If I Could Turn Back the Hands of Time………….

WordPress Krista asked today: “If you could return to the past to relive a part of your life, either to experience the wonderful bits again, or to do something over, which part of your life would you return to? Why?”

First memory: Second year university. Early Monday morning. I just returned to my dorm room from spending Sunday at home with my family and eating a wonderful dinner. It was 5 a.m. and I nestled fully clothed under my covers after taking care not to wake up my roommate. I was totally caught up in my school work, I had lots of friends, I liked my boyfriend at the time (he did not smother me), and all was right with the world. I want all to be right with the world again.

Second memory: The night I met my husband at a dance in the spring of 1980. We have been together ever since.

Third and Fourth memories: When I found out that my sons (one born premature in 1986 weighing 2 pounds 51/2 ounces and the other in 1991 at 3 pounds 5 ounces) were going to live healthy “normal” lives.

I am not sure I would return to these times to relive them, but they live on in my memory forever.

Published in: on April 1, 2014 at 1:49 pm  Comments (12)  
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Resolution, Smezsolution…………….

Grace-for-all

Grace-for-all (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a movement afoot that will change the face of New Year’s resolutions forever if it is taken seriously. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of the same old, same old resolutions. The revolution of the resolution takes the stance that we find one word that defines what we want to achieve and use that as our resolution. I love this approach.

When I heard about this new way of looking at resolutions, the first word that popped into my mind was “grace”. I think that it covers everything I want to achieve, be, and defines how I want to be treated. The following quotes (from brainyquote.com) illustrate just how wide the scope is that grace embraces:

1. “Jesus wept; Voltaire smiled. From that divine tear and from that human smile is derived the grace of present civilization.” ~ Victor Hugo

2. “Courage is grace under pressure.” ~Ernest Hemingway

3. “Beauty without grace is the hook without the bait.”  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

4. “Grace has been defined as the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul.~ William Hazlitt

5. “Teach your children poetry; it opens the mind, lends grace to wisdom and makes the heroic virtues hereditary.” ~Walter Scott

6. “Grace is available for each of us every day – our spiritual daily bread – but we’ve got to remember to ask for it with a grateful heart and not worry about whether there will be enough for tomorrow.” ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

7. “But – but the greatest way to witness is by walking that straight and narrow and also realizing that you’re going to mess up. That’s what grace is for. We’re going to fall, but we’ve got to get back up. And you’ve got to improve. And that’s what I’m all about.”  ~ Tim Tebow

And if that is not convincing enough of grace’s versatility—here are just some of the definitions of Grace in the Encarta Dictionary: generosity of spirit—a capacity to tolerate, accommodate or forgive people; a short prayer of thanks to God said before….a meal; pleasant and admirable quality or characteristic; elegance, beauty and smoothness of form or movement; dignified, polite, decent behaviour; in Christianity the infinite love, mercy, favour and goodwill shown to humankind by God.

And I will end with some wisdom from Anne Lamont: “I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.

What would your one word resolution be for 2014?

Published in: on January 2, 2014 at 12:06 pm  Comments (26)  
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Christmas Conspiracy

Earl and Mooch

Earl and Mooch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blessed is the season which engages the whole word in a conspiracy of Love!” ~ Hamilton Wright Mabie

I found these words of Christmas holiday wisdom on the Daily Comics page in my local daily, The Windsor Star. It was in the comic strip “Mutts” by Patrick McDonnell, and the one frame strip had an illustration of a dog and cat hugging while perched on the back of a chair looking out onto the world through a window.

Winter Landscape Illustration

Winter Landscape Illustration (Photo credit: pavlinajane)

I wish all of you peace and harmony and love (to go along with the hustle and bustle of the season and the occasional argument and alcohol induced outburst).

Happy Christmas Eve Day.

Joy to the Messiness of Christmas

christmas morning!

christmas morning! (Photo credit: Nikki McLeod)


“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day.
Don’t clean it up too quickly.” ~ Andy Rooney

 Christmas is meant to be messy—it is a combination of all those things that make it slightly chaotic, happily disordered, and a bit muddled. There are those who may succeed in putting order in the holiday season—with napkins folded in reindeer shapes, festive name plates creatively crowning every plate, and a gourmet dinner cooked flawlessly for shining happy faces around the dining room table. Impeccable manners are displayed and the conversation is articulate, with no hint of religion, politics, or money.

