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What you need to know about COVID-19: October 20, 2020
It certainly is a strange world out there now compared to a few months ago.
When I wander outside now, I notice things I didn't usually notice before COVID-19. Maybe it's the strange dreams I've been having or the changes in my routine.
One thing I noticed a while back during my morning walks around The Loop in New Waterford was that a crafty (and perhaps bored) person crafted some nice walking sticks and placed them in various places around town.
There's a note attached to each one that says "FREE" so the crafter hoped they'd be taken and enjoyed by walkers and hikers in the area.
The thing that stuck out most to me was the sticks looked strangely familiar; I had one at home that my father, Kevin MacEachern, made for me and it looked just like the ones that were appearing in various places around town.
But it couldn't be.
If my father had a secret COVID-walking-stick workshop in his basement, surely he would have mentioned something to me.
I uncovered the truth when a family friend sent me a picture of some sticks hanging in what looked like a basement. Actually, it looked like my father's basement. Turns out he did have a secret COVID-19 project that he had been keeping from me.
That my father makes walking sticks isn't something new. He's been making them for close friends and family for years.
"The idea to make a pile of them and leave them around for local walkers and hikers came to me one day when the boredom was getting to me,” explained my dad.
“I went for a drive and found some nice sticks to take home. It kept my mind occupied during those first few weeks when fishing season was closed due to COVID-19 and I was stuck around here wishing I was on a lake somewhere.”
These aren't just regular walking sticks slapped together in a few minutes. They're nice, sturdy walking sticks that are carefully varnished and painted before they hang to dry.
I've had mine since 2006. I keep it in the trunk of my car. I use it every time I go hiking and it never fails me. It also doubles as protection to help fend off wild animals or aggressive dogs. People still comment on my unique walking stick when I'm out on the trails. It still looks the same and is still as sturdy as it was 14 years ago.
Did you happen to find one of these walking sticks during your outdoor excursions? They were left in various places including Colliery Lands Park, Dominion Beach and around the New Waterford Walking Loop.
Some were even left in places as far away as Gabarus and Framboise. Maybe you saw one of these sticks around town or elsewhere around Cape Breton and were hesitant to take it or thought someone had left it there by accident.
If you did take one to use, I'd like to hear about your experience with it and I'm sure my father would love to hear some feedback too. He keeps asking me if I see anyone walking with his sticks when I'm out for my daily walks.
If you come across one of these walking sticks, go ahead and take it and use it on your walks around town or your hikes in the backcountry. Or better yet, take it, use it and return it to the same spot when you're done so someone else can use it on their morning walk.
COVID-19 certainly brought out the creative side in many of us. I know I got a lot done that I normally wouldn't get done in the last few months.
Do you have a new hobby or project you started in isolation that you'd like to share with the world?
As for my own COVID-19 projects? I still pick at that old guitar from time to time although I didn't get past the nursery rhyme stage but my Spanish-speaking skills might just be enough to get by in sunny Cuba or Mexico if this pandemic is over by next winter.
Andrea MacEachern was born and raised on the beautiful bay of Lingan. After a decade-long hiatus from the island, she returned to her roots and settled in downtown New Waterford where she enjoys blogging, writing, taking pictures, travelling, walking The Loop and spending much of her time outdoors exploring Cape Breton.