25 Years of Service

25 years

Mike and I were married almost 25 years ago.

Mike is celebrating a 25th anniversary this month of a different sort; equally, if not even more significant than the day we were married.

As Mike was introduced to my family so many years ago he was also introduced to another ‘family’.  The fire service.

For as long as I can remember the fire service has been a part of my life.  My father and many of my uncles were members of the Grand Lake Road Volunteer Fire Department.  As years went by, my cousins grew up following in their fathers’ footsteps and began volunteering with the department.  It was a family rite of passage for many.

As a young girl I fondly remember spending many a Saturday morning at the fire station with my dad.  If he was on weekend duty, my sister and I would often join him to check the equipment, clean the station, perform small repairs that needed tending to, test the radios, and “count the trucks”.  The station always bustled with activity and was definitely the hub of our small community.

Because Grand Lake Rd VFD was a volunteer department, much of the funding they required for new(er) equipment and gear had to be raised through fundraising efforts.  There were many pancake breakfasts, coin card drives, dances, male fashion shows, ladder-a-thons, and events that saw the department partner with various businesses in the community to raise money such as a “Fill Up For Fire” Day that saw a local gas station donate part of the days profits to the department.  Firefighters were on hand to pump gas and interact with members of their district.  No task was too great when it came to fundraising.  And their efforts were always well rewarded.  Grand Lake Rd VFD had committed members and quality equipment.  They trained often and hard and were well-educated.

When it became clear that Mike was going to be joining the family he started spending time at the fire hall with my father, uncles, cousins and other members of the department.  He was drawn to the fire service immediately.  Like a kid with a new toy,  the fire service consumed him.  He wanted to know all there was to know and had the most wonderful teachers.

Because he was not yet living in the district, Mike could not officially become a member of the department just yet but he could learn, observe and help.  In April of 1991, 4 months before we were married, Mike attended his first call with my father as manpower was scarce that particular evening.  There was no looking back from that point on.

He learned how to drive trucks, he learned how to pump water, he learned how to use the various equipment needed to fight fires.  Every free minute he had was spent at the hall learning.

Once we were married and he was accepted as a member of the department he wore his new responsibilities proudly.  Of course there was the adrenaline rush that often came with the pager going off, but that was something that he had to go through to learn.  It was a rush.  And I suspect it always will be, to a certain extent.  As years went on, the adrenaline spike turned from rushing and being hyper to calculating and preplanning what was going to be necessary to successfully attack the call at hand.

In 1994, 3 years after joining the department, Mike’s efforts were recognized by seeing him named Firefighter of the Year, an honor that was given to a member who exemplified what it meant to be a firefighter.  We were all very proud of him.

Over the years, Mike’s involvement in the department continued to grow.  He was elected to the executive as secretary, a position he held for the majority of his time at Grand Lake Rd VFD.  He was promoted to the rank of Captain and was also the department’s training officer.  He had a way of teaching that drew the members in.  He made them want to learn.  He grew into a leader that was respected and valued.

Almost 10 years after Mike became a volunteer firefighter, he successfully applied for a job as a full time firefighter with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.  From the ranks of Captain/Training Officer at his volunteer department, Mike put on a different colour helmet for his ‘job’ and once again found himself as a rookie.  He started all over again but this time he took with him ten years of accumulated knowledge and experience.

Over the years he has been quick to jump at any training and courses that became available so he could continue to learn and grow and teach.  As he celebrates his 25th year of service, I am so proud of the young man who has given endless hours to become the veteran firefighter he is today.

You see, it’s not ‘just a job’ or a ‘position’ or a ‘volunteer activity on a resume’ for Mike.  It’s his calling.  It’s his place in the world.  He has so much to offer, so much to share and so much to be proud of.  And now, 25 years later, he has his eldest son beside him as a member of the Albert Bridge Volunteer Fire department, teaching him the ropes and sharing knowledge as my dad did with Mike so many years ago.  Truly full-circle.

Not only is he a good firefighter, he is a well-respected member of an elite group.  He takes pride in his position and continually tries to impart his knowledge on other firefighters who are working their way through the ranks.

