still the same stamps in the variety packetsThe impulse to collect stamps is labelled “philately”.  Between the ages of ~9 years old and 15, I possessed that rather solitary passion and it might be a major contributing factor in the development of my adventurous nature.  That need to explore goes hand in hand with a lack of fear of the unknown, in my case, and it brought me to Montreal, ideal home for adventurers…, and stamp collectors as I discovered today.

A small ad in a paper that I read rather assiduously led me to exup 42, which I suppose can only be the 42nd Exposition of the Union des philatélistes.  The ad promised both free entry and free parking, but I took the scenic route by bus along Jean Talon this morning and walked up to the second floor of the Maison  du Citoyen in Villeray – St. Michel – Parc Extension fashionably just after the 10am opening.

After a few words of counsel from the Union people, I was directed away from the merchants and into the Bourse des timbres à 10c de l’UPM.  Taking my seat with the other early birds, I introduced myself, “Mon nom est Ted et je suis une philatéliste”.  I blague (I’m joking).  It was more of a square than a circle, due to the tables in front of us.  In the middle of the room were other tables piled with hundreds of albums holding what the UPM volunteer described as “surplus stamps that their members were willing to sell at 10 cents each”. I had the full extent of my circa 1975 stamp collection along with me, and since there were some stamps that I lacked in a “World of Sports”” stamp album from the USPS.  I started by looking at “thematique” albums which contained various – boats, bridges, flowers, animals and, not least, sports”.  Soon I was lost in the beauty of stamps, filling out a dim sum-like summary of my purchases. MLK_Togo_timbreAfter a slow browse through 4 or 5 thematic albums, I was getting the hang of the system and decided that I would follow up on a recent read of a sort of autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. starting with stamps from Africa honouring him.  The albums of African countries, from North to South, Angola to Zanzibar piled before me failed to yield up a single Martin Luther King stamp, though I remember reading that he did travel there.  Finally in the Togo Republic, I found the civil rights hero’s image on a stamp.  I know the obvious is to look for MLK in USA, but since presidents and prime ministers like John F. Kennedy and Winston Churchill can be found everywhere in the stamps of the world, I expected the same for this martyred civil rights hero.  Not the case.

The take home for me, besides a selection of stamps that I can use to illustrate future blogs on a variety of topics touching history or geography, is that there are people like me whose interest in stamps is not about rarity or even the collecting impulse but who see stamps as a “trampoline au monde entier”…, and a good conversation starter.  J’ai côtoyé du monde fort engageant aujourd’hui et c’est pas le monde des timbres, mais le monde des philatélistes.

Some excellent reading & music

Texture magazines

This morning, in my long run which effectively completes my training for the half marathon in Montreal on September 25, I ran with my Eers earbuds in playing this week’s Discover Weekly playlist put together by Spotify.  This is exceptional for me to run with music but since I needed to stretch my distance out and I would be running alone for two hours without a companion, I thought that doing this to jazz music would help “diminuer les ennuies”.  And so it did – I finished 16 km of running with 8 songs left still unplayed in the 30 song playlist.  If you use Spotify, clicking on the previous link will open up the playlist that I enjoyed this morning.

After returning home and being greeted as a hero by Carol for accomplishing such a distance (my training for this major run next Sunday has been, admittedly, spotty, I showered, brunched (oh, how I love running for the way that it makes everything taste better) and then rested my weary bones with some reading.  In a similar manner that I use Spotify to find any and all music that I want to listen to, just this week, I signed up for the magazine service put out by Rogers which gives me unlimited access to a whole panoply of magazines.  My iPad is the ideal device to read on.  I have these magazines listed as My Favourites: Bicycling; Canadian Business; Canadian Cycling; Canadian Running; Consumer Reports; L’actualité; National Geographic plus these from same publisher – History, & Traveller. Continuing: New York Magazine; Popular Mechanics; Québec Science; Popular Science; Rolling Stone; Smithsonian; The Atlantic; Travel & Leisure; Vanity Fair; Vélo Mag; Wired; The Official Program of the World Cup of Hockey 2016 and, finally, Zoomer.  Missing from this list are weekly or bi-weekly magazines like Time, Newsweek, McLeans, The New Yorker, Billboard and People.  I opted for the Basic $9.99 per month subscription that includes only the monthly magazines.  From a point of view of costs, I simply cancelled my New York Times digital subscription (too much of the American election) which cost me $14.99 per month.  I am quite happy that the $10 per month gives me access to a fair slate of Canadian content including magazines en français that will help me expand my vocabulary.

Am I reading?  Yes!  Besides the reading from the library, much of this also coming across my iPad as e-books from the Montreal Library, the Bibliotheque et Archives Nationales du Québec, and the Ontario Public Library system.  Thank you Baysville Library for access to the e-book wealth of an entire province.  My Goodreads links to my updated reading list with very short reviews for my completed books.

Now back to Québec Science magazine’s fascinating article on the history of the Saint Lawrence river.


