Thursday Tidbits

Posted on March 18, 2021 under Thursday Tidbits with no comments yet

One tough Irish woman. Three, actually!

 

The responses were predictable.

Just about everybody who replied to me publicly and privately said that the first thing they would do when the pandemic ended was to reunite with family near and far. For many people, this period of separation has been excruciating. Births, deaths, anniversaries and gatherings of all manner have been observed differently. You know things are bad when Zoom is your best friend.

If you think it’s been a long time since you’ve seen family or friends, consider the graduating class of the old Antigonish High School of 1970. We were the very last group to graduate from this school before the opening of a new, modern (windowless!) regional school. A group of us started planning a 50th reunion back in 2018. We planned to piggyback our event with the Antigonish Highland Games in 2020 but Covid-19 put an end to both of these events. For the second year in a row, we have had to postpone the get together and are currently polling class members to see if they still want us to put on the event in 2022… our 52nd reunion! The organizing committees big concern now is finding a nursing home large enough to host our event should we have to delay it much longer!

Call the Covid police.

I confess. Although it is not the law, public health agencies have warned Canadians to stay home and to avoid all but essential travel. I am usually a god-fearing, law abiding citizen, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Guilty as charged. I have taken many trips down memory lane over the past 12 months.

And what, pray tell, has led to these egregious transgressions? Nostalgia, mostly. It doesn’t take much to find myself pining for the past and wandering the hallways of my old school.

Monday, the 15th was The Ides of March. On this date in 44 BC, Julius Caesar was assassinated, a turning point in Roman history. “Et tu, Brute?” “You too, Brutus?” These words were uttered by Caesar at the moment of his assassination, to his friend Marcus Brutus, upon recognizing him as one of the assassins. Of course, we did a few Shakespearean plays in high school… my old high school. AHS. Veritas Vos Liberabit.

This particular date holds some significance to me as well. Sixteen years ago on this day, I had Lasix surgery on my eyes. It didn’t go well. There was an overcorrection which actually made my eyesight worse than it was. It put the kibosh to my golf career, but all was not lost. I discovered running and ended up completing a handful of marathons. Every March 15th, I call this my “Eyes of March”!

Of course, yesterday was St.Paddy’s Day. Can you imagine telling a person of Irish descent that they can’t celebrate? I wonder what a lockdown looks like on George Street in St.John’s, Newfoundland? My guess is that they found a way to celebrate! According to legend (and Google), St.Paddy’s Day started as religious celebration in the 17th century to commemorate the life of St.Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. March 17th was believed to be the anniversary of Patrick’s death in 461 AD.

Aren’t you glad you visit Week45 regularly to get all of these important tidbits of history?

My mother was Irish, an O’Flaherty from Montreal. So, to all my Irish brethren, I leave you with this exquisite quote from W.B Yeats, Irish poet, dramatist and prose writer: “Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy which sustained him through temporary periods of joy”.

Have a great weekend.

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on March 15, 2021 under Monday Morning Musings with 3 comments

Wakem Bay

What is the first thing you’ll do when the pandemic ends?

A better question might be, when will the pandemic end?

It has been a long, hard grind for all of us. Just a little over a year ago, our world was turned upside down. Almost every single person in the world was impacted in some way, shape or form. Sadly, many people succumbed to Covid-19, many became “long haul survivors, and the rest of us have mostly been inconvenienced. But we can see daylight on the horizon and surely there will be a day when we can return to our normal routines.

I’m still a CBC junkie. I get little snippets of CBC radio through our local FM station but not nearly enough. I start pretty well every day watching Heather Hiscox anchor the CBC morning show. CBC has a tremendous stable of talented anchors and reporters and Hiscox is one of my favourites. Ian “handsome man thing” is a close second!

CBC is starting to compile comments from ordinary joes like you and I about what we’ll do when this madness ends. I suppose the WHO will issue a formal declaration some day in the future announcing the slaying of the beast.

I must admit that I haven’t had it nearly as bad as many of you. I have been able to carry on life quite normally in the north. Yes, wearing a mask 8 hours a day is tedious but pales in comparison to the discomfort felt by people in the medical fraternity who are treating Covid-19 patients. Seeing the images of doctors and nurses gearing up for work each day makes one feel claustrophobic… and grateful for everything they do.

So,tell me, dear readers, what is the first thing that you plan to do when it is apparent that the coast is clear? Here is your chance, anonymously of course, to tell us your plans. I will happily publish a list of the activities in a future post if you would care to send along your thoughts on this matter.

