Tag Archives: inspirational

In Anticipation

 

I look forward to the time ,

When I can feel the sun on my back.

And greet a dear friend,

Without any flack .

 

I want to wander the streets,

With nary a care.

I want to hug a stranger,

Put my hands in their hair.

 

I want to smile with my mouth,

So, everyone can see.

I want to eat in a restaurant,

Where people can be.

 

Travelling the world,

Would be on my list.

Or simply the next town,

These things I have missed.

 

I know it’s not possible,

To break all the rules.

They are there for a reason,

The Breakers are fools.

 

So, with patience I’ll wait,

For this time to be done.

Then we will be free,

To walk in the sun.

Are you offended yet?

Read on,  I’m sure I will find a way to offend somebody. Or at least those who are always looking for something to offend them. Maybe I got all the good readers who are offended in the same way I am, by people who are easily offended.

Why do we judge the past based on the sensibilities of the 21st century? Are people not aware that the time was different back then? Was it right? People thought it  was for that time. How exactly are we going to be judged in 100 years, in 50 years? Are people going to be offended by our idiocy? I cannot answer that. But I can tell you that we will be judged. If it was wrong in the past, let us change it now and for the future. That should be how we are judged.

We are offended when people don’t agree with us. We are offended when we infer their words to different meanings other than was intended. We are offended when we don’t get what we want . And yet why aren’t we offended by racism and hatred and bullying? These are issues that should get our blood boiling the way we let loose when we are offended. And yet we don’t. Hatred is something we will never truly get rid of but we can find out why we hate. I hate some foods . (Which I will not mention here because there are people that actually like these things and I don’t wish to offend.) But how can I hate a person when I don’t know them? How can I hate a country that I’ve never been to? How can I hate an idea when I don’t even know what it is?

And yet people hate for the most obscure reasons. ‘Her eyes are blue.’ ‘He doesn’t like cats.’ ‘I don’t understand what they are saying.’ I wonder what would happen if  we took the time to look past the things we don’t like? I wonder if we would find someone that we might actually care for?  I wonder if someone looked at me and decided to hate because they didn’t like the colour of my hair?  When will we stop hating the unknown?

Children are not born hating. Bullies do not spring up out of nowhere. These are learned behaviours and they are taught by adults. The entire world has a responsibility to its children to put a stop to the negativities they grow up around. I know this is a simplistic idea and certainly the whole world cannot be fixed by the snap of my fingers but just because it can’t all be fixed at one time, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start.

Unsettled

When I sat down to write this post, I was a little flummoxed. There seems to be so much hatred seething about just below the surface. And some of it, of course, is erupting. Nothing subtle about it!  But we see too much of that on TV and I didn’t want to write about it, I wanted to write about joy and hope and prosperity. And then I wondered what I was smoking! Honey, life ain’t great at this particular moment!

I keep saying that I’m not suffering. And I’m not. I have my computer, books, TV, my food is delivered, everything is delivered. And yet I think I’m suffering more than I think I am. I’m relatively stable, psychologically speaking,  and yet who can say that with any authority except perhaps a doctor. And even that is sometimes questionable.  Sorry. What I am is unsettled.

I watch TV and yet I spend half of my time doing other things not paying attention. I have projects I want to finish but I just don’t have the initiative . I know what needs to be done and I am quite capable of it and yet I don’t do it. I have three books in a queue that I need to go through before I send them to the printer. A couple of weeks work at the most. I haven’t looked at them in two.

I’m not seriously anxious or afraid. I feel safe in the town I’m in but I don’t leave my apartment. When the weather was warmer, I would go out on my balcony. It’s too flipping cold now! I want to empty my apartment and reconfigure it with all new furniture. Don’t worry, that is not going to happen! The cost and inconvenience are insurmountable. So, I sat down at my computer and I designed a one-bedroom condo. It’s not a place that will ever be built but I rather like it. And it amused me for several hours. That seems to be my goal these days: amusement. That is a sad state of affairs. (I also designed a two-bedroom condo and a cottage with three bedrooms.)

