Monday Morning Musings

Posted on February 26, 2018 under Monday Morning Musings with 6 comments

The Art of Conversation

 

A conversation.

I have been writing for six years now… 856 stories and counting. What started out as a lark has turned into a passion. I love to write. I know that I will never win any literary awards. My writing is simple and I rarely use any big words. Hell, my English methods teacher in my Education year at St.F.X. more or less told me ( and most of my classmates ! ), that I was borderline illiterate as he tore my first several essays to shreds issuing  failing grades. I think he would be surprised and possibly horrified, to know that I am working on my fourth book.

So. Pray tell, dear readers, why do you continue to read my musings?

I have a theory. Here are a few statistics: 73% of you are 55 and older with nearly 50% of you over the age of 65. Most of us have a shared experience. Our roots are similar with some mixture of Scottish, Irish and French. Most of us are Baby Boomers and grew up in the 50’s and 60’s as kids watching Ed Sullivan and Bonanza.

Being from Antigonish, most of us were raised Catholic. I always get a big reaction whenever I post something about my Catholic upbringing.  I have often thought about writing a whole book about growing up Catholic. And then I quickly come to my senses and realize that this is a really bad idea!

Most of my stories are just about everyday things. The topics are endless (and occasionally mindless). But the stories form some kind of narrative and what it boils down to is that we are really just having a conversation through the use of technology. I feel very connected to all of you. When I’m writing, it’s as if you’re sitting across the table with your cup of tea and we’re just shooting the breeze. You mention something harmless and right away my wheels are spinning knowing that I have the kernel for a story.

Lest you think that I pore over every word that I write, you’re wrong. That should be obvious! I usually jot down a few key points in my trusty scribbler (I’m keeping Hilroy in business). The meat of the story, if there’s such a thing, is usually crafted in my head somewhere between Hawthorne Street and Liquor Lane on my morning walks. As many of you know, I often pull out a line from a tune from the past to set the tone of the story.

And then, I turn on the computer, open the Word program and start. It usually comes gushing out like a storm drain in a flood… or an open sewer. Pick your own analogy. I write the whole piece start to finish, in one go, pausing only to sip my coffee. Most of what I write is done in the early hours of the morning.

Why am I telling you all of this? I don’t have a clue! From time to time, I bump into one of you on the street and we have this kind of conversation.

And really, Week45, is just one, elongated conversation. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

One more thing. The most often asked question? What is Week45?

About 10 years ago, we took our first trip to Florida and shortly after that, we bought our first time share. For the uninitiated, time shares are typically bought by the week, based on a time share calendar. So, the first week of January becomes Week 1 and the last week of the year in December is Week 52. I know that you are all math whizzes and can quickly determine (roughly) what week of the year we bought our initial time share.

My writing “career” began in Florida and when it came time to “brand” my business, I thought Week45 was as good as any.

There. You know my most intimate secrets. And I know a lot of yours!

I’ll keep writing as long as you keep reading.

Have a great week.

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Thursday Tidbits

Posted on February 22, 2018 under Thursday Tidbits with one comment

Coffee and conversation

 

In the year 5555,

Your arms hanging limp at your sides,

Your legs got nothing to do,

Some machine’s doin’ that for you.

In The Year 2525 – Zager and Evans

I’m seriously thinking of heading for the hills and crawling back into my cave.

While more than half of the population of the world struggles to find food on a daily basis, we in the west can simply pick up our smart phones and order our groceries on line and have them delivered to our door. Before you start accusing me of being a Luddite, hear me out.

I have no objection to having one’s groceries delivered to the door. The old IGA on College Street did that for a long time but it was mainly a service for people who were elderly or who didn’t own a car. But you can be damn sure of one thing: those old people got their arses out of the house and probably walked to the grocery store and actually had human contact. They chatted with the clerks, the butcher, the baker and most likely the store owner.

Now, Zager and Evans were no Lennon and McCartney but some of their words from this one hit wonder in 1969 were remarkably prescient. Are we quickly becoming the laziest species of all time where it is entirely possible to avoid all human contact? It sure seems like this some days.

Speaking of Luddites, I made my very first on line purchase from Amazon two weeks ago. I can see the appeal. Browse, click, pay and presto, my new microphone for recording “Live from the Beach” was at my doorstep. Before you accuse me of not shopping locally, I tried but couldn’t find this device that plugs into my iPhone. And yes, like just about every living soul in North Eastern Nova Scotia, I have ordered a Wheel pizza and had it delivered when it was just too comfy to stay put… or too stormy! The Wheel always finds a way to deliver the goods.

