This Blog is a creation of the Confederation Park 55 + Activity Centre's Writing Club, No Dead Horses.  All Views expressed in this blog are strictly views of the writing club and not the Confederation Park 55 + Activity Centre. If you have any questions about the blog or would like to be a guest writer, please email info@yycseniors.com.

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  • 3 Jun 2022 10:00 AM | Anonymous

    About Gardening
    by Jeannie MacTwachle

    I’m a Mad gardener. My Mad Garden is living proof of my insanity. For people  who prefer Golf or Hiking or simply lounging in a garden, my passion for  grubbing in the dirt and moving vegetation from here to there must seem quite daft.  

     I love the colour in summer in the front, and the cooler green shade that has  accidentally appeared in the back. None of it is entirely planned. But I can say  “I made this space. I hauled those rocks - dug out that bed, planted that tree  and watched it grow from a tiny thing to a 12’ growing, blossoming affair.”  Those are now my children - those plants. I talk out loud to them - which  sometimes startles passers-by, when a voice from the ground remarks - “You  don’t look very good today, do you?”  

    In the past, TB patients were encouraged to get outside and dig and plant  things. Just see the spruce trees in Baker Park (across the river from Bowness  Park). The earth was believed to give off beneficial chemicals which enhanced  overall well-being. I have heard there is some science behind that, and feel it to be true. So grubbing in the dirt, and breathing it in, is beneficial to one’s health. Sitting on the ground in the sun’s warmth and not worrying whether all the quack grass, dandelions or other enthusiastic ‘weeds’ have been removed is immensely relaxing.  

    Hope springs eternal. As does my garden. Nothing ever turns out quite the  way you expect it to. Plants dislike the location you have chosen, or some up  and die with no explanation. Many plants are migrant. They trot along from year to year and you never quite know where they will turn up next. They leave their used up area behind and simply move on, just like humans. So now that marvellous yellow centre piece bracketed by 2 purple daisies is no longer where it was! 

    I am supposed to be simplifying - not increasing my work load. Bushes are  now beginning to figure more prominently and I have acquired 2 ornamental grasses. Day Lilies are sometimes permitted to engulf things. Then, at other  times, I change my mind, and a huge dig out ensues! You can see that keeping all the balls in the air is as complex as being a juggler. It isn’t the strategy of a game of golf. But it is a long standing and permanent dialogue between oneself  and nature. Not wild nature - but the domestic variety.  

    Many people prefer to visit nature’s own garden in the Rockies in an alpine or  a sub alpine meadow. That takes hiking uphill. The same vagaries occur in the  wild as happen in my yard. Some magical corner that contained a mass of every  species may not be on display the following year. The grizzly bear that manages  the glacier lilies - will have feasted on their bounty and when that crop has been consumed - she and her cubs may move after a few years to another patch - leaving some small churned up bulbs, duly fertilized, to start over. Nowhere is ever the same twice.  

    So from my garden I have learned who is boss - and it isn’t me. Even if I had a  hand in my creation- I do not call the shots. I am relearning lessons that at one time humans passed down from mother to daughter about the nature of the land, of what to plant and when and where. There would have been a why as well. Whether it was rightly attributed matters not. 

    So whether you garden or not- just know Things are never the same all the time. To everyone who reads this - Happy Living. 

  • 27 May 2022 12:34 PM | Anonymous

    Stages of Life
    by Beverley Cumming


    On a Life Stages time-line, I would be placed in the Late Adulthood category, also defined as the “Final Stage”. This is the time of life where we look back and reminisce and share our wisdom with others. We talk about the things of which we are proud and sometimes even the things that we regret.

    When I meet and interact with other women, our talk is mainly about our common experiences, but it is the differences that make things interesting. Recently over coffee, an acquaintance said that she was the fourth child in a family of twelve children. I’m the oldest of two. Think of how something as simple as birth order would influence one’s development.

