Even though I have been officially out of the adult literacy field for a few years, I still feel the frustration resulting from the avalanche of funding cuts in the past few years. Thanks to Bridgette Hays for the following info:
[Something went wrong when I tried to post this] I recently was looking at the underspending by the federal government on literacy projects. This had me wondering what exactly was being funded. You…
Source: Who’s Getting Funded? – take 2
True love isn’t all romantic and full of showy gestures. True love is the little things couples do for each other as they age. It is the silent helping hand, non-judgmentally helping your partner step up for the chair when she is too stiff to do so. The quiet act of cleaning the toilet after she has missed the rim late at night, the partner who secretly takes the coffee cup our of the microwave when he has forgotten it for the hundredth time, or the taking the shampoo bottle out of the fridge when she accidentally stashed it when she was putting away the groceries, her mind too overwhelmed with combatting pain to get all the little details just right. I picture my mom and dad as having this type of love, perfectly dealing with each other’s aging frustrations and imperfections. No, they are not perfect. Sometime they drive each other crazy. They get mad, get frustrated, dislike what each other is doing , just like everybody else.
But I like to think of them as the kind of senior who tonight, this clear summer night when the meteor showers are at their best, and when one of them wakes up for the fist of many clomping trips to the bathroom, would gently help,each the into the backyard and simply look up, look up until they spotted a falling star or two. Then, slowly, carefully they would go back into the house and hobble off to bed, trying to fall back to sleep, t dream of what was, until once again, one of them stirs and carefully and painfully crawls out of bed, dragging arthritic limbs awake, and off to start another day.
Now that is real love at work.
Another gem from Dad
THE ICY FLOE June 2008
There are stories told by those who know
Of Northern Tribes from long ago,
When life of use was finally o’er
Were taken to the Oceans Shore
And on a floating Ice Floe cast
To dream of glory days now past,
Then set upon the Raging Sea
To end their life in Harmony.
At times I feel that I’m the One
Whose time of use is surely done,
Now ‘tis time for me to go
Embark upon that Icy Floe,
And spend my time upon the Sea
To meet my Final Destiny.
My dad wrote this poem on his 71st birthday. I think he captured aging perfectly!!!
Man in The Mirror Sept.07/97 Reflections on my 71 Birthday
Who is that man in the mirror?
With lank grey hair and vacant stare
Who can he be? Surely not me?
With hairy ears and eyes full of tears,
He stares back at me, who can he be?
Surely not me! For only recently
I sat upon my Mothers knee
And only yesterday I skipped to school
To learn the rules of Calculus and Chemistry,
Then a short time hence
I became a soldier for Defence
Of Country King and Liberty.
For only yesterday again,
I took a wife, a lover for life
Then together raised a family.
I was a Farmer, a grower of Grain,
In the Sun and the Rain.
Though this is still a part of me
I must open wide my eyes and see,
That those happy years have fled,
And in the mirror by my bed
He stands; with shoulders stooped
And belly drooped,
Grandfather, Great Grandfather.
Then I know, with feelings of woe
HE MUST BE ME.
I’m sittingng on my deck, sipping at a cup of tea, looking at the mountain view to the west, and listening to – of course – CBC Radio. Today’s interview with Sebastian Junger explaining his new book “Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging” gave me a couple of ah-ha moments. Sebastian writes about the experience of soldiers, first aid workers, emergency workers, and others when they arrive home after a traumatic experience. He suggests the sense of belonging arises from being a part of a team or sharing a common experience and ultimately results in a sense of tribalism within that group. He posits that once we leave these situations, we lose our sense of self and aren’t sure of how to behave. He shared a story of a soldier who came home after a very intense posting overseas. He was with his wife in the grocery store, surrounded by a plethora of choices. If I recall the story correctly, the soldier was so overwhelmed he couldn’t even pick out his cereal. He didn’t know how to make that choice. I know I haven’t captured the full meaning of that conversation, but it made sense to me. I will need to listen to it again to fully “get it”. Perhaps I will even read his book!