          Beautifully wrapped gifts are opened carefully, the paper whisked away before it hits the floor, and expressions of gratitude greet every well-chosen present. Tasteful Christmas sweaters are worn with flare, and well-mannered children sit quietly awaiting their turn to open the bounty provided by Santa.

          …………………..Okay, now for a little reality. What I have described above may have happened on the Christmas shows carefully orchestrated in days of yore, (think Bing Crosby Christmas specials) and Martha Stewart may still bring some order to the holidays (though we really don’t know—Christmas Day may be one of havoc, turmoil and mayhem at her house too) but as for me and mine—we start out carefully unwrapping our gifts, but it soon becomes a frenzy of paper torn off with abandon, and bows tossed aside to reveal the prize of the day. Later we are left scrambling to find instructions and batteries among the tissue paper and flotsam and jetsam of Christmas unwrapped.

          I strive to produce a gourmet meal (having watched one too many shows on the Food Network), but we are all satisfied with what is eventually the outcome of my labours—some years it is overcooked prime rib, others a butchered turkey (this year I am going to use an electric knife bestowed on me by a friend—so hopefully it will not look like I wrestled with the meat). Generally the meal tastes pretty good and it is always saved by dessert. Those who gather around my table are generally well-mannered, but voices do get raised in passion, and perhaps a wine glass gets knocked over (usually by me as I am a klutz). But I contend that it is the “mess” of Christmas that makes it festive; it is the confusion and jumble and tangle of the whole event that is what makes memories.

          Christmas is not meant to be perfect—after all it is celebrated by people, and who do you know that is perfect? I love the noise of happy kids—their exuberance and joy at a holiday they can barely believe is happening makes one rethink what is important. I always have the sugarplum of a perfect Christmas dancing in my head, stress out to make sure that everything is impeccable–then I come to the realization that the Christmas we celebrate this year will be just right—despite arguments, unwanted presents, and overcooked meat. Life has its peccadilloes and so does Christmas.

         

June and Ward Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley and...

June and Ward Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thinking that Christmas will not suffer from some turmoil is unrealistic—remember even June and Ward Cleaver had to put up with Beaver’s antics and Eddie’s caustic charm. Christmas does not solve the world’s problems per se, but for a few moments it can put them on hold and we can bask in the glow of our Christmas trees, the warmth of our families, and enjoy all the special foods and drinks and presents that help make the season merry.

          My fervent wish for all of you is that you can take some time out this Christmas to enjoy what the season has to offer. I leave you with these wise words from W.J. Tucker (my addition is in brackets):

          “For centuries men (and women) have kept an appointment with Christmas. Christmas means fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving, a time of good cheer, home.” ~ from Pulpit Preaching

          Merry Christmas and Happy New Year ~ may you find joy in this holiday season!

What Is Your Reason for the Season?

christmas 2007

(Photo credit: paparutzi)

 My weekly newspaper column:

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

 It is hot (as in 40 degrees C) in Australia right now, which could explain why a blog friend of mine has decided to discard Christmas for the time being. But her real reasons are far beyond the discomfort of the heat.  Her husband is in a nursing home with advanced Parkinson’s; her teenage son has back surgery on Tuesday; the same son was in an awful accident not too long ago which put several of his younger cousins in the hospital — he has been charged and must go to court and may face jail—all because he was trying to give them a bit of fun; her stove has stopped working so there is nowhere to cook the turkey; and she just cannot face the added pressure of shopping and decorating and cooking for Christmas. When she broached the subject with her son, he agreed—in light of all that was going on in their lives, Christmas was not a bright light, but a responsibility which overshadowed their joy.

         

English: First Omagh Presbyterian Church - Mid...

Presbyterian Church -  Taken at noon on Christmas Day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

   They did make one concession though. They are going to go to church on Christmas. My first reaction when I read of their decision to forego the splash that is Christmas was one of pity, and I could not help but think about what they would miss out on. But are they really missing out? They have made a decision to celebrate what they truly believe Christmas is about—the spirituality, and erase all the extras, except for a visit from the son’s grandma which was his one concession to the season.