God has no problem with that

Thinking of a title for my Sunday blog this week, which must be prepared this Saturday night as tomorrow is not only a day of rest in the morning for me and Carol, it is an exciting day of choir work as we audition over 50 singers for Montreal Gospel Choir.  Exciting season-beginning event each year.

So….what of the title, “God doesn’t have any problem with that”.  Well, if God were God On High, and also Prosperity God, wishing, even willing my material well-being, I know he would have a problem with the way I conduct my business. This Prosperity God would be ashamed to be associated with an affair like mine which refuses to progress and finds itself (parce que, l’affair dans cette affair, c’est MOI) doing shoddy things like lugging home leftover product wrapped up with ice like I was some bag-lady moving her worldly possessions. At the June market I reached my target of a complete sell-out in spite of having significant un-ordered product.  When this happens, I’m elated the whole trip home.  Today I had little extra product available at the outset (except in Garlic-smoked sausage) so I didn’t try to promote extra sales.  Result:  I didn’t get extra sales and had several no shows – people not claiming their orders.

[Note added 6 weeks after original date of this blog:  watch this 6 minute presentation on the effects of inner voices from Alain de Botton’s School of Life.  You could say that my rather confusing blog “God has no problem with that” is about me listening to my inner voice condemning me about the way I do business.  Fortunately, God is to me the comforting, encouraging inner voice and more than that, God specializes in redeeming bad situations, at least that is my experience.  Read on and see what happens when I’m faced with more leftover product than I can carry and a rapidly approaching deadline if I am to reach the last Saturday train back to Montreal.]

What did the God that I know do?  (Btw, He is Suffering Servant God and God Immanuel, too).  This God sent an absolute angel of a taxi man: patient, caring, good driver, very professional, a listener.  The flat rate from Burlington to Union Station downtown Toronto was nothing miraculous, but I tipped him as if he was Jesus Christ meeting Abraham.  God can get me more of the tipping money and he all-the-time-Jehovah-Jireh does (that’s my life experience).  But still, I’m lugging a hockey-bag-sized ensemble of 4 X 5 kg garlic sausage plus ice bag to keep the product chilled, plus insulation to keep the ice from totally melting, a vinyl sign used between ice and product to keep the whole thing from becoming sausage soup until I got on the chill train. ‘Le tout’ bound together and made carry-able, but not elegantly, with the jib halyard that I salvaged from the items in the rummage shed at the Lake of Bays dump several years ago.  Fer shame, Ted!

I am presently returning from a business trip – please don’t imagine me meeting clients like a traditional businessman might on a business trip.  That is what I do – meet my clients – but we’re not talking of some future sale, we’re handing over product that they have ordered from me by phone or email.  If I did it every month I might really hate what I do, but I do it 4 times per year (go to market) and it refreshes the majority of what I do in my business which is work by myself in a cooler, packaging sausage while staring at the box liners hanging in front of my stainless steel work table. I don’t exactly hate that either, as it is menial work which gives a person time to think great thoughts, and the one day per week nature of packaging is about the appropriate healthy level for doing that sort of thing.

God has no problem with that.  God can use that, even when I’m ashamed of myself for my shabby show.  God is ‘in it’.  Like ‘with me’ – Immanuel.  God doesn’t desire to put me in a situation where I don’t feel much respect for my business self, but he doesn’t say “I’m out of here” or reinforce my negative self condemnation, he sends his angels to carry me.  Sometimes the taxi dispatcher sends Jesus.

Glory to God, in the highest!

And peace, on earth.

Good will…



btw, the bag-lady worldly possessions ensemble got delivered to my faithful Cornwall customer (and perhaps himself a double agent school teacher / part-time angel) who was over-the-moon for how it worked out in his favour and was ready for me to deliver like this all-the-time.  That would be putting the Lord, Thy God to a foolish test (in my eyes, anyways).  This one’s a one-off, kind of cool-in-the-end experience that started with me wallowing in misery.  And praise God, for His ways are right.  But Via Rail delivery? Not happening…..more than once.

Secret Sabbaths in Aargau TSB04

In Ted’s Sunday blog 02, I started exploring my ancestors on the Dettweiler (Dätwyler) side, based on documentation that I photographed of geneological records kept by the Swiss Reformed Church in Schoeftland starting in the year 1624 and my memories and photos of exploring Witwill and Staffelbach, Aargau (where the Dätwylers lived until the early 18th century).

Today, in preparing this Ted’s Sunday Blog on what a Sunday would have been like for Melchior & Maria, or for son, Samuel, I browsed pages in the Mennonite encyclopedia, read in French in the online Swiss Historical Encyclopedia and found other articles on the Ausbund (one of the earliest hymnals used by Anabaptists in Switzerland and in America).  Did Mennonites have a Bible?  Probably.  By the time of Melchior & Maria, the Luther (German) Bible had been available for over 100 years.  But let’s leave all that aside and contemplate what meeting in secret does to your faith.

Why did Swiss Anabaptists need to meet in secret?

