Monday, 17 July 2017
When I was a kid we used to play a game which consisted of considerable speculation on which of the senses we would prefer to lose, if indeed, one had to go. It was usually conceded by my friends that they would prefer to do without a sense of smell. I never agreed. To me, smell is a very important sense, one I'd rather not do without. It is our sense of smell that gives our memories substance. For example, do you remember the smell of a classroom? It smelled of chalkdust and oiled floors and little boys sneakers. Do you remember the smell of your mother's kitchen in the fall, when the stove was covered with huge vats of boiling cucumbers , and the odour of spices permeated the whole house? And how about the smell of bacon in the early morning, and fresh coffee percolating on the stove? What about the aroma of fresh bread in the oven, or the scent of burning leaves in the autumn? Who among us can ever forget the sweet delicate scent of the perfume that that very special girl wore on the night of your first date. Oh, there are so many smells I would hate to be deprived of. Carnations, wet with dew, mothballs, cedar closet, old leather, new cars, roast beef, burning firewood, Johnson's baby powder, and on and on and on. Like I say, the sense of smell gives substance to our memories. Like all our God given senses, the sense of smell is indeed very precious.
Sunday, 12 August 2012
At least once every two years, I thumb through the old family photograph album. This precious volume has been in the family for fifty years and it was passed on by my mother to me. there is one picture in this album that always gives me pause for thought. It's a photograph taken at my grandfathers modest farm in Innisfail. In the picture are twenty seven brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, and cousins, all in one place at the same time. The picture was taken in the early thirties when cars were slow and not too dependable and roads were gravelled, and could be counted on to be dusty and dirty. And yet, somehow, because we all cared, we managed to get together three or four times a years, for a sort of a family reunion. Some of the old-timers in the picture are gone but youngsters have come along to fill in the gaps. And yet, today when cars can travel swiftly and roads are smooth and straight; when the Bay of Fundy is only four hours from Vancouver Island; we never manage to get together. Each of us claims to be too busy to "get down there for the weekend". And so weeks slip into months and months into years, and the family grows farther and farther apart.
Friday, 3 August 2012
Let me tell you how my day went. I didn't sleep well last night. My bed was lumpy. It hasn't been properly made for the last while. The radio told me I was twenty minutes behind schedule. I forgot th wind the clock last night. I went to the drawer for a clean handkerchief. There was none. I selected the last pair of socks from my drawer but there was a hole in one toe. I had to wear the same shirt I wore yesterday because the soiled ones had not been sent out to the laundry. I went to the kitchen to fix a little breakfast. Bacon and eggs. (How long has it been since I ate something that wasn't fried?) The frying pan was dirty and sitting in the sink with last nights dinner dishes. The Ivy plant on the window ledge looked rather sick. I had forgotten to water it. I looked out the windows and noticed that the flower beds were in much the same state. They looked as neglected as they were. I thought again about the inner man and decided a little light breakfast food would do. I poured out a bowl of corn flakes and went for the milk. I had forgotten to put out the bottles. I planned to try and catch a bite at coffee time. My suit looked a little wrinkled. I hadn't remembered to send it to the cleaners. At the end of the day I went home to the empty drawers, the dirty frying pan and dishes, the empty milk jug, the dying ivy and the limp flower beds and I thought to myself, life just isn't worth living when the little woman takes a week off to visit Aunt Martha.
The late John Barrymore uttered a great deal of nonsense in his lifetime. He lived high and hard and to many his life would appear to be an abominable waste. He did however say one thing that I shall never forget. Barrymore said "Happiness usually comes into a door you never knew you left open"! My goodness isn't that true? All of us are inclined to hunt and chase happiness. We think we find it in pretentious homes, in the latest model cars, and cocktail and dinner parties, and all the many gadgets with which we clutter up our lives. Yet who among us cannot reflect on the real happy times. They are so few yet so precious. The moment we gaze upon our first born. The quiet moments beside the fireside when the youngsters have been tucked in. The gentle snow falling outside on a crisp Christmas eve. Long hours beside still waters. Gentle words and held hands by candlelight in some small warm cafe. The smell of fresh bread. The feeling of crisp sheets. The look of checked tablecloths. The taste of warm coffee on a cold morning. The tender kiss of a child. The sound of those three wonderful words, "I love you". These are the times to enjoy and remember. These are the moments that enrich our hurried lives. Yes, happiness does come in through a door we didn't even know we left open.
Tuesday, 31 July 2012
I take a lot of ribbing at my house because I like filmed westerns. I guess they are an escape for me as they are for many men. Maybe they remind us of those glorious years we went through when we were kids, when we wanted nothing in life so much as to be a cowboy. However, I pick up a lot of good ideas from some of these cowboy shows. For example, this quote from big Ben Cartwright. Ben said, "The hurt you feel when you tell the truth is a little shorter and less painful than the hurt you feel when you don't face the truth". That line struck trip hammer hard and I immediately wrote it down. How much simpler life would be if we would face the truth. So often in our lives we turn away from the facts as we know them to be, simply because we know the truth will hurt someone else, or sometimes ourselves. So many people today go through life living a complete lie. When unpleasant situations arise at work or in the home, they turn away, hoping that time will change things. So often people say things they don't mean and do things to which they are opposed simply because they can't bring themselves to look at the situation clearly and objectively. And so they go on, waiting for the miracle that never comes. I know it is not often easy to hurt someone with the truth but in most cases the truth is what is most urgently needed to clean up the conflicts in our lives. Truth will often hurt, but always remember those words of Ben Cartwright. "The hurt you feel when you tell the truth is a little shorter and a little less painful than the hurt you feel when you don't face the truth".