            I love the hurly burliness of the Christmas season and even when I have had to face the loss of some of those closest to me at the “happiest” time of the year, I have been able to celebrate, though a bit more sombrely and with a little less sparkle.  I find the Christmas season cheers me up—there is something in the air and it seems merrily contagious.  For the most part people are kinder, they smile more, and they greet friends and family and even strangers a bit more heartily. The lights on our trees and houses and decorations bring a brightness to an otherwise dark time of year.

            I love all the things Christmas—but I understand when the pressure to create a perfect holiday makes it less than merry and bright. Some people find blessings in the spirituality of the season and like my Australian friend this year discard what they think of as the commercialization and crassness of Christmas. I embrace the spirituality of the season, but the others parts of Christmas are close to my heart too. Yes, Christmas has been commercialized, but we can make our choice as to the extent we want that aspect to enter into our celebrations.

          

Cover of "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole...

Cover via Amazon

  I think Dr. Seuss had something when he had the Grinch (of How the Grinch Stole Christmas fame) reflect on what Christmas was all about. This excerpt from the book (and movie of the same name) says it all: “Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

            Humourist Dave Barry puts a little different perspective on the whole question of Christmas, and though skewed for laughs, he covers several bases:“In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukkah’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall’!”

            Only you can answer the question of the meaning of Christmas and only you can decide how to celebrate it.  I am kind of partial to how President Calvin Coolidge defined it on Christmas Day, 1927 in his Presidential address: “Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”

What does Christmas mean to you?

Sights and Sounds and Smells of Christmas

“All these sights and sounds and smells will be yours to enjoy, Wilbur—this lovely world, these precious days…” ~ from Charlotte’s Web

The sights and sounds and smells of Christmas are what make the holiday come to life.

English: By Richard Wheeler (Zephyris) 2007.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My favourite sights are:

1. Lit Christmas trees laden with decorations.

2. The excitement of little kids when they get something they really wanted. I still remember my youngest son dancing and jumping up and down with excitement when he received a Fisher Price castle with all its accoutrements—it was pure joy and happiness.

3. A present with my name on it—(I know it is better to give than receive, but admit it—we all like to receive).

My favourite sounds are:

1. The tinkle of jingle bells in the distance.

2. Choirs singing beloved Christmas carols.

3. Laughter at Christmas get-togethers.

English: A cinnamon roll with glaze

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My favourite smells are:

1. Stuffing or dressing—does not matter to me if it is inside or outside the turkey.

2. Ginger.

3. Cinnamon buns.

What are your favourite sights and sounds and smells of Christmas?

Tidings of Great Joy

Christmas illustration

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is Monday, so it must be my weekly newspaper column–hope you enjoy:

        “The Christmas tree?  All Christmas trees are perfect.” -  Charles N. Barnar

My Christmas spirit is intact. My Christmas tree is up and I wonder now what took me so long. If I remembered more clearly each year how much I love having the tree up, I would probably put it up in mid-October. I am thinking it is a good thing my memory is so poor on this particular point—even I would get tired of having a tree up for two and a half months.

          Everyone has a different tradition when it comes to putting up their tree. Those who go the traditional “real” tree route have no choice but to put their tree up a little later as a tree bare of its needles is none too festive on Christmas Day—and that is what happens if you put them up too early. I have not had a real tree for years but I do remember the daily watering and finding needles hidden in the carpet in July—neither of which adds to the charm of a real tree for me. But the smell, the smell is wonderful—which is why I have a wreath of real spruce branches on my door—I can go and stiff it at my leisure, and enjoy it as John Geddes describes the scent beautifully in A Familiar Rain: “freshly cut Christmas trees smelling of stars and snow and pine resin – inhale deeply and fill your soul….”

          I consider the tree I put up a “real” tree in the sense that it carries the weight of Christmases past, the joy of Christmas present, and the probability that it will still be around for Christmas future. It is not one of those more expensive ready-lit trees; it is old, the branches are a bit unwieldy, and though sparse I have the tree in a corner and have trained the branches to curve to the front, so it looks much fuller than it really is.