Shopping on line definitely has a huge appeal. You can do it any time of day or night from the privacy of your own home. Prices are usually reasonable and you don’t have to step outside and face the elements. I can see this being a big deal for older people who dread winter and icy conditions.

We are fast becoming a world of Zombies. We are so attached to our mobile technology that human contact is becoming a lost art. I won’t be around to read the studies but I feel fairly confident that the wide spread use of mobile technology will be shown to have serious long term health consequences. I have been watching the Olympics and every time they pan the spectators, everyone is looking at their cell phones. Why did they bother traveling to South Korea?

I don’t know about you, but my most pleasant times are still sitting face to face with actual humans in a “no cell phone” zone, sipping coffee and telling lies. ( Thanks Rob, Dan and Dave yesterday at Java Blend in Halifax ).

Here’s a novel idea. Leave your cell phone home. Drive or walk (another lost art) to a local business. Buy something. Talk to the salesclerk. You just increased your life span and that of your local community. If we continue to shop on line, which businesses will be left to support sports teams, arts groups and local charities? Think about it.

Or you can just get your club and head back to the cave with me. We can chat with Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble. “ Yabba-Dabba-Do”!

Have a great weekend.

 

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on February 19, 2018 under Monday Morning Musings with 6 comments

My daughter Margaret and mom

The signs are all there. We know it’s coming. We can see it, feel it, taste it and smell it. We can feel it in our bones. The days on the calendar are being checked off. It can’t be long now.

We’re getting older and all along you thought I was talking about the arrival of spring. Gotcha!

Facebook, that glorious repository of truth and knowledge, serves up a gem every once in a while. I noticed this post a few days ago: “It’s official. I’m losing it. Just entered my iPhone passcode into the microwave to make a cup of tea.” Yes, folks, for those of you haven’t yet received your first Old Age Security cheque, this is what you have coming straight at you.

I am starting to see the telltale signs of aging. None of them are really egregious (yet!) but make no mistake; the aging process is well underway. All of the senses listed in the first paragraph are not as refined as they once were.

Ok. So I showed up for a big pot luck dinner in late October. It wasn’t only October that was late. I strutted up the sidewalk on Church Street to St. James United Church planning on a scrumptious meal to mark the end of the Antigonish International Film festival. I went all out and dressed up in one of my colorful outfits acquired in India. Yes, it did seem a bit odd at first that there were no cars parked along the way, but the locked door to the church hall was a dead giveaway. After a few knocks on the door, the custodian gave me entrance but it was all for naught. The dinner had been held the previous day.

Other signs of aging. You’re heading to another room in the house to get something and upon arrival, you don’t have a clue what you’re looking for, requiring you to backtrack and start the process all over again. I know. You’ve done it too. We just can’t see that embarrassed look on your face.

You’re walking down the Main Street of your home town and you see someone coming that you’ve known for maybe 150 years. When they pass, you either (1) call them by their incorrect name or (2) grunt a generic “How’s it going” because you can’t remember their name.

You know you’re getting old when your joints are more accurate meteorologists than Environment Canada.

Your secrets are safe with your friends because they won’t remember them either.

You make a list of things to pack for a big trip so you won’t forget anything and then can’t find the list.

Care to add your own favourites to the list?

Because the local restaurants were packed on Valentine’s Day, I decided to celebrate by hanging out with the folks at the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home. I was pressed into service on short notice and spent part of the afternoon singing with the residents. The pay was excellent: Valentine’s cake with strawberries and whipped cream. Being the first day of Lent as well, I swallowed hard having hours earlier committed to refraining from sweets for forty days and forty nights. Hell, I barely made it to 40 minutes!

You know those newfangled curly lightbulbs that take a few minutes to light up? This is more or less how I would describe singing with the elderly. Amongst the 40 or so people who endured my singing, a handful was engaged from the first bar of “I’ve been working on the Railroad.” Over the next hour, you could see faces coming alive as they mouthed the words of all those familiar tunes from a bygone era. Nearing the end of the session, I stopped playing the guitar on the chorus and just listened. The room was filled with the joyous voices from the present and the past. All the lightbulbs were fully illuminated.

I can’t think of a better way to have spent Valentine’s Day.

Oh, and yes, spring is coming too!

Have a great week.

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