Letters to the Editor

 One Sunday morning, a little while ago, I noticed a woman I hadn't seen before and went to welcome her at the end of the service. I learned her name was Wendy, and I recognized her last name, McGenerty, from a church we attended in the early 1970s. It turned out that we had known part of her extended family. Wendy became a regular attendee and plunged into the church's life. She found ways to share her gifts as she loves sending handwritten cards or calling people who need encouragement. She found her niche so effectively that she became someone you never knew you missed until she showed up! Wendy's heart beats with gratitude, compassion, and courage that rises above challenging circumstances. Soon, Wendy and I discovered that we were both 1950 models and born within ten days of one another in June of that year, although separated by the Atlantic Ocean. Our physical proximity diminished when I came to Canada in 1969 as a 19-year-old new bride. I left behind my family,

Monsters in the Garage

 Family gatherings are always an occasion for reminiscing—and our children, Peter and Brenda, have memories that have morphed into legends.   To start with, there was a uniqueness to our "family." It consisted of our nuclear family plus twelve men who needed support so that they could one day live more independently. After breakfast each weekday, a van would take the men to their places of work, and in the afternoon, around the time the children came home from school when they were old enough to attend; the men would also come home.   In addition to an already full house, one of the children's uncles from England lived with us for two years, and an aunt came each evening to help the men learn the skills they'd need to live on their own and take whoever wanted to go out, shopping, all in turn. Meanwhile, I was always busy shopping for groceries, cleaning, and cooking.   Each year over the college semester, from January through March, students taking the Developme

An Element of Surprise

It was the day of the annual Christmas pot-luck lunch with my work team and boss at our home. Everyone relaxed and socialized while I finished my part of the meal, which was, as was tradition, roast beef with mashed potatoes and Yorkshire Puddings. The potatoes were mashed, the meat was carved, and the gravy was made. The side dishes were warmed up, and all that remained was to cook the Yorkshire Puddings. So I put the muffin tins holding a little oil into the oven and turned the temperature to high. As I prepared the batter, I listened for the sizzle of the oil reaching smoking hot, which is always my cue to get the pans out of the oven and fill them. But, unfortunately, the fat didn't sizzle, and when I opened the oven door, it was stone cold! The rest of the stove was evidently working, but the element had hung in long enough to cook the meat and then died! With a sigh, I adjusted the plan. There was nothing for it but to break the news there would be no Yorkshire Puddings t

My Encounter with a High Horse

  My eyes fluttered open as the grey light of dawn filtered into my room. Stretching in the warm cocoon of my bed, I reached into the crisp cold air of my bedroom with outstretched arms. Something important was tugging at my sleepy brain, and slowly I remembered; I had an adventure planned for this morning!  As quietly as I could, I slipped from between the covers. Then, shivering and teeth chattering, I quickly dressed and tiptoed downstairs, careful not to wake my sleeping parents and brother. My parents wouldn't have understood-- and my brother, three years younger, would have wanted to tag along.  Leaving the silent house with a couple of apples in my pocket, I stepped out into a world alive with chirping, twittering bird-song. A short walk from our house was a meadow, and I ran through the frosty grass towards the paddock. There stood my friend Merrylegs, who I often stroked on my way to school. Seeing me, she walked towards the fence, the breath from her nostrils hanging

We Need More of That

Edited version. First published 18/05/2016 The sun shone bright, and the day was full of the promise of spring as our cars converged on the small church standing at the side of a quiet country road. It was a glorious day for our purpose: remembering someone who would have loved to be there but who had more pressing business in heaven. The gathering was informal and simple, just staff of the agency that had supported the person and his friends and family. We simply sang songs that were his favourites and shared our memories. We laughed and wiped away some tears, and we all left with more than we came with. I loved all of the stories, but two shared by one of his support staff stuck with me. To understand them, you need to know two things: he loved to sing and was irrepressible if the moment called for a song, and he had an intellectual disability.  He left his seat at one event they were at, mounted the podium, and took the microphone. Then he sang the song, "Jesus Loves Me,"

On Procrastination

I realize that I am using a chunk of my so-called "daily writing time," 1.5 hours, first thing every morning, in "writing study." I love learning, reading, and, sometimes, practicing, but the buzzer rings and I have done little  writing.  So, I thought of separating both things and building in five hours of strictly "writing time" into my weekly writing schedule to be used in one chunk or several smaller increments. This week is my first trial. Here is some wise advice on schedules that I read this morning: "GO EASY Now that you have your schedules set for reading and writing, don't be too harsh a boss! What's it going to hurt if sometimes you daydream on the job a little or goof around in the kitchen? As long as your working hours are clear, you at least know you ought to be working. You have a schedule to know when you're messing up.  Then again... It won't do to coddle yourself. Not at your desk when you're supposed to be? Call

The Magic Shoe Company

 Yesterday our granddaughter Tori came to pick up a cheque that had arrived in our mailbox and stayed for a visit with her mom, Brenda and me. In the course of the conversation, we talked about customer satisfaction. However, I can’t recall how we got onto that topic, only that it reminded me of my satisfying conclusion of a slipper purchase almost a month earlier.  We were all sitting on the floor at the time to be less threatening to her shy dog, Kevin, so I pointed to my feet stretched out in front of me—and my new slippers with their moccasin-like uppers, cozily trimmed and lined with faux-fur. Tori appraised them approvingly, “They’re nice,” she said.  “I love them,” I said, “but the first pair I bought after spending forever choosing them and thinking they were perfect began to pinch after several hours of wearing them around the house. Thinking I’d get used to them, I kept them on despite the discomfort and even dropped something on them in the kitchen, which I wiped off with a