Love and Marriage

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I was reaching into the cupboard for a cereal bowl when I turned to my wife and said, ” Do you know I have a magic drawer in the bedroom, as soon as it empties of socks and underwear it magically refills the next day”. She arched her eyebrow and quietly replied, ” I wonder if the drawer would still be magic if I wasn’t here”   …… and ……I thought…… she’s absolutely right without her there would be no magic in my life. I would be just a depressed, chain smoking, overweight, alcoholic, searching for the meaning of existence. Now I’m kind of happy guy, who has quit smoking for 38 year, the usual 10 lbs overweight, still likes his alcohol on the weekends and found the meaning of life in family. My wife Kathy first cast her spell over me at the Royal Canadian Legion in September of 1971.

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Shortly after coming to Canada, at 21 years of age, I was adopted by an English family. I spent a great deal of time with them and one Saturday evening, about two years later, they invited me to accompany them to the Royal Canadian Legion. I sat opposite a young woman, sitting with her parents, and entered into conversation with her. I was immediately attracted to her casual, down to earth conversational style and calm demeanour. I loved looking at her face and the way her eyes reflected such kindness and understanding. By the end of a very pleasant evening we agreed to meet the following Friday at the local bowling alley. From that first date our relationship progressed and two months later I asked her to marry me. We were married six months later and settled into my basement apartment ready for domestic bliss.

Fast forward eight years and after the birth of our second child I finally managed to quit cigarettes. Soon after we had family over who smoked, and when they left I cried a river over how I couldn’t stand the smell of cigarettes. Kathy turned to me and said ” how do you think I felt all the years that you smoked”. I had my ash tray, cigarettes and lighter on a stand at the side of the bed and as soon as I was awake in the morning I would reach over, grab a cigarette, and start puffing away. Kathy told me she would open all the windows as soon as I left the house and would wash clothes daily because they smelled of cigarette smoke. She’s always been a non smoker. I was shocked when she told me this because in all that time she had never complained once.

Kathy and I both have different viewing habits, so we have two TV’s. Hers in the family room, mine in the basement. Kathy likes to watch women’s talk shows, dancing competitions, singing competitions and some reality shows. I like to watch Game of Thrones, The Vikings and any fast action dramas like Justified. When we were first married we both compromised. We watched her shows together and I was bored out of my mind. She would watch my shows and fall asleep after half an hour.

Kathy is a very caring, patient woman. She has to be, with me for a husband. I love her very much and if I had to live my life all over again, I would search for her till we were together again. Romance is not being all starry eyed but an understanding that neither of us is perfect, and a willingness to put up with those imperfections. So here we are forty seven years later, still romantically involved, still forgiving each others faults and still trying the best we can to ensure our relationship endures.

This post is written in response to a post by calmkate from “aroused” who asked for contributions on the subject of Romance.

Sunshine Blogger Award

Gary A. McMahon has nominated me for the Sunshine Bloggers Award. Thank You Gary. Gary blogs at Another Picture on the Wall and sadly his house and all its possessions, including a life time of photos and other memorabilia, were destroyed in the fire that swept Paradise, California in November, 2018. He is a genuine, down to earth man with a wonderful writing style and a great sense of humour…….and survival.

Gary’s 5 questions:

  1. What were your favorite games as a child?
  2. When was the last time you danced?
  3. Who are your favorite recording artists, bands, solo artists, orchestra?
  4. You have one month free to travel, where would you go?
  5. Do animals have souls?
  1. My favorite games were: a) soccer from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. b) “Tin Can Tommy”- place a can on the ground with two sticks crossed on top. Kick the can as far as you can and call a name. The person who’s name you call has to retrieve the can and the sticks while everyone hides. The person retrieving the can and sticks has to go back to the starting position of the can and place the sticks back on top. That person has to find the other people. The people hiding have to try and kick the can again without being discovered. c) Role playing Robin Hood and Knights of the Round Table. We used to make our own bows and arrows, swords and knives and shields.
  2. I don’t dance. I can be found at a table in the corner, nursing a beer and talking about the meaning of life.
  3. I like the Beatles, Mario Lanza, Luciano Pavarotti, Gene Autry, Frank Patterson, Andrea Bocelli. More classical than pop.
  4. One month of travel. I would go to Las Vegas. The shows, casinos, alcohol on the street. Balanced with visits to the desert, Grand Canyon, peace, solitude. I’m conflicted.
  5. Ouch. After all my drinking in Las Vegas the question of whether animals go to Heaven hurts my brain. My daughter has a Norwegian Behund puppy, Finn,  who I take for a walk from time to time. I have looked into Finns eyes and know that he has a soul. If I am allowed in Heaven, Finn has to be with me, or I’m not going.