          The tree is always dressed to the hilt—decorations drip from every branch and at the top is a little wooden plaque that I attach to a gold wicker star that declares: “Memories are made every Christmas.” Below it is a beautiful oval ceramic decoration given to me by my sister that purveys the sentiments of the season: “Behold I bring you tidings of great joy.”

          I understand that Christmas does not bring everyone joy. I am fortunate in that even though I have lost dear ones at Christmas, known of people who have had to deal with great tragedies during this festive season,  and had to deal with troubles of my own—the season brings a respite of sorts for me. I know it does not serve everyone this way—as I said, I am fortunate. (Living in temporary denial helps a lot—somehow I have the capacity to put reality on the back burner for a while.)

         

christmas tree with honest to goodness real ca...

christmas tree with honest to goodness real candles (Photo credit: ambienttraffic)

I remember reading books about Christmases past, in the days when the Christmas tree was not put up until Christmas Eve, and the crowning glory came when the lights were turned on (or lit during more historical and need I say it, dangerous times) for the first time. I love that tradition but not enough to relive it myself.  Amidst the daily grind, I enjoy being able to feast my eyes on something that takes me out of the moment and into a pleasant reverie.

          Last night I sat in the living room with all the lights out except for those on the tree—and the word magical sprang to mind. Transforming what is essentially a Charlie Brown Christmas tree into a thing of beauty is truly mystical. And that is highly representative of the season—it is mystical in the way it transforms even Scrooge attitudes into Tiny Tim’s way of thinking.

          Christmas does not solve all our problems but the season and its meaning, whether spiritual or secular (or both) gives us something to hang on to. There are those who believe that the “reason for the season” is not given enough air time; but I think that the feelings derived from Christmas do not have to be limited.

          There seems to be a controversy over whether one should say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”. I am not entering the fray—I will stick with Merry Christmas but happily respond to Happy Holidays. At this time of year we should practice tolerance and not get in a snit—stick to your guns and expect others to respect your viewpoint. Problem solved.

          I leave you now humming “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire”, dispersed with a little “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas” while listening for some “sleigh bells in the snow.”

Thanksgiving 2013: A Good-Hearted Holiday

Next Monday is Thanksgiving Day in Canada so this is my weekly column welcoming the holiday of food and family and blessings. I am going to count this as my first post on blessings:

Thanksgiving Day Greetings

Thanksgiving Day Greetings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 “Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.”  ~ W. J. Cameron

            We all look forward to a long weekend, but a long weekend that includes Thanksgiving Day is just that little bit more special. There is a lovely nostalgia to the holiday and it is one that merely asks us to gather together, feast, and give thanks. In her book, “Family Traditions”, Elizabeth Berg says, “No one has been able to tamper with the essential good-heartedness of Thanksgiving Day, or to trivialize it; and probably no one ever will. For that alone, we can be grateful.”

            Thanksgiving does seem to be the one pure holiday left, unfettered by blatant and constant commercialization. We do not need special clothes to give thanks—our Sunday best or best jeans will do. We may send a card or two to special relatives far away, but there is no need for gifts. What is expected is that we gather together and feast on the harvest. And be thankful for family and friends and food. Back to the basics of life – camaraderie and feasting.

            I love the word feast—it has an old world feel to it that appropriately defines the groaning board that is our Thanksgiving. Most of us pull out all the stops for our Thanksgiving meal—almost in an attempt to be thankful for everything. Berg said her “grocery policy at Thanksgiving time is this: BUY EVERYTHING.” I guess her thinking is that if we are going to count our blessings, we should have lots to count.

            She also tells the story of the Thanksgiving when her father, somewhat of a gourmand, tampered with the menu. People politely “put a few crumbs of his oyster dressing on their plates, then relieved, stacked up high beside it the cornbread dressing we always have.” The two key words here are “always have”. We seem to have deep traditions when it comes to the Thanksgiving meal, and though cooking turkey is a bit more adventurous for me that I usually like to be, in the name of tradition and all things Thanksgiving, I serve turkey.

            Thanksgiving and tradition seem to go hand in hand. We all have our own special rituals and customs that it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without. But I still think we can mix it up a bit and add something new to our old repertoire without taking away from the celebration. Over the years we have always celebrated Thanksgiving with the traditional dinner, but one year we went to the Point and cooked breakfast on Thanksgiving morning; another year we went to an apple orchard and picked apples, all the while our youngest son was wishing everyone a “Happy Turkey Day” much to the embarrassment of his older brother; some years we share our feast with others and sometimes it is just our family.