I Zoom with friends and use FaceTime and Skype. I have Personal Support Workers that come in every day to help. Suitably masked and gloved but people nonetheless. I have a beautiful view of the Sky and a strip of the downtown. I’m warm and dry. I have nothing to complain about. There are people in the world that are truly suffering with circumstances and disease.

In Canada we have helplines to call if people are feeling overwhelmed. They are free and there are real people to talk to, to connect with. Sometimes it’s easier to tell a stranger then a friend. A study came out recently that said women are more psychologically affected by Covid then are men. I wonder if that’s true or maybe women are just more willing to talk about it. People are suffering in ways I cannot begin to imagine and all we can do is wait.  I can help through charities but that’s not enough. I will continue to help in whatever small way I can but I look forward desperately to some form of normalcy in the coming future. Did I mention that I am impatient? Maybe I’ll go design another building …

 

 

An Art Form

 

A Pinecone and a Leaf,

Lay all in a row,

I think they were shivering,

And waiting for snow.

 

The days now grow colder,

And the sun, not so hot.

It seems winter is here,

And that’s what we got.

 

I know I should be thankful,

To experience four seasons.

But the truth of the matter,

Defies all of my reasons.

 

I want warm but not hot,

With the gentlest of breezes.

Sunshine each day,

Well that truly pleases.

 

I want rain after dark,

To water the flowers.

Not hurricane like,

But sweet calming showers.

 

I know what I’m asking,

Can never be done.

But dreaming’s an art form,

And it’s my kind of fun!

 

A Pinecone and a Leaf,

Lay next to each other.

They started this poem,

And maybe another…

 

 

The accompanying photograph was provided by Dan over at nofacilities.com. He and Maddie are most generous with the fruits of their walks. Thanks Dan!

Love and the Lancaster Bomber

Barb Taub, over at barbtaub.com, wrote a lovely, humorous piece about how she and her husband of 40 years, met. It had me smiling as I remembered how my parents met. So, I promised her I would regal you with their story.

Whenever people ask about how my parents first met, I start by saying that my mother picked my father up in a bar. That usually gets everyone laughing. Including my mother. But things were only slightly different.

If you would first allow me to put their story into context. The year is 1945. World War II is over and servicemen are returning home from the war. Picture if you would an Avro Lancaster heavy bomber flying not very far over Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The young men inside were celebrating having won a World War so they thought that they would give the people of this downtown neighbourhood a bit of a thrill. They took their heavy bombers and flew low as if they were making a strafing run. (shooting bullets at people on the ground) The people in the offices got quite a thrill that day! Their next stop was to do the same run, on farmers’ fields. That didn’t go over quite as well. When they handed over their planes, they found fencing materials wrapped around the wheels. The commander was not well pleased. They were told later that the cows stopped giving milk for a week.

During that time there were canteens or coffee shops set up where returning military could get a cuppa coffee, a sandwich and perhaps a conversation with a pretty lady.  In the evenings my mother was one of many women who was working as a hostess. It was a way to thank the service men for their service and welcome them back into civilian society.  As my mother was making the rounds and chatting with everyone, she noticed someone that she recognized. She went over to the table with two young men in uniform, sat down, introduced herself and said to one of the young men “Are you Norm  . . .?” He replied in the negative but the three of them struck up a conversation. ‘Norm’ asked my mother out on a date and she agreed. After a few dates they parted amicably.

   

Short time after that my mother was walking in downtown Winnipeg and ran into the second man she had met at the table. They had a long conversation that day and then they started to date. Another week goes by and the young man is greeted on the street by his brother who asks why he has not been home to see his mother since he is now back from the war. He didn’t tell my mother that part.

Many years later even more of the story unfolded. My father was regaling his family about his bomber run on downtown Winnipeg. It was at that point my mother stated that she was one of the people in the window watching his plane go by!