My five nominations are: ( My site seems to turn web addresses into text ??)

http://miraculoussmile.wordpress.com/

http://ajunefloral.wordpress.com/

http://awifemyverse.wordpress.com/

http://beinginnatureblog.wordpress.com/

http://revolutionarymusings.wordpress.com/

My five questions are:

1.What is your fondest memory of childhood.

2. If you could write your obituary, what would it say?

3. Do you prefer turbulent waters or the stillness of the desert

4. What is your favorite flavor of ice-cream

5. Who do you most admire from history

The Great Divide-2

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https://reinventionsreena.wordpress.com/2019/01/10/reenas-exploration-challenge-69/

FOR THE NEW ENTRANTS

There is no restriction on the format or the length of the piece. It just has to be your reflection on the prompt from the core.

Write a post on your blog, and link it up with here with a pingback, or copy-pasting the blog link in Comments.

I eagerly await your responses.

There are many sites on WordPress that offer inspirational prompts. This is one from Reena as highlighted above. I couldn’t resist because it seems so topical these days.

The North and South lands had been separated by the great Divide for a thousand years. The inhabitants of both lands bore the same ancestory, with their distinctive skin colourings of various shades, but over time Souths culture had evolved into a more open society. 

Prior to the great Divide both North and South had autocratic rulers who reigned with an iron fist. Freedoms for the majority of the population were limited and for woman non- existent. The rulers held to the prophecies of ” He who knows all” and punished all unbelievers with death. 

After the great Divide, South land entered a time of renewal where past practices were questioned and the autocratic rulers were overthrown, to be replaced by a more democratic system of government. People were allowed to adopt their own belief systems, women were given their freedom and freedom of speech was encouraged.

The North land had not changed since the great Divide, the inhabitants were still ruled with an iron fist by the autocratic class .

News of the free society in the South began to creep into the North lands and its people became restless. They soon found ways to bridge the Divide and flee to the South. The South welcomed them with open arms, embracing the North’s people.

However, on reaching the South the people from the North could not adapt to it’s open society. They openly questioned the morals of these South people and their reckless ways. They were especially shocked by the belief systems of the South and not following the prophecy of “He who knows all”. 

A thousand years later the great Divide was finally bridged and both North and South returned to its original roots. Despotic rulers, no freedoms and adherence to the prophecies of “He who knows all”. It would be another thousand years before the great Divide would re-emerge once more.

 

Transcendence and Community


“He is one of those who has had the wilderness for a pillow, and called a star his brother. Alone. But loneliness can be a communion.”
Dag Hammarskjöld, Markings

Church for it’s various followers is both a sacred space and a community space. Transcendence and community are two sides of the same religious coin.

Growing up Catholic in London, England during the 50’s and 60’s I was very aware of the church as a sacred space. The antiquity of the churches exuded an atmosphere of age and stillness that enhanced the meditative spirit. The repetitive intoning of the liturgy at mass, in Latin and then English, induced a prayerful state of consciousness and belief in a creator.After decades of attending daily and weekly Catholic liturgies I had only to step into the church space to automatically transform my mind into meditative reflection.

At one point in time I used to attend daily mass. Daily mass at St. John of the Cross Church was held in a side altar, as only about thirty people attended. I remember on one occasion a woman attending daily mass with her very young baby. The baby cried and cried and I found myself unable to pray. So I approached the woman and asked if I could take the baby outside in the hallway. The woman gratefully handed me the baby and I walked up and down the corridor, outside the main church, clutching the baby to my chest with a slight rocking motion. The baby was soon fast asleep and I was able to return to praying. She entered the hallway after mass, accepted the baby while offering a heart felt thank you and proceeded on her way.