The interview continued to discuss people’s experiences from events such as World War II, the Springhill Mine Disaster, and more. My first “Ah-ha”moment – that’s why I remember so many of the seniors talking so gleefully about their World War II experiences. These were young adults, sent off to “save the world” – and fight for their country. Yet when that fight is over, what is next? Where do they belong? How do they fit in and find their new place?
Fortunately I have not been through any such traumatic and life-changing experiences. But his ideas did resonate. Do we form our own tribe at work? Is that sense of belonging developed from being with colleagues, employers, and others involved in our massive world of work, suddenly disappear when we retire? I’d say yes. I miss the sense of being part of that work tribe. Perhaps I, and others like me, stay in somewhat unhealthy work relationships longer than we should – because we see no alternative tribe to join. Carrying that deeper – I come from a big family – a tribe of 8 children and a large extended family. Although I cherish my alone time, I still have always felt a need to belong to some group. I do better overall when I have a group activity or event to go to, even if I need my quiet time and space while with the group.
I think this interview gave me some better insights as to why I feel such a need to join an adventure, belong to a club, and seek out a new tribe. All part of the journey, isn’t it!
Thanks for the great article. I totally agree – Mary Lee has nailed it!
Photo courtesy of Ralph Arnold Photographics
I’ve known Mary Lee Voort for many years primarily because of her role as a rehearsal pianist in the city. Most theatre productions I’ve ever done with Ken Rogers & Fran Rude have included Mary Lee. She’s truly as good as they come and anyone who knows Mary Lee will also agree with me that she’s about the nicest person you’ll ever meet. Aside from being an accomplished musician and an all-around lovely human being Mary Lee was also a dedicated runner. On March 19th Mary Lee will be taking part in her 29th consecutive Moonlight Run. Yes, she’s done every one since its inception. While she doesn’t actually run these days, she’s still a dedicated walker. In between her commitment to the Lethbridge Symphony and her Kiwanis Music Festival students she found some time to answer a few questions about the sport…
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The recent wildfire slamming the city of Fort McMurray and area has hit most of us pretty hard. People across the country are taking donations to help out. Once again, Canadians step up when needed. To me, Fort McMurray epitomizes my Canadian dream. The people I’ve listened to – and met – seem young, full of energy, and ready to work. Many seem so nonplussed about the mass evacuation. Their resiliency is the frontier spirit that built our country.
A couple of days ago I met a few young workers from Ireland and young woman from Newfoundland. They’re staying at our friend’s house until they get sent back up. Our small part is to gladly provide a room for their daughter displaced by the evacuees. These young folks seem so vibrant and eclectic – so much fun, and so worry free. They show the energy of the eternally optimistic youth who have moved to this region to build a strong industry and community. I am strangely a little jealous of their youthful zeal. They seem so excited about their future. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not at all envious of their terrifying experience with the fire. I can’t imagine how frightening it must have been to drive through a city with parts of it on fire. But their stories encourage me, and make me want to be more adventurous.
I want to help out in a some small way, but there’s not much I can do, or need to do. This is a city better prepared to handle disasters than perhaps any other place in the world. The workforce is trades focused, and well-versed in contingency plans. If anyone thinks the “Oilsands” is not well-managed – think again. The ability for them to handle this event clearly shows their systems work.
About the only thing I am qualified to do is provide donations, which, of course, we’ve done. But right now I am trying to escape the guilt of not donating at every till in every store. Signs are everywhere – donate to Fort Mac fire. At first I began explaining to the cashiers that I had already done things, but I realized that’s not what they – or the people in line – want to hear. I feel a little like I’m being “bullied by goodwill” into donating at each place. Hopefully all the donations go to the right place – and actually provide the support we all intend to provide.
Where will this disaster lead us? I’m not sure. I hope it has let the rest of the country gain insights as to the true nature of us “redneck” Albertans. We are not horrible people; most of us are just good, hard-working people trying to do the best we can – just like anywhere else in the country.