I would be surprised if  a reunion with family members won’t be be at the top of most people’s list. I would love to catch up with my children and grandchildren and go out for a really nice dinner. Ditto for my siblings. A feed of lobsters at the cottage in Bayfield, washed down with a cold Keiths and a rousing rendition of “Oceanside Again” would be divine. Our families are our rocks and while we have been able to stay connected with Zoom and other social media tools, it is clearly not the same thing as being able to share hugs and kisses with the ones we love.

I would love to resume travelling. There is still a lot of the world I would like to see, and one more go at the Camino would be a dream come true.

How about you?

In preparation for income tax, I always have to do an inventory of my books. I was very pleased to find out that my books are still selling very well in my hometown. My latest book about my walk around the Cabot Trail has sold out at the 5 to $1.00 but there will be more copies on the shelf come Monday. Many thanks to my good friend YV who is looking after this for me.

I am a little bit leery about this next part because it may come across as arrogance or shameless self- promotion. My favourite writer at the Chronicle Herald, John Demont did a story recently about retirees who reinvent themselves. He interviewed me as part of the piece. https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/news/local/john-demont-finding-meaning-in-the-third-period-561541/

Have a great week.

 

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Thursday Tidbits

Posted on March 11, 2021 under Thursday Tidbits with 2 comments

 

Cherish the good times

 

“Don’t take the good times for granted,

For things keep changing each day.”

Don’t Take The Good Times For Granted. David and Daniel O’Donnell

 

I am blessed to have a lot of friends. Many of them are close friends going back to my school days, but I’ve managed to accumulate many more over the years through my writing and travel. At a time of life when most of us are losing friends, I am collecting new friends as fast as a pair of velvet pants might pick up cat hair. Cat hairs are a nuisance. New friends are a treasure.

The other day, I received a lovely song from an old friend. She’s younger than me so technically she’s not that old! We chat quite regularly. We took our education year together back in 1975-76 and then we went off in different directions as is often the case. The death of a mutual friend a couple of years ago reconnected us again. Also, her mom is in the nursing home in my hometown where I used to do music five days a week. When she would travel home to visit her mom, we would get caught up on each other’s lives.

I’m always interested in new music or at least music that I haven’t heard before. I receive all kinds of videos as I’m sure most of you do. Many times, I ignore them. This is mainly because my internet signal is so weak that it could take me ten minutes or more to listen to a 3- minute song. Lately, my internet at home is passable which almost rates as a miracle which should be reported to the Pontiff.

Early Monday morning before heading to work (after watching the Highlight of the Night on TSN), I played the song. It’s a bit syrupy. I happen to like syrup. While the tune was pleasant enough, it was the words that caught my attention.

“Don’t take the good times for granted, for things keep changing each day,

Make time to be with the ones that you love, let nothing stand in your way.

We don’t know what waits round the corner, we never know what lies ahead,

So just for a moment, forget all your troubles, and count all your blessings instead.”

Sadly, for most of us, we are caught up in our day to days lives and when there are no speedbumps along the road, we rarely take time to heed the words written in this song. It’s only when hard times befall us or our friends that we become conscious of life’s fickle nature. I know that there are some of you out there who are dealing with cancer. There are others who are dealing with mental health issues, anxiety and stress. You might be ready to throttle me for putting on such a shiny face. I’m not naïve. As the song says, we don’t know what waits around the corner and a time will come that I might not be singing from the same songbook that I’m singing from now. Until that day arrives, I choose to count my blessings everyday and try to be consciously grateful. And we can show empathy to those whose lives are in turmoil.

Thanks, DB.

If you have a few minutes, give this song a listen. https://youtu.be/AssqoXawaoY

Have a great weekend.

P.S. The winner of my book giveaway last week for correctly identifying The Cremation of Sam McGee was Len MacEachern. There was a time when I could recite the entire poem and I’m guessing that there are many of you who still can. Now you must admit, that I tossed a lob ball with the opening lines of that poem. Ok, you smarty pants. Try this one on for size. For a free book of your choice form my vast (6) collection you need to identify the name of the poem and the author. NO CHEATING. NO GOOGLING.

“I caught this morning morning’s minion, kingdom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding.”

Honestly, I still don’t have a damn clue what this poem is about but it has been stuck somewhere in the recesses of my brain for almost 50 years.

 

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