These men and women of our fire services, whether they do it as a volunteer position or as a way to provide a living for their families, run towards danger as others run away.  They meet people at the absolute worst moments of their lives.  Firefighters witness many sights that no one should ever have to see.  Anyone who willingly chooses this profession, on any level, deserves to be commended.

There is a camaraderie among firefighters like nothing I have ever seen before.  They bond together as a family and no matter what, they take care of their own.  To be involved (indirectly) with such a group makes me realize how unique all these individuals truly are.

As I publicly celebrate Mike’s 25th year of service, I still hold my breath as he walks out the door to respond to a call.  I take comfort in knowing that he rides his trucks with the best of the best and that they all have each other’s back every minute of every day.  I have to trust that one of his favorite quotes is always in the forefront of his and his fellow firefighter’s minds:

“Make sure when your shift is over, you go home alive. Here endeth the lesson.”

So Mikey, from this firefighter’s wife, I salute you.  You do something I could never imagine, and you constantly work to improve yourself – even 25 years later.  What you have done for so many people over the years (both strangers and fellow firefighters) is to be commended.  Thank you seems so inadequate to say for what you continue to give.

As your wife, there is not much I can give but I’ll continue to say that even I ‘have your back’ when the hoses are all put away and the trucks are parked back in the barn at the end of the day.  I’m here for you just like you’re always there for everyone else.

I love you, I’m proud of you and I am so honored to be your wife ~ a firefighter’s wife.  Happy 25th, Hilliard.

“Life is not tried, it is merely survived, if you’re standing outside the fire.” ~Garth Brooks


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Time to Reconnect

Mike asked me last night when was the last time I blogged.  I knew it had been a while but didn’t realize it had been two months.  Sorry about that.  Guess I’ll take a few minutes to fill you all in on what’s been happening.

Matthew’s Bottle Blitz is still going strong.  Our garage isn’t ready to burst at the seams anymore but people are continuously dropping off bottles or calling to have them picked up.  I think I’ll get Mike to do an updated pic as it’s been too long since we gave everyone a total.

Two Rivers Wildlife Park partnered with the Marion Bridge Recreation Association back at the end of January and started a new fundraiser called Chase The Ace.  Cape Breton is getting well-known for this type of fundraiser and some amazing non profit organizations have made a great deal of money.  Google it if you’ve never heard of it.  We are currently at week 9, hoping to make it a 46-50 week adventure.

Marcus has been having a great year in grade 2.  More days than not he stays at school until I’m on my way home from work.  He enjoys being able to play with the kids and is learning lots of sports skills that I see improving each time I pick him up.  He’s taken a liking to basketball, as well.  The grade 2 and 3 students who are interested are getting some basic skills of the game one night/week up at the school.  Hopefully this will develop into a permanent sport for him.  I loved basketball and although I didn’t play too much because of an old knee injury I did manage our basketball team all through high school.  I love that he is so eager to learn about any sport he can get involved in.  His birthday is one month from today.  I seriously can’t fathom where the last 8 years have gone.

After Marcus’ birthday it’ll be full steam ahead to June and Matthew’s graduation from high school.  Good grief!!!  I can’t even believe it.  Grand march and prom, open house and graduation ceremony.  14 long years.  Sometimes it feels like yesterday.  I still remember his first day.  What he wore, what I wore, who was there.  All of it is ingrained in my mind.   And now he is getting ready to say farewell.  

In between everything else that has been going on Mike and I have been working on a project, as well.  It’s still in the preliminary stages but we have a good working draft which we are just waiting to hear back on.  Soon.  Please, soon.  Fingers crossed!

I think that’s about all we’ve been up to.  Lots of exciting things coming up.  I may be posting more than you want to read…lol.

Until next time….


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Matthew is on a Mission!

Just when I thought we were getting ready to cuddle in for a long winter’s nap, Matthew came to Mike and I during the Christmas holidays with a plan.  He has been talking about wanting to improve the raccoon’s enclosure out at Two Rivers Wildlife Park for a while now.  Talking with one of the park’s staff, it was suggested that Matthew do a bottle drive since the holidays would be a great time to collect a bunch of empties.  Matt mentioned it to Mike and I and we thought, sure, why not.  

Mike did up a poster and we started sharing it on Facebook.

blitz poster

Almost immediately there was some interest and people started messaging they had bottles for us to collect.  “How much does he have to raise?” was a common question.

