Creatures of habit

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There was an old lighthouse keeper, who lived by himself for many, many years.  Just the man and his tower of light and the sea. Every morning at precisely 6am, the fog horn would sound…a long, low, sad blast; it didn’t matter whether the lighthouse was bathed in the deepest fog, or being battered by the winds and waves stirred by a hurricane, or if it was the perfect summer morning blessed by bright sunshine and a warm breeze, the fog horn sounded. Every morning.

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In lieu of gifts……

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Oh, hello….

These days it seems the thing to do on your birthday is not to ask for nor expect gifts or a party; rather, people are choosing favourite charities and asking their friends to make donations.

This is a great idea, because you can be sure you’re giving something you know will be liked and appreciated.  They wouldn’t be doing it otherwise.

There may be times when you don’t agree with the person’s choice of charity; if that’s the case, I’m really not sure of what to do.  If they’re not a really close friend, you can probably get away with waiting till their birthday and wishing them the best on social media or something.  Luckily for me, the requests have been for causes I can get behind, so it’s nice to be able to do something for someone who needs it, in the name of a friend.

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That time I fought City Hall…

If you don’t live in a place where the weather changes in extremes, this may not be something that will resonate with you.

But if, like millions of people around the world (but especially in northern North America), you happen to have planted yourself in a place where the roads can literally melt in summer, then turn around and crack with the cold six months later, this is a story you’ll want to hear.

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I love a parade….

True confession: I was a drum majorette in my high school marching band.

For three years, I got to carry the big baton and lead the 50 or so members of the band as we worked football games and parades.

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Did I not wear gloves? I should have…it would have looked cool.

My dress was a cream color, with a backing of satiny gold material on the underside of the skirt, so that if I happened to spin or even swish my hand past my skirt, spectators would be treated to a flash of brightness.  I don’t recall what I wore for panties, but there must have been something.  Yikes.

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¿Cuba? Si!

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Shortly after I moved to Canada, I was having a chat with a new friend, and we got to talking about the upcoming winter vacation.  She referred to it as “holidays”—here, people “go on holidays”, they don’t “take a vacation.”

Of course, I knew what she meant, but to me holidays meant actual specific days—like Thanksgiving or St. Patrick’s Day or New Year’s, and vacation was the thing you did that usually had a holiday in the middle of it.

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Remembering…and thanking someone I’ve never met

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Kissing Rock on Shelter Island, NY

I was five when President Kennedy died.

I don’t remember the actual event itself, exactly, but I do remember sitting cross legged on the floor of our house in a Chicago suburb, watching the black and white images of the funeral cortege, and later the funeral itself, and thinking that all of this was making my parents very, very sad.

I remember the little boy—his son—who stepped forward and saluted his father’s casket.

And I remember when that little boy died, decades later.

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Springing into Fall

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Well, here we are…..the end of another season, and the beginning of the next.

I usually find that, right around now, I begin to think of the things I didn’t do/didn’t get to do over the summer:

  • I didn’t lose weight; in fact; I gained;
  • That means I didn’t get into the handful of “goal” outfits I brought out as incentives. Now they’ll get shoved back into the back of the summer closet. Again;
  • I didn’t stick my toes in the sand. Not once, and I was near the beach too.
  • I didn’t get all the photos scanned from my photo albums (I had planned for a
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    My bro & me, circa ’63

    “Grand Scan” to be completed by now—I’d say I’m about 25% there…but I will also say it’s been a lot of fun to look at all the photos);

  • I didn’t manage to avoid the forest fire smoke from British Columbia (but can only imagine how bad it is/was there when it was at the top of the scale here).

What did I get done?

 

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I saw the light

 

(be patient and don’t blink or you’ll miss it)

It’s dusk on a steamy August weeknight.  The day had been overly hot and overly muggy—and I feel hotter and clammier than I can remember in a long time—like there’s a sheen of sweat all over me.  I’m walking across the backyard in my bare feet, and I know I’m going to regret this when I start to count the mosquito bites on my ankles in the morning. God, they’re gonna itch—but they’re better than ticks, which I’ll have to check for as soon as I go back inside.

I step on the occasional stick and the occasionally sticky thing as I make my way to the woods in the deeper shadows at the back of the yard. The moon will rise over the ocean soon, and it’s going to be full, casting a whole other light onto the night.

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By the time we got to Woodstock….

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

Four days and 49 years ago, a festival dropped in on upstate New York.

Depending on who tells the story, somewhere between 400 thousand and half a million people turned up to watch three days of music, get a little high (a little?!) and wallow in the mud in a summer that had seen, just a few weeks earlier, Chappaquiddick and then a man walk on the moon for the very first time. (Later that year—a year in which Richard Nixon was serving his first term as president, the New York Mets would win the World Series.  That’s the sort of crazy year it was…)

But what’s a hundred thousand when you’re all there for the same reason?

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