---Ask Gammi
Hello Everyone,
My family and friends come to me constantly looking for solutions to their everyday problems. I give them good solid doses of common sense advice that some may or may not like. There is a lot of whining and crying going on over things that can be fixed so easily.
One hundred years I have been on this earth and I feel I have pretty much heard it all. So if you think you can handle what I may have to say I'd love to hear from you. Be warned that some answers will not be easy to swallow. It may feel like taking medicine, it may taste bad at first but you'll be better off in the end.

Send your questions to Gary at Capreolonline and I'm sure I will get them. I'm going to put on a nice pot of tea and sit in my comfortable chair and enjoy the view from my window as I wait to hear from you.

Love Gammi,'s column. Good advice. We could use her words of wisdom here in Mich. GVC velcrodoge@sbcglobal.net

February 10,2013

Dear Gammi,

Since they put those new post office boxes in we have been having difficulty getting our mail. We used to have a box at a good level for us but now it is right on the floor. I don’t understand this as our neighbours aren’t even close to where our box is. It is getting more difficult for us as we get older to get our mail as both of us have problems getting down that far.

This really bothers me as those boxes are just too low for most people and may I add too small. I understand we are the only post office in this whole area that had to lose our post office box number and switch our street address as well. We have requested a box that is higher up but that won’t happen any time soon I’m sure. Do you know of any one else having problems and what can we do about this?


Dear Maude,

I can tell you right away that a lot of people in Capreol were very upset about this being done to us. I have heard people complain about the boxes that are at floor level many times as well as the size of the box.

I have heard that if you give them your key they will go and get your mail for you. I don’t know how that will work over time though. It must be hard on the workers to put the mail in those low boxes too.

All you can do is to continue to request a higher up box and try to be patient. I wish you luck with this. The people in our community were not pleased about this change at all. We all went through missing mail because we had to change from box number to our street address all of a sudden after years and years of it working fine the way it was. It seems that Capreol gets hit all the time with stupid ideas and you’re right, we were the only post office in the whole district of Sudbury to have this done to them. Good luck I hope they give you a box you can easily reach.


November 6, 2012

Dear Gammi,

The other day while waiting for the lights to change at Notre Dame and LaSalle Blades in Sudbury I happened to look out my window down at the pavement. I was surprised to see that someone had emptied their ash tray of all kind of cigarette butts right there at this stop.

It is beyond me why people do this and don’t empty their cars of trash like this in their own garbage at home. No wonder people have told me that they find our area a very dirty place to live. Fact of the matter is they are right.

I hate to think what their homes are like if this is how they clean their cars. I’m interested on your thoughts on this matter Gammi. Were people always this messy in your day or was it different?


Dear Ruth,

I know what you mean. The other day my nephew drove me into Sudbury for an appointment. We came back through Garson as the road there is much smoother now. The people in the truck ahead of us must have been eating pizza because every so often the car window would open and they would fling the pizza crust onto the roadway. I too am really shocked that people are so inconsiderate in this way.

The first road way out of Capreol in my day was a one way path past many of the farms that were in the Valley. It was an all day excursion to get in to Sudbury. It took even longer if it had rained and the dirt road was muddy.

People were more courteous back then and would pull to the side to let each other pass. I don’t ever recall that road having any litter along it. We brought a lunch with us on our trips to Sudbury but we always had a bag for our garbage and brought it home and threw it out in the appropriate manner. It would be so nice if today people would do the same thing.

Thank goodness the good folks of Capreol do a road side cleanup on the way in to town. I really don’t know what the world is going to be like if this littering continues to happen. A shame really, that is my feelings on this. No wonder this area has such a bad reputation of uncleanliness compared to other areas in Ontario.


September 16, 2012

Dear Gammi,

The other day I made a purchase of a small electrical appliance that I have wanted for some time now. Imagine my shock and surprise when I went to pay for it and the cashier asked if I wanted to buy five dollars worth of insurance on it. Of course I flatly refused.

What is going on? I just said to her is it that poorly made that I have to pay for insurance on something so simple? Have you ever heard of anyone having this happen to them? Later I checked to see where it was made and it was made in China. Hard to complain to the manufacturer when they are from there isn’t it.


Dear Cecile,

I know, isn’t that terrible. As a matter of fact a friend of mine had that happen in the Valley when she went to purchase a slow cooker. She refused to pay just as you did. I have also heard that when you return a sub-standard item some businesses tell you to mail it back to the manufacturer. I think the manufacturers make you jump through $40 worth of hoops to get your $30 back. I hate to say it but nothing is made well anymore it seems.

I hope you didn’t pay too much for this because a lot of people I know just throw out things that stop working. That’s a huge waste of our money and in these difficult times when everything is going up it is a struggle for most of us.

Good luck I hope nothing goes wrong for you.