Sometime in the eighties the sense of the Catholic Church as a sacred space began to change. People sitting in church before mass would start to talk and exchange pleasantries on their week. The atmosphere was changed from one of prayerful reflection to a community hall setting. I used to spend some evenings in church before the tabernacle meditating on the life of Jesus for an hour. But I discontinued this practice as groups of people would come into the church, presumably from the church meeting rooms, and continue to chat, presumably still discussing their meeting. Call me old fashioned, but I think that the communal rooms of the church should be separated from the sacred space and its members act accordingly.

I left the Catholic Church because of the lack of credibility of the institutional hierarchy in regard to child abuse. My daughter left the Catholic Church because she was looking for community and could not find it in the Catholic Church. She now attends Grace Community Church which has a smaller congregation and lots of clubs and communal interaction. She finds the Sunday services very motivating.

My fourteen year old grandson attended some of the services of Grace Community Church but found it boring. He said it was just some guy dressed in jeans doing a lot of talking on stage. He asked if I would take him to Sunday Mass at the Catholic Church as he found this more inspiring. I had not attended Mass regularly for about ten years. So for the last six weeks we have been discovering together a new sense of the liturgy of the Catholic Church.

Different people have a different sense of church. Some like church to be a sacred space, infused with a sense of awe and wonder, to transcend our everyday experience and bring us closer to the divine. Others see church as a community with a shared sense of values and find the divine in supporting and motivating each other. Of course the Church is both Transcendent and Communal.

Let’s Talk About Borders

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“Borders are scratched across the hearts of men, by strangers with a calm, judicial pen, and when the borders bleed we watch with dread the lines of ink along the map turn red.”

Marya Mannes

” Just going to the store, won’t be long, ” I shouted to my wife, as I exited the front door on my way to the car. I returned ten minutes later to discover a man sitting in the living room conversing with my wife.

” This is Piers, ” exclaimed my wife, as she introduced the stranger to me, ” He walked in the door and said he wants to live here”.

My thoughts were confused as I faced Piers, ” But you just can’t walk into my house, uninvited, and expect to live here. Especially when you’re a complete stranger”.

Piers replied. ” I have spent my whole life living in an undesirable neighbourhood, and I find your neighbourhood so much nicer, and you have such a beautiful house. I want to live here”.

My wife pleaded on Piers behalf and despite my better judgement, I allowed him to stay with us. My wife and I lived in a three bed room home and there were just the two of us, so there was plenty of space.

One week later returning from work I encountered six people spread around the living room. My wife noticing my quizical look explained, ” This is Piers family. He feels it’s only right that they join him in sharing the house with us”.

” Piers never mentioned his family,” I said, ” Is he willing to contribute towards the cost of food and energy”.

My wife, being a caring person chided, ” At the moment he’s just getting government assistance, but I’m sure we can help financially “.

Two weeks later, again returning from work,  I encountered twelve people milling around the house. I had difficulty locating my wife, but eventually found her in the kitchen. ” Who are all these people I asked “.

” Piers friends, ” she said, “He invited them to stay with us “.

” But it’s our house, ” I replied angrily, ” He can’t just invite everyone to live here.”

‘ It is getting a little overcrowded and expensive, ” she said, ” I had trouble finding a place to sit, and the food and energy bills are a lot higher. But Piers said he hopes to find a job soon”.

I stalked off in search of Piers.

” You’re all going to have to leave, ” I commanded Piers.

” What kind of uncaring people are you, that you want to send us back to our undesirable neighbourhood” cried Piers.

” Well Piers,” I replied ” I also have the right to protect the integrity of my home and my family’s well being. ”

This fictional story is to illustrate how I feel about borders and boundaries.

Granted,  borders are an arbitrary historical distribution of land mainly established by conquest. But over time people within these borders have established a culture, a system of values and a quality of life. We have passports, visas and customs control, to monitor the inflows of people and goods to protect the people living within defined borders.

