Up in smoke, perhaps?

I LOOKED AT MY good friend Bruce Bowie for some counsel.

“It’s $44.95,” I said nervously. “Do you think Mrs. Tait would go for that?” Bruce gave me that look he has given me countless times over our four-decade friendship. He didn’t have to say a word. I knew the answer was no.

vintage-smoking-pipe-tobacco-classic-7077c“It might be a tough sell,”  Bruce said with a frown telling me, very quietly, I was once again crazy.

Let me set the scene for you: Bruce and I had some extra time the other day at West Edmonton Mall. At my suggestion we went into Two Guys With Pipes looking for  … well, a pipe.

MY FIRST RECOLLECTION of a pipe comes from my dad when I was a young boy. I loved the smell of Dad’s pipe whenever he fired it up. And, he liked the encouragement: Dad said he started smoking a pipe because, he convincingly said, a pipe was better for him than cigarettes. Made sense to me. I also think it’s important to carry on such distinguished family traditions. So I wanted to buy a pipe — but, you have to understand, not to smoke it. Goodness, no. I mean, since I have cerebral palsy and not the best hand co-ordination, stuffing a pipe with tobacco could be an all-day event. Messy, too. And can you imagine me trying to light it? It’s a fire hazard.

...Glen Sather

…Glen Sather

I JUST WANTED TO have it in my mouth, and chew on it a bit. Look at New York Ranger GM Glen Sather. We always see him with a cigar, right? Do we ever see it lit? Uh, nope. Same thing with my friend Curtis Stock over there at the Edmonton Journal. He has a cigar, too — but never lights it. So I thought when I write a pipe might be a nice, you know .. accessory?

BRUCE ALSO HAS FOND memories of a pipe from the late Jerry Forbes who eloquently smoked a pipe — because, that’s the only way to puff on a pipe. So we went into the shop armed with enthusiasm. The nice young man behind the counter politely opened the glass door and carefully

...Jerry Forbes

…Jerry Forbes

handed me the pipe I wanted. We looked at it and then turned the small price tag over. “It’s $44.95,”  I said in a quiet voice. I swallowed hard and saw my idea, frankly, go up in smoke. Mrs. Tait would not be happy, indeed. Oh well. Guess I’ll have money to but a good cigar. Right, honey?

(Cam Tait is the special projects advisor for  Challenge Insurance)


Tait’s 8 — Nov. 25: Honoring vets, Stuff-A-Bus, and remembering my first crush

Lendrum Eyecare is hosting a recognition and celebration day for veterans and first responders from until 8 p.m. Tuesday in support of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  If you’re a dog-lover, special canines will be in attendance, starting at 5 p.m. The idea came from Dr. Lesley Ford, owner of Lendrum EyeCare, who had a sister serving in Afghanistan for six and a half months.  “Supporting those who serve or served this country is so important in building a stronger community”, Dr. Ford said in a press release. “This is just a small way that we can give back and recognize those efforts”.  Lendrum Eyecare:  5822-111 St.

• And speaking of Ledrum … I still miss Jack’s Grill, which was in a Lendrum strip mall.

G-53 (5).plt *• This is Day No. 2 of Accessible Parking Awareness Week in Edmonton. So a question: where are you parking today?

• Went to the Doc Monday. Said I need to loose weight. He suggested an app for my iPhone to count my daily intake of calories. Perfect! And it doesn’t even talk back to me.

• Happy 20th anniversary to the Stuff A Bus campaign, who gathered some 348,000 kilograms of food and $357,000 for food banks in Edmonton, Strathcona County and Parkland County. So look for 15 40-foot long busses around town. Most needed items:  fruit juice for children, granola bars, fruit cups and bars, beans with and without pork, canned meat and fish, pasta and pasta sauce, peanut butter, canned fruit and vegetables, and infant formula. Look for buses at all Save on Food locations this Saturday

• Just a reminder: if you have any great news, or anything you would like to share in Tait’s Eight, email cam.tait@sunmedia.ca. Be glad to hear from you!

• If you’ve missed the piece written Sun sports columnist Terry Jones about Pat Quinn, the former Oiler coach and consummate gentleman, it’s well worth the read in Tuesday’s Edmonton Sun.

