Carolina: Cruising Past 70: Joining an 'Unbearable' Reunion, Nova Scotia OLA

Monday, July 30, 2012

Joining an 'Unbearable' Reunion, Nova Scotia OLA

we found this giant chess set on Cabot Trail
the Damned Unbearables with wives and friends!
DUs, Damned Unbearables. Sam's brother gave this name to the group. After all, who could bear the fact that they were champion debaters, student leaders, football jocks, amateur actors, and scholars, etc.? And who would ever think that, after over fifty years, they are still together, going stronger, and getting bigger with the participation of their spouses ? They just had their sixth (1, England river cruise, 2, Grand Tetons/Yellowstone, 3, Tuscany, 4, Sunriver, Oregon, and 5, Crested Butte) reunion in beautiful Nova Scotia, this summer of 2012.

at the Immigration Pier in Halifax
It was nice of Jim and Carol Thiesing to fly in to Bangor, Maine so we could join them on the 7-hour road trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Actually, they arrived the afternoon of July 4, so we had a  fun time dining at Sea Dog and watching the 4th of July fireworks early.  At Halifax we met John and Roxanne who flew in from Oregon. Later Gretchen flew in sans husband Don who had to stay behind in Colorado for business.  United Air had misplaced her luggage but fortunately it arrived 36 hours later at her hotel room.

in honor of Queen Elizabeth's 60 year reign
We all met at the Immigration Pier, the Ellis Island of Canada. (John’s parents had migrated into Canada from Sweden). After lunch, Jim and Gretchen went to the Maritime Museum which chronicled the maritime industry of Nova Scotia and featured the plight of the Titanic victims.  An unidentified 150 of them are buried in Halifax, the biggest in any one country. The Museum also told of the tragic massive disaster when a ship exploded in the harbor, destroying the communities nearby, leaving 2,000 dead.

the two Carols with John at the Citadel
The splinter group of Bill and me, John and Roxanne, and Carol T went to the charming Halifax Public Gardens where the logo of Queen Elizabeth’s diamond jubilee was landscaped into a colorful corner. Next to the Gardens is the Citadel fort, sitting atop a hill with a panoramic view of the city. The fort was never attacked and the national historic site is well-preserved.  Costumed interpreters reenacted loud firing ceremonies and the exhibits told of Canada’s history.

what we witnessed at the Royal International Tattoo Festival
 But the highlight of our Halifax stay is the Royal International Tattoo Festival. Tattoo is the shortened nickname of the Scottish phrase meaning time for taps. Briefly it is the pageantry of powerful music from the tradition of marching bands. Several countries were represented, including the US, but the biggest participation came from Nova Scotia It is the largest Tattoo festival outside of Scotland in the world.

the view from the upper deck of the smaller house
The next day, we continued on to Antigonish where more of the DUs were gathering.  There were two cottages. The bigger one housed Doug and Audrey, Sam and Kathy, Don and Jeep, John and Roxanne, and Jim and Carol.  That was where we all cooked and had dinner together.  Fortunately the kitchen is huge and the dining table could fit the 15 of us. The smaller house is newer and is nearer the water (an inlet). That’s where we stayed together with Jack and Joy and Gretchen. Pretty good arrangements done by Jack but it would have been better if we could have all been in one house.
dining at the big house
our fine dining experience, with fine company@
We all had our chance to visit the town, buying our groceries, doing some business, or simply taking in the sights. Kudos to boss-cooks Roxanne (grilled salmon), Carol T (roast pork tenderloin), Jeep (chicken tandoori), and Audrey (transformation of left-overs) with the other ladies assisting: Gretchen, myself, Joy, and Kathy. One night we all went to the finest restaurant in town, Gaveos.  Bill and I split a seafood risotto and grand marnier chocolate soufflĂ©. Everyone had a great time, enjoying the food, the wine, and, most of all, the company.
Doug said the phrase means '5 Beautiful Women'!
the more beautiful group!
One day we all trekked to Cape Breton, first visiting the site where Marconi successfully transmitted the first wireless message between Nova Scotia and England (the Outer Banks site was destroyed by a storm and Marconi had to shift his demonstration to this site in Nova Scotia.) Then we all had lunch then  divided into two groups, one continuing on to the east to visit the Louisburg fortress while the others, including Bill and I, diverted to central Cape Breton for a visit to the Alexander Graham Bell museum.

Don and Jeep with Bill and me at the Bell Museum grounds
The Bell Museum sat atop a beautiful hill surrounded by a pretty lake. Bell was the proponent of teaching the deaf to speak, not to sign, so they could be mainstreamed into society better. My mother who was Principal of the School for the Deaf and Blind in the Philippines pioneered this method there, after her scholarship studies at the Central Institute for the Deaf in the US.

a beautiful scene at the Cabot TrailAdd caption
the neat restaurant, Le Gabriel, at Cheticamp on the Cabot Trail
Another day, a group that included us decided to cover part of the famed Cabot Trail on the southwestern part of the Cape Breton National Park all the way up to Cheticamp.  Too bad we didn’t have enough time to take in the whole trail. The other group went, I believe, to the town of Sherbrook where they witnessed costumed interpreters of bygone eras.

Joy and Carol with the Champ!
The week that was chosen for the reunion coincided with Nova Scotia’s Highland Games. It was my first time to watch these prowess building traditional Scottish games. We were able to watch the last three of the Canadian juniors championship’s 6 events: the hammer throw, the caber toss, and the vertical stone throw. Incredibly, the lone female contestant consistently bested some of the other male contestants.  The winner of the last event equaled the Canadian record of 17.6 feet for the vertical stone throw, a weight of 42 pounds for juniors. Joy and I had our photo taken with him!
Jim and Carol takes on Kathy and Sam
animated (heated?) discussions
The reunion was, as usual, so much fun. When we were not sight-seeing, or eating, you would find a group huddled playing bridge, another one at a game of squabble, still another at Rummikub, or just plain discussing, or just sitting with an iPhone or iPad or laptop at hand. It is still the same, they say, only with less ferocity and more warmth. Au revoir…till the next one in Dubrovnik, Croatia or ???. And Bill volunteered, or was named, to organize! I say, ok…we will be in Europe in 2014 anyway! Anyway we see still see each other soon Pittsburg, Kansas for our 50th HS reunion!
the scene going home to the smaller house


  1. looks like quite a gathering and lots of fun. amazing that they still enjoy getting together after all those years!

  2. This reunion sounds like an amazing opportunity! AS always, I enjoyed your pictures.

    1. It was a wonderful opportunity. Thanks for that hufe complliment!


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