They were married for 58 years and were true partners. They completed each other. My mother was a social butterfly and my father was a wanna be hermit. But his job as a salesman succeeded in large part to his partner. In those days clients were entertained in a salesman’s home. Deals were made on golf courses. It was a much more intimately social time.

When my parents married, my mother admitted that she didn’t know how to cook. My father simply handed her a cookbook and said if you can read, you can cook. He bolstered her confidence when she didn’t believe in herself and she provided the social outlet that my father found so difficult. I read once that a good relationship is 60/40.  Some days you would give 60% some days you would give 40% and a good partner would pick up the slack. That was my mom and dad. And those dinner parties my parents would throw for his clients? My mother’s cooking ended up being a highlight!

My father died 62 years after he met my mother. He always maintained that he was a better person with her. And she believed she was too. I grew up surrounded by love, laughter and common sense. My parents let me make my own mistakes and never judged. They were always nearby when I needed them and they gave the best hugs ever!

And one more interesting fact for those who believe in such things. My father was in the hospital for five days before he died. My mother was in bed for five days before she died, five years after my father did. I grew up in a family of five. Spooky? My parents would see the humour.

The image of the Lancaster is from istockphoto.com.

Smile

The world is in chaos,

And my mind is a blank.

I tried to be witty,

But I think that it stank!

 

The world is not laughing,

Cuz nothing is funny.

But I have a plan,

To make it a little bit sunny.

 

I’ve said it before,

And I’ll say it again.

A smile brightens a room,

It’s a simple refrain.

 

Even hidden by masks,

And so far apart.

A nod or a wave,

Is a good place to start.

 

Then respect and some kindness,

Could be tossed in the mix.

Perhaps it will catch on,

And be part of the fix.

 

We must come together,

To be part of the cure.

I know we can do it,

This I am sure!

 

It’s not always easy,

Impossible some times.

But we can’t stop now,

When everything rhymes!

 

The Last Christmas Gift

Elsie looked around the room. There was carnage everywhere. A tornado passing through would have left less damage. Bodies were strewn throughout the mayhem. She chuckled. Just another Christmas morning with children.

One of the bodies stirred. A little fist came up from beneath the wrapping paper it had been curled up under. A pile of boxes sneezed. Another child was stirring. Elsie thought perhaps there were a few more to come. But she knew the fresh smell of coffee would probably wake all the adults up. Sure enough, the love of her life wandered into the room, his hands wrapped around a hot steamy mug. With no hesitation he handed it to Elsie and returned from whence he came to get another.

A few more adults showed up with coffee at hand and a tray of hot chocolate for the children. It was Christmas morning. It was after the frenzy of opening gifts. After breakfast. Everyone had been up so early for the main event that the naps became inevitable. The children slept curled around their newfound bounty while the adults found more comfortable settings. Elsie didn’t need a nap. She wanted to watch her charges. There is nothing more spiritual then the breath of sleeping children, safe and secure in their surroundings.

There was a different feeling in the room as everyone gathered once again. They all knew what was coming. Except for one. Malcolm was new to the group, to the family. He was still getting used to the Western dynamic. He had been born into soul crushing poverty in another country. His family had been killed in a local war that no one understood.  He was alone. But he had been found by people who cared and so began his journey to this moment.

“Malcolm,” send Elsie, “There is one more Christmas gift for the family. That includes you. But you don’t know the history so I’m going to tell you how this all started.”

Malcolm set up straighter, he was interested to know how things worked here and he was curious about his new family. So, he listened very carefully.

Elsie continued: “When my Great, Great, Great Grandfather came to this country he was very poor. But his parents believed they could find a better life, a better future in the New World. They risked everything. The first few years were hard but they were a hard-working family. That first Christmas looked like it was going to be pretty bleak. There was barely enough money for food let alone presents. But there was a wise patriarch and he refused to be sad. He said the goose had wandered across the street and died. His beloved wife said nothing as she picked the buck shot out of the breast of their Christmas goose.

They said grace and gave thanks for their bounty. The light was dim and the curtains were thin but they knew that others were worse off so they gave thanks. And that’s when my ancestor brought out the Last Christmas Gift.”