• I want to say happy birthday to Katherine Beech, out there in Squamish, B.C. I knew her as Cathy Frigon, my very first crush — in Grade 7, 1972. In fact, she gave me my first kiss, one Thursday afternoon, in the school library, at 1:14 p.m. Happy birthday, Cathy; I mean, Katherine.

Tait’s 8 — Nov. 24 – Goalies, Don Metz, dream homes and Mrs. Tait’s biscuits

Tea_biscuits02 (Large)•The Alberta Junior Hockey League connection with the Edmonton Oilers got stronger Monday morning with Dustin Schwartz being named goalie coach. Dustin was the goalie coach for the Spruce Grove Saints, the same club Oiler netminder Ben Scrivens. Dustin replaces Frederic Chabot.

• There will never be an obituary for Gordie Howe. Never. Because his kindness, sense of humour and incredible memory will be an example for us forever. With word of Mr. Howe’s declining health, some media outlets are preparing stories for his imminent death. And that’s fine. They won’t be obituaries. They will be tributes to a man who lived his life with incredible class and integrity, besides of being one of the best hockey players ever.

• Great news for Don Metz of Aquila Productions who left the University of Alberta Hospital with a clean bill of health. He’s at home, recovering, but knowing Don, he’ll be mapping out multiple projects at once.

• So, you know all those big dream homes you can win a lottery? You know the ones with 34 bedrooms, 18 bathrooms and eight garages? Well, not really. But they’re big. And tall. With lots of stairs. So here’s our question: what if you win one of these homes and you have a mobility impairment? Perhaps, more to the point: why aren’t dreams homes bungalows?

• Mrs. Tait made T-biscuits  Saturday afternoon. Funny thing — by Saturday night they were almost all gone.

• Just wondering. Bob Green had tremendous success with the expansion Edmonton Oil Kings and was the architect behind them winning a Memorial Cup. Given that success, should Green be part of the Edmonton Oiler brain thrust?

• And since we’re talking hockey … how many turnovers were there in a recent Oiler hockey game? Coming out of a commercial break Sportsnet Jim Hughson opened with: “Welcome back to the bakery?”

•Congratulations to EmployAbilities, who celebrated their 40th anniversary Friday at their Jasper Ave. offices. EmployAbilities has helped people with disabilities over the decades find employment in the Edmonton area. Well done!

Wednesday, Nov. 19 — Tait’s 8





Theoren_Fleury_Vipers•Retired NHLer Theoren Fluery is in Edmonton today promoting his new book Conversations with a Rattlesnake. Theo teams up with therapist Kim Bathel to create more awareness about sexual abuse of young people. Tough subject, absolutely. But we have to talk about it, absoutely.






• It’s a big day for Norquest College who is launching their Maximizing Opportunities – The NorQuest Campaign. Goal: $20 million. And a major announcement will be made about the naming of the college’s new academic building.

• The Eskimos are having a closed practice today. Closed, you understand — which makes us wonder if that means it’s haircut day for Bryan Hall.

• Sun photo editor Tom Braid is always doing something interesting. For the last couple of years he has carried a small to medium amount of empty bottles in the trunk of his car. When Tom’s covering a story he usually comes across a bottle picker a couple of times a month. “I will stop and give them to the guy,” says Tom, adding they are always thankful.

• Which do you think is more challenging for referees to control in minor hockey: a tied game in the last minute, or a 5-0 game in the final minute?

• Congratulations to Marjorie Bencz who celebrated a significant anniversary as executive director of Edmonton’s Food Bank Oct. 10. In fact, mayor Don proclaimed it Marjorie Bencz Day in Edmonton.

• Big game tonight with the Oilers and Canucks at Rexall. Vancouver Canuck coach Will Desjardines always carries a clipboard with him when he’s on the bench. Always. Which begs the question: are his favourite take-out restaurants on the clipboard so he can place a quick order for after the game?

• Be part of Tait’s 8!

Share any good news, thoughts, secret grape jelly recipes, milestones or anything great. Connect by email cam.tait@sunmedia.ca

Tuesday, Nov. 18 — Tait’s 8


•What’s the first sign the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton is getting fired up? Why, it’s the media gingerbread house competition and it was held Monday. A total of 29 teams cut, pasted and, best of all, tasted. The real winners are the people, 65,000 this year, who will get a Christmas meal who otherwise wouldn’t. And also tied for first place are Edmontonians who, once again, will make this happen.