July 15, 2012

Dear Gammi,
Where are the blueberries that used to be so abundant in our area? Have you heard anything about this problem or is it just me? I have gone to three of my favourite picking spots this year only to find nothing there. Even the numbers of blueberry bushes are not what they once were. I’m wondering if you have talked to anyone who can explain their decline. I have heard stories but wonder if they are true.


Dear Maggie,
Oh my goodness I have heard this complaint from friends and family in our area so often now. My nephew was telling me on his last visit to see me that there are van loads of people coming up from down south to pick our wild blueberries now. A friend who lives in the Falconbridge area told me she came across a group of them picking over in that area. They have been known to even set up camp in a good berry picking area so they can pick early and clean it out.

The real problem about this is they strip the patches clean by using small hand rakes made of bamboo. They don’t pick like we do so that we have blueberries in that area the following year. They rake the whole plant leaves and all. It takes years and years for those blueberries to come back once this practice is used. My friend confronted them about this practice and some laughed at her and others completely ignored her.

There doesn’t seem to be any legal way of keeping them out of our local blueberry patches either. It is a real shame isn’t it. I remember the days when I just had to walk down the street from my home here in Capreol and I could pick a basket full in no time. I suppose there are still berries close by but not nearly like there use to be.

I’m sure these southern pickers don’t care if they deplete our crop. They will just move on to another area. Bob did tell me that they can sell their blueberries in the Toronto area for an exorbitant price per basket. Like so many things today it is all about money not preservation.

I wish you luck discovering berries in a spot that they haven’t destroyed and that can be preserved for local pickers for years to come. Too bad we couldn’t hire a few bears or wolves to put the run to these folks. Maybe a good scare would keep them in the city.

Good luck,


June 3, 2012

Dear Gammi,

I just had to write to tell you that I am really enjoying hearing the church bells ringing throughout Capreol each week day. It just does my heart good to hear them. It gives our town character and a distinctive atmosphere and brings us together. I love this idea and want to thank those who ring them for all to enjoy.


Dear Grace,

I couldn’t agree with you more. The first time I heard them I stopped what I was doing and enjoyed listening to them. When I was a young girl growing up in a small northern community the church bells were a big part of my day. It is just so nostalgic for me to hear them again after all these years.

I remember up listening to the trains come in to our station and they have always been a big part of who I am as well. Now the bells have returned and have brought with them wonderful thoughts. Memories of my childhood seem to be back again. I too would like to thank the bell ringer.


April 2. 2012
Dear Gammi,

We had company last week and I couldn’t wait for the visit to end. They had their six year old son with them and he just went after Tabby our beloved cat and pestered him without mercy. The parents just sat there and watched. Finally I had to get up and put Tabby in another room, close the door and tell the child that room was off limits. I know that you have a cat too. Did I do the right thing or should I have chastised the child when I could see the parents didn’t care?


Dear Andrea,

You did the right thing by removing the cat. To lecture the child may not be such a good idea when the parents don’t seem to get it. Maybe an explanation to the child to leave the cat alone or it could bite or claw them might be in order though.

This doesn’t sound to me like a situation where the child was showing affection in a rough manner. If it was then you could show the child how to pet the cat gently and affectionately. What a situation to find one’s self in. I’m sure others with pets have had similar things happen from time to time as well. Don’t feel bad about having to move on this as it is our job to protect our beloved pets from other animals and humans.


February 5, 2012
Dear Gammi,

Now we have those new smart meters on our homes I am a bit concerned as to when they are supposed to turn them on? Have you heard anything about this?

My brother in southern Ontario down near London had his turned on without proper clear notice and his first hydro bill was very high. In fact the bill was hundreds of dollars higher than normal. When his wife phoned they just told her that her meter was now in operation and had been for some time. I would hate to have that happen to us here.

I know you do talk and know a lot of people in town Gammi. Have you heard in your conversations with others about when our meters are going to be in operation?


Dear Ralph,

Oddly enough I have heard something about this. I can’t confirm it but I guess a phone call to hydro could get to the bottom of this. My friend’s son-in-law went to pay his hydro bill here at the library and he was told that they were turned on for Capreol on January first.

If this is true and people weren’t told we had better all get busy using the cheap hours or we will have a bigger bill. I hope that helps and maybe we should all be inquiring and paying a bit more attention to this. No one needs any surprises when the bills do come in. Everything is getting so expensive.


Dear Gammi,

My daughter’s first marriage ended up in divorce. She has now met someone new and they are getting serious and talking about getting married during the Christmas season or maybe New Year’s Eve. She is also hinting that we should pay for this second wedding. My husband and I don’t think we should because we paid a lot of money for the first marriage. I am wondering what you think of our situation.


Dear Beth,

I think that you are right. You shouldn’t have to put your money out on this second marriage at all. I think it is up to her and her partner to pay for the wedding themselves. If the cost is something they can’t really afford they should plan a celebration they can afford. Many people didn’t have big weddings in my day.

People had what they could afford and didn’t expect the parents to pay. Often the bride wore a nice suit with a complimentary hat and a small bouquet and they were happy as could be.

