Nature has the power to soothe the soul. We need more of it!
Nature has the power to soothe the soul. We need more of it!
This building has a story
Of ups and downs and love gone wrong
Of broken dreams and silly pranks
A childhood fondly lived.
But broken windows and sagging doors
Don’t hide another truth,
Illicit deeds and crimes concocted
Guns and knives and bloody wounds
Death has lingered here.
But now the future has a stake
Windows broken can be repaired
The doors and walls and ceilings too
And then the fun begins,
The floors and windows once again
Will hear the children laugh.
Pouring rains and winter storms
Are not welcome here.
Come inside and sit a spell
Our tale is still being written
This building’s taking notes.
The simplest things can have the biggest impact.
This is something a little different. It is an excerpt of something I wrote for my father’s 75th Birthday. I hope you enjoy it.
This book is dedicated to my father. He was a man who guided us and tolerated us, a man who was our dad, our mentor and our friend. A man who is not so bad for an old guy!
Lectures my father gave and don’t tell your mother!
My father always has been and always will be a man of honour, integrity and stature. He is also human. He is a dad and subject to all the idiosyncrasies of that idyllic state. In simplest terms, he ain’t perfect. Of course growing up I just assumed he was perfect. Aren’t all fathers? We used to tease my father about his lectures. You know all the usual ones that fathers give their children – drive from point A to point B, no ‘parking’, look both ways before you date. As his children we would roll our eyes and say “Lecture 37” or “Lecture 210”. And we would all laugh. But we didn’t disobey. Or, at least not openly. Oops, I don’t think my father knew that bit. Father laid down the law in our family. Of course, laws were meant to be broken, or at least bent a little. I read that somewhere.
My father may be a distinguished looking man but appearances can be deceiving. Take the yearly trial of showing a beautiful but willful dog how to use the dog door. My father had installed a ‘dog door’ in the screen door off the kitchen to make it easier for Samantha (a brindle boxer) to come in and out at her leisure. In theory, as in practice, it was a wonderful idea. Of course, it was not used in the wintertime. So every spring Samantha was once again offered the opportunity to use her door. Here comes the good part. I don’t know if she really did have a fear about using the door for the first time or she just enjoyed the specter of my very distinguished father on his hands and knees crawling through that door, several times. I must admit my mother and I always made sure we were nearby. I wonder why I never took a picture?
Children with curious minds ask questions. My parents never tried to dissuade or put off our questions and they always tried to tell the truth. The truth can sometimes be a bit bewildering to a ten year old. Like the time I asked my father why the sky was blue. He told me. Really. Scientifically. Reflection and refraction. I nodded my head and tried to look wise. I was ten years old! I wasn’t mature enough to know what wise was! Fifteen years later I understood what he meant when I took a lighting course at university that explained light reflection and refraction.
Then there is the time I came home to find my father painting the two story stair well in their house using a short ladder, a rope and a very old, very shaky side table. Of course he was tied to the second story banister if anything went wrong! When I pointed out that he would have a fit if I attempted such acrobatics he smiled his tolerant smile and said that he was the father and that made it different. I was also vehemently instructed not to tell my mother!
Or the time he fell off a ladder in the back yard. I wasn’t a witness, the neighbours were. Mom was out of town and I called to check up on my father. I knew something was wrong. When I inquired, he laughed. He did say it was a bit of a problem getting out of the middle of a bush. He was sore and a little bruised, but I was not allowed to tell my mother! Aaaaahhhhh!
My father is a man of the nineties. The eighteen nineties!
He just recently learned how to actually open the dishwasher. He knew where it was, he just wasn’t too sure what exactly it did. He really is becoming quite capable. He can vacuum and do the laundry. He can also cook bacon and eggs, and beans (from a can. Good on toast?). Dad retired and donned jeans (only in the backyard of course). We are still working on the t-shirt, but he is perhaps still a little young for that. My sister is trying to wean him from the white socks and brown shoes. A child’s work is never done.