•Good morning to you, Iris Evans. The former MLA and cabinet minister is the keynote speaker to the Alberta School Board Association’s meeting Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the Westin.

•It’s National Addictions Awareness Week. It could be a new beginning for someone you know, or, even — more exciting — for you. All the best to everyone part of this week.

•Bruce Bowie is perhaps known the most in the morning where he navigates the 630 CHED Morning News.  But tonight he’ll be front and centre — Bruce will be leading a Christian worship this evening at Hope Mission. He volunteers to speak one night a month at Hope Mission.

•It could be a bitter sweet Tuesday for Shawn Ewasiuk  over there at the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities. Sean is leaving his position as the council’s director for a new role with Alberta Energy.

•Way to go, Edmonton Little Aces! The group that shares the game of tennis with young kids has teamed up with Canadian Tire Jumpstart, the Edmonton Public School Board and  Kids in Motion to give a tennis program to more than  300 Grade 4 and 5 students. A total of eight schools from low income neighbourhoods have been will be taught tennis skills — and, there was a friendly competition Monday at the Kinsmen Sports Centre.

•The Edmonton Sun’s Annual Auction is on now until Friday with close to $1 million worth of merchandise. Sun advertisers put some of their products on the block so there will be some great deals. For more info visit edmontonsun.com

•And just wondering about the current Edmonton Oiler current situation: has the team learn how to hate — really hate — losing?

Nov. 17 – Tait’s 8: Eight things overheard in the Edmonton Eskimo dressing room after Sunday’s win

The Edmonton Eskimos beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 18-10 Sunday to advance to the CFL Western Final next Sunday in Calgary against the Stampeders.

Eight things overheard after the game in the Eskimo locker room …

“First guy to score a touchdown in Calgary gets to ride the horse around McMahon Stadium bareback.”

“We’re in the dressing room now, coach. Can we do the Gatorade bucket thing now?”

“ I heard the real Battle of Alberta of Alberta was in the Wild Rose Party.”

“Can Fleetwood Mac play in Calgary this Saturday night? It worked pretty well last week,”

“Anyone else want to try playing quarterback?”

“Sing it again, Bryan Hall!”

“Who needs to score touchdowns when you have a field goal kicker who hasn’t shaved in eight years?”

“Last guy off the bus in Calgary buys burgers at Peter’s Drive-In.”Peters'Drive-In

Tait’s 8 for Nov. 14

Eight things that might help you through this Friday …

•Sending good thoughts to the Salvation Army who kicked off their Christmas Kettle Campaign with the Hope in the City Breakfast on Friday at the Delta City Centre Hotel. This year’s $545,000 fundraising targe twill help almost 47,000 Edmonton with food hampers,  Christmas assistance, counselling, senior programs, and summer camps in 2015. 

•It’s a big night Friday  for  385 high school students at the Fantasyland Hotel. They who received a Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) or Career and Technology Studies (CTS) Scholarship this year from Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.  A total of 90 students from across Alberta also will receive their certificates. 

• Congratulations to the Lo-Se-Ca Foundation in raising $30,000 at their annual (sssshhh!) silent and live auction at the Italian Cultural Centre last week. Lo-Se-Ca does great work for people with disabilities from their St. Albert office. And, speaking of St. Albert, mayor Nolan Crouse was the MC for the evening as well as auctioneer. Way to go, Lo-See-Ca and Nolan!

•Really nice to see how the Edmonton Oilers honored military personnel at Thursday’s game against the Ottawa Senators. And for coach Dallas Eakins to address the team in the afternoon — on a game day — shows how valued soldiers are.

•Christmas lights up  yet? This weekend? Which brings us to a good discussion point: when should folks put up their Christmas lights?

•So very sorry to hear the passing of Scott Jackson after battling cancer. Scott worked camera for CBC and Aquila Productions in Edmonton. He was one of the best  and will be greatly missed. 

•Great to see retired Edmonton Oiler Jason Strudwick heading up a new hockey program at the Royal Glenora Club. Jason loves Edmonton, and keeps adding to the community.

•Most thoughtful tweet from Eric Alper: “Respect your elders because they studied without Google and Wikipedia.”

Have a good weekend, folks!