Category Archives: Family & Friends


Holmes, Vera Gladys – January 21, 1932 – August 2, 2013

Holmes, Vera Gladys – January 21, 1932 – August 2, 2013
In the comfort of her own home and with family by her side, Vera left us to be with her maker and her beloved husband Jim after an unbelievable and courageous battle with a very ugly disease. She and her sweetheart Jim are together again for all eternity along with her parents Wendell and Clara, her brother Wendell, and in-laws Jack, Ethel, Mike, Bert and Phil and niece Rebecca.
Born in Dryden, ON, Vera was the fourth child in a family of six.  She leaves behind three sisters whom along with her, were affectionately known as “The Ugly Stepsisters”.  Elsie, Doreen (Steve) and Hazel (Bert) will miss her immensely as well as her “little brother” Herb (Lynne).  She will also be greatly missed by her sister-in-law Janet (Phil) and brother-in-law Ron (Mary).
Vera and Jim were married on February 14th, 1953 aboard the H.M.C.S. Magnificent in Halifax Harbour.  This is where she began her inspection of maternity wards across the provinces as she gave birth to her five children in five different hospitals.  They moved to Moscow in 1959 and there they put down roots.
She leaves behind 5 loving children that she raised to possess good values, creativity and generous hearts.  Sad beyond words to say goodbye to their precious mom are; Corrie (Brenda), Julie (Brad), Susan (Ron), Krista (Jim) and Quentin (Kelly). Their lives are forever changed but they will carry on with their love for each other and the legacy of an inherited wonderful sense of humour.
Those 5 children have given Vera 13 grandchildren; Joel, Robin, Jaime, Jordan, Kristin, Emily, Jacob, Randi, Sean, Adam, Harrison, Isaac and Peyton and 3 great grand children; Kylie, Melodie and Lukah, all whose lives have been enriched by the love of their Grandma Vera from near and far. Also saddened by this loss are Vera’s many nieces and nephews who too were blessed by her great sense of fun.
Vera was a skilled tailor and ‘crafty’ lady and all of us are left with many treasures fashioned by her own hand over the years to remember her by such as suits, coats, fleece jammies, silk pigs, grocery bags, maple leaf placemats, bottled ropes and so much more. Happily her many tall tales have been encapsulated in a book; ‘Grandma Vera’s Bedtime Stories’.
Vera was a very humble and gracious lady who loved her family and friends unconditionally and who worked tirelessly in support of Moscow United Church and her community. She was a member of the Women’s Institute and the United Church Women since 1960.  She is fondly remembered for her quick wit and silly escapades including costumes, props and poems which continued in spite of the battle she was fighting.
The family would like to thank the staff at Kingston General Hospital, Lennox & Addington Hospital in Napanee and the incredible homecare providers from CCAC, St. Elizabeth Health Care and Paramed, without whom we would not have been able to fulfill her wish to be at home.  A special thank-you to Carol, Janie, Karen, Donna and Suzanne. Our heartfelt gratitude also to the entire Moscow community for their endless caring and support.
Family will receive friends and neighbours at Moscow United church on Friday, August 9th from 2pm to 4pm and 7pm to 9pm.  A W.I. traditional service will be performed on Friday, August 9th at 6:30 pm prior to visitation. A funeral service and celebration of a life well lived will be held on Saturday, August 10th at 1pm. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to Moscow United Church or a charity of your choice would be greatly appreciated.  Arrangements can be made through Payne’s Funeral Home in Odessa, ON.

Birthdays and BBQ

May 24th, 2013 was a big day for the Emonds.  It was both our daughter Kristin’s 26th birthday and our granddaughter Melodie’s 2nd birthday.

Kristin – hard to believe she is 26.


Jordan and Alison (who just celebrated her 29th birthday on May 21st) had a birthday party for Melodie Saturday night.  Birthday buddy, Kristin, gave Melodie a yellow polka dot bikini which she modeled proudly with her handmade native slippers from grandma and grandpa.




Cousins and Auntie helping Melodie celebrate.  Oh yeah, and Dad too.


Blowing out the candles on Alison’s homemade birthday cupcakes.


I had BBQ’d some big beef back ribs and made a homemade plum BBQ sauce for the party a few days earlier on the backyard smoker.

The preparation with a dry rub for 24 hours.


The BBQ sauce ingredients.


The backyard smoker.


…and the resulting ribs


Overall, I was a little disappointed with the results.  I made a rookie mistake and went by time instead of temperature resulting in the ribs being too rare.  The sauce was excellent however.

