Posts Tagged ‘Grayson Walker’

Happy Birthday Christine

Written by Harold McNeill on January 12th, 2016. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


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Good Morning Honey and Happy 40th Birthday!

Well, another shared birthday which, for each of us, is a milestone – you reaching forty as I commence my seventy-fifth. The moment you arrived on my birthday forty years ago, a special bond was created and forever treasured.

It seems like yesterday when your mother gave birth and, while life has presented challenges along the way, meeting those challenges in a positive manner and accepting them as part of the process of growing older has made each of us stronger and our love that much deeper.

When sitting down to start a slideshow capturing those many years, it was difficult to choose a theme and music that expressed it all. I browsed through hundreds of photos and dozens of songs along the way to the final cut while suggestions from family members helped to clear the path.

Our journey began with one slideshow but quickly grew as we reminisced over 40 years of memories and the life we’ve shared – soon evolving into 4 segments which, along with the attached poem, express the depth of our love for you, your sister, brothers, and families.

We hope you enjoy each moment as much as we have enjoyed creating this tribute to you and the rest of the family.

Love Dad and Lynn
(Grandpa and Nana)

THE WOMAN YOU’VE BECOME

With those big eyes and sweet little smile
Your contentment so grand, the hours you’d while
Alone or with others, it mattered not
The love from within shone forth with each thought

Through the years it continued, this skill to enjoy
A moment, a dream, a specially made toy
Always sharing with others to help them to grow
More than imagined, and more than you know

We’ve sat on the sidelines and watched o’er the years
Through happiness, struggles, and of course, lots of tears
With each challenge you’ve managed to rise and excel
Each pitfall and obstacle all handled so well

It’s with pride and much love that we watch you soar
Now a wife, a mother, and so very much more
And on this day, one with Dad you share
We send these memories with loving care

And with each tune, — so familiar to some-
We rejoice in the Woman that you’ve become.

All our love on your 40th Birthday and Always

Lynn and Dad

Happy Birthday, Christine
January 13, 2016

Note: The slideshow was uploaded as HD so, in some instances, may be a little slow in loading.

1. The Adventure Begins: A Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong

2. The Adventure Continues: Precious Memories, J.J. Cale and
Dream a Little Dream of Me, Mama Cass

3. Girls Just Want to Have Fun:  Cyndi Lauper

4. A New Family: I Have a Dream, ABBA

 

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New Orleans: Peeling back the Mask

Written by Harold McNeill on August 26th, 2015. Posted in Editorials, Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Photos (Web Source, then merged and wrapped using Photoshop)

Peeling Back the Mask

This post is actually a Tale of Two Cities. While New Orleans is widely known as the Big Easy to tourists and the well-healed who call the city home, for a large and ever growing number who work and live in the city, life is anything but easy. When the tourism mask is peeled back New Orleans becomes a city in which nearly half the population lives in poverty. Remember, this is a city that sits proudly among the Top 10 tourist destinations in the United States attracting over ten million visitors each year (Link)
January 1, 2018 (5300)

November 9, 2016 (Update)
Victoria, B.C.

US Election: Donald Trump President

I woke early this morning to see what happened and cannot say I am the least bit surprised.  The US is a deeply divided nation and much of that division seems to lie along the fault line of poverty. Over the past few decades, we have all watched the well-heeled establishment in the US protect themselves again and again and again against being held accountable for their misdeeds. 2008 was just the latest in a series of financial disasters precipitated by greed.

The short trip Ed Walker (my son-in-law), Grayson (grandson) and I took to New Orleans in August 2015 clearly revealed a fault line along the “black and white”, “rich vs poor” axis.  The poverty, the desperation, the lack of hope in New Orleans was being repeated throughout the south and parts of almost every other State.  It was hard for me to believe that two cities, Victoria and New Orleans, or even Louisiana and British Columbia, could be so similar in many ways, yet very different when it came to a poverty that, in much of the south, has extinguished any hope for a better future for a significant portion of the population.

I don’t know the demographics of how the US Vote count flowed out, but almost every state across the southern US voted for Trump, a man who is as establishmentnt as you can get, and Clinton the very essence of all that is rich. For different reasons people of the mid-central US choose Trump over Clinton, and although she was well-qualified to lead the country, she simply never understood the anger that was enveloping the country along the fault line of poverty.

Perhaps Trump is the only person in a batch of rotting apples who may be able to shake the establishment to its core in a manner that allows the country to re-establish a society based upon the ideals on which it was founded – equality and equal opportunity. Trump may provide the impetus for change but it is more likely he will he will demonstrate once and for all that the rich and big business will look after their interests first, last and always. The country could very well descend into another civil war before the rich realized what was happening.