Usually a small meal after the ceremony was shared with close friends and immediate family. It was wonderful and stress free celebration and was affordable as well.

Maybe you can talk your daughter into being sensible about her second marriage as well. What could be lovelier than getting married with a lovely Christmas tree in the background and surrounded by close friends and family? Good luck with that.


October 17, 2011

Dear Gammi,

I hear the political pundants still discussing the low voter turnout for Ontario and it was bad again in our area. Well perhaps part of the reason could be what happened to us is happening to a lot more people and no one is saying anything about it.

This year I discovered a few days before the election that we hadn’t received our voter’s card in the mail. My husband thought I put it somewhere and I thought he did ‘til we figured it out. This is the first time in over thirty years that we felt like we weren’t a part of the process.

In the end we didn’t vote for the first time in over forty years. We already knew how the vote was going to go in Nickel Belt anyhow. The same as it always does. I might add that is so unlike either one of us. I think we could have voted by presenting ID but in the end the exercise seemed futile anyhow. I wonder how many others felt the same way as we did.


Dear Anne,

Well I know of one other couple who didn’t receive their voting card this time round as well, another couple got two each. When they inquired they were told that there were a lot of mistakes made in our riding this time. You were just one of them. Of course the person who told them that said she wasn’t supposed to say anything about this to them or anyone.

The Elections Ontario office for our riding was moved to Chelmsford for this election. Maybe there were a lot of new people at the helm this time. I think maybe there were fewer mistakes when they came door-to-door to put you on the voter’s list and posted it so you could see if you were really on the list. It would be another headache if someone decides to remove people who didn’t vote from the future list completely. Let’s not go there.


August 13, 2011

Dear Gammi,

I just had to write you back to tell you how happy I am to see that the powers-that-be have actually paved the Radar Road. It is such a smooth relaxing ride down it now. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is super pleased about this improvement.

I’m sure it had nothing to do with me complaining but at this point I am just relieved to be able to use that road again to get into New Sudbury without worrying about damaging my car.

Now let’s cross our fingers and our eyes, wish on a star and do whatever we can in the hopes that the road into town will the next one they will repair properly. No more filling in the holes, pave it. I moved to Capreol over thirty years ago and they had just finished paving the road that we now have. It is time to do this again, isn’t it?

Happy Beth

Dear Happy Beth,

I heard about that the first day they started to pave it. People in town were so pleased that they could use that road again. You’re right, let’s keep hoping that the city will do the same to the road leading into town. Unfortunately our entire road through our home community is a truck route now.

What I have heard is that the trucking companies do give the city money to repair the roads they damage with those heavy trucks. If this road gets back to better condition who knows, it may even help to put the selling prices of our homes where they should be and comparable to the Valley. The road in the condition it is in now is not a great selling feature for us.


June 12, 2011

Dear Gammi,

Recently we had to put two thousand dollars of repairs on our relatively new car. The front end bushings and the struts were finished. I know this was caused by our lousy roads. The Radar Road at this end is just a constant bang, bang of ruts as you drive it. I see people drive in the center of it to save their cars when there is no oncoming traffic.

Now, to my chagrin, the road to Capreol is getting every bit as bad. It would be so nice not to live on a truck route that is destroying our roads like this well before their time. Any suggestions as to what we the people should do?


Dear Beth,

I have to agree with you, I am starting to notice the road into Capreol getting worse every time my son takes me for a drive or to an appointment. I do believe that road was newly paved over thirty years ago now. I heard the pot repair patrol have worked on it recently. Still that doesn’t stop the damage from the cuts they have made to supposedly repair the road. It is like driving on the ties of a railway line rather than pavement. This is so hard over time on our expensive vehicles. No compensation for those costs!

I guess as long as we are quiet and don’t complain loudly nothing will be done about it. I would suggest that we voice our complaints loud and clear to the powers that be consistently. After all we pay taxes too.

I’m an old timer and I remember when the road out of town was a dirt road. There was no Radar Road and we had to take a farm road through the valley. A trip to Sudbury then was an all day affair. You had to pack a lunch. It was terrible if you had to drive that road after a good rainfall. It was muddy and the chances of you getting stuck along the way were pretty good.

However, that was a long time ago. To think that in this day and age we are still experiencing a bad road out of town when other parts of our area are getting new pavement and have better roads doesn’t seem fair to me. It seems like a step backward.


March 19, 2011

Dear Gammi,

Last week when my husband and I went to a restaurant that we enjoy and frequent often we were saddened to see some changes. The owners now have trained their waitress’s to take money for your bill at your table and make change as well as handle your food.

I don’t think this is a healthy thing to do. There are more bacteria and germs on the money that we handle than anything else. I don’t understand how the Department of Health can allow this practice to go on in restaurants. It is just wrong in my opinion. I’ve talked to a lot of my friends and after thinking about it they feel the same as I do.

I have stopped going to a few other places to eat in Sudbury because they allow their servers to handle the money as well as food.

I would be interested to know how you feel about this going on Gammi.