    Psychologists have many theories about how individuals get to be who they are. The simplest idea for me is that of NATURE vs NURTURE or (heredity vs environment). I feel that who I am is mostly a result of environment. While my genetic makeup stays the same, I have been changed through the different exterior factors I have had. I remember all the “girl” things we endured as we played - playing school, playing nurse, playing with baby dolls, etc. to create some kind of role for girls so they could move “properly” into the next stage of life. For most of us our options were limited by the norms of society at the time.

    It seems that much of the emphasis in women’s stages of life focused around the reproductive years – from puberty to menopause. Although certainly impactful, this time of one’s life brings about many special events besides the biological. Even before this , from toddler to adult, we are products more of the external influences than how we start out in life.

    Thankfully, girls and women today have the opportunity to enjoy many choices - Climb a mountain, why not ? Play hockey, why not? Pilot a plane, why not? Be a Mother, why not? The list is endless. Choices will be made as a result of “ What each brings to the table “ . . . based on one’s unique combination of Nature and Nurture. Luckily, there have been enough women in the past who have gone beyond the common roles in place at the time. They have resisted the pressure, and struggled to achieve personal goals in spite of the disapproval of many.

    So as I reminisce from my spot as an “Elder” I take pride in what we women have accomplished as we were growing and preparing for each stage of our lives. Here I am, a unique product of both genetics and experiences. I am very envious of the options available to girls and women today as they move through the stages of life. I cheer as more things are achieved – CFL coach? Astronaut? Snow Boarder? Anything is possible.

    YOU GO GIRL! !

  • 27 May 2022 8:44 AM | Anonymous

    Happy 80th Birthday Barry!
    By Kathy Newman

    May 27, 2022

    Today, May 27th, Barry Luft celebrates his eightieth birthday! This is an occasion that allows me to reflect on the 60 years that I have known this incredible educator.

    Last Fall, I enrolled in the Beginner Ukulele Class through the Confederation Park 55+ Programs and was very excited to learn that Barry would be my instructor...again!

    I first met Mr. Luft, when he was coaching the boys’ gymnastics club at A.E. Cross Junior High. I know now that he was just seven years older than his students as he was a brand-new teacher. Barry’s gymnasts entertained the entire student population with their immaculately timed, alternating vaulting set to music. I thought Mr. Luft was a gymnast...and he was but he is also an incredible musician.

    One of Barry’s first teaching positions was at Viscount Bennett Junior/Senior High School, so I got to meet him again! I joined his Hootenanny Club which met every Friday morning before classes. Barry encouraged all of us to sing and to learn how to play an instrument. My Father supplied me with a Bow Bottom Mandolin that he had saved from being used as a table tennis bat at one of the drilling rigs which he supervised. It needed repair so Dad filled in the cracks and restrung it for my enjoyment. Thanks to Barry and my Dad, I spent many a happy hour in my room figuring out how to pick out a tune. B flat was a problem as the closest fret had sunk into the neck of the instrument. Everything else sounded okay.

    Years went by without seeing Barry and his wife, Marnie, but his name would appear in Folk and Celtic Club announcements, so I got to hear him play his banjo at several events. I really enjoyed hearing him perform both solo and with his Men’s Chorus at the Water Valley Celtic Festival before Covid. When my Mom celebrated her ninetieth birthday, Barry was our entertainer.

    Barry exemplifies lifelong learning as he travelled to workshops all over Canada and the USA practicing his many instruments and sharing his knowledge with others.

    So Happy Birthday to a special guy! I hope that he continues to both teach and perform for many more years!

  • 13 May 2022 9:46 AM | Anonymous

    Cherish your Freedom My Friends
    by Bill Kurtze

    This week’s blog is offered with the sincere hope that COVID is in our collective rear view mirror; it hasn’t disappeared but for most it is fading into the distance. Now it’s time for some of us to travel! Why don’t you come on along for the ride!

    It’s a beautiful sunny Saturday morning. We’re at Gare St. Lazare in Paris anxiously awaiting departure of our train to Caen and the beaches of Normandy. Many of us have been there before but the memory fades after a decade of absence.

