Favourite places

When it comes to great U.S. cities, Miami stands out for me. Here are a few photos I took in the cosmopolitan city.

The warmth, the lights, the sights, the ocean and the sports all make it a great place to spend time.

What’s your favourite U.S. city or town?

 

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Letters remind us of pain of war

Allen Olimer
Allen Olimer

I have just received a great gift from a man related to the Olimer side of our family by marriage.

Thanks to Clark Hooten, I have precious letters my uncle Allen Olimer sent home from the front lines during World War II.

He was killed in August, 1944.

There is also a letter from Allen’s sister-in-law Violet, writing to let her family members know of his death. It is truly heartbreaking.

In reading the letters, I wonder if we have really learned anything about the horror of war?

The rhetoric from politicians and other world leaders leaves little doubt that the two world wars are fading from collective memory and the generations that fought in these wars can no longer convey the pain.

We must remind our leaders, every chance we get, that going to war is not an option.

From my great-aunt Vi to relatives in Bracebridge Ont.: “We just had some terrible news. Allen was killed in action Aug. 8. Further information when they have it. It is almost too much to bear. I would have phoned only I did not want to upset mother. Well there is not anything to say or do. Love Violet.”

Record-breaking weather brings out signs of early spring

swifties three (1)

Over the last few days when London has hit record temperatures, I’ve noticed moths and other insects emerging.

Will we continue to have warm weather right through till March? It looks that way. But the long-range outlook shows two weeks from now returning to highs of 0 degrees.

The mild weather has all kinds of people outdoors enjoying nature so we’ll take it while it lasts.

Wanted to share a poem about the inspiration of nature as an example for humans to follow:

The awareness of the bees and insects

Inspires me to a higher

Intelligence of life unfolding

Intricately, beautifully, mystically,

Innately.

I am of nature, but I fight

It.  Thinking too much when bee-ing

Is simply the highest form of intelligence.

What you may not know about Sir Frederick Banting

village-in-winter

As people around the globe celebrate the 125th anniversary of Sir Frederick Banting’s birth on World Diabetes Day, his famous discovery often overshadows his service to country and his other talents.

It was here in London, Ont. where Banting had his medical breakthrough that led to millions of lives being saved around the world.

At his home at 442 Adelaide St. N. – site of what is now the museum Banting House – the doctor scrawled a note to himself in the middle of the night about his theory on insulin.

It was 2 a.m. on Halloween 1920, a Banting House article notes, when “Banting woke up and wrote down the 25 word hypothesis that would permanently cement him in the minds of people everywhere as the man who discovered insulin.”

As London is the birthplace of insulin, I’ve had the opportunity to write about Banting in the past.

Did you know Banting served in both World Wars?

Banting served in the Great War as a doctor, and during the Second World War, Banting used his medical knowledge to assist air crews. In 1941, he was heading to England on a mission when the plane he was in crashed in Newfoundland. Injured in the crash, Banting attended to the pilot before he died. Banting was 49.

That age is significant because Banting had planned to make a significant change in his life.

Banting was a talented artist, some say one of the best amateur painters in Canada. He planned to devote himself to his art once he turned 50. Unfortunately he never made it to that age.

Banting was friends with Group of Seven member A.Y. Jackson and the pair would take painting excursions to places such as the Arctic, Georgian Bay and Quebec. It was likely on a trip to Quebec that he painted the above artwork, Village in Winter, which was purchased by Banting House for nearly $24,000 in 2010 from an auction.

On his painting trips, Banting would sometimes register under a different name because he had become so famous. To learn more about Banting as an artist, see my story about him published in the London Free Press at the link below.

http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2010/12/23/16661266.html

A good read about Banting is Breakthrough: Banting, Best and the Race to Save Millions of Diabetics. It’s a narrative about his life based on historical facts.