Dear Beverly,

I think you have a good point. In my day there was always one person manning the till and handling the money and the money only. We took our bill to them on our way out. No big deal. I don’t understand what the businesses are trying to accomplish by allowing this practice either.

The waitress’s have enough to do and my guess is the food is not going to get to you hot off the grill anymore. They will too busy making change.

Recently I watched a documentary about where most of the germs are in a restaurant setting. You’re right; money was on the top of that list, then the menu and the condiments that are brought to the table like ketchup and salt and pepper shakers. No wonder flu in season has a easy time going from person to person.

We don’t have to develop a phobia about this but just use our heads. I’m with you Bev I like it a whole lot better when the person who handles my food doesn’t handle the money.

Now you have me wondering what the Department of Health has to say about this practice if anything. I think you should call them and put the question to them. Let us know how you make out. Good luck.


February 19, 2011
Dear Gammi,

Right now in Sudbury there is a lot of talk about the pro's and con's of longer
store openings. I was wondering what your thoughts on the matter are. You have seen
an awful lot in your lifetime and can see the whole picture.


Dear Roberta,

You're right, I've seen many changes over the years. There was a time when retail
workers enjoyed their Sunday's off with their families. I grew up in a community
where at twelve o'clock noon the shop keepers locked up and everyone headed home for
lunch and re-opened at one o'clock. The business's locked their doors at six
o'clock and everyone was able to spend the evenings with their families.

Today it seems to me that the open hours are more than adequate. My goodness the
major stores are open until nine every night but Saturday and Sunday. That is more
than enough shopping time even for shift workers. Graveyard and afternoon shifts
can shop in the daytime and day shift can shop after supper.

For example, if you are going to open stores for 24 hours, it is only fair that
everything else should remain open with those hours as well. How about our Post
Office, how about Civic Square working those hours, government offices and many
more? How reasonable does that sound? It doesn't, so why push these unrealistic
hours onto the retail stores only. Has common sense died?

It just seems today family values are being forgotten in favor of chasing money and
I doubt stores will make any more doing it. People won't buy more because the
stores are open longer, just the stores' expenses will go up so the prices will have
to cover it.

We always used to say "If it isn't broken, don't fix it."


January 15, 2011

Dear Gammi,

I don't know if anyone else has noticed this but lately things at our most popular
coffee shop aren't going too well for me. The other day I went in and got a cup of
coffee that tasted more like liquorice than coffee. I couldn't drink it. Thank
goodness they gave me a fresh one. I'm not one who enjoys having to complain to get
what I should have in the first place. I'm sure it was the bottom of an old pot
that hit my paper cup.

There's another thing I have noticed even if you take the time to go into the coffee
shop your chances of getting a paper cup are pretty good lately. What's up with
that? Isn't drinking coffee out of a mug more environmentally friendly?

Today coming home I went through the drive through and when I had gone down the road
a fair distance I noticed that my coffee left a lot to be desired. I thing some of
the people who serve it aren't coffee drinkers and they don't stir it well enough.
Today it was not stirred and lukewarm. I used to enjoy their coffee but not so much
anymore. Has anyone said anything like this to you lately?


Dear Bill,

As a matter of fact I have heard about getting coffee in paper cups in the coffee
shop. I believe the only thing that can be put in a recycle bin from that is the
lid. I don't think they accept the paper cups. Lord knows why not. I hope I'm wrong
about that.

My guess is sometimes they empty the old pots a lot in the drive-through. They know
you will be home or far enough away that you won't likely bring it back. It is like
most things today, it's the luck of the draw.

Anyhow, everyone in business is cutting corners. I have heard that the price of
coffee is going to go up quite a bit so brace for another increase in cost. Probably
the owners want to cut down waste in spite of the old promise of a new pot every
fifteen minutes. We don't hear that advertised anymore do we?

In my day there was no such thing as meeting your friends by dropping into a coffee
shop. We met with our neighbours and friends for coffee or tea in our homes and had
great visits and lots of laughs. If we thought that we needed coffee when away from
home we brought a thermos of it with us. Now that just shows you how out of the loop
I am when it comes to coffee shops. I just don't get it.


October 24, 2010

Dear Gammi,

While walking one afternoon last week my hubby and I happened to spot someone ahead
of us walking their dog on the roadway. I couldn't understand why until we took a
good look at the sidewalk we were walking on. There were pieces of broken glass all
over the place. I wouldn't walk any pet of mine on that sidewalk either. I don't
know who is doing this but even as we crossed over to the adjoining sidewalk the
broken glass continued. What if a child was running and tripped and landed on some
of the larger pieces?

Gammi is there anyone responsible for cleaning up these awful messes?


Dear Sandy,

A friend of mine told me about seeing the glass the other day as she walked to
church. I wish whoever is doing this would stop it, as you say someone is going to
get hurt.

When we were the Town of Capreol and on our own our town work crew used to get out
there and clean up things like this. I don't know how much luck one would have
phoning to Sudbury about it.

