Monday Morning Musings

Posted on December 10, 2018 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

Friends

(Mary Farrell photo)

 

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” Warren Bennis.

The community of Antigonish gathered last Saturday to say thank you and good bye to David Miller. David passed away recently after a lengthy battle with cancer. He never complained about the hand he was dealt. He wasn’t afraid to die. He was afraid of not living and he kept going full speed right up until the end.

In the common vernacular, David and his wife, Aida Arnold were CFA’s, or “Come From Aways.”  People who are insular and protective of their own turf occasionally view CFA’s as outsiders and a threat.  David and Aida didn’t come to Antigonish to take from the community. They came to share their immense energy and talents to make us better. As someone said at the celebration of life on Saturday, David and Aida were ABC’s: Antigonishers  By Choice”.

Of all the traits with which David was imbued, curiosity may have been the greatest. Martin Luther King famously said, “I have a dream.”  David’s epitaph should read, “I have an idea.”

One only had to scan the Art House to see the wide swath that David cut in Antigonish. He touched people from every walk of life. Someone jokingly said that everyone thought that THEY were David’s best friend, a testament to his warm, gracious and caring personality. While he had lots of opinions, he valued other points of view with dignity and respect. One of the most touching speeches at the event was from a former employee who praised David for giving him confidence. He never felt that he was working for David and Aida but with them.

Many leaders lead from the front but David “often led from the middle or back of the pack” according to one of his eulogists. He led by example. No task was too small and he wouldn’t expect anybody to do something that he wouldn’t do himself. I witnessed this on many, many occasions first hand.

I had the honour of being asked to sing a song at the memorial. I was intrigued by the choice of music, Don Mclean’s “American Pie.” I chatted briefly with Aida a few minutes before the celebration began. She told me that when she and David met in the early 70s, American Pie was a chart topper. Aida being an American, David demonstrated his charm by referring to her as his “American Sweetie Pie.” I confessed to the audience that I had rarely sung this song in broad daylight or without a supporting cast of well lubricated friends (including myself). In order to keep the event on schedule I chose not to sing every verse! Kudos to the audience who sang their hearts out.

David will be sorely missed but he has left a deep footprint. We can honour his memory by being inquisitive and looking for opportunities when problems present themselves as David did numerous times during a long, distinguished life.

David will be honoured by the Town of Antigonish with a bench in his name being placed at his beloved Chisholm Park.

David’s Dream continues.

Enjoy this? Visit the rest of my website to enjoy more of my work or buy my books!
Highland Hearing Clinic
Advertisement

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Monday Morning Musings

Posted on December 3, 2018 under Monday Morning Musings with one comment

Len, Mark and Santa

 

Last Thursday was a pretty messy. A mixture of snow and rain made it hazardous to drive anywhere and the walking wasn’t all that desirable. With power outages and closures, there wasn’t much a person could do, so I turned on Handel’s Messiah, cranked up the speakers and drifted off to paradise.

Everyone’s musical tastes are unique. I happen to like just about everything. I haven’ quite figured out rap but my parents (initially) couldn’t understand our fascination with The Beatles in the early 60s when they were becoming a global phenomenon.

There are not many days when I don’t think of my parents because most days, I have at least one musical moment. I’m either playing music or listening to it. This time of the year, it’s hard to avoid it as most places of business have the Christmas soundtrack going full tilt.

I was blessed to grow up in a musical household with parents who came from musical families. Even before television (I’m dating myself), we would gather around the piano and sing. I have realized for a long time that this was the most incredible gift a person could receive.

Now I suspect that classical music isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Trust me, I’m not a music snob but the sound of the London Philharmonic orchestra accompanied by a magnificent choir is as good as it gets for me. I often wonder about my ancestors who passed along this love of music. I love music even though I can’t read a note.

Someone once said, “It’s hard to make new old friends.” Friends of any description are to be cherished but there’s something special about friends you’ve had for a long time. On Saturday, I had the pleasure of providing some music at Green Meadows senior’s residence in North Grant. Our mother lived there for a while and it was good to see some of her former roommates. Besides Santa (!) there was one other very special guest in the person of Glenn Graham who came by and played his fiddle for an hour. We played Christmas music, fiddle tunes and a few Cape Breton songs. Mark Heffernan (pictured above) was the star as he sang three solos. It was a great afternoon.