    The last two days in Paris have been wondrous. Everything in full bloom - even love. We spent yesterday in the Tuileries. You remember? It’s the Palace on the right bank of the River Seine, directly in front of the Louvre. We strolled through beautiful gardens as if we were English gentry. Little do the ghosts of past French royalty know! Statues everywhere! God how the Caesars and Bonapartes loved themselves.

    The Champs Elysee seems more crowded than usual. Commercialism remains rampant. You hear fewer and fewer people speaking French. Street fashion isn’t much different here, but only if you’re ordinary folk. The beautiful people however still line up to buy their “haute couture”; paying exorbitant prices for the latest must haves and don’t needs.

    Like always, we walk and walk and walk some more seeing sites and enjoying the sounds, smells and tastes of everyone’s favourite city - Paris.

    There’s the train conductor now. His whistle blows. The smokers grab a last long drag before throwing cigarettes to the tracks and rushing for an open door. We’re off to Caen and the beaches of Normandy. Somewhere in the background a female voice instructs as to where we’re going and how long it will take. I sure hope we’re on the right train. God I love the trains in France.

    As we rush by graffiti lined walls it doesn’t seem to matter if we’re on the right train because we’re off on yet another adventure. Prophetically, our IPOD plays Barbara Streisand and the Bee Gees singing “Stranger in a Strange Land” leaving an old man to dream his dreams.

    The next two days were both exhilarating and heartbreaking. Our hotel – La Dauphin - is typically French; service is excellent and the food c’est magnifique! If the chef wasn’t stolen from a famous Paris restaurant he should have been.

    Our tour of the Caen Memorial Museum gives a measured dose of man’s inhumanity to man. The slaughter was unimaginable; The suffering incalculable. Particularly poignant was the inscription at the entrance of the building "The pain broke me, the fraternity relieved me, out of my wound sprang a river of freedom" (sentence by Paul Dorey, local poet who speaks in the name of Normandy). 

    Next it’s a whirlwind tour of some of the beaches - mainly Gold and Omaha. But it was Juno beach that held the greatest meaning for me as a Canadian.

    We see German bunkers amazingly intact with rusted guns still pointing at distant targets long since gone. We see remnants of huge concrete mulberries, those temporary portable harbours designed for rapidly offloading allied cargo of war onto beaches during the Allied invasion of Normandy.

    Thank God Rommel had fallen out of favour with der Fuehrer or the Atlantic wall would have been more impenetrable and the casualties more horrendous. Although Canada’s contributions are less well memorialized than those it commemorates at Dieppe, we still have much to remember and even more to be proud of.

    It is fascinating to watch the reactions of the people who have made the pilgrimage to Normandy and, make no mistake, for many it is still a pilgrimage even after seventyeight years. People still collect the stones and sand from the beaches. Those on tour or at just at the cemetery seemed to be there to remember someone or at least to offer a silent prayer to those whose headstones read “known only to God”. Flags and flowers placed poignantly at graves of fathers, uncles, and brothers but in most cases just out of respect or in some deep seated sense of gratitude.

    The little children played their war games as us older folks moved solemnly past one another trying to comprehend the magnitude of what they were witnessing and to capture their most memorable photographs.

    Although today is not D-day, the mood for some seemed festive because anytime was a good time to celebrate what was the beginning of the end for the Boche. Vintage jeeps and motor cycles ridden by uniformed troops from every regiment criss-cross the countryside vanquishing imaginary enemies and recapturing lands long since returned to farming. Some dressed in exact replicas of the US 101st airborne – only they spoke French.

    What would war be like without Hollywood; without Private Ryan and without the Band of Brothers? How would we ever understand our history?

    Believe it or not we also met a number of Canadian Troops here as part of a major training program. You felt a deep sense of pride when you saw the Canadian Flag displayed predominantly on their shoulders.

    And how would end such a perfect day? Well, you’d take a C-130 turboprop aircraft and you would have it fly low over the cemetery and dip its wing in silent tribute to all lost comrades!