Yikes.  We hadn’t thought quite that far ahead.  We were only interested in getting some bottles for him.  So, ok, he needed a goal.  Hard to say.  Let’s shoot for the stars and say $1,500.  Surely they’d be able to do a good upgrade with that.  $1,500.  Do you know how many bottles that is?  The majority of our bottles are returned here, in Nova Scotia, for .05/bottle.  In order to raise $1,500, he would have to get 30,000 bottles.  THIRTY THOUSAND BOTTLES!!!!  Good grief.  What were we thinking??

A few friends messaged me saying they would like to donate to the cause but they were either too far away or didn’t have any bottles at the moment and wondered if they could contribute with a monetary donation.  The email transfers started arriving.

By January 4th we had enough bottles that we had to do a run to the recycling depot to make more room in our garage.  That trip netted Matthew’s cause $146.30.  Combined with the few online donations he received, we posted our first total:

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This was getting exciting!!  We were receiving messages daily from people saying they had bottles for us!  Our coworkers were bringing in bags upon bags while others were handing us donations.

Twice this past week we made trips into town to collect bags (and I means bags) of recyclables from wonderful friends who are only too eager to see and help Matthew achieve his goal.

Mike and I (with Matthew ‘supervising’) spent from 8:00 – 11:30 last night out in the garage counting (not to mention the hours Mike spent through the week sorting and counting).  We had to get another van full ready to go because we simply had no where else to put another bottle! 


Mike was adamant about sorting and counting before he went to the depot.  It sure does make things a lot easier and saves time when he gets there.  Also, he wanted to keep a count of who gave what as we were going.  It’s quite the process!!

Our count last night was over 1,600.  A lot of bottles.  14 bags with various sizes of bottles got loaded in the van.  It didn’t even seem like we put a dent in the bags still in the garage!!  

With a second trip  now done, Matt has added another $130.10 to his total.  Plus donations we posted just a few hours ago a total that has absolutely blown us all away ~ $612.40!!!  In hardly 2 weeks!!!  Unreal.

After sharing that update 2 short hours ago I am over the moon to say that Matthew has received another $100 in donations bringing our total going into the weekend to 



H  O  L  Y     C  O  W!!!!!! (or should I say Holy Raccoon??)

You, my friends, are all incredibly amazing!!!  My heart is so full right now!

To see what Matthew has accomplished and hear how he has touched your hearts makes me one proud Mama.  He has certainly taught everyone a lot about tenacity, commitment, dedication and acceptance.

With just over 21 months spent at Two Rivers, he has accumulated over 2,200 volunteer hours, was a paid employee for 8 weeks this past summer and has now embarked on a mission ~ raising money for upgrades.

He chose the raccoon enclosure as he spent a great deal of time this spring/summer helping to hand raise a raccoon that was dropped off at the park after it was abandoned by its mother.  Rocky has a special spot in Matt’s heart and has become like part of the family. See how he’s grown?

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It’s easy to see that Rocky loves Matt just as much as Matt loves him! Hopefully by the time the spring rolls around, Matthew will be able to not only present a cheque to help with the upgrades for the enclosure but also assist with the hands-on renovating that will be carried out because of his love for and commitment to the greatest place on earth for him – Two Rivers Wildlife Park.

Thanks for reading, sharing, collecting bottles, donating and being interested in Matthew’s project!

Until next time..


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19 Years and Counting

I won’t lie.  I was scared.  Scared beyond words.  I didn’t know how to be a mother.  I was entrusted with this small life and I had no idea what I was supposed to do with it.  The thought of having a baby was a whole lot more fun in my mind than in reality.  All of a sudden I had someone in my life that was totally dependent on me and I wasn’t too sure that I liked it all that much.  Thankfully, we worked our way through the rough patches that welcomed us and then it was one adventure after another.

19 years ago today you came into my life and as much as I loved you I was so terrified that I was never going to be able to give you what you needed from me.   Heck, some days I’m still not so sure that I provide you with what you need.  But I’ll tell you something, my ideas have certainly changed a lot over  the last 19 years.

Little did I know when you were placed in my arms all those years ago what an amazing journey we would walk together.  I know you can’t remember way back then but I remember it like it was yesterday.  You were perfect.  The most handsome baby I have ever seen.


