nuclear War between the Western Democracies and Russia would most certainly have ended life on earth as we know it. By way of comparison, the current day “war on terror” is a rather trivial event.

It was a time in our history when the Cold War mentality paralyzed much of the world and a time when Canada hosted a nuclear arsenal that was globally fifth in size behind only the United States, Russia, England, and France. The nuclear weapons in Canada, the subject of secret agreements, were stored across the country as well as carried aboard giant B52 bombers that circled high in the skies above the Canadian Arctic twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  The giant USAF Base at Goose Bay hosted between 12,000 and 15,000 USAF personnel in what was one of the largest USAF bases outside the United States.

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Comments

  • Andrew Dunn

    May 14, 2019 |

    Thank you so much for all your help thus far Harold, aka. Tractor guy! I could not have done without you!

  • Harold McNeill

    April 25, 2019 |

    I find it interesting to contemplate how a small community evolves in general isolation from the rest of the world. We have a similar situation in the northern communities in Canada to which access is limited. The inclusion of the world wide web and mass media has changed things, but these communities are still left pretty much to their own devices when it comes to personal interaction.

  • Harold McNeill

    March 19, 2019 |

    Hi Dave. Not that I am aware and I have a fairly comprehensive family tree for the McNeill side of the family. I will pull it up and scan. Cheers, Harold. Great chatting with you and I will give Ben a nudge.

  • Dave Cassels

    March 16, 2019 |

    Were you related to Guy McNeill who owned the Bruin Inn in St. Albert in the late 40’s or early 50’s? Guy was a close friend of my father-in-law who was the first President of the Royal Glenora Club. My phone number is 780 940 1175. Thank you.

  • Harold McNeill

    March 15, 2019 |

    So glad you found the story and enjoyed. Indeed, they were memorable times. I did a fair amount of searching but never managed to contact any of the Murffit kids. However, it was neat to make contact with the Colony and someone I knew from back in the day. I have enjoyed writing these stories from back in the 1940s and 50s and have made contact with a lot of friends from those early years. I will give you a call over the weekend. Cheers, Harold

  • Yvonne (Couture) Richardson

    March 7, 2019 |

    I enjoyed your story. I too, lived in Pibroch in 1951, as my parents owned the hotel there. I was a very close friend of Bonnie Murfitt at the time. I moved to Edmonton in 1952, however, and have not seen her since. I would like to be in touch with you to talk about your story. My email is listed above and my phone number is 780-475-3873.

  • Laureen Kosch/Patry

    March 5, 2019 |

    I grew up in Pibroch and would not trade those years for anything. “ Kids don’t know how to play anymore” Never was a truer statement made. During the summer we were out the door by 8am, home for lunch, and back when it got dark. For the most part our only toys were our bikes and maybe a baseball mitt. I will never forget the times when all the kids got together in “Finks field” for a game of scrub baseball. Everybody was welcome, kids from 8 to 18. I didn’t know it then but I guess I had a childhood most dream of. Drove thru town last summer. It all looked a lot smaller.

  • 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