    What lessons did we learn, what were the takeaways? Cherish your freedom my friends because it came at one hell of a price, and, perhaps for the first time since War’s end, those freedoms are truly in danger! Quoting the late Winston Churchill, "One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.”

    **********************************

  • 6 May 2022 1:47 PM | Anonymous

    Seniors Can Cope With Stress By Making These Lifestyle Changes

    by Marcus Lansky

    Seniors today face a number of stresses in their daily lives, from financial worries to coping with the loss of loved ones. Getting older comes with a lot to plan for and manage, including making sure your living situation is safe and comfortable and that social isolation isn’t a problem. When it comes to the latter, you can find terrific resources at YYCseniors.com, which offers several recreational and educational programs for older adults. Let’s go over a few of the most common stressors for seniors and look at ways to prevent or cope with them.

    An unhealthy living space

    For people of all ages, a healthy living environment is essential both for the body and mind. Clutter, dust, and a lack of natural light can all contribute to poor mental and physical health, so it’s important to go through each room in your home and start making some positive changes. Get rid of items you no longer use by donating, recycling, or selling them to make some extra cash. Air out the rooms and let some sunlight in. Thoroughly dust and clean each space and make sure there are no trip hazards on the floors. If you’re living with a disability or illness that prevents you from being able to clean the way you’d like, ask for help from a friend, family member, or member of your church. You can also hire a service to come in and assist you.

    An unsafe environment

    Along those same lines, your home should also be a safe place that allows for mobility and prevents accidents. Aging-in-place has become popular in recent years among older adults who want to continue to live in their homes after retirement, but sometimes modifications are required. Two of the most common home modifications are a bathroom and kitchen remodel, as these are rooms where safety is most necessary; adding grab bars, replacing the tub with a walk-in shower, and adding accessible appliances and tools are popular changes that can make a big difference in your quality of life. If you need to get in touch with a contractor, read reviews of the local services online before requesting a quote. You can also look for deals or credits to help save some money.

    Health concerns

    While making sure your home is safe and clean can help you stay healthy, there are many other factors to consider when it comes to physical and mental wellness. Getting older often means facing susceptibility to illness and disease, but there are some things you can do to prevent them. Staying social and maintaining a hobby you enjoy are two fun ways to sharpen your cognitive skills while eating the right diet and staying active can help keep you strong and stave off physical ailments. 

    Caring for an ailing loved one

    Your own personal health status may not be the only one you need to worry about. Many seniors face the stress of caring for an ailing loved one, which can take a toll both physically and mentally. Not only that, you may also face financial concerns as a result. Take a look at your health insurance policies and get familiar with what they do and don’t cover, and consider your options when it comes to saving money in order to create a cushion for the future. Many seniors choose to sell their homes and downsize, which can give you some financial flexibility when you need it most.

    Taking care of ourselves as we get older doesn’t have to be a stressful process. With a little bit of preparation, you can plan for your retirement years and ensure your safety and wellness throughout.

    Need to get in touch with someone at the Confederation Park 55+ Activity Centre? Reach out today, and take a look at the programs our other senior centres have to offer.

    Photo via Pexels

  • 31 Mar 2022 12:53 PM | Anonymous

    Travels with Teddy

    by Dorothy Dyer 

    A long time ago, I read Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley. I was young when I read it but it stuck  with me. Steinbeck was in search of America, a worthy quest and a theme in most of his  writings. I have a little dog named Teddy and I am not in search of America nor Canada. Yet, I  have walked thousands of kilometres with my now, 16 year old pooch. The vet says he is “in  good shape for his age” which I credit to the walking. I am waiting for my doctor to say the  same of me.  

    Much has been written about the companionship of a dog. When I was younger yet, I read Old  Yeller. The Disney version did not quite measure up to the book but both brought tears to my  eyes. Throughout my childhood, if there was a dog on the cover, I read it.    