Before I knew it we were sending you off to preschool.


Then it was off to ‘big school’.

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Good grief!!  Look how little you were!!

The road we walked was filled with lots of learning along the way – for all of us.  As hard and as difficult as your journey was starting school we learned one very important thing.  We all learned how strong we were.  And are.  We learned that by sticking together as a family there is nothing we can’t get through.  The tears, the fights, the broken hearts and the constant worrying (on our part) seems like a distant memory now as I sit here and write this thinking about what a truly remarkable young man I have standing in front of me.

Our journey wasn’t just all about heartache and hurt, Matthew.  It was about growth.  It was about learning how to stand up when you’ve been knocked down and it was about believing in yourself and not settling for anything less than you deserve.  Did you always get what you wanted?  No.  And that’s because it’s not always about what we want.  Did you always have what you needed?  Absolutely.  Because your needs during your school years were all that mattered.  There were times when we had to really learn how to compromise with your teachers and the rest of your team and learn to find different ways to have your needs met but at the end of the day we all learned more during your school years than reading, writing and arithmetic.  We learned to work together as a team and we learned how to make sure your voice was heard.

This time 19 years ago I was sitting in a hospital room marveling over you.  Amazed that someone so small was mine.  I couldn’t have ever imagined the way our lives would twist and turn over the last 19 years.  Even with all the bumps in the road I wouldn’t trade these last 19 years for anything because of all that I have learned from you.  Because of YOU.  You have taught me more about life and love than anyone else before.  You have taught me the true meaning of unconditional love.

And it fills my heart with pride to look at your growth.  Good grief!!  These last two years alone have been incredible.  You have accomplished so much and grown in ways I couldn’t have imagined.  You make me so proud.

Who would have ever thought that just a little over a year after starting volunteering at Two Rivers you’d be standing next to the Mayor receiving and award for your volunteerism?

Matt Volunteer Award

And then a few short months after this you spent your summer living in a trailer more than you lived at home!

Matt and the trailer

Then it was home to start on your final leg of your schooling.  Grade 12.

Matt grade 12

And the milestones continue at warp speed.  Today you turned 19.

Matt 19

Even though I’m saying a lot, there really are no words to adequately express how I feel Matthew.  I’ve never doubted for one second that you had so much to offer this world.  I’ve always said that.  There’s a special place in this world for you, we just had to find it.

I’m glad I was able to help you during your search.  Keep doing what you do because truthfully I can’t wait to see what tomorrow is going to bring.

Happy Birthday, bud.  I love you.

Until next time…

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Y’all Hashtag This…. “On Tour” with Dean Brody

Anyone who knows us knows how much we like our music; all types, but especially country (and if there was any doubt, go back two entries and take a look at my post titled Happy 24th Anniversary, Mikey).

Anyone who knows us knows how much we love our boys (Matthew is 18, Marcus is 7) and will do what we can to make their dreams come true.  So far, we have been able to grant two of Matthew’s dreams.  Almost 3 years ago he had the chance to meet one of his biggest idols, Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer.  Then almost one year to the day later he got to meet the second person on his bucket list, Temple Grandin.  Needless to say, when I saw the opportunity to sort-of make his last dream come true, I took it.

The Canadian Country Music Awards are coming to Halifax, NS this year.  It’s the first time since 1982 that Nova Scotia has hosted Country Music Week and the buzz leading up to it has been electric!  The entire province has benefited with various communities hosting 3 separate concerts in a Songwriter’s Series: The Road To Halifax.  Since the first concert, held in June, the excitement has been building and we are now only 3 short weeks away from hosting hundreds of Canadian musicians, artists, songwriters and music industry personnel as they flock to our provincial capital.

Fortunately, we were able to attend the Songwriter’s Series that was held here in Cape Breton towards the end of July.  Carolyn Dawn Johnson made her first visit to our area and was joined by our very own Bruce GuthroJordan Musycsyn and The Ryan Sisters.  We had a great time and it was a treat for us to hear 3 of the 4 musicians for the first time.  The talent we have on this Island is amazing!

