A while back I read a book that was as poignant as it was scary. It is called A deadly wandering: A tale of tragedy and redemption in the age of attention, by Matt Richtel (William Morrow, 2014). I mentioned it at the time because of the high volume of drivers busted driving and texting at the time. I am picking up the topic again because somehow the issue of distracted driving does not seem to go away. How could it? The people at the other end are doing their best to keep our attention hooked to the devices through whatever pings and screen traps necessary.
Category: Life Stories Page 2 of 41
I have a hard time peeling myself away from the book I am reading to focus on this column. The book is called From the Ashes, and it is written by Jesse Thistle, presently an assistant professor of Metis Studies at York University in Toronto. The path that led him to where he is today though… OK, I will not spoil it for you. I am three quarters done and have shaken my head and winced more times than I could count since I started reading it. I had heard him sharing his story on the radio a couple of years ago while driving with my eldest to Harper Mountain. I wished then he’d write about it. He did.
It is hard to put into words the extent of the tragedy that has befallen the families and friends of the 176 people who died in the recent plane crash near Tehran. Worse yet was learning the latest about the Iranian surface-to-air missile that struck the plane down. Someone – human error or not – shot the plane down (yes, I know it’s not the first one, sadly.) One can hope that many of the painful questions that multiply with each day will find answers, but then again, that will not make up for lost lives.
I’d rather not drive on a day when the weather predictions call for heavy snowstorm. But we had already bought the tickets and it would have taken a lot to make us miss this unique performance. We left Kamloops by 6pm, aiming to arrive before 8pm when the show started. Near Armstrong, that is.
You may have guessed already that we were going to see a rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker by the Caravan Farm Theatre (the performance director was Manon Beaudoin.) A close friend saw one of the theatre’s performances last year and was charmed. She advised us to go if we have the chance. We knew the story but past that, we had no idea what to expect other than the fact that spectators were to be in horse-drawn sleighs for part of the show.
Most days the boys come home from school saying the day was OK. Every now and then something more than ordinary happens and the usual non-descriptive OK is replaced by stories, good and bad. A couple of weeks ago our youngest came home with such a story – a good one.
That day, their Career Planning teacher told them, among others, that gratitude makes life better. He told them stories about people who went through hard times and became that much more grateful for what they had even when almost everything had been taken away from them.
Another time, the woodwork teacher told them that they are fortunate to be able to go to school and have access to so many learning resources. We often talked about this in our home. It is hard to put in in words how good many people have it here. And having it good comes with moral obligations, I believe.
I have this simple blade coffee grinder that I use for grinding flax seeds. It lost a knob during one of our many moves, but it still works. No points for looking pretty though. We also have another basic blade coffee grinder, which has all parts and has been fully functional for the last 20 years (OK, we had to sharpen the blade a couple of times). Donating either in favour of new ones might just mean the end of the road for both, since they look past their prime. And then again, why would we? They work just fine.
Some people eat too much sugar and others watch too much TV. I read news and get too involved with it. It is good to stay current, no? Yes, but there is a darker side. Many of the stories are upsetting and often times there is no closure after a particularly heartbreaking one. I cover many in my columns, and then I keep on hoping that there will be some resolution, closure for victims and their families. Sadly, that is not the case. Oblivion is a horrible mistress and our faulty justice system enables it.