I suppose that is who you would have to complain to. If those who live along this
street know the glass is there in front of their homes and wouldn't mind taking a
broom and cleaning it up, that would be a great help. However, we pay enough taxes
here that we shouldn't have to be doing this on our own. Good luck with this problem.


September 27, 2010

Dear Gammi,

I wonder if any of your readers have ever said anything about how badly the road to
our town is falling apart. I was driving home the other night and I could hardly
tell which side of the road belonged to me. It was especially evident on that awful
curve by the railway tracks. The paint alongside the road and in the middle is so
badly faded you can?t even see it. This problem is hardly the worst thing, it also
becomes rougher every spring.

However, meeting those awful big trucks on that curve makes me cringe. I just want
to get home safely, not become a dare devil driver dodging trucks on curves.

Any ideas how we could get some action on making repairs and getting the lines


Dear Tom,

I am so old that I can remember taking that road into Sudbury when it was a dirt
farm road. There was hardly any room for passing and you could get stuck in mud and
puddles after a good rain. A trip into Sudbury back then took us half the day one

However, now I have heard complaints from drivers about the invisibility of the road
markings on it. Most of the complaints however are about the sad shape it is
quickly falling into. I believe the last time it was freshly paved was well over
thirty years ago. I haven?t met one person who is happy about the big mining trucks
that are constantly on our road or others in this area either.

I did hear a complaint on an early morning talk show about our road. The given
solution was to put our road on the list of the worst roads and maybe we would get
some action. I don?t think so. We pay more in taxes than we ever have and we need
our road to be safe just like anywhere else in this area.

I can only offer that we should start voicing our discontent to our politicians.
It?s been my experience that the one?s who make the most noise get results.

Good Luck with this.


September 4, 2010

Dear Gammi,

Every year I like to go out in our area and pick my own blueberries. It is
something I have done since childhood. In the past few years I have run into many
berry pickers in my favourite patches. These people are using hand rakes on the
plants. They strip the bushes clean. After talking to them they let me know they
didn't care if they were destroying the wild crops. They were brought in by people
from down south and all they wanted was the money and fast. Do you know if there
are any laws that could stop this practice from happening in our area?


Dear Dave,

Oh that is terrible. I have heard others talk about this happening. In fact a friend
of mine was up in the New Liskard area and was talking to a woman who was selling
her berries and she said it is happening in her area as well.

I don?t know of any laws that protect our wild blueberries so we who love them had
better start writing letters to our local governments and others. This could be a
hard practice to get rid of but we should voice our discontent for sure. If we do
nothing soon we won?t have our lovely berries. If the crop isn?t completely
destroyed by this practice it will take years and years before it becomes a good
crop again. How sad.


June 23

Dear Gammi,

I just discovered through a mutual friend that someone in my life that I feel close
to and confide in has been talking about some of the things I asked her to keep
confidential with other people. I am very hurt by this and I don’t know if I should
say something to her about it or let it go.


Dear Anne,
You know it is always hurtful to discover that your trust has been betrayed by
someone close to you. Even though it is difficult, Anne I would just let it go and
in the future don’t share things with her that you don’t want repeated.

I don’t know if you remember or know who Eleanor Roosevelt was but she was a wise
woman back in my day. She had a saying that pretty much sums different people up
and gives you a clue what to watch for when dealing with others. It went “Great
minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people”.

I hope you will be able to put things into perspective and just move on. Life is
too short to get stuck in a hurtful spot. I for one wonder how fast my life has
gotten me to this stage. Good luck.


May 16, 2010

Dear Gammi,

I love my Grandson dearly but ever since his parents gave him one of those new
phones that do everything but make his breakfast I feel as though I have lost him.
When he comes to visit and we sit down at the table to have one of our
heart-to-heart conversations I am constantly put on hold should that phone beep and
a text message come in.

I can’t tell you how annoying this is to me. Have you any advice for me as to how I
should handle this situation?


Dear Gert,

Boy that is certainly annoying and there is nothing worse than feeling as though you
are less important than a phone. You are not the only person who has this
complaint. It seems that manners are seriously lacking in this age of the phone.

You could ask him to turn it off while you talk and if that isn’t an option when the
phone goes off just get up and get busy doing something else. See how he likes
being left in the lurch especially if you were in the midst of offering him
something he wanted.

I talked to one Grandmother who was complaining about never being able to reach her
granddaughter for their weekly phone calls. She decided that if she couldn’t reach
her maybe she needed a new phone that had text messages as well. It worked for her.
No matter where her granddaughter is she can always reach her with a text message.

I guess that is giving into the old saying if you can’t beat them join them. Maybe
you need to get a phone and text your grandson from across the table.

Good luck with this problem.


Dear Gammi,

My friend told me that I could have her antique dinning room table and chairs that I
have admired for years. She had her eye on a brand new set that she wanted. I was
so happy and offered to pay but she said a definite no and was glad that they would
have a good home. Well I hired a truck and got it safely moved and settled into my
home. She was with me and just as she was leaving she told me not to sell the set
at any time because she may want it back. I was dumbfounded.

