Off in a Cloud of Heifer Dust gets us up off our chairs for a tour up and down the Valley, from L’Orignal to Lachute, Pembroke to Perth, Almonte to Allumette Island, to meet friends old and new, and share a story or two.
Brent Connelly spent nearly forty years as a forester in Ontario’s Algonquin and Lake Superior Parks. During that time, he had the good fortune to hear and observe some wonderfully entertaining stories unfold, most of them exchanged around lunch fires while drinking numerous mugs of strong tea. Although he no longer “commutes” to work in a mud-caked pickup, toting a lunch pail often filled with thick, meat loaf sandwiches, homemade dill pickles and butter tarts as large as soup bowls, he still gets the urge to prop a thermos filled with piping-hot coffee on top of the dash, this time to take a tour around the Valley, never knowing who he might bump into. For Brent, a stranger is a friend he hasn’t met yet.
Like the farmer, who offers up this sage advice: “A good cold will last seven days if you go to a doctor and a week if you don’t.” Or the storyteller, who “beat a jack pine pole with a dry stick for a long, long time before finally getting an answer.”
So, whether it’s on board a timber crib, rafting down the Ottawa River, tapping your toes to Don Messer and his Islanders, or slipping along ice-coated roads to get generators to people stranded and isolated by the Ice Storm of ’98, Brent invites you to brush off your clothes, slick back your hair, and climb on board, for we’re about to take off in a cloud of heifer dust.
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