    I have always had dogs in my life. Sporty was my first. He was a stray that wandered into my  life. My parents said I couldn’t keep him so we left him to find his way home. But in the  morning, we found him sitting on the back step. Snow had fallen in the night and he sat with  not a single track around him. My dad posted an ad in the Calgary Herald, “Found dog. Red  Cocker Spaniel. Forth Worth, Texas dog tag.” I waited for five days praying the phone would  not ring. And, it didn’t. Sporty was mine. And so the adventures with a dog in my life began.  

    Back then it was safe to allow your young daughter to go adventuring. I just had to be home in  time for dinner. So Sporty and I would take off to the Nose Creek Valley through which Deerfoot  Trail now runs. We would walk the dirt trails braving a little more distance each day. Those  walks were a big part of growing up. Sporty, being a bird dog, would flush out various birds  including partridge, now long gone. One time he cornered a bobcat who, upon my  investigation, hissed and batted at me with his giant paws.  

    Penetrating the deteriorating barbed wire, I would walk along the railway tracks. I felt so brave  but the trestle was the real challenge. I was fearful that a train would come and that would be it  for me. I was sure Sporty would make it across as he was much faster and fleet afoot. I  conjured many survival strategies as the locomotive bore down on me. It never happened. But  it did happen to a horse who had somehow managed to escape the rangeland pasture. The  image of the bloodied and scattered remains pressed into my brain. A lesson in death. Death is  hard to understand at that age especially when you love animals.  

    Since Sporty there have been other canine partners. But they were more ‘family dogs’ as I  became busy with a teaching job, children, a house, yard, car … the whole enchilada to care  for. A dog was just part of the fray. Underfoot sometimes ignored but yet a comfort.  

    Teddy entered that scene as a supporting actor in the cast of a thousand responsibilities. But  as those responsibilities shed from my shoulders, I found myself alone with him. So we talked a  lot. Teddy is a good listener. And if his mind wanders the word ‘treat’ regains his full attention.  A friend of mine once asked me about having a pet as she contemplated getting one. I highly  recommended it as the ‘other heartbeat in the house’.  

    Experts say that a dog has a vocabulary of about a two year old child. I believe it! And more. A  dog studies your every move and knows all of your habits. Teddy knows the routine and  reminds me when I waver. He doesn’t like my golf clubs and has a special hatred of my  suitcases. Mind you, he hasn’t seen those for over two years. Quite frankly, I don’t know how I  would leave him now for a vacation.  

    In his old age, Teddy has accidents. He is not the welcome guest he used to be. I invested in  baby gates to protect the little bit of carpet left in my house. A small price to pay. 

    As Teddy ages, his eyes turning bluish and bumps and lumps forming under his skin, I know  the reckoning will come when I must say good bye. I must remember to be grateful on that day  for all he has given. I will remember the distance we have travelled together. And thank him  with all of my heart. 

    My pal has been with me through some of the  toughest times in my life. He may not have understood the circumstances but he absorbed my sadness and revelled in my joy. His little black and white face waiting in the front room window testifies to his loyalty and faithfulness.  My travels with Teddy may not be literature worthy but to anyone who has loved a dog, I needn’t say more. So Teddy, get your leash!

  • 25 Mar 2022 4:00 PM | Anonymous

    by Bill Kurtz

    This week’s blog is Ultra Lite. There are no calories or carbs in it at all. There are  no deep, meaningful stories or anecdotes, no pithy comments. It is pure fluff and fun. 

    Frankly, it’s been less than stellar week for our family. It started with news that  our youngest daughter and her entire family were stricken with Covid. My  grandson brought it home from school. Likewise, covid came to my aged  brother-in-law and his wife. For news, it was a steady diet of that horrible war in  the Ukraine; covid, covid and more covid; political scandal; shootings and  killings and various stories of how we abuse one another. And for sports, my  beloved Gonzaga Bulldogs lost in the sweet sixteens of the NCAA college  basketball tournament. 

    So I concluded this time my contribution to “The Ageless Mind” would follow the  old adage that you don’t stop laughing because you’re old; you grow old  because you stop laughing. I hope you agree. 