On a comparative note, my wife and I, along with two friends, Garth and Esther, recently returned from Viet Nam and Cambodia) where we were completely enamored of the people, a people that have lived through the worst the world has to offer, yet have come out the other end as a gentle and loving society where it does not appear large numbers of people are left behind.  Comments about those two countries appear in recent series of travel posts – Resilience of the Human Spirit – posted in November 2016.

What might the future hold the citizens of the United States? I don’t know, but hopefully, the coming four years become one those momentous times that leads to positive change rather than complete destruction.  Now, some observations of our visit to New Orleans.

August 27, 2005, New Orleans was engulfed by Hurricane Katrina, a storm that carried a surge which breached the old and inadequate levees and flooded much of the city. It was one of the most destructive natural disasters in New Orleans history, yet much of the death and destruction was not caused by the storm but by wilful neglect — the failure to secure the city from the storm surge. That was a ‘black and white’ issue.  To what extent has the city recovered?

1. The Mask: What the tourists see.

For visitors, the city presents a year-round fantasyland of boisterous, round-the-clock carousing that caters to every taste and where musicians, singers, and various other entertainers compete with the best. For anyone who loves music, particularly jazz, statues-1366142999you will love New Orleans. Just spend an hour sitting in the open air Café Beignet (Three Statutes in the Musical Legends Park) on Bourbon Street and you will be treated to the sweet sounds of jazz as ever-changing groups of local artists pick up the beat.  (hdm photo files)

Wander along the Quarter to the north end where, on Frenchmen Street, you will likely find an ad hoc group of young men playing in a random brass group that will blow your socks off. Then, one day, walk along Basin Street to get a feel for the history of that fabled city.

For the more adventuresome, including the Catholics in our midst, Mardi Gras, “beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany (Three King’s Day) and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday,” is a celebration you should not miss. (Link)  The celebration, also referred to as “Fat Tuesday, reflects the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season.”  Whether anyone other than the poor have ever fasted in New Orleans is questionable, and whether this is a destination of choice for the Lenten season, is doubtful. If, by this point, you have not struck the city off your ‘bucket list’ it will likely remain at or near the top until you finally decide to wade in. For most Canadians, it is less than a five-hour flight from any of our major centres.

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New Years Eve 2013: Brentwood Inn

Written by Harold McNeill on January 1st, 2014. Posted in Christmas Stories


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New Years Eve: Esther and Garth, Harold and Lynn ready to head out.

It is truly a joy when the kids volunteer to stay home and let the old folks head out for a night on the town on New Years Eve.  Of course the kids gave us a stern warning about “drinking and driving” and told us that if we felt we have had had to much, to just call home and one of the them would drive out to pick us up.  Thank you to Jay and Jennifer, Kari and Grayson, Christine and Audrey for looking after things on the home front (Link Here). We will check in at the bewitching hour.

All the Best in the New Year, Mom, Dad, Garth and Esther

December 31, 2013: Brentwood Inn, Brentwood Bay, B.C.

As the hours and minutes ticked away towards midnight, Lucas J. Copplestone and Drew Betts continued to work their musical magic. It was not long before the entire Inn was rocking.

It was to be another New Years event where we met more of the parents of the kids you see in the photo below.  It never ceases to amaze how inclusive these young people are. Over the years they are always encouraging their parents not only to attend, but to become fully involved whether it be a local events or on holidays to some other part of the world.  Each is always anxious to introduce his or her parents to the parents of others as they are as proud of their parents as their parents are of them.  Over the past several years it seems our family continues to grow in leaps and bounds.

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Part of the younger side of the New Years 2013 Crew.

For a full set of New Years 2013 photos: Link Here
For a full set of New Years 2012 Photos: Link Here
(note: the 2012 photos are posted on my personal FB Page)

Other group celebrations from 2012

Purple Day Plane Pull: Link Here
Seaside Magazine Celebration: Link Here
New Orleans, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean includes several albums: Link Here
A Celebration at Zajac Ranch includes several albums: Link Here

Of course, there were a good many other celebrations and destinations in 2013, many of which is posted on the McNeill Life Stories Facebook Page and on this Blog

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Written by Harold McNeill on December 25th, 2012. Posted in Christmas Stories