But it was what happened afterwards that was the highlight of my night.  As we were leaving the venue there was a young man walking towards me holding the almost life-size cutouts of the nominees for the Fan’s Choice Award.  I commented to him that my boys would love it if I could bring Dean Brody home with me for them and his reply was “I don’t see why you can’t – here!”  and handed Dean’s cutout to me.  I was so excited!!  As soon as I got home I put Dean down in our kitchen and snapped a picture which I immediately sent to Matthew who was out at the park.  Needless to say he freaked thinking Dean was actually standing in our home.  Unfortunately, I had to burst his bubble and tell him that wasn’t the case.  But looking quickly, you’d think so, hey?  Marcus certainly did a double-take the next morning when he walked down the stairs.


Dean was a wonderful guest the past few weeks.  I was a little concerned at first that he might try to Bring Down The House, but I learned quickly that wouldn’t be the case, at all.  He minded his manners, never interrupted, wasn’t disrespectful, certainly didn’t eat much and traveled quite lightly.  In fact, we almost forgot he was around most of the time.

As much fun as it was knowing he was here (especially when his songs came on the radio and Marcus would go over and stand beside him to do karaoke), time was getting on and we knew he had to make his way back to his CCMA family.  After all, there were lots of events coming up that he would be required to attend.

Before we could return our new friend we thought it would be nice to show him some true Cape Breton hospitality.  He has been here before to play concerts, but we were sure he didn’t have the chance to see much of our community up close and personal, so we decided to take him on a sight-seeing tour.  He was a great traveler, other than the need to extend our trunk by putting down the back seat in our Jetta.  Oh well, at least he had the chance to stretch out and relax.

The time he spent at our home was mostly indoors so we started outside at Hilliard’s Happy Hideaway located on the Mira River.  Naturally, Marcus was in charge (as much as we’d let him) and had to be in the first picture with “his buddy” Dean.


Our first stop had to be Two Rivers Wildlife Park where Matthew has been working and residing this summer.  Unfortunately, Matt was busy bailing hay and wasn’t able to show our guest around, but he would have the chance to before Dean left, we promised.  Here Dean is meeting Bud and Jenny and hanging out on the park’s grounds for a bit.

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He was a great help in the booth and seemed to really enjoy his time with the horses.  What better place for a country-guy to visit than a Wildlife Park?

Next we headed to Louisbourg.  We were hoping to get him out on the rocks at the lighthouse but as we were driving out the fog fell in on top of us, as so often happens along the coast.  Safety is always first!  He did manage to get a good look at the lighthouse and was the only one of us who didn’t seem to mind the deafening sounds from the fog horn.

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By this time it was getting dark so we headed for home.  Mike decided it would be better to continue the tour the next day.  Even though I had to work Mike, his mother, Marcus and Dean hit the road early and traveled over to the Northside, where Mike was born and raised until we were married 24 years ago.  Mike thought Dean might appreciate a good game of golf so he stopped at Seaview Golf and Country Club but they soon had to scoop Dean up and put him back in the car as there was a lineup starting to grow behind him at the first hole.


Close by was Munro Park, a recreational facility in North Sydney that won $250,000 last week through Kraft Project Play.  Dean was really excited to see the area and can’t wait for us to keep him posted on all the amazing upgrades they have coming.


No trip to North Sydney would be complete without checking out the ferry terminal at Marine Atlantic.  North Sydney is the gateway to Newfoundland where you can almost always see the ferries coming and going.  It’s something we never get tired of watching.


Mike couldn’t visit his hometown of Sydney Mines without sharing his life’s passion with Dean.  A trip to the Firefighter’s Memorial Park was next on the list.

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Marcus didn’t move too far away during this stop as he has years of knowledge to impart to Dean.  Hey, when you live in a firefighting family like we do, it is what it is.

Finally, no trip to Sydney Mines would be complete without boasting about our successes.  This is one of my favorite community signs in the area.  And yes, I may be a littleslightly…completely biased here as Bruce Guthro is my favorite-all-time performer! (Dean understands…we talked.  He knows he’s a real close second.)


Next the tour headed west towards Bras d’Or.  A stop at the infamous A&K Lick-A-Chick and Lick-A-Treat was a must.

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Mike and Marcus agreed that Dean was starting to get a little frigidity from being in the car so long.  They decided the next logical place to visit was Kelly’s Mountain.  It was time to get this Mountain Man to a place where he could relax for a few minutes.