We have to balance our compassion and empathy for people with the practical side of sustaining a country’s population. Planned immigration is good because it allows governments to manage the resources of the country. Illegal immigration puts a strain on the resources of the country and affects the quality of lives of the citizens of that country…….and western countries are trillions of dollars in debt.

There seems to be a growing voice in the world for open borders (but notice this only applies to western democratized countries). It seems very naive to think western countries can open it’s borders and not diminish its culture, values and quality of life. But perhaps this is what is needed. Maybe western civilization has entered a stage of entropy and needs to be revitalized. But what comes next? That’s the question. Do you have an answer?

Santa and Angels

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It was Christmas Eve and children all over the world were waiting for the most magical day of the year.

Serena looked up at the stars, “Can you see Santa”

“N0. But he’s up there somewhere. I can feel it ” replied Tarrin

Tarrin and Serena heard a whistling sound and an object dropped out of the sky and landed next to the cousins. Tarrin stooped to pick it up and gave a surprise shout,

“It’s a whistle, let’s go inside and show it to my mother “.

Tarrin ran into the house waving the whistle, with Serena close behind.

Devin snatched the whistle from Tarrin’s hand and held it out of her reach, as Tarrin and Serena both jumped frantically trying to retrieve the whistle.

Kayleigh shouted, ” Mom, Devin’s teasing Tarrin again, send him to his room, ” while Kieran wrestled the whistle from Devin. Brianna in turn snatching the whistle from Kieran noticed some words engraved on its surface.

Brianna read aloud, ” Whistle and I’ll come to you. What does that mean? “

Devin reclaimed the whistle and blew as loud as he could. There was no sound.

” That’s disgusting ” proclaimed Kayleigh ” You don’t know where that whistles been “.

Kieran facing the patio door to the back yard saw something falling from the sky and turned on the outside lights. Kieran, Brianna, Kayleigh, Devin, Tarrin and their cousin Serena stood gaping in shock and amazement as they saw Santa and his reindeer, large as life, standing in their backyard.

Brianna was the first to recover, ” What cute reindeer ” she said, and all the children tumbled out the door into the back yard.

 ” Who whistled for me, ” enquired Santa, ” and what’s the emergency “

“There’s no emergency, ” responded Kieran ” We found a whistle and Devin blew it”

” Ho! Ho! Ho! ” laughed Santa, ” I must have dropped my summoning whistle that the elves use”

Kayleigh asked in a pleading voice, ” Now that you’re here Santa, can you take us for a short ride around the roof tops “.

“Better than that “, said Santa ” How would you like to help me deliver the presents.”

All the children gave a great cheer and ran inside to retrieve their winter coats, gloves and hats. ” Shot gun, ” yelled Kieran as they ran outside to arrange themselves in the sled.

Soon they were flying over the roof tops and the houses became a tiny speck below.

Tarrin asked Santa where they were going to deliver the presents and Santa replied,

” Let’s try England”. 

Kieran thought for a minute and then turning to Santa enquired ” I went to England this year and it took me six hours by plane. How can we get there and back by morning as well as visit all the other countries”

Santa just smiled and said ” By using a little piece of Heaven”

Santa closed his eyes, the children felt a slight tingle and found themselves surrounded by a bright light and a feeling of peace and contentment. Angels were flying all around them singing praises to God 

” This is my little secret.” said Santa, ” I work with the Angels and the elves at Christmas. It’s team work, the only way we can get things done in time. I enter a little doorway to Heaven at Christmas and ask your Guardian Angels to help me deliver the presents. The Angels also let me use Heaven as a shortcut so that I can travel, in the blink of an eye, to any country I wish. “.

Sure enough, in the blink of an eye,  the children again felt a slight tingling and they were flying over England. They spent the next while having fun, helping Santa to deliver lots of presents to the children of  England. Quite soon the presents were all gone.