Gammi, what should I do now? Should I give them back to her? I hate to have to pay
for another moving truck but I don’t feel like they belong in my home.


Dear Sally,

Oh my goodness. Talk about insincerity! Well first of all I would be upset as you
are. I think you may have to give them back. Talk to her and make it clear that
you just don’t feel right about accepting them after all. Tell her you would keep
them only if she lets you buy them outright from her. It may cost you a delivery
truck to return them but you are never going to feel right about having them in your
home under these circumstances are you.

I have always found it safer not to sell anything to or buy anything from friends.
Maybe this is a good example why that seems to work well for me. Good luck with this
unusual problem.


January 10, 2009

Dear Gammi,

Well it happened again this Christmas. I have a friend who always buys me the
silliest gifts that are so cheap and that I have absolutely no use for. This year I
got an Obama bust that was a Chia Pet. I was wondering what you thought about me
re-gifting some of these things that are of no use to me. Would this be


Dear Gisele,

I have a friend who was having the same problem as you. Finally he did decide to
re-gift. He didn’t give these useless items to a different person but back to the
one who had given them to him. When his friend made a comment about whether or not
this was what he gave him the reply was, “I loved mine so much that I thought you
would like one too.”

His line of reasoning for doing this is that sooner or later his friend will get him
something nice with the thought in mind that it will be returned back to him through
re-gifting. However, I doubt that he will return a great gift so in short this
hopefully should be a lesson learned for his cheap friend.

Have a great New Year.


Dcember 12, 2009

Dear Gammi,

I often entertain over the Christmas season. I was wondering if it is impolite to
request that my guests not bring a gift and instead donate to one of their favourite
charities. I’m just not sure if this would be a case of bad manners or not.


Dear Beth,

You know when I was young we never had to worry about anything like this. When we
got together with friends and neighbours we just brought ourselves and our best
wishes. Sometime we would bring a dish or baking to contribute to the occasion. Then
afterwards a nice thank you note would be appropriate.

I’m thinking that maybe you should perhaps say nothing. If some of your guests bring
a hostess gift just put it aside to be opened later so that those who just bring
themselves won’t feel they have done something wrong. Just make sure you thank them
appropriately for their thoughtfulness then and if you like follow up with a thank
you note.

To my mind if you ask people to make a donation instead of bringing a gift you are
giving the impression that you expect something, in a way asking them to pay for the
evening. It is after all their money. They may already be supporting a favourite
charity during the Christmas season anyway.

It was so simple in my day and wouldn’t it be nice to return there once again. I
hope this helps or at least gives you something to think about.


October 29, 2009

Dear Gammi,

I have heard so many complaints from people in town about cars, trucks and
ATV’s damaging the grass and our track at the park. I wonder if you have any
thoughts on what could be done to prevent this from happening?

Dear Rose,

Yes we can hear them late at night in the summer on the grass over there. I
asked some of my fellow neighbours and friends for ideas. They came up with one
idea that I think might help to keep cars off there. We think they should put
some more of those beautiful large rocks around where they vehicles are getting
onto the field to stop them. We know that the city truck needs to be able to
get to the field house but they could put them in such a way that the truck
could still get there without having everyone else get onto the field. We hope
this idea helps to save our park. I’m sure others have some good ideas too.


September 13, 2009

Dear Gammi,

My husband came home from the grocery store rather miffed the other day. He wants
to know why one particular young cashier won’t pack his cloth bag for him yet it is
done for the customer before him and the customer after him. This was the third time
this happened to him. I’m wondering myself. How should he handle this problem?
Trivial as it seems he is becoming less of a willing partner to go run to the store
these for me when I am cooking and need something in a hurry.



December 1, 2008

Dear Gammi,

I have friends who are having problems with snow already. The year is just
beginning and they don’t know what to do. Their neighbours have a guy who
plows their driveway for them. He takes their snow and leaves it on the road
right at the beginning of their lot line. When the snow plow comes down the
street it picks up the snow and deposits it onto their property. Lots of
mornings the end of their driveway is plugged solid with more snow than it
should have. I have seen my girlfriend in tears of frustration over this. It
makes it difficult for her to get out of her driveway some days especially when
she has appointments to get to.

Concerned for a Friend

Dear Concerned,

Well you know it seems to me that common courtesy for one’s neighbours is fast
disappearing in our world of today. My grandson just happened to be here when
I received your letter. He got on the phone and called the Sudbury Regional
By-Law department. They were very helpful.

There is a By-Law prohibiting leaving one’s snow on the street. Also snow
removed from one property is required to stay pushed up on the property it came
from. These people are also not allowed to push the snow across the street
either unless they are the owners of the property across the street. You
cannot put it anywhere else but on the property it came from. So what this
person is doing is not allowed and the city By-Law is on their side.