Elsie sat back in her chair and smiled.  She looked at the faces around her beaming with anticipation. She loved this part of Christmas.

“Ever since then we have honoured the tradition that was started so many years ago.”

As if by magic a small beautifully wrapped package appeared in her lap. There were many ooohs and aaaahs from her audience. And not just the children!

With studied patience Elsie peeled back the wrapping paper. And then with a flick of her wrist a small wooden carving appeared in the palm of her hand. It was a little drummer boy.

Elsie smiled. “Would anyone like to tell me what gift this is?”

Malcolm looked confused. He didn’t know the story of the Little Drummer Boy. And then something miraculous happened. A little tow-hair girl stood up and walked to Malcolm. She wrapped her little arms around him and said:

“His gift is to us all. He was a little drummer boy who had no presents to give the newborn King, Jesus Christ so he played his drum. He gave all he had in his heart and it was the most precious gift of all. That’s what we all need to do. And it will be precious.”

 

The end

 

 

 

 

Your Christmas Tree

What will you find,

Underneath your tree?

Will there be presents,

For you and for me?

 

Will there be games,

Or a train set for you?

Did you speak to Santa.

So he knows what to do?

 

I wished and I prayed,

That Joy would be there.

Nestled beneath,

The world would be fair.

 

The morning was bright,

The tree stood up tall.

And just below its branches,

Was Peace for us all!

Santa Claus is Dead?

 

This is one of my favourite Christmas stories that I have written and also one of my most popular posts.  I hope you enjoy it.

‘Santa Claus is dead.’

When Sebastian Phillips finished writing that phrase on his bulletin board, he turned around to see what the reaction had been on his students. He was not disappointed.    Because this was a first-year philosophy course he expected them to be a little green when it came to abstract ideas.  After all they were just kids.  Truth be told, Professor N. Sebastian Phillips wasn’t all that much older than his students.

When he looked around the room Sebastian saw surprise, humour and perhaps disbelief, it was also very quiet.  Here he was, a college professor talking about a white haired, fat man in a red suit as if he were real.  Well real and dead.

“When you signed up for this course, I am quite sure you were not expecting to talk about a symbol for a religious holiday that has come to mean the excesses of commercialism that are rampant in our society.”

Sebastian looked out at his students.  They seemed relieved; this was more like it.

“Santa Claus does exist.”

Now Sebastian heard a few giggles and was that a grunt?

“Professor, those two statements cannot both be correct. There either is a Santa Claus for isn’t there? I mean really! ”

Sebastian grinned, “Actually they can Adam. A thing can only be dead if it first existed. “

“Come on Professor there is no Santa Claus!  That is only a marketing gimmick to get parents to buy more for their kids. Commercialism at its best:  vulgar!” These words were spoken by a young woman with an earring in her nose and one in her belly button which flashed every time she turned around.

“Well Cindy, yes and no.”

At this point the room erupted in confusion. A great many of the students were arguing about the wisdom of using symbols, some about the evils of commercialism in general and the western world’s corruption of money in particular.  Sebastian noted which students seemed to think he was demented and which students were curious.  Curious minds are open minds.

Very quietly Professor Phillips spoke.  “Amanda did you believe in Santa Claus as a child?”

The room was suddenly quiet. Everyone turned and looked at Amanda, eager to learn her answer. The professor had chosen to ask the one person in the room who appeared normal.  She was conservatively dressed with no strange piercings throughout her body.  She also preferred to observe any heated discussions without actually joining in.

“Amanda . . .” her professor coached.

“Yes.” Was the quiet response.

“And how did you feel when you learned that the jolly man in a red suit was just a marketing ploy.”

The answer was a few minutes in coming and it was not the answer everyone was expecting.  “I still believe in Santa Claus and I do not believe he is dead professor.”

For the second time that morning there was complete silence in the room, a stunned silence.

