Thursday Tidbits

Posted on March 14, 2019 under Thursday Tidbits with no comments yet

 

“Kick a stone down the road,

Run and catch the wind”

Run and Catch the Wind – Up With People

Are you forever reliving childhood memories? Are you trying to find a sand dollar on the beach? Are you building the most amazing snow fort ever? Are you holding a daisy pondering the imponderable: “she loves me, she loves me not?” Are you climbing a tree hoping to pluck an apple from the branches? Are you playing “red rover” with your best friends?

It must be a sure sign of oncoming senility but lately I find myself having all these weird flashbacks from my youth. I try my damndest to live in the present, with an eye on the future but the past always seems to lurk nearby. Maybe it is a form of escapism when the world seems to be going crazy. It all seemed so simple back then.

I might have been (?) the strangest kid ever. Am I now the strangest adult ever?

Did you ever kick a stone down the road? In my youth, for some unexplained reason, a stone lying haplessly on the road would become the object of my obsession. I had to kick it in front of me and see how far I could go before the stone would wander off the road or over an embankment. I am certain that there is an entire psychiatry course dedicated to this phenomenon.

The tragedy in all of this is that I find myself doing this again but because it’s winter, I am kicking chunks of ice along the streets of my hometown. Is this simply ennui or some deep seeded character flaw? The other day, on a long walk, I kicked a small mass of hardened ice from the Irving station on the Post Road almost all the way to the lights at the Superstore. As this would be considered “local knowledge” at the golf course, the distance would be about 400 hundred yards or approximately 365.76 meters, for you out of towners.

This past Sunday, after a few hours of watching golf and basketball at the same time (a distinctly male sickness) and feeling the need for fresh air to resuscitate my addled brain, I went out for a brief evening walk. The sidewalks were mostly clear but there were still many icy patches to be navigated. I don’t fear Kim Jong-Un as much as I fear a fall on the ice. I have had dozens of those close calls when you can feel yourself slipping but just catch yourself at the last possible moment. Your heart races a bit faster and you tell yourself to be more careful.

I wasn’t far from home and the sidewalk on which I was strolling was basically bare concrete. But wouldn’t you know, there in the middle of the sidewalk was a fairly large chunk of ice that was yelling at me to kick it. It was the perfect size. I looked in both directions to make sure there were no street cams to catch my lunacy.

“The first cut is the deepest.” Cat Stevens.

The first kick is the most important one. You want to kick the ice directly ahead of you. You can extend this game longer if you’re a straight shooter.

A funny thing happened. You can’t kick the ice too hard or it will disintegrate nor can you be too gentle. My first attempt was short and swift. The toe of my boot made contact with the ice.

Are you familiar with the irresistible force paradox? You know, the one about what happens when an unstoppable force meets an unmovable object.

The chunk of ice was unmovable. I wasn’t. I could feel my body being hurtled forward by the laws of gravity. I was spinning out of control and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it. I landed sideways hitting the hard concrete, first with my arm and then my knee. Battered and bruised, I picked myself up, once again looking around me to see if anyone had witnessed my folly. On a dark Sunday evening, on a poorly lit side street, I needn’t have worried.

I knew I hadn’t broken anything but could feel a distinct stinging sensation on my knee cap. On the completion of my walk, I discovered that most of the skin on my knee had been neatly removed by the sidewalk. I wasn’t going to say anything to my wife but wanted to make certain that I didn’t aggravate the situation by not taking proper medical treatment.

When summer arrives and apples appear on the neighbor’s tree, I will curtail the urge to climb it to shake one loose.

 

 

 

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Thursday Tidbits

Posted on March 7, 2019 under Thursday Tidbits with one comment

Strong women. Young and old.

 

Two important events are happening this week. They have nothing to do with a “border wall” or the unfolding drama in Ottawa. I will leave these political pundits.

It is International Women’s Week around the world. Tomorrow (March 8th), it is International Women’s Day (IWD), a day to recognize women’s achievements and acknowledge the challenges they continue to face in the quest for gender equality.

Two years ago, I witnessed an IWD celebration in southern India. It was a stunning affair beginning with a walk in blistering heat by 500 women wearing brilliantly colored saris to the convent at Stella Maris in Kannyakumari. The walk was followed by many speeches and entertainment. For me the highlight was being on a stage accompanying fourteen young women studying to become nuns as they sang “Let it Be”. The only thing that was quite incongruous was the fact that most of the speakers and platform guests were men.

It is a very scary and disturbing time to be on planet earth. We seem to be on a path to self- destruction as we pillage the planet for profit. Leadership, if you can call it that, still remains largely the domain of men. While some democracies have made advances in gender equality, there is still a dearth of women in key positions of leadership.

I am happy that in my sphere of family and friends there are countless strong, well educated women who are making a difference.

Yesterday was the beginning of Lent for many Christians. Lent is a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later before Easter Sunday. The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer for Easter through prayer, doing penance, repentance of sins, self-denial and alms giving.

Shrove Tuesday or “pancake day”, is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent. In ancient times, Anglo-Saxon Christians went to confession and were “shriven”, meaning “absolved from their sins” on Shrove Tuesday.

Many Christians do something akin to self-denial during Lent. Back in the day, giving up sweets, booze or smokes were common. Today’s addictions include Facebook, cell phones and possibly Netflix. Sorry, I won’t be giving up any of these. May I recommend two outstanding movies on Netflix while you self-flagellate during the next forty days? “Lion” and “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” are based on true stories. One is set in India (which brought back a flood of memories for me) and the other in Africa.

I digress.

While self-denial is admirable, doing something positive might also be worth considering like visiting the sick or volunteering with a charity. I saw an interesting idea on FB a few days back. It was suggested that for the forty days of Lent, a person should look around their home and every day, pick out an item that they no longer use and at the end of Lent, donate these items to a charitable organization. Even if it’s not Lent, this is a really good idea.

Please take an opportunity this week to thank the strong women in your life.

Have a great weekend.

P.S. I made gluten free pancakes on Shrove Tuesday.

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Thursday Tidbits

Posted on February 21, 2019 under Thursday Tidbits with 3 comments

 

Unimaginable.

Many of us in this part of the world grew up as a member of a large family. It was not uncommon to see families of 6, 8, 10, 12 and even more, growing up in the 50s and 60s. We fought, we played, we sang, we prayed. There were times when bodily harm was a real possibility for such mundane things as splashing soap suds while doing dishes.

Our teenage years were fraught with all that adolescence could bring. Siblings could be very best friends or mortal enemies, sometimes just 24 hours apart.

Eventually we left home and carved our own niches in the world. We got jobs and many of us married and had families of our own. The years flew by. Not every family remained intact but many of us were lucky when we discovered later in the life that our brothers and sisters might just be the best people we know.

The Barho family of Spryfield and formerly from Syria came to Canada to escape tyranny. The parents wanted for their children what most Canadians take for granted: education, health care but most importantly safety. A devastating fire on Tuesday crushed these hopes and dreams as all seven Barho children perished in a fire.

I am not even going to try to put into words that which cannot be comprehended.

Please consider a donation to the family: https://www.gofundme.com/f/spryfield-fire-disaster-support

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