Carry on folks, the muleskinner

James David Holmes

Julie’s father, James David Holmes, passed away last night in Napanee hospital.


Holmes, James David of Moscow Ontario

November 6, 1930 – May 4, 2013

Jim passed away in Lennox and Addington Hospital, Napanee, ON following a stubborn fight with an unbeatable infection. His quick mind, sensitive nature and wicked sense of humour live on. Jim left us reluctantly in the presence of his sweetheart, his wife of sixty years, Vera Holmes and his children. His body was done. His spirit, strong. The gifts of peace and serenity, received. “We cannot direct the wind, but we can trim our sails.”

Jim, together with Vera, raised a strong and talented family and the spirits of all those around them in Moscow, Ontario. They cultivated potatoes and the best friends and neighbours in the world.

Jim was born in Oungre, Saskatchewan. He moved to Ontario in 1941 and to Moscow with his parents in 1949. Jim became a radio operator when he joined the Royal Canadian Navy, September 1951 and during his 5 year service he attended Queen Elizabeth II coronation and was stationed for 13 months on Padloping Island in the Arctic. He married ‘Vee’ on Valentine’s Day, 1953 on board the HMCS Magnificent in Halifax Harbour. Jim and Vera, with their growing family, settled in Moscow in 1959. Hard work, loyalty and his good nature stood him well from his hire at the Terylene Plant (Milhaven Fibres) in 1950 to early retirement from the (now) Celanese Plant. Upon “retirement” in June, 1989 Jim was hired by Hawthorne Security as a guard for the plant, where he worked until August 1999. He embraced email blogging, keeping close to “kids” near and far, who looked forward each morning to his comments on the weather, the world or the potato plant count. He thrived on grandchildren, family gatherings ‘round the kitchen table, rummoli, cribbage, songs and laughter, the morning coffee club and Vera’s love and attention.

Jim was predeceased by his parents Janet (Jean) Emily Holmes (Casselman), Vera’s mother-in-law for 59 years, and Ferdinand David Rankin Holmes and his brother and sister in law, Leslie Jonathan “Jack” and Ethel Holmes (Dusang), brothers-in-law Phillip O’Grady, Wendell Oliver Holmes, Michael Gratz, Bert Mullen and great niece Rebecca Witherspoon.

Much loved and sorely missed by his siblings, Ronald (Mary) Holmes of Coquitlam BC and Janet Ferguson of Carleton Place, ON and siblings-in-law Elsie Clark, Doreen Gratz (Steve Dudzinski), Hazel Mullen and Herbert Holmes (Lynne).

Sad beyond words to have to say goodbye are his children Corrie (Brenda) Holmes, Julie (Brad) Emond, Susan (Ron) Tollett, Krista (Jim) Storey, Quentin (Kelly) Holmes.

Cherished Grandfather of Joel and Robin, Jaime, Jordan, Kristin and Emily, Jacob, Randi and Sean, Adam and Harrison, Isaac and Peyton,.

Great Grandfather of Kylie, Melodie and Lukah

Deeply missed by many, many nieces and nephews from coast to coast that dearly loved their Uncle Jim.

Funeral arrangements to follow.

Pulling a George Costanza

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 – Cobourg, ON

Marca on the Wharf – 165 Division Street | Unit 201, Cobourg, ON 905 377 9100

Another dinner out with family and friends!  We arranged to meet my brother Don and his wife Karen for dinner.  Don made reservations for us at Marca on the Wharf, a new Italian restaurant in Cobourg.  My sister Janet, her daughter Jenny, and her sister-in-law Brenda all joined us for a wonderful night out.  The food and wine was terrific and the atmosphere and service was top-notch and the company of family and friends was outstanding!

Blurry picture of the group but it’s the best we have.  I am the good looking one on the end at the left.


Some of the delicious food selections – all freshly prepared to order in the open kitchen.




A family picture of the Emond kids – minus brother Dan.  Again, I am the good looking one on the right.

The fabulous dessert.


…and the remains


At the end of the evening we all fumbled for our wallets until brother Don generously picked up the tab.  That was a real treat for all of us. 🙂


Lesson for today – Act like George Costanza from Seinfeld when the cheque comes and let your brother pick up the tab. 🙂

…take care all, the muleskinner

Just for the Halibut

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 – Cobourg, ON

Julie was given an LOA (Leave of Absence) from hospital duty for a few days.  We decided to visit family in the Cobourg, ON area.  We arrived on Tuesday afternoon at my sister Janet’s home.  Niece Jenny was nice enough to leave us a key for the house.  Janet didn’t know we were coming and was out on a shopping spree with her friends.