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He loved seeing the Seal Island Bridge from the Bras d’Or look-off despite it not being a completely clear day.  It truly is one of those beauties to behold when visiting Cape Breton.

Finally on this leg of the tour they dropped by Ross Ferry Marine Park to check in on all the fine folks there.


As they were heading for their next destination, Dean decided he needed to stretch his vocal cords a bit and what better place to do it than under the street sign that perfectly matched one of his songs: Four Wheel Drive.


The last stop for the day would be to go visit the guys Mike works with at The Cape Breton Regional Fire Service, Station 2.  Dean was going to be inundated with firefighting information on this visit, that’s for sure!


The next day I was able to join in the fun.  Dean, Mike and Marcus picked me up from work and off we went but not before we got a picture with him under the sign showing the greeting of Cape Breton that is on the side of our building.  A hundred thousand welcomes is extended to all who visit.

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Radio has always been a big part of our lives.  Radio is where we met so many years ago.  Naturally, we had to take Dean to visit the radio stations in the area that so graciously give his songs the air play needed to keep producing #1 Hits.  First we stopped to say hi to Nikki at 103.5 The Eagle.


Bill and Rose were next on our list at 89.7 The Coast ~ which reminds me ~ I really have to try to get my name entered for the fantastic contest The Coast is running for The CCMA’s.  What a win THAT would be!


No trip to Glace Bay would be complete without having Dean revisit The Savoy Theatre where many fans were able to see him perform not too many years ago.  It may be time for him to return (hint, hint!)


And just before we leave Glace Bay, another must-see is The Miners Museum.


Time to head back to Sydney to visit a few more points of interest.  First stop is Open Hearth Park located right in the heart of the city.  Families can spend the entire day here and always have lots to do from walking trails to playgrounds for the kids.


My favorite stop of all was next.  The Radio Building, the corner of Prince and Charlotte, CJCB Radio.  The place where it all started for Tracey and Mike.  This place is near and dear to our hearts and I was taken back in time as soon as I walked up those stairs.  Marcus thought it was pretty neat to see where Mom and Dad worked and met all those years ago.


Keeping with the music theme, our next stop was to show Dean The Big Fiddle located at our Port of Sydney.  See for yourself ~ it really is the largest fiddle in the world!

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Cape Breton University is growing by the year.  Dean stopped by there to say hello, as well.


For our last stop of the day we headed back to Two Rivers where Matthew was free to spend some time showing Dean around.  He got to meet Maggie and Rose, a team of horses used for the wagon rides, and Matthew had his picture taken with one of his favorite performers ever!  (Sorry bud, I wish it was in person but I worked with what I had…lol)

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Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and tomorrow it would be time to return Dean to his CCMA family so he’d be there for all the upcoming events.  We weren’t finished showing him the sights between here and the road to Halifax quite yet.  We were up and on the go early and although there were no dirt roads for this Dirt Road Scholar to travel on our way, we were able to take him to visit The Old Sandbar in East Bay.  We tried our best to make him feel at home while he was here.


While driving through Ben Eoin, we thought Dean might like to try his hand at golf again.  The Lakes Golf Club was buzzing with activity bright and early on a Saturday morning.


Rita MacNeil’s Tea Room located in the heart of Big Pond is always a must see for anyone visiting the area.

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The ‘noisy bridge’, as we called it when we were kids, was our next stop.  St. Peter’s Canal links the Atlantic Ocean to the Bras d’Or Lakes and it truly is a sight to watch the bridge open as many boats use this as their thoroughfare.

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Every time I leave Cape Breton Island I get homesick, even if it is for just one day.  I don’t know if I could ever truly explain what this place we call home does for me.  As we head towards the Canso Causeway I reflect about how much Cape Breton really is The Home of Our Hearts.

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Once we arrived on mainland Nova Scotia there were a few more pit-stops to make.  We had to show Dean Mother Webb’s.  Again, he wasn’t much of an eater, so we just breezed through.


A good friend of ours works at 98.9 XFM in Antigonish and graciously met us at the station on Saturday morning so we could have a quick visit.  Dean was slightly tormented, but was a great sport about it.  And now we have a picture of him with Da Lobster (for any of you who don’t know what this means, Mike refers to me as Da Lobster…his lobster.  The reason why is explained in the link).

