blog photo 78 French RiverWHAT IT IS

Samantha, like many others, spent a week or more combing over Beaver County looking for Cricket and Sapphire. A phone call from search and rescue in Ontario, Canada would divert her from Pennsylvania to the Chapleau Game Preserve where a woman living in the area was reported missing.

Will had opened the barn door and was admiring the Beaver aircraft when Samantha drove up with the fuel hose she’d been waiting for. It was a simple task, five minutes at best, but when she went to connect the hose there was already a new one in place.

Samantha looked sternly at Will, four years ago it was the oil separator, then an elevated jack screw, and last year a housing bearing…all mysteriously fixed by a farm mechanic who insisted he knew nothing about airplanes.

Samantha had no time and no inclination to grill her father, so she simply let Will hook up the tractor to the plane and tow it to the runway. Within thirty minutes Samantha was airborne, heading for the Canadian wilderness.


Miles Hobbson sat in the comfortable leather chair, his eyes fixed but not focused on a small white envelope in the middle of his large walnut desk. It would be his first official letter opening since becoming the mayor of Beaver Falls.

He picked up the envelope, shuffled it back and forth in his hand, listening to the single page inside slide from one end of the envelope to the other. The contents of the letter were brief. Drake Johnstone, Beaver Falls counsellor was resigning his seat immediately and taking up residence on the mighty Temagami River in Northern Ontario, Canada.




blog photo 55 Canola Field.JPGWHAT IT IS

Davey Doucet was a young man, barely twenty-one years old, but from the time he was ten he had known he wanted to grow up to be a private investigator, or as uncle Ned would say …a gumshoe. Ned, a patrolman in Beaver County Pennsylvania, invited his nephew down from Davey’s home in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia to help his uncle work a suspicious house fire case. Ned was actually humoring the boy, but he liked Davey and rather enjoyed the young fellow’s company.

Cinder Willoughby was admiring the long, bright yellow canola fields when he spotted Ned and Davey walking along the side of the rural road. He recognized Ned right away and pulled over his pick-up truck to see what was going on. Ned told Willoughby of young Davey’s investigative aspirations,  and how Davey seemed determined to find the cause of the fire. Willoughby offered the two the diary he had found at the scene of the fire, although it contained little information.  However, it was evident that at some point the diary had been immersed in seawater. He also suggested that there might be a connection between those who lived in the house and Brier Island…a place not far from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Willoughby explained that the plants found in the garden of the burned house may have originated on Brier Island.

This could be Davey Doucet’s first official investigation.  Coming from a town not far from Brier Island made Davey especially enthusiastic to take on this investigation, although who was going to pay for his efforts remained unclear.



Will Offley was up at first light.  Under his skillful hand the tractor, with a grader blade attached, scraped the gravel runway to a smooth surface.  His daughter, Samantha Gallant, was flying her Beaver aircraft to the farm to be stored in one of the barns, and she was staying to help with the canola harvest.

Samantha arrived right on schedule.  Will and Beatrice recognized the sweet high pitch sound of her approach and were anxiously waiting on the runway when the plane touched down. Will grabbed Samantha’s gear.  Walking ahead of them all the way to the house,  he gave the two women space to reenact their mother and daughter customs and familiarities.

After supper, when Samantha and Beatrice were doing the dishes, Will approached Samantha about something that had been upsetting him. Several weeks ago a young man from Nova Scotia had driven onto the property and had asked a lot of questions about Samantha, about when she was a child and about a house fire up the county near Ellwood City. The young man had given his name as Davey Doucet.  Samantha stated flatly that she did not recognize the name.








blog photo 25 Tamagami.JPGWHAT IT IS

This is why I call my sister the Queen of the Coincidence. Sapphire thought her eyes were playing tricks on  her, but it was indeed the Governor of Pennsylvania pacing back and forth on the dock along the shores of Lake Temagami. He was talking it up to local pilot, Samantha Gallant about getting the Beaver aircraft aloft and start looking for members of his fishing party that were lost somewhere in the bush.

Samantha was trying to impress on the Governor the need for an experienced spotter when Sapphire rushed to the dock, pulled out her high-powered binoculars and volunteered to help out. The Governor said they were looking for two US senators and the mayor of Beaver Falls.

The deHavilland Beaver, considered the backbone of the Canadian Forest Industry and perhaps the safest small aircraft ever made, stalled out at a couple hundred feet. Sapphire took this photo as the plane attempted a forced landing on Lake Temagami.



I told Cricket that six weeks of therapy was no where enough sessions to fix his fear of heights, but my brother insisted he could handle it. At exactly 9 am Cricket started his accent of the Temagami Fire Tower.

It was a painful two hours watching what others would accomplish in fifteen minutes, but finally he made it to the top. Once there, his acrophobia kicked into high gear and there was no getting him back down.

Emergency Services had two real emergencies to deal with, so it was eight hours before they arrived on scene and escorted Cricket painstakingly down to solid earth. He did manage to take this photo before the long descent began.