The By-Law department even offered to contact the offender for them if they
wanted them to. So your friends do have rights to protect them in this case
and can get the help they need by making a simple phone call. I hope that
will make them happier this winter.

Maybe living in these senior apartments has more perks to it than I realized.
I no longer have the headache of snow removal to concern me.


October 26, 2009

Dear Gammi,

My husband and I are newlyweds. We saved our money and forfeited having a large
expensive wedding on our special day. We took the money and bought all new
furniture and appliances for our new home. My problem is we bought ourselves the
very latest out there in washing machines and dryers. You know the ones that are
front loaders and come in a selection of colours. We bought the most expensive ones
on the market.

The problem is now I notice that the washing machine has an awful odour to it. This
mouldy smell hits me every time I open the door to do another load of washing. My
question is, do you think we would be able to return this machine? We did buy extra
warranty on it but we don’t know what to do about this. Gammi have you ever had to
return any large purchases that you were not satisfied with? What can we do about
this problem?


Dear Sara.

Well back in my day of purchasing washing machines we never had this kind of a
problem at all. Things were well build and they lasted so long that you sometimes
wished they would break down so you could get something new. If you haven’t left
one of your husband’s sweaty sports socks in the machine wet I think I can solve
your problem. One of my grandsons works in the appliance repair business and I
think I have a solution for your problem Sara.

John told me that this is a common problem with those front loading washing
machines. He said the seal on the door is so tight that the interior of the washing
machine never completely dries out. They use less water so the machine never really
gets to wash out the mould from your laundry. You need to leave that door open
between washes so that you don’t have this problem, especially if you are only doing
a few washes a week.

He also told me that there is a product out there on the market that will clean up
the machine. All you need to do is run an empty load through with hot water and
this product and your problem will be solved. I don’t know the name of this product
but I bet a phone call to your dealer will clear that up. Back in my day the few
appliances that I had didn’t sound as complicated as this on does. What you saw was
what you got. Good luck and all the best in your new life together.


September 21, 2008

Dear Gammi,

Recently I was in a store trying to pick up a few items when I had an annoying thing
happen. I was going down the main aisle when a young teenager stepped out in front
of me. Then he stayed there to chat with someone he knew. I waited as long as I
could stand to then I asked if he would excuse me as well as the number of people
with their shopping carts that had piled up behind me. His mother was nearby and
took offense to my loud “excuse me” I suppose. If looks could kill I would be dead.
That wasn’t the end of it she made some nasty remarks to her teenage son about me
as I finally got by them. I kept my mouth shut and went on my way but Gammi should
I have said something or was I right to walk away?


Dear Upset,

You did the right thing by moving on your way. There is a real lack of common courtesy in the world today. You are best to take care of your own sanity and if this happens again just get out of that aisle if you can. Who needs the stress caused by someone without any manners in their lives? Obviously the Mother of this teenager doesn’t have any manners either. Did you know that they have started in pre-kindergarten to teach the wee ones please and thank you as they play? I heard that manners are to be continued to be taught throughout the elementary school
system as a subject. I guess others have noticed that a lot of parents lack manners too.


August 16, 2008

Dear Gammi,

I have a problem and I’m really not sure how to handle this one, maybe you can help
me. I attended a dear friend’s wedding a few weeks ago out of town. I bought her a
beautiful china platter that I knew she wanted. Well today when I checked my mail
imagine my surprise when it came back to me. Her mother-in-law packaged it up and
returned it to me and asked me to exchange it. The problem is it was returned to me
broken. Now what am I supposed to do? It was fine when she opened it at her
wedding. She is away on her honeymoon now so I can’t phone and talk to her about
this and I’m sure she didn’t receive two of these platters. What should I do Gammi?

Upset and Baffled

Dear Upset and Baffled,

Well dear I would be baffled too. Especially if all was well at the gift opening.
Not only that, you didn’t see two of them. Well I would think you should wrap it up
and return it with a note saying it arrived broken and that you will contact the
bride when she gets home. I am a bit suspicious that the mother-in-law may have
broken it. Hmmm…as far as I know you can’t exchange broken merchandise anywhere.
I don’t think you are obligated to do anything about this as you had nothing to do with it breaking. Maybe you will put the mother-in-law on the hot seat right where she may belong. Good luck.


July 19 2008

Dear Gammi,

I want to start switching to more earth friendly products now. I was thinking the
other day that I remembered my grandmother making a lot of her own cleaners. Would
you happen to know something about that topic? I wish now that I had paid a lot
more attention to what she was doing.


Dear Beth,

Heavens yes! I too use a lot of things from my kitchen cupboard to clean my house.
There are too many to mention but here’s a good one that I remember making. It’s a
recipe for homemade window cleaner.
Mix ¼ cup of white vinegar and ¼ cup of ammonia into a bucket half filled with warm
water. Fill several spray bottles or plant misters and you’ll have an excellent
cleaner for windows. If you want to give it that professional look just add a drop
of blue food colouring or a few drops of lemon extract to each container and shake
well. That should give you a good supply. This should save you money and help the
environment. Good luck.