And then there was pandemonium.  Only snippets of conversations could be heard.  “I always knew that woman was nuts!”  Geez I wish I had taken a mathematics course, that would of made sense.” “It is going to be a very long day.”  “Do you want to go to the pub afterwards I think I could use a drink?”  “I don’t know who is more insane: that Amanda chick or that Professor?”

Professor Phillips let the arguments roll about the room for several minutes. During this time Amanda just sat and looked at her hands as if she was too timid to become involved in a conversation she had helped to create.

“Okay everybody pipe down, you have had your little discussions and each one of them has some sort of validity.  Problem is you’re not listening.  Does Santa Claus exist?  Yes.  Does he exist as a fat, old man in a red suit?  Yes.  That guy in the red suit is on every corner in the Western world ringing a bell and selling products. Something can exist in more than one embodiment.  We see the jolly, old fella and we equate him with shopping at Christmas.  Do you know where the idea for Santa Claus came from?  Amanda might.  Because she alone seems to understand what Santa Claus represents, and who he is.  Let me tell you a little story.”

“In a coastal town called Patra, in what is now Turkey, in the year 260 AD a child was born.  His name was Nicholas.  His parents were taken from him when he was a child and yet he still grew up with a generosity of spirit and a love of children. He was a rich young man who tried to use his money to give other people happiness.  He did ‘good’ in secret. Eventually he became known as St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra and his generosity continued.”

“Over the centuries St. Nicholas has become beloved by many religions.  Our Western tradition of Santa Claus and Father Christmas originated with St. Nicholas.  His faith and his actions make remembering him more important even in our day and age. He is our Santa Claus and people need to remember him.  In essence it is his spirit of giving that is behind our traditions at Christmas.  The spirit of Santa Claus is alive and well.”

“A beautiful character is more powerful and more memorable to more people than any marketing ploy or religious dogma.  Santa Claus, even if he comes in the guise of a human being, is still the loving spirit of the good Nicholas. Santa Claus does exist and should continue to exist for as long as we remember what he stands for.”

There was total silence in the room.  Not a single student had a humorous quip, or disparaging remark to make.  In fact, when Sebastian looked around the room he saw only understanding and awe. Finally, these supposedly well-educated young adults had picked up on something that all children knew from a very young age: if you believe, it will endure.

“Class dismissed.”

Sebastian smiled to himself and started to gather up his books and notes. The class had gone well, better than he’d expected.  But the year was getting on and there are places he needed to be so he was going to have to tender his resignation and move on.  But at that point Sebastian realized that not every student had left the room. He looked up.

“Amanda, how can I help you?”

“Professor Phillips you haven’t been completely honest with us, have you?  I know that Santa Claus exists and not as the jolly, red suited man, but rather as St. Nicholas.  You see my family can trace its roots back to that same town in which St. Nicholas was born.  As a matter of fact, we’ve kept a very close watch throughout the years on the descendants of that family.  It has always been the responsibility of my family to ensure that yours is protected.  I’m surprised you didn’t know that.  What’s your first name Professor Phillips?”

“Yes, I thought perhaps you did know,” Sebastian’s grin was even more pronounced. You know I won’t be here next week.  I have a lot of preparing to do and Christmas is not far away. And yes, I am St. Nick. ”

 

The end

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Covid Fatigue

 

 

I am tired of living,

In fear for my life.

I am tired of the anger,

The hatred, the strife.

 

My hands are rubbed raw,

But sterile of course.

My mask is in place,

And now I sound hoarse.

 

I measure the distance,

Between me and then you.

I watch very carefully,

The things that you do.

 

A vigilant eye,

Is required these days.

But sometimes I swear,

I’m in such a craze.

 

Yet I will continue,

To do as I must.

Because hope for the future,

That’s what I trust.

 

This angst we are living,

I call Covid Fatigue.

I know we can beat it,

With little intrigue

 

So, do as you’re told,

A little bit longer.

And I’m sure we will be,

So very much stronger.

 

The end is in sight,

A vaccine is quite near

There will be a day

When there’s no virus fear.