Above: Part of the Crew from New Years: (Guys Left to right) Drew Betts, Pete Patterson, Sean McNeill, Jeremy Nichele,
Joel Sherlock, Daniel Dent, Andrew Dunn
(Girls Left to Right) Jennifer Ann, Fiona Nightingale Harvey, Alysha Yakimishyn, Keira McCreath, Gemma Kyliuk
(More Photos below and in the attached album)

Photo Below: Santa dropped by on Christmas Eve

Well, we caught Santa making his rounds last night on his recently refurbished Harley Davidson (click photo to open). On closer inspection, this guy looked suspiciously like our neighbour Ted, but we could not be sure. In any case, it was very nice of him to stop and spend a few minutes and chat. Seems he was curious as to why we had so many reindeer and elves running around our property among all the Christmas lights.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all
from the McNeill Family

(Link here to 2011 Christmas Story)

Photo Courtesy of Nichele Studios (L to R) Chris, Audrey and Christine LeClair, Lynn McNeill, Kari Walker, Grayson Walker and Harold McNeill, Sean McNeill and Jay McNeill.  Now we challenge you to figure out what is different in this picture from the original?

New Years Comments (From Facebook Post)

It was a great evening of family, friends, fun, food, music and entertainment at the Brentwood Inn as we bid farewell to that wonderful year of 2012 and welcomed with open arms a 2013 that promises to bring just as many new challenges and opportunities as did 2012. You can rest assured we worked very hard to make the transition as lively as possible.

The Staff at the Inn did an amazing job of keeping the crowd well supplied with food and drink while LJC on his non-stop turn-table brought the best of the best in music that kept the dance floor filled. His late evening rap song was a huge hit and demonstrated again just how versatile that young man is.

As added bonuses, Drew thrilled the crowd with his jazzed up Sax and Joel put on a break-dance display that was beyond impossible. Two hours later his friends were still trying to untangle the mass of legs and arms.

It was a great mix of young, the not so young and dozens of inbetweeners who shared in the evening of merriment.

Thanks to Sean and the crew for inviting us.

Happy New Year to All
The McNeill Family

Broadmead Runners Club

 

 The Broadmead Runners popped by to have their picture taken with Santa and his reindeer.

 Lynn McNeill, Dianne Mcneill, Michel Payeur, Linda and Bjorn Simonsen get up close and personal with Mr. Claus.

Part of our Happy Crew

A friend we have not met since the World Cup 2007, Sinisha Ivaz (far right), family and friends.

More pictures in the attached album

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The Grayson Chronicles: The Journey Begins

Written by Harold McNeill on August 22nd, 2012. Posted in Adventure


Grayson Walker and his Grandpa

Photo (2012): Five year old Grayson and his Grandpa get set to go hiking in the hills behind his mom’s home in Kamloops, BC. It was during the trek the two hatched their summer plans.  Join us for the Journey Begins.

Dear Reader,

The following chronicles were written during the magical summer of 2012 when five-year old Grayson Edward Walker, along with his Grandpa, Harold David McNeill, his Uncle, Jay Wesley McNeill and a family friend, Bjorn Oscar Simonsen, completed an exploratory expedition through British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. While the trip through British Columbia was relatively peaceful, once they hit the Alberta border, they entered a new and perilous world.

Fighting massive lightening and thunder storms, flooded highways, tens of thousands of monster trucks and flocks of giant, blood sucking mosquitoes hatched in the primordial settling ponds of Fort MacMurray, the intrepid explorers bravely marched across Alberta and into the largely unknown wilderness that is now known as  Saskatchewan, an immense flatland whose name originated from a river the Cree originally called “Kisiskatchewani Sipi“.  In that harsh land the group encountered buffalo as big as barns, tractors that were even bigger and giant, round bales of hay that once set rolling in a land that has become known as Tornado Alley North, farms, cities and towns were placed in immanent danger of being wiped off the map.

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New Orleans, the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean

Written by Harold McNeill on February 25th, 2012. Posted in Travelogue


Canadians Invade New Orleans: Seize Navigator of the Sea’s

 

Photo: SIC Beauty members with the Cruise Director: An important thing to do on any cruise is to become friends with the Cruise Director.

This post begins with the second part of our holiday when our twenty-two member travel crew joined forces aboard the Navigator of the Seas.  Rather than provide a traditional look at life aboard the ship, I have worked to provide a flavour of the special times and friendships that emerge when people actively seek out others to share their festivities.

There is little doubt that upon our departing from the Navigator, there will be a good percentage of the passengers and crew on board who will remember the fun-loving Canadians.  While I have drawn attention to some our antics, it was all good clean fun on this special family holiday.  

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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