We visited for a while after they arrived home.  Later, we all decided to try the #3 Trip Advisor rated restaurant in Cobourg, ON – Stanley’s Fish & Grill.  Well actually, I made the decision because the day before Julie and I had a craving for fish and chips, after a long day at the hospital, but the Napanee fish & chip place was closed on Mondays.




Stanley’s didn’t disappoint!  The halibut was great.  The chips were fresh hand cut and the coleslaw was homemade, tangy and sweet.  And the featured Carlsberg draft was cold and satisfying.  The tarter sauce was a good compliment to the fish.



Jenny decided to try the chicken souvlaki with rice and salad.  She rated it a 7 out of 10.


Today’s lesson – don’t order the chicken at a fish place 🙂

…take care all, the muleskinner




Good times, good friends

Friday, April 26, 2013

Julie and I were invited to join our good friends, Helen and Karl, at their place for drinks and dinner on Friday night.  Julie and Helen attended lab school together from 1976 to 1979 at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, ON.  We’ve remained friends all these years even though we didn’t see them for long periods of time.  It was a really nice break for Julie after many long hours caring for her ailing parents in the hospital.

Karl made us all a Caesar to savour while we enjoyed a few rays of spring sunshine.


Helen and Karl and their new pup, an Australian cattle dog – a red heeler.


They have a beautiful place near Harrowsmith, ON.  Helen and Karl raise many animals for food and enjoyment on their acreage. Karl is a retired horticulturist and has an amazing garden each year.






The 2 college buddies.


After a great steak BBQ we all visited with some wine in their family room around a nice warm wood stove.  Ah, the good life!  A great night with good friends.

…take care, the muleskinner

For my amigos

This one is for my amigos, Frank, Duncan, Kelly, and Nathan.  It represents a typical day in Bucerias, Mexico during our 2 week trip earlier this year. 🙂


…the muleskinner


Who Loves Sushi?

Jim and Vera had a lot of visitors today.  Susan (Julie’s sister) was in early, as is her usual routine.  Mark and Randi (Julie’s niece), and Kristin followed in the morning.  Julie, Emily, and her brother Quentin were next.  Jaime and I went in later on in the afternoon.  It’s OK if you didn’t quite follow all of that.  I was there, and I couldn’t keep up.

Susan left for home while Mark, Randi, and our 3 girls went out for an early supper after visiting Grandma and Grandpa.   Once they returned, Julie, Quentin, and I went for some sushi, sashimi, and maki to the Trip Advisor #3 rated restaurant in downtown Kingston – SIMA Sushi.

SIMA Sushi, 66 Princess Street, Kingston, ON, 1 (613).542.8040





Quentin is a well known sushi lover in the family.  That love of sushi has carried over to his soon to be 5 year old son.  Isaac, when asked by his mom what he wanted for his birthday supper on Saturday, replied sushi! 🙂

Sushi-boy, Quentin, ready to enjoy.


The food and service was great.  It was a good break from the hospital visiting and a bit of a rejuvenation for us.

….take care all, the muleskinner

Quick update from Fort Nelson

Sorry for not posting yesterday.  Unfortunately, we lost our internet connection in Muncho Lake, BC after receiving some tragic news regarding Julie’s father, James David Holmes.

Jim is terminally ill with an incurable/inoperable perforated bowel in ICU at Kingston General Hospital with only a few days to a week left with us.  Jim is being kept comfortable but the infection will take over his systems.  All of Julie’s family are doing what they can to be with Jim and we appreciate all that they have done in caring for both Jim and Vera.

We are trying to get back to Grande Prairie tonight and get Julie on a flight to Ontario as soon as possible to see her dad.

We will update the blog with our last few days of travel when we have a chance.

…julie & brad


Gourmet Dinner March 16, 2013

Our gourmet dinner club got together Saturday evening at Frank and Lola’s house.  They hosted a Mexican themed dinner with mango margaritas, Mexican beer, and other fine drinks.  The meat  was a baked chicken dish.  For appetizers, Nathan and Karen provided a taco “pie” and guacamole. Dave and Grace supplied sweet rolls and a mixed salad and dressing.  Julie and I prepared Mexican rice and grilled vegetables. Nathan and Karen’s dessert was a decadent chocolate brownie with coconut ice cream and spicy peaches.  Everything was excellent.  A fun time was had by all with our good friends, as usual.