The Swiss movement of the Anabaptists (a name their persecutors gave to them) began in 1525 in Zurich.  At the beginning of the movement, there were many of the Anabaptist leaders who were imprisoned or executed by drowning or asked to recant their beliefs under duress.  The last execution of an Anabaptist leader in Switzerland took place in 1571 in the canton of Bern, when Hans Haslibacher was beheaded.  In September of that year, Haslibacher’s son, though being of the Swiss Reformed faith, was fined heavily just for harbouring his father, a preacher who had been active in the faith since 1532.

Our family is fortunate to have been living in one of the last known areas in Switzerland where Mennonites were actively proselytizing.  A large number of Anabaptists left Switzerland in mass emigrations in 1711.  That probably included Samuel and Maria and their 12 year old son.

Anabaptists, because of the continued persecution that made it illegal to listen to Anabaptist teaching, met in secret in the wooded hills or in caves.  I saw one cave with a rock overhang at only a short distance from Wittwil.  I could imagine that such a cave could be used quite well for worship and teaching, allowing shelter from the rain and an acoustic environment for the singing and speaking.  Surely meeting in secret was never something done out of habit or duty.  The hymns that were likely sung were written by earlier Anabaptists during their times of imprisonment.  No doubt this would lead these secret followers to count the cost of their discipleship.  The bonds of fellowship with others would of necessity be tight as each one who gathered would be liable to arrest if their membership in this group was made known to authorities.  Personally, I have always appreciated church buildings that are bright with natural lighting.  This may be inherited from my spiritual ancestors who met in broad daylight in forests and caves.

In my era, many of my generation who grew up in churches that were active in spreading the good news of Jesus have now toned down the way they share their faith with others.  I want to continue to strongly identify with evangelicals even when we are accused of being simplistic in the beliefs we espouse.  Is Jesus really the answer for everyone?  Somewhere in our family history in Switzerland, another risked their life to spread what they believed to my family.  What a ride that put them on.

Leaving Switzerland before that country was formerly organized as a confederation, we arrived in America before that country had its formative revolution against the British.  Then in 1810, while Canada was still a British colony, soon to be at war (War of 1812), Rudolph Dettweiler moves with other settlers from Pennsylvania to German Company Tract land in Waterloo Township bringing his not-quite 3 year-old son, Rudolph.  All of this movement was largely for religious freedoms, including freedom of conscience with regards to war.

Now let’s go back to Europe where this faith was formed:  If Melchior & Maria were exposed to Anabaptist teaching in 1668 when their son, Samuel, was born they must have kept it secret by continuing to frequent the Swiss Reformed church where their marriage and the birth of their children, and their own births were recorded by the priest.  Perhaps living at a distance from the Reformed Church meant they could do that without being noticed, or it is possible that the conversion to the Anabaptist faith did not happen until their son’s generation.  Samuel married a Maria Dudli some time before 1699 when their son, Melchior, was born.  It is this Melchior who travels with others to America, landing according to ship records in Philadelphia in 1736.  Since we don’t have a birth record for Maria Dudli (a possible sign that her parents identified with the Anabaptists) she may well be the link to the Anabaptist teaching that lead our family to identify with Mennonites, ultimately to leave Switzerland because of religious persecution (probably to Alsace) and then to become fully identified with Mennonites when their son emigrates to Pennsylvania.

That is a capsule history of my Dettweiler roots, as contemplated on a Sunday afternoon.




le repas du saucissier

C’est pas tout-le-temps mais des fois il m’arrive d’avoir un vrai repas du saucissier.  Au jourd’hui j’ai fait steamé 4 saucisses (fumées et avec l’ail) et une saucisse style campagne, sans boyau qui provient d’un compétiteur lointain, Winkler Meats, en Manitoba.

I thought that this competitor’s sausage, since they add preservative (sodium nitrate) and anti-oxidants (sodium erythorbate and ascorbic acid), would be sort of cured meat-like (hammy) and would go well with the sauerkraut and potatoes that I had available.  imageI cooked them all up in the same pan (see photo) and when the steaming had gone 5 or 8 minutes I laid the sauerkraut and already cooked potatoes on top to steam warm (et mijoter un peu avec les saucisses).

Whenever I cook up the sausage with sauerkraut and potatoes like this I feel very tête-carée Alemagnic.  It’s a meal my dad would enjoy, and well, I am my father’s son.

Je ne médisses pas mon compétiteur – I didn’t not like Winkler Meats sausage – mais je sais que ces petits défauts sont comptes à ces préservatifs – qui ajoute bien de couleur mais qui endurci la viande.  Je me demande si ils utilisent né que les épaules en formulant leurs saucisses, parce que l’endurcissement de la viande c’est remarquable mangé en comparison avec mes saucisses vierge (sans préservatifs).  It’s possible that the pork used in their formulation includes hocks and lesser cuts and also, Winkler is known as a source for older sow pork, which has more colour and is sought out by meat processors interested in having this colour enhance the look of their products.  The contrast in colour alone is quite great, as you can we’ll see by the image of my frying pan.

That’s about as far as I’ll go in today’s blog, as I really only wanted to share the joy of my lunch and to celebrate the mere fact that I enjoy a lunch like this.