            Every Thanksgiving is unique but always with familiar elements. The word Thanksgiving itself is as Cameron quoted above says “a word of action.” In our celebration of the event we give thanks for our blessings. The day makes us more mindful of what we are grateful for and in being mindful we are being attentive to the things we tend to take for granted.

            Recognizing and appreciating what we have is the gift of Thanksgiving. And, if like Berg, we “Buy Everything” at the grocery store this one time of year, we are doing so to celebrate the plenty that is available to us.

            I will end with the first verse of The Thanksgiving Song by Mary Chapin Carpenter. The simple yet meaningful words encompass Thanksgiving for me:

            “Grateful for each hand we hold

            Gathered round this table

            From far and near we travel home

            Blessed that we are able.”

Published in: on October 7, 2013 at 5:47 pm  Comments (41)  
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I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream!

           

One of several versions of the painting "...

“The Scream”. The National Gallery, Oslo, Norway. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

National Ice Cream Day has come and gone—but in celebration I tried a new ice cream cone this weekend. It was sweet and salty pretzel ice cream. Advertised as a “NEW!” flavour on the chalk board of an ice cream emporium, I could not resist. Seriously, it called out my name, and I answered.  It was wonderful—the small chunks of pretzel embedded in the ‘to die for’ caramel laced ice cream were covered in chocolate.  I asked for one scoop, and I am glad I did not ask for two because the humongous scoop filled the giant waffle cone from top to bottom.

            I am not generally an ice cream lover, but I could easily become addicted to this flavour and will be on the lookout for it wherever I see a chalk board list. Ice cream is a very summer food—it is good at other times of the year, as an accompaniment to birthday cake or a slice of pie, but it comes into its own in the summer.

            I think my fondness for ice cream was tempered somewhat one summer when I was 17 and worked at the Kingsville Dairy on Pearl Street. I filled in for a few weeks for a vacationing ice cream scooper/banana split creator/milkshake maker/and architect of all things ice cream.  By the end of my stint I was a little tired of ice cream—covered some days up to my elbows in the frozen goodness when the ice cream bucket was no longer full and you practically had to dive into it to get the remaining few scoops.

          

Ice Cream with Freshly Made Waffle Cone

Ice Cream with Freshly Made Waffle Cone (Photo credit: anitasarkeesian)

  I learned a lot of things in those few weeks. I learned how to make milkshakes and brown cows and floats galore. But my banana splits were a sight to see. Beautifully fashioned, I almost hated to serve them as they were surely eaten by some gluttonous soul who would not appreciate my artful creation. I split the banana with precision, and if the boss was not there, spread some chocolate sauce on the bottom to keep the slices in place. Then I would dip out perfectly shaped round scoops of three different types of ice cream: strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla. The chocolate would be covered in chocolate sauce, the vanilla in pineapple sauce, and the strawberry scoop would get a dollop of strawberry preserves. Then the piece de resistance: whipped cream. It was a thing of beauty.

            I actually enjoyed waiting on the customers at the Dairy, but it was the Milkmen who were really nice. They would come in after making their deliveries, and each one would have their special order that they would get every day. After a week, you caught on to what they wanted and would not even have to ask. And of course they would always tip, in a place where tips were few and far between (for me anyway—but I never have been much of a waitress).

            I miss the days when we had Milkmen who delivered to your door. When I was a little girl, our Milkman (he was like a member of the family) would always call me and my friends “boys” if we were outside playing. He thought this was hilariously funny, and though I look back on it fondly now, at the time I was confused as to why he thought we were boys.

            Anyway, back to the topic at hand–National Ice Cream Day. According to Elyse Hastings on the website for 680 News Radio, The International Ice Cream Association has designated the whole month of July as National Ice Cream Month with National Ice Cream Day recognized on July 21st this year. 

            Senior Vice-President of Cold Stone Creamery, Nick Javor said in the write-up that “Ice cream is one of the most versatile foods in the world, with limitless combinations, and pairs perfectly with almost anything.”  Methinks Mr. Javor could be exaggerating just a bit, as pairing ice cream with roast beef, mashed potatoes and corn would not be the best combo I can think of, and it would just be messy on an antipasto tray.