Saturday evening was pretty special as well. Connie and Brian, two St.F.X grads and long-time friends, flew in for the weekend to attend the memorial for Jack and Judy O’Donnell. We used to sing together back in the early 80s. We meandered over to the chapel at the RK MacDonald Nursing Home and sang Christmas music for the better part of an hour. With the chapel decorated for the Lights of Love celebration, it provided a beautiful backdrop.

The weekend was capped off by a touching evening at St.Ninian’s Cathedral honoring the lives of the late Jack and Judy O’Donnell. Music, prayer, laughter and storytelling were in abundance, a very fitting tribute to a couple who have left a large footprint of compassion and caring. The grand finale was the St.Ninian’s Choir and the Men of the Deeps singing Josh Groban’s “We Raise you up.”

Rest in Peace Judy and Jack.

The Men of the Deeps

 

Enjoy this? Visit the rest of my website to enjoy more of my work or buy my books!
Tri Mac Toyota!
Advertisement

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Monday Morning Musings

Posted on November 26, 2018 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

 

“My trip to India was serendipitous and the book you are about to read is a chronicle of the events I witnessed, the people I met, the places I visited, and, most importantly, the stories of the amazing people of India, who have forever changed my life and my perspective of the world in which we live.”

I am pleased to announce the birth of my fourth child. I have no idea what labour pains are like and won’t dare risk the wrath of offending mothers out there, but the birth of a book is both painful and joyous. Actually, it’s more like relief which one can only imagine is one of the things the mother of a newborn feels to go along with the joy.

Two years ago in late October, I got on a plane and flew to India. As the above noticed passage from the preface of my new book “Chaos and Wonder: Six Months in India”, indicates, it was indeed a life altering experience. Now, I get to share it with you. My book is now available on line. I’ll have a link on my website soon but if you want to order right now, here’s where to go:  “.https://www.amazon.ca/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=chaos+and+wonder%3A+six+months+in+India So, whether you’re in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Sydney, Australia, or Sidney, B.C., you’ll be able to order my book and have it shipped to your door before Christmas.

For those of you living in Antigonish and surrounding area, the book will be on sale very soon at the Antigonish 5 to $1.00. If you want a book autographed, come to my book launch at People’s Place Library on Tuesday, December 18th at 7:00 p.m. Tentatively, I will also be at the 5 to $1.00 on the evenings of December 19th and 20th to sign books.

I am quite pleased with the finished product and hope that you will enjoy it.

Oh, the book sells for $ 14.99 (Cdn)

I was thrilled to receive the first submission to the newest feature on my website called “Guest of Honour” where you get to submit a funny story and have it shared with millions of readers. Would you believe 2,000?! I absolutely loved “Hair to Dye For”. Scroll to the bottom of my homepage if you missed it.

Passings.

I note with sadness the passing of two extraordinary people. Jack and Judy O’Donnell have left an indelible mark on our community and beyond. Their many accomplishments have been noted elsewhere but I think the work they did to transform the lives of persons with disabilities will be their lasting legacy. The rich, full lives of those with intellectual challenges in Antigonish are a testament to the efforts of many people but one would be hard pressed to identify a couple who contributed as much as Jack and Judy. They were lovely, kind and compassionate people.

On Sunday December 2nd, there is an event honouring Jack and Judy:  “Celebration of Life: Remembering Jack and Judy through Story and Song”. It will be held at St. Ninian’s Cathedral beginning at 7:00 p.m. It should be a wonderful evening.

Finally, please consider supporting the “Lights of Love” campaign at the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home. Money raised this year will go towards a Therapeutic Bath System. To donate, follow this link: https://www.rkmacdonald.ca/lights-of-love/

Have a great week.

 

Enjoy this? Visit the rest of my website to enjoy more of my work or buy my books!
Highland Hearing Clinic
Advertisement

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.