Don’t ……………………………!

Don’t comment … Don’t dwell on this past year … Don’t stress over your current life challenges … Don’t worry about next year. Just listen … relax …  and have a wonderful Christmas holiday, and here’s a thought to take with you into the new year:

“The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.”  (Kalu Ndukwe Kalu)

Twas A Month Before Christmas 2020!

Twas A Month Before Christmas …

T’was a month before Christmas,
And all through the town,
People wore masks,
That covered their frown.

The frown had begun
Way back in the Spring,
When a global pandemic
Changed everything.

They called it corona,
But unlike the beer,
It didn’t bring good times,
It didn’t bring cheer.

Contagious and deadly,
This virus spread fast,
Like a wildfire that starts
When fuelled by gas.

Airplanes were grounded,
Travel was banned.
Borders were closed
Across air, sea and land.

As the world entered lock-down
To flatten the curve,
The economy halted,
And folks lost their verve.

From March to July
We rode the first wave,
People stayed home,
They tried to behave.

When summer emerged
The lock-down was lifted.
But away from caution,
Many folks drifted.

Now it’s November
And cases are spiking,
Wave two has arrived,
Much to our disliking.

Front-line workers,
Doctors and nurses,
Try to save people,
From riding in hearses.

This virus is awful,
This COVID-19.
There isn’t a cure.
There is no vaccine

It’s true that this year
Has had sadness a plenty,
We’ll never forget
The year 2020.

And just ‘round the corner –
The holiday season,
But why be merry?
Is there even one reason?

To decorate the house
And put up the tree,
When no one will see it,
No-one but me.

But outside my window
The snow gently falls,
And I think to myself,
Let’s deck the halls!

So, I gather the ribbon,
The garland and bows,
As I play those old carols,
My happiness grows.

Christmas ain’t cancelled
And neither is hope.
If we lean on each other,
I know we can cope.

Copyright-Shawna Hickling
By: Shawna Hickling, Calgary, AB, Canada
November 19, 2020

Continue reading

Mid-November Picnic!

We’re a strange species aren’t we? We take so much for granted that, not only is it questionable whether we truly appreciate what we have, but also whether we take maximum advantage of our circumstances.

Yesterday (November 11), we decided to take full advantage of (what may be) our last warm day before Winter arrives. We decided to have a picnic down by the lake!

We have had many lovely days since May/June, but it took possibly our last warm day of the year to actually think about enjoying lunch down by the lake!

We think Ray is looking forward to the cooler temperatures, but would tolerate a picnic in these conditions as long as we share our food with him (which of course we did!).

Fall/Autumn!

Our seasons tend to be Summer and Winter, with very short Spring and Fall seasons separating them. This year however, we have been treated to a few weeks of Fall. What wonderful walks we have had (down to the lake and back) admiring the various trees in their seasonal leaf colours which absolutely “glow” when the sun is on them.

Ray is so much happier as well now the temperature is lower and the humidity negligible!

Age and/or COVID?

Since COVID-19 became the uninvited guest in our world, Carol has been doing our shopping as necessary, while I have been keeping a very low public profile. The ramifications of that created this Post!

A small family store just outside of our general urban area had been highly recommended for their pies and pastries. Given that it would be around a 30 minute drive to get there, we decided to use the opportunity for all three of us to go and have an adventure.

As an aside, and because of our shopping arrangements, I have done very little regular buying of anything these past 6 months or so! On the isolated occasions when I have been at a checkout, there has been no money transacted (no touching of money) … but rather a simple “tap ‘n’ go with a credit card.

With the above information in mind …

We arrived at the store and, given that Ray can get extremely distraught and very vocal if Carol leaves us, it was decided that I would go in and buy some baked treats for us. It was a very small store, so I had quickly selected what I thought would be really nice and proceeded to a table that was obviously the checkout area.

A young man totalled up my purchases and gave me the credit card machine, which I intuitively tapped, but nothing happened. I then saw the little sign taped onto the machine … “No Tap ‘n’ Go.”

My reaction was confusion. I had been using tap ‘n’ go for the past 6 months or so now so how was I supposed to pay? The young man told me to insert my card. I must have given him a confused look (Where do I insert the card?) , because he pointed to the slot at the bottom of the machine. Ah yes of course! It was all coming back to me now.

So, having inserted the card, I waited. The young man was watching and leaned in towards me and said. “It needs your PIN number.” Of course! Now I am feeling a little self-conscious. How could I have forgotten that. As my finger hovered over the buttons, I thought “What is my PIN number?” I had a good idea what it might be, but rather than risk bringing the store to a standstill while I fumbled some options, and with the risk of my transaction being ultimately cancelled, I excused myself while I went outside to ask Carol! She knew it!

I returned to the store; carefully entered my PIN number, and watched in delight as the transaction was approved and the paper starting coming out of the machine.

“Would you like the receipt?” he asked

“Yes please” I replied (with a sigh of relief that it was all over now). I then turned towards the exit door, with my bag of baked treats in hand.

“Sir!” I heard from behind me. I stopped and turned. “Sir … you might want to remove your credit card from the machine!”

Equality?

I was recently steered to a video (link below), on the basis that I might be interested because I know of somebody who parallels the circumstances covered. While I admire the mother’s sense of the realities of their particular situation, I also have to admire anybody that young who is prepared to explain about their developmental challenges.

The above linked video also generated a conversation on our society, and what so many of us do, and do not, accept. We noted that so many people have the perspective that heterosexuality is the only acceptable option. Sadly there is no acknowledgement that the individual could well have no control over the matter, but is ostracized regardless. On a positive note, it is nice to see those “boundaries” softening, but we still have a long way to go.

Indirectly from the video, our conversation drifted to “tomboys”! It is interesting that a young girl can dress up in boy’s clothes and generally act “boyish” and be accepted as a tomboy. If a young boy, however, dresses up in girls clothes and generally acts “girlish”, the reception would tend to be quite different.

The above is clearly just the proverbial “tip of the iceberg” in any discussion around sexuality, but it does make one wonder how on earth we got to become so intolerant of “differences” in general? My immediate reaction is to lay the blame on narrow-minded religious teachings. That may be a little unfair, but so much of our history has been highly influenced by the church. Religious wars are in our past so we know that they had a significant degree of control over society in earlier times.

I am no expert on the bible, but I do believe that understanding, compassion, love thy neighbour, and other related terms of caring for our fellow humans is quite decisively mentioned. I also believe that other major religions stress similar character traits, so what justifies our intolerance to those who are different? What right do any of us have for saying “You are different from me, and therefore you shouldn’t be here”?

Digressing away from sexuality issues, I find it rather amusing (in a very sad kind of way) that this continent (N.America) is the home to so many immigrants. Even those who were born here were likely born from immigrant parents. So many grand-parents etc also came here as immigrants. With the greatest respect to the native people who populated this continent before England, Spain and France discovered their lands, the US and Canada would not be the same today were it not for the immigrants from the past. i.e. Most people here are from immigrant origins. The obvious question from all this is … Why is there a current of intolerance towards immigrants threading itself through our society?

Have we really become so egotistical; so self-centred; so protective of “our world”, that we now guard it so intensely that the well being of others is an acceptable sacrifice?

Just thinking.

Something different!

I have always loved the interpretation of music in ice skating, and this is one of my favourite performances … from 1988. Tracey Wilson (now a skating commentator) and Rob McCall (sadly no longer with us) appear to have so much fun here. Continue reading