Driving with my father is interesting. Actually it is an experience. My father is a very good driver, he’s been at it for more than a few decades. Well, we all learned early on that it is a better world when one is a passenger in my Dad’s car, not the driver. There was a time when my dear sweet father requested that I drive home from their boat. My parents and I had just spent a wonder weekend at the marina. Great weather, good food, good company. Unfortunately perhaps it had been too good. Dad wasn’t feeling well and he asked if I would mind driving home. He did look a little peaked. At first I said no, but I did relent with one proviso, he would lie down in the back of the car and not raise his head above the bottom of the back windows. I figured this way he would not be the proverbial back seat driver. After all, it was only an hour drive. Boy, did I ever underestimate the power of a father’s abilities. It started out okay. Before we had driven a few miles my father started. “What lane are you in?” “How fast are you going?” “Are you checking your rear view mirror?”. Ah Dad. I eventually told him that either he was quiet or I would pull off the road and he could drive, sick or not. It was at that point I heard my dear sweet father chuckling. The rat! He was needling me on purpose! He is just too smart for my own good.
These are just a few of the wonderful memories I have of a man who helped to make me who I am today. I think he did a good job!
James Edmund Marius Read
August 24, 1925 – January 3, 2007
Bridges have the ability to bring two sides together.
There are tales of little doors
And of creatures from the moors.
Fairies, leprechauns and trolls
In their hands their tiny bowls.
In dark of night when they do stir
You’ll never see more than a blur.
What’s for dinner? I don’t know.
They are hungry if they show.
Tiny heads and tiny feet
Laugh not if by chance you meet.
Stand so still and let them be.
Never fear what you can’t see.
Open wide that little door
Magic lives and it wants more.
Freedom such a pretty word
Deep within the heart it stirred.
Gently treat the magic folk
They may in you pure joy evoke.
Live together and at peace
And on life a brand new lease.
Don’t just go through the motions, let the motions take you somewhere interesting.
A second in time
Never before seen
But special the colour
In blue, red and green.
So very dear
And then it is gone
But the memory remains
With each breath that is drawn.
A vision in colour
It plays in your mind
Your life becomes sweeter
The memory entwined.
Believe in yourself
Be the best you can be
And those moments of rainbows
You always will see.
Life is full of wonder if you have the courage to look.
“It’s raining! Everything is wet and miserable. I can’t enjoy a day that is so dull!”
“It’s raining! Everything is wet and wonderful. I can’t help enjoying a day that is so vibrant!”
Ask any police officer at the scene of any crime. Each witness will have a different version. And to each one of them it is the absolute truth. Why? That’s easy: perception.
There are over 7 billion people on this planet and trust me, that means 7 billion opinions. But in all honesty the only opinion that actually matters is mine. Or, yours for you. Are you confused yet?
As I’m writing this, the day is slightly overcast and actually quite dull. I love days like this. The pace is a little slower, I don’t have to worry about the sun being too hot or getting a sunburn. These are bonus days for me! I even like a decent rain. To watch the water droplets caress the windows as they slowly meander downwards. It’s like diamonds on a crown. You just can’t cash them in!
How we perceive what is right in front of us is predicated on several things. Our vision of course is paramount but also the shades we wear over our eyes and I’m not talking about the ones you buy. They say that people see what they want to see or that they wear rose-coloured glasses. All this means is that we interpret what we see, differently. Someone who has lived far too long in drought conditions will love the sound and sight of a gentle rain. Someone who comes from a rainy country will not.
All our experiences will have an impact on how we perceive things. I hate some shades of pink so anything that has that shade on it is automatically going to go into my ‘not liking’ category. It may not be logical or even fair but that’s part of my makeup. We all have our idiosyncrasies, our likes and dislikes. And all of those play into how we understand things. I can honestly say it’s a bias that we all have.
People usually judge other people in the first few seconds of meeting them. It‘s almost unconsciously done. But the trick is being able to modify that opinion once more data is forthcoming. If I see someone shouting angrily at another, I’m going to immediately form the opinion that they’re not a nice person. I know nothing of the circumstances or the people involved. It may not be anger, it may be frustration. The point is, I don’t know. I formed an opinion without all the facts. Something that is happening much too often these days. Hopefully I will get the rest of the data and will then be able to amend my opinion.
It is a wise person who can admit when they are wrong.
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