Saturday, November 12, 2011

What gift have you received in life that is most precious?

I was recently asked this question and of course I said that all the gifts I have received have been precious in one way or another. A gift is usually given out of love and caring therefore making it a very special and precious thing to receive, but if you really think about it, there is usually one gift that you have been given that stands out in your mind. This is not about the gifts we receive from our children, as those gifts are in a special bundle For me it was a simple hand written card given to me 32 years ago. This card was given to me a few days before I got married from a very special man in my life. He was much older than I was but he stole my heart and still has it to this day even though he has passed away. He was a father figure during my teens and up until the day I got married. He gave me advice, helped me through some rough times and I knew he was there for me if and when I needed him. My teen years were more than difficult to say the least, but if it wasn’t for this man I’m sure I would have traveled a very different path probably leading to self destruction of some form. During my marriage, life happened, and as I grew and embarked on my own path, I lost contact with this person. When I was asked the question, and after I had answered, my mind went to a small wooden trunk in my bedroom. Inside this wooden trunk are things that I could never part with. It’s who I am inside and out. Inside this trunk lays the card that was given to me 32 years ago. This simple hand written card was given to me by a very precious person making it one of the most treasured gifts I have ever been given.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lest We Forget

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

McCrae's "In Flanders Fields" remains to this day one of the most memorable war poems ever written. It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915. Here is the story of the making of that poem:
Although he had been a doctor for years and had served in the South African War, it was impossible to get used to the suffering, the screams, and the blood here, and Major John McCrae had seen and heard enough in his dressing station to last him a lifetime.
As a surgeon attached to the 1st Field Artillery Brigade, Major McCrae, who had joined the McGill faculty in 1900 after graduating from the University of Toronto, had spent seventeen days treating injured men -- Canadians, British, Indians, French, and Germans -- in the Ypres salient.
It had been an ordeal that he had hardly thought possible. McCrae later wrote of it:
"I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days... Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done."
One death particularly affected McCrae. A young friend and former student, Lieut. Alexis Helmer of Ottawa, had been killed by a shell burst on 2 May 1915. Lieutenant Helmer was buried later that day in the little cemetery outside McCrae's dressing station, and McCrae had performed the funeral ceremony in the absence of the chaplain.
The next day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the dressing station beside the Canal de l'Yser, just a few hundred yards north of Ypres, McCrae vented his anguish by composing a poem. The major was no stranger to writing, having authored several medical texts besides dabbling in poetry.
In the nearby cemetery, McCrae could see the wild poppies that sprang up in the ditches in that part of Europe, and he spent twenty minutes of precious rest time scribbling fifteen lines of verse in a notebook.
A young soldier watched him write it. Cyril Allinson, a twenty-two year old sergeant-major, was delivering mail that day when he spotted McCrae. The major looked up as Allinson approached, then went on writing while the sergeant-major stood there quietly. "His face was very tired but calm as we wrote," Allinson recalled. "He looked around from time to time, his eyes straying to Helmer's grave."
When McCrae finished five minutes later, he took his mail from Allinson and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the young NCO. Allinson was moved by what he read:
"The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene."
In fact, it was very nearly not published. Dissatisfied with it, McCrae tossed the poem away, but a fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Just checking in......

Time seems to slip away when you don’t pay attention and pay attention I have not. It’s been a bit since I have blogged and that’s because of a few different reasons all rolled into one. I have literally thrown myself into my own personal writing to escape the reality of life for a bit. Oh don’t be thinking that I’m down and depressed, feeling the ho hum of things. It’s just a few things decided to stack themselves hap hazardly onto my shoulders sending my balance off kilter a teeny little bit. But I AM woman and one can STILL hear me roar.

Definition of RENOVATE
transitive verb
1: to restore to a former better state (as by cleaning, repairing, or rebuilding)
2: to restore to life, vigor, or activity

I have no one to blame except myself for the renovations that have been happening in the house, BUT if I have to testify in court my defence will be guilty by the reason of insanity. It all began because I said I wanted one door blocked in and before I knew it the other half decided to investigate further into what was behind the 60’s paneling and 80’s wall paper on all the dinning room walls. Now, I know sometimes my thoughts are a wee bit warped, but a man really should not stand on a ladder unprotected while a woman who has not been having a good day as a floor full of MAN tools at her disposal. Oh the thoughts of an opened wall, 2x4 wall studs, rolls of plastic and insulation sure made the light bulbs go off. (Don’t worry; my walls are body part free….so far). Seriously though, renovations can be exciting, well they start out exciting but before long the stinging retorts and rather loud cussing begins to ring out, especially when one is bent over on the floor while the other half is hap hazardly ripping off 60 year old gypsum board and a huge piece drops on ones head. The resounding chuckles coming from the top of the ladder certainly didn’t aid in the more than painful goose-egg that began to appear on the back of ones head. Anyway, the last screw has finally been placed into the last remaining sheet of drywall so at least I do not feel as though I am living in a shanty. As for when the mudding, tapping and sanding will begin is another thing. I’ll certainly let everyone know when the buzzing of the sander and the loud hum of the shop vac begins to echo through the house…..if a certain one is lucky enough to….well I’ll not comment further as anything I say may be held against me.
Now on the work front; can everyone say ‘The Mickey Mouse Club”? I’m finding most happenings rather humorous lately. I’ve stated enough times on how flakey my new Supervisor is and I stand by those statements. Over the months since she has taken “The Big Desk” I have seen many things that have just made me silently chuckle. There is nothing I can really do except sit back, watch quietly and smile as I do my job. The gossip way back was that this person would not stay long in her reign of power, yet she still sits at the “Big Desk”. I guess that goes to prove that people should never believe gossip. (lol) I THINK I have learned how to keep out of her way and so far it has been working. I have had a few flup ups and have been given the sounding slap on the hand along with an added chuckle from her making things a bit more tolerable. It does help when the patrons that visit the centre during the hours I work pop into the office, smile and chat with me a bit, giving me the added incentive to stay focused. It’s a wonderful feeling when those patrons actually say how much they appreciate me and my efforts on making their time at the centre a good one.

Until next time my fellow bloggers….