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Dean was going to sing us a song before leaving, but we just couldn’t get the mic to work no matter what we did.  Next time, he promised😉

Barry showed us another really cool spot where Dean needed to get his picture taken.  Pretty appropriate for him, too, I’d say.


Our last stop in Antigonish was, naturally, St. FX University.  A week from now, this campus will be bustling as another school year is only days away.


We couldn’t drive through Stellarton without a quick stop at The Museum of Industry.


Truro was were we stopped for a quick bite to eat.  As much as I would have loved to show Dean Victoria Park we really did need to save a few things for the next road trip, haha!


Alas, the time to say “see ya later” had arrived.  We were in Halifax before we knew it and our adventure was over.  I’ve always told my boys “Don’t be sad it’s over, be happy it happened” and I couldn’t be more happy that, as a family, we were able to have so much fun hosting Dean Brody and sharing some of our special spots with him while we were fortunate enough to have him visit.

Now just about everyone involved in Canadian Country Music is counting down to September 10-13.  Halifax is definitely going to be the place to be and unless a miracle happens that gets us there (I soooooo wish we could make it happen) we’ll be watching for updates and will be glued to the TV on Sunday evening, the 13th, for the Awards Show.  We congratulate all the nominees and look forward to hearing all about Country Music Week.

Of course, we’ll be rooting for Dean who is nominated for SIX awards this year.  The Awards Show will be incredible, regardless.  The caliber of talent our country music performers has is amazing, but we all have our favorites, right?  ;)

For now, we’ll leave you where the big show will be taking place.  Scotiabank Centre is where we dropped Dean, but I have had reports that he made it safely to his host family’s place in Halfax😉  Thanks, Stacey.  We had a blast.


Until next time… #PumpUpTheCountry

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We Need to Talk About This

A year later. Has anything changed? Worth visiting again….

An Angel's Island

robin williams

My social media sites became filled last evening with news about Robin Williams’ death.  Everyone was shocked, saddened, upset and devastated that this vivacious man who made it his job to make others laugh had taken his own life.

An online group I belong to started a thread about it.  As the conversation grew I woke to a post this morning from one of the members:

Maybe this thread can lead into a discussion…if more needs to be done to help those with mental illness, what do you think should be done?

The dialogue that opened had members having the courage to talk about events in their lives that were hard for them to discuss.  It humbled me to read them.

I had some thoughts of my own that I shared in response to this group member’s question.  What do you think should be done?  

We all have…

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Happy 24th Anniversary, Mikey

Saturday, August 10, 1991 our special day finally arrived.  The day we said “I Do”.

24 years ago.

I’ve been thinking about how I’d do this entry for awhile.  Wondering “What I’d Say”.  There simply aren’t enough words or time to adequately say what I want to say to you so I thought I’d try to do something a little different and let the music say it for me.  I could be here just as long this way, but let’s see how it goes.

The summer of 1988 really started it all off when we were introduced to each other.  How many times did I call you at work?  I’d never tell you who I was, but you knew.  You knew me better than I knew myself.   You knew by what I requested.  I had a few favorites that I think gave me away over time but I’d still keep calling.

Pretty soon we were spending hours upon hours at the radio station.  You taught me everything you knew.  I loved all different types of music but Top 40 was definitely my comfort zone.  Given your choice, you leaned more towards the country and Celtic genres never missing a chance to play some local favorites.  Your knowledge and your enthusiasm about artists and the stories behind them was contagious.  There was nothing I could ask that you didn’t know the answer.  We soon started to collect quite the compilation of our songs.  To anyone listening to our cassette tapes, they’d think we were losing it, I’m sure.  We’d seriously listen to anything from Ronnie Milsap to Restless Heart to Bryan Adams to Def Leppard and Phil Collins.  Let’s not forget MadonnaThe JuddsAlan JacksonWilson PhillipsThe Bee Gees.  And then there were those that I wasn’t particularly fond of but you still encouraged me to give them a listen.  So I did, occasionally.