            It was by Presidential Proclamation in 1984 that Ronald Reagan declared the third Sunday in July National Ice Cream Day. Apparently 90% of Americans eat ice cream. Canadians on the other hand, consume an average of 5.6 litres each of ice cream which is about 24 cups a year.

            Fun fact: The Ontario Dairy Farmers Association reports that the average number of licks to finish a half cup of ice cream is 50. I would not know as I do not lick my ice cream. I nibble it delicately and daintily—which does not explain why I usually end up with it dribbled down my front.

What is your favourite ice cream flavour?

When One Door Closes

As many of you know, I am a municipal reporter and columnist. For the newspaper this week I combined the two elements in my column, and though this may seem a local story, it is one that is played out across the years and across the miles:

Stone One-room School (c.1820)

Stone One-room School (c.1820) (Photo credit: origamidon)

INTRO

            “At the Board meeting of November 20, 2012, the Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB) approved the closure of the Ruthven Public School effective June 30, 2013 and declared the school surplus to the needs of the Board.”

            The above paragraph was included in a notice to the Town of Kingsville in April along with the announcement that the GECDSB was issuing a proposal to offer the property for sale at a fair market value to a number of organizations. Yes, that is a door you hear closing.

WHEN ONE DOOR CLOSES

            School closings are hard. They are hard on the children who called the Ruthven Public School their school. They are hard on the teachers and staff who taught and worked at the school. They are hard on the community. And they are hard as they close a door never to be opened again.

            The saying “when one door closes another one opens” is trite but true. The students from Ruthven will be transferred to other schools, the majority to Jack Miner, and I am here to say that the transition will work. How do I know? Because many many years ago my school was closed and I was transferred to Jack Miner Public School (at the time it was Gosfield South Public School). The difference was I went from a one room school house to what we referred to as the “big school”. The transition for the Ruthven students should not be as daunting.

            At the time I was transferred a lot of the one room school houses in the area were closed so I was not the only deer caught in the headlights of a big change. At my school, six grades were taught in one room, while the grades ones and twos were taught in the boys’ and girls’ rooms—the rooms that housed our coats and bathrooms. We were civilized though—the bathrooms were closed off from the main part of the boys’ and girls’ rooms—so the six and seven year olds were not being taught how to read with Dick and Jane, Puff and Spot in the presence of the toilets.

            I remember my first day at the “big school”. I had to take a bus to get to the school which was a scary adventure in itself. Then when I arrived at the school there was some confusion as to where to go. The newbies had not been introduced to the new school beforehand (which on reflection would have been a really really good idea). When things were sorted out, I found myself sitting in a classroom of about 30 kids all the same age. We were pretty well all ten years old, and in my class many of us were like fish out of water—joining kids whose home school was Gosfield South. I guess we were somewhat of a foreign entity, and I heard rumours later that our intelligence was in question as no one was certain if the kids coming from the one room schools were up to speed.  Speaking on behalf of my cohorts— we were.

            I do not remember the transition taking long. I liked my new school, and my teacher went to my church so that was comforting. There were quite a few of us in the same boat so it seemed to go pretty smoothly. There were a lot of advantages to going to a bigger school though I missed some of the community feel of my little school. To this day I do not regret the opportunity afforded us.

            Kids are resilient. They cope because they have to—and what is at first strange and weird becomes normal. I feel badly for the students who may no longer be able to walk to school, and be “hugged” by their tightknit community, but speaking from experience, adopting a new school is not insurmountable. Economics govern and we may see some other closures and adaptations in the future. I know if my kids were affected I would be concerned—but moms and dads, students and teachers: consider this a new and exciting adventure. It is the only way to at first, muddle through; second: assimilate; and, third: enjoy the ride.

CONCLUSION

            I leave you with these words from Anna Quindlen, from her book, “A Short Guide to a Happy Life”: “I learned to love the journey, not the destination. I learned that this is not a dress rehearsal, and today is the only guarantee you get.” Enjoy your summer vacation knowing a new “today” is awaiting you.

Do you have a similar story?

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