CBC Radio

A Different Kind of Story

I have recently discovered a radio documentary that first appeared as a podcast by the CBC (Canada’s national broadcaster). It’s called Someone Knows Something, and describes a revisiting by independent filmmaker David Ridgen of the disappearance of five-year-old Adrien McNaughton in 1972. The boy vanished on a June day while on a fishing trip with his family at a small lake in eastern Ontario. Forty-three years later, Ridgen contacts the family, examines the search procedures and interviews people who were associated with the family and/or the search.

Each half-hour episode concentrates on various aspects of the case: the family’s memories, the theories around the disappearance (drowning, animal attack, kidnapping), consultations with psychics, artistic renderings of what Adrien might look like as an adult, searching the scene with cadaver-detecting dogs, and re-diving the lake.

Unsolved cases of vanished children are compelling and heart-wrenching. Ridgen’s take on the case of Adrien McNaughton unfolds slowly and methodically, revisiting and lingering on the scene at Holmes Lake, discussing the details with those who had participated in the extensive search, probing their memories for clue fragments.

All eleven episodes of Someone Knows Something are available on the CBC website. A bonus is the theme music created for the series by Bob Wiseman, and performed by the composer with vocalist Mary Margaret O’Hara. It’s wistful, heartbreaking, and a little weird — perfect for the subject matter of the series.

Listening to (so far) seven of the eleven episodes, I have been thinking how a story like this could inspire others — writers, poets, artists — to create new works. All art is rooted in some sort of lived experience, transforming it into something unique that adds to the shared entirety.


You did not say goodbye,

No door closed behind you.

You did not look back and wave

Before the world took you away.

The eye of the lake gazes at the sky,

The trees point upward and sway

As the wind shakes their limbs.

Snow falls, snow melts.

The small birds return.

Does the earth keep you close now,

In a deep embrace?

Or do you walk the days somewhere,

Wearing your own face, and a different name?

We do not know.

We do not forget.

November 9, 2013

Apple Adventures, and Happy Birthday CBC!

In August I wrote a post about too many apples, Yellow Transparents at that time, and speculated that I might have a repeat performance in September, because my other apple tree was ripening a big crop as well. So it happened — buckets of apples, many of them a nice yellow colour with red cheeks. All through September I admired them from my kitchen window, until I finally persuaded myself to climb onto the garage roof and pick some.

I had no idea what variety of apple this was. The tree has been here longer than I have, likely planted by whoever built the house next door to mine, back in 1913. Subdivision happened at some point before my house was built in 1931, so now one of those trees, or an offspring, grows on my lot, rather too close to the back of the garage. The tree is rarely pruned and never sprayed, but this year conditions must have been especially amenable to apple production, because it produced abundantly.

Lots of Apples!

Coincidentally, our local CBC Radio station decided on an apple theme for its Oct. 1st open house celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Apple pie was available, there were people from the LifeCycles Fruit Tree Project there, and folks from the BC Fruit Testers Association, who could identify mystery backyard apple varieties. I turned up with a bag of the better specimens from my tree as an offering for LifeCycles. They were duly identified by the experts as an old variety called Maiden Blush.

It was fun to meet and see in person radio personalities familiar only as voices, and to mingle with fellow CBC listeners. And when I went home, I spent part of the afternoon baking a couple of apple pies.