June 2, 2008

Dear Gammi,

Every year once the black flies arrive followed by mosquitoes I am confined to the
indoors again. Unfortunately I am very allergic to the mosquito repellents that are
on the market. I have to cover up and wear those mosquito nets over my face if I
want to go out into my yard. Have you any suggestions of anything I can do to make
my problem easier? I am desperate Gammi.


Dear Maureen,

Oh, that must be a miserable problem to have. I have heard that Skin So Soft that
is sold by Avon works great for some people. Also I have recently heard that
Listerine is another way to get rid of those pests. Don’t put it on you but spray
around where you are sitting outside or around your deck or around your windows or
doors. In fact spray it around anything where you are when you are outdoors.

I’m going to get myself a spray bottle and fill it up and try it out myself. Last
year while I was sitting out one evening I got some bites around my eyes from those
tiny pests and I had shiners that closed both my eyes and lasted for days. Makes
one wonder how something so small can cause so much damage. Good luck with this.
Let me know if this works for you.


May 10, 2008

Dear Gammi,

I was wondering if you give me some idea of what I could give my Mom this year for
Mother’s Day. She is in her seventies now and tells me she doesn’t need anything.
There must be something that she I can give her that would make her happy.

Dear Fred,

You know flowers are nice and so are the cards and other gifts but once a parent
gets older what they really want is you. Just take her out more often during the
rest of the year and spend time talking to her and I mean really talking to her and
be a good listener as well. She probably has a lot of things she wants to share
with you now about her life.

I know when it comes to my kids that is what I value the most. The fact that they
call me every Sunday for a chat is something I look forward to. They can’t always
get here to see me as they are in their mid 70’s now and they don’t like to drive
the distance. She’s your Mom and even though she is older now she is still your


March 31, 2008

Dear Gammi,

I'm curious as to the origin of April Fool's day. In all your years have you ever
heard of an explanation of why April 1st is celebrated as such?


Dear Curious,

Well yes I am old but I'm not ancient yet. I hope to be someday if I play my cards
right. Well now that that is out of the way I have heard one story that seems to
make sense. However, I haven't researched it and I don't think I will

In the 1500's, see I didn't hear about this by word of mouth, April 1st use to be
New Year's Day. Then someone decided to change that to January 1st. It is said
that there were people who did not take kindly to this change and continued to
celebrate New Year's Day as April 1st. Gradually acceptance was inevitable and
others began to refer to the April 1st diehards as Fools. Those who accepted this
change started to play jokes on those who staunchly believe in leaving April as the
beginning of the year. Thus April 1st became April fool's day. I hope that helps.


February 23, 2008

Dear Gammi,

I have watched people get testy about where they put their shoveled snow for years now especially once it starts to accumulate. We all look around for somewhere to put it. I have noticed that people suddenly become unconcerned about others they normally treat with respect. There's one thing I see going on around town that really raises my ire more than anything. That is when I witness people getting their driveways plowed and the fellow operating the truck takes the snow and pushes it across the road onto the growing snow bank in front of the neighbour's house across the street. Gammi, do you know if this is legal?

A concerned snow shoveler.

Dear Concerned,

To me that is a terrible thing to do to one's neighbours. Why should the fellow on the other side of the street have to contend with his own snow plus the snow from the people that live across the street. Good grief that would be aggravating. I would think if that wasn't an illegal act that it should be, if nothing else it's inconsiderate. One way to find out is to call city's help number 311 and see if they can give you that information. Lucky me I don't have to be bothered with snow removal anymore. I'm more concerned with other things now like am I going to get up in the morning. Good Luck.


February 2, 2008

Dear Gammi

I'm wondering what your thoughts are in regards to the many people who use the
designated handicap parking spaces and don't have a parking permit to use those
spots. I find it so annoying when I see someone parked in them when they shouldn't
be. Have you any ideas how this problem could be prevented and brought under


Dear Frustrated,

Oh my, a topic dear to my heart. I don't go out very often but when I do those who
take me out usually have a permit. Many times we have been unable to park in one of
those spots because they are occupied by as you say people who shouldn't be using
them. To tell the truth I don't have a very high opinion of those who abuse this
service. It is there for those who need it not for the general public.

I'm too old to do this or I would offer my services because it really raises my ire.
If I were in charge I would put a phone number that could be called to report the
drivers' licenses of cars that who are illegally parked in those spots. I would put
it on the signs and then again inside the business that are providing the service.

A phone call to someone could clarify whether the person should be parked there or
not by making a quick check on his or her license would handle that quick enough.

It is a simple solution to a big problem in this area. If they are not supposed to
be parked there issue a fine with the time and location the where offense took
place. I'm sure those who abuse this will think twice and would soon take care of
the problem.

It is real shame on our modern society that such measures really need to be taken
and we are living in a time where some people don't care abut being helpful to
others in need.