“Time to head back,” said Santa, “But we’ll make a little stop first”

They soon felt that tingling feeling as they entered Heaven again.  The next instant, they saw a bright star shining in front of them, and were followed out of Heaven by a legion of angels. The reindeer  flew down and landed by a stable.

The children looked on in wonder, as they recognized Mary and Joseph kneeling beside a crib that held the baby Jesus.

Joseph and Mary turned to Santa and the children and greeted them warmly ” Hello Nicholas, hello children, so glad you are here to celebrate the birth of our baby”.

Tarrin, without any hesitation, walked up to the baby Jesus and laid her teddy bear at the foot of the crib.

Serena followed her closely and set her PJ Mask doll by the teddy bear.

Kayleigh took her bracelet from her wrist and laid it beside the teddy bear and PJ Mask.

” Thank you ” said Mary,”  Three gifts, the perfect number “.

Santa and the children stood around the crib for a while and offered a silent prayer. After a while Santa gestured the children towards the sleigh and they said their goodbyes to Mary and Joseph and Jesus.

In another blink of an eye, they found themselves descending into their backyard, their adventures behind them.

” Our parents will be worried about us ” said Devin “We must have been gone most of the night”.

“Don’t worry” replied Santa ”  No time has passed at all, we have returned to the moment we first met in your backyard “.

Brianna quickly ran inside and grabbed some carrots for the reindeer and chocolate chip cookies for Santa. Santa thanked the children for the carrots and cookies and for being such great helpers and with a jolly cheer and a Merry Christmas he was again on his way. For he still had children to visit. 

And Kieran, Kayleigh, Brianna, Devin, Tarrin and Serena made some hot chocolate and settled down to wait for the most magical day of the year.

( This is a Christmas story for my six grandchildren Kieran, Brianna, Devin, Kayleigh, Tarrin and Serena).

 

 

Continue reading “Santa and Angels”

Confession

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This is a photo from 2016. My granddaughters Tarrin on the left and Brianna on the right.

Brianna was apprehensive. She stood in line with her grade 8 class, from St. Ignatius school,waiting to confess her sins to Father Munroe. It was the beginning of Advent and she had to be cleansed of her past misdeeds to prepare for the coming of Jesus at Christmas. Her mind was in a whirl as she went through last years events wondering what to confess.

Soon it was her turn to enter the make shift confessional.

Brianna intoned, ” Bless me  Father for I have sinned…………………………….. “.

Father Munroe allowed a slight pause and then in a benign voice prompted  ” Begin, my child, do you have anything to confess”

Brianna thought for a while and then muttered, ” I forgot to give Splash her carrot last week, I was in a hurry and forgot to pick one up”.

Father Munroe looked a little baffled and enquired, ” and who is Splash “.

” The horse I ride at Old Orchard Farm. I have lessons Mondays and Wednesdays “

Father Munroe encouraged Brianna to continue.

Brianna screwed up her face in concentration, ” I was sick last month and wasn’t able to clean Bubbles cage “.

Father Munroe looking a little exasperated said, ” I suppose Bubbles is your pet mouse”

” No Father ” Brianna replied, “He’s my pet hamster”

Father Munroe with a resigned look urged Brianna to continue.

” It was pouring with rain yesterday, so I refused to take Finn for a walk, even though I knew I should ” confessed Brianna.

Father Munroe perked up ” Ha, you disobeyed your parents. I presume Finn is your dog”

” Yes Father” murmured Brianna, ” But my parents weren’t home, I just felt guilty about releasing him to the back yard, instead of walking him”.

” Do you have anything else to confess ” asked Father Munroe.

Brianna thought long and hard if she had mistreated the cats Fred and Ffion but couldn’t think of anything. ” That’s all I have to confess Father “

Father Munroe still probing Brianna’s soul asked  if she had any brothers or sisters. Brianna replied in the affirmative.

‘ You never fight or argue with your brothers and sisters ,” enquired an astonished Father Munroe.

” Of course I do, “says Brianna ” But that’s not a sin, it’s survival”

” Perhaps you should treat you brothers and sisters more like animals ” reflected Father Munroe.  Absolving Brianna of her sins and with a sigh of relief he moved on to the next student.