When I was fortunate enough to start working at the radio station along side you, there were quickly a few songs that I came to dislike quickly, but thankfully they were few and far between.  On the flip side (pun intended…get it?), there were those I ‘liked’ so much I gave them extra air time ;) .  The best memory of our radio days was, of course, our wedding day.  Spending a few moments in-studio that evening with our good friend, Ronnie MacKinnon was definitely a highlight neither one of us will ever forget.

After our radio days were but a memory, our love of music certainly didn’t dissipate.  We’re not big movie watchers by any means but there are a few classics that will live forever.  Our taste in movies is as varied as our taste in music.  There are those that we just couldn’t help watching over and over and over.  Each songeach story, holds so much for us.  So much so that we were even able to include one on our special day.  Remember what I walked down the aisle to?

We always joked that whenever we had kids they would be the ones yelling at us to turn the music down.  Don’t laugh, it’s happened.  But thankfully our boys have developed as deep an appreciation for music as we did.  They really had no choice, did they?  I can’t pick just one or two songs for them.  We have to do a top 5 for each.

Matthew’s Favorites ~                                                                                                                              #5 (this is pure coincidence based on the countdown.  Hahahaha)                                           #4                                                                                                                                                                #3                                                                                                                                                              #2                                                                                                                                                                 #1

Then we have Marcus ~                                                                                                                           #5                                                                                                                                                                #4                                                                                                                                                              #3                                                                                                                                                              #2                                                                                                                                                                #1

I think I could have done a Top 10, no problem.  Then one of them will catch us off guard and start belting out something like this or this while they’re out carousing with you.  I’m not completely out of it though because we have been known to turn this or this up a little louder while they’d be out driving around with me, too.

It’s really something, isn’t it?  24 years worth of music for 4 people is a lot to condense into such a small space.  Needless to say, this has taken me the entire evening and I’m not done yet.  I think we could probably have our own countdown.  Hey, that’s a good idea!  I really hope I don’t repeat anything (I started this almost 3 hours ago…lol).  Pick a number, because I’m sure I can fill it easily.  24?  Strange number for a countdown but why not?  It is the number of years we’re married as of today, after all.  Let’s get going with it, shall we?  (Good grief, what I have gotten myself into here?)

Tracey and Mikey’s Top 24                                                                                                                    #24                                                                                                                                                             #23                                                                                                                                                             #22                                                                                                                                                             #21                                                                                                                                                            #20                                                                                                                                                          #19                                                                                                                                                                #18                                                                                                                                                            #17                                                                                                                                                            #16                                                                                                                                                          #15                                                                                                                                                        #14                                                                                                                                                        #13                                                                                                                                                            #12                                                                                                                                                                #11                                                                                                                                                                We’re gonna pause for our Station ID.  This is Radio TRCY and just before we get into our Top 10 here’s a few words from our good friends at Two Rivers Wildlife Park proud to be presenting the Third Annual Acoustic Roots Festival September 4-6.  Make sure you check it out!!  Now….back to The Countdown.                                                                                           #10                                                                                                                                                          #9                                                                                                                                                                #8                                                                                                                                                              #7                                                                                                                                                              #6                                                                                                                                                                #5                                                                                                                                                                #4                                                                                                                                                                #3                                                                                                                                                                #2                                                                                                                                                                #1

See?  I couldn’t do it in 24.  There are a couple more that definitely deserve honorable mention.  And I would truly be remiss if I didn’t include this classic.

Phew!  This has turned into quite the walk down Memory Lane for me this evening.  I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, and I’ve felt every emotion I have probably felt over the last 24 years in the past few hours.  And I know if I asked you to do your countdown lists they could probably be just as different again.  So much music.  Such a big part of who we are.

Anyway, hun, like I said, I tried to let the songs say it for me.  Even though we won’t see each other today (darned opposing schedules) I hope you have a chance to listen to some of the songs here and remember what they mean to us.  Night after night we sit and listen to music and it’s not very often we do too many repeats.  It’s our thing and I hope it will continue to be our thing for many years to come.

I’ve been trying to figure out what I could close off with.  As I was doing our countdown, the #9 song was playing here on You Tube and when it was finished the exact same song was playing on the radio.  So now I know this entry is Debbie Approved and I know what song I’m going to end off with.

Happy 24th Anniversary, Mikey.  PSILY.

Until next time…

me and mikey

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