Do you remember what you were doing on the morning of May 16th at 7.45 or so? Todd Harding does. He was walking downtown to his work with his guide dog, Luke. The pair stopped on the sidewalk near the intersection of Columbia and 5th Avenue, waiting for the voice prompt before crossing. Harding is blind, therefore he never crosses before making sure it is safe to do so. Plus, Luke is an experienced guide dog and has so far done a stellar job at taking his owner safely to where he needs to go.
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Originally published as a column on CFJC Today Kamloops and Armchair Mayor News on Monday April 21, 2019.
We had to add a few seats around the table for dinner last night. The kitchen was a bustling place, as it is when we have family and friends over. There were stories and laughter and dinner became tea time which went on for a while longer.
I am one of those people who believes that having people gathered together for a meal is a magical thing. Even with the simplest, rushed meal at times, because life is like that sometimes, the four of us sit down and share that time and the food.
Saturday morning started with a good amount of sunshine and blue skies. I hiked and took in the fresh air and the beautiful landscape, and spent some time remembering Cindy Ross Friedman, whom I got to meet for coffee and chats many times after moving to Kamloops and whose celebration of life service I was to attend later in the day. Gone too soon, she had a spark like no other.
Originally published as a column on CFJC Today Kamloops and Armchair Mayor News on Monday December 24, 2018.
It was 2am when the dog started growling in that way that means one thing: someone is too close to the house. Shortly after the growling, light beams started flickering through the bedroom curtains. We got up to look: someone was running through our backyard with a flashlight. Admittedly, that was strange. We live in a safe neighbourhood without too much rowdiness or crime. When the back alley light shone on the man’s back we realized he was part of the police force.
‘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…’
It is impossible to describe the deep reverence the reading of Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae’s famous poem conferred to the sea of people gathered around the cenotaph on Remembrance Day. It is one of those situations that can be summed up by an overused but adequate phrase: ‘you had to be there.’ The words of the poem are haunting, and the images they conjure stay alive in the hearts and minds of us all. Every single time.
Originally published as a column on CFJC Today Kamloops and Armchair Mayor News on November 5, 2018.
My grandfather was a WWII veteran. He died when I was nine, and so did the stories that he might have been inclined to share. I have old photos of him in uniform, and I know a few of the jolly stories – including how he courted my grandmother – family folklore that made us kids giggle. But I do not know the anguish, the pain, the horror he experienced as a WWII soldier.
Hence the silence that was draped all over my thoughts when, as a kid, I was passing by the cemetery. There were many rows of graves of WWI and WWII soldiers; the tombstones that said ‘unknown soldier’ were far more numerous than the ones with a name. Back then, as a child, I shuddered thinking what it must be like to lose my mom or dad that way.
Originally published as a column on CFJC Today Kamloops and Armchair Mayor News on Monday, October 29, 2018.
Once again, I toss my midweek-written column. I had started writing about the troublesome aspect of our present-day life, which is the excess we have created. Put in the context of the growing mountains of garbage, plastic waste in particular, it seems ridiculous and irresponsible to add more to the pile. But we do, and every weekly flyer is proof to that. I was also mentioning the absurdity of seeing Christmas items already in stores (the story of garbage has many chapters indeed.)
I will save it for another week; nothing will change in the meantime, except for more flyers arriving in the mail tempting us to buy more so we can have more so we can actually have less. Among other things, less gratitude and a lesser sense of responsibility towards our future; our children’s future.