    Aging  

    My memory's not as sharp as it used to be. Also, my memory's not as sharp as it used to be. 

    Know how to prevent sagging? Just eat till the wrinkles fill out. Being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable. 

    When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to your youth, remember algebra.     

    As you get older, your secrets are safe with your friends. They can't remember them either. 

    "I am having amnesia, dementia, and deja vu, all at the same time. I think I've forgotten this before . . ." 

    Visiting the Hospital  

    According to hospital regulations, patients are required to be escorted out   of the hospital in a wheelchair when being discharged. A student nurse was having some trouble with an elderly gentleman who insisted that he did not need a wheelchair. 

    After some discussion about rules being rules, he reluctantly agreed. As she was wheeling him out, the student nurse asked the man if his wife was going to pick him up. 

    "I don't know," he replied. "She's still upstairs in the bathroom changing out of her hospital gown.” 

    Card Buddies  

    Two aging little ladies had been friends since their 20s. They were "card buddies". Now in their 80s, they still got together a couple of times a week  to play cards. One day they were playing gin rummy and one of them said,  "You know, we’ve been friends for many years and, please don't get mad, but for the life of me, I can't remember your name. Please tell me what it is." 

    Her friend glared at her. She continued to glare and stare at her for at least  three minutes. Finally, she said, "How soon do you need to know?" 

    Hearing aids  

    The elderly gentleman next door was talking to his neighbour, telling him all about the new hearing aid he just got. 

    "It cost a fortune, but it was worth it. It works perfectly." 

    "Really," said the neighbour. "What kind is it?" 

    "Ten thirty." 

    Life and learning  

    “The first part of life is for learning. The second for service, and the last is for oneself. It is a time for discover inner richness and for self development and spiritual growth. It is also a time of transition and preparation for dying. The closer we come to death, the closer we come to reality and truth.” - Gay Gaer Luce 

    Dying  

    “It is too bad that dying is the last thing we do, because it could teach us so much about living.” - Robert M. Herhold

    “There is only one solution if old age is not to be a parody of our former     life, and that is to go on pursuing ends that give existence meaning . . .    devotion to individuals, to groups or causes, social, political, intellectual and creative work. - Simone de Bouvoir 

    “Do not seek death. Death will find you. But seek the road which makes death a fulfillment.” - Dag Hammarskjold 

    “Do not go gentle into that good night; Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”  - Dylan Thomas, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night 

    And lastly  

    “I don't want my life to be defined by what is etched on a tombstone. I want it to be defined by what is etched in the lives and hearts of those I've touched.” - Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free 

    ***************** 

    * Except as otherwise noted, all sayings and quotes are courtesy of Good Reads  ( goodreads.com) and A time to Laugh (atimetolaugh.org) 

  • 18 Mar 2022 11:28 AM | Anonymous

    I Did it My Way

    by Pat Pitsel

    Who among us can say with any conviction, “I have no regrets”?

    Remember the Frank Sinatra song? – I Did It My Way.

    And now, the end is near
    And so I face the final curtain
    My friend, I'll say it clear
    I'll state my case, of which I'm certain

    I've lived a life that's full
    I traveled each and every highway
    And more, much more than this
    I did it my way

    Regrets, I've had a few
    But then again, too few to mention
    I did what I had to do
    And saw it through without exemption

    I planned each charted course
    Each careful step along the byway
    And more, much more than this
    I did it my way

    Many of us would like to be like the singer and be able to lay claim to a life filled with only a few regrets. But for most of us, we have a life that is messily unplanned, full of events that we didn't intend, and far too many instances where we wish we had a do-over.

    A survey conducted in 2019 asked the elderly what they regretted most.  The conclusion was “The elders deeply regret worrying about things that never happened or things they had no control over. ‘Life is so short. What you will regret is weeks or months of the kind of mindless, self-destructive ruminating worrying that people do’” many told Pillemer. ‘You're going to wish you had that time back.’”

    Many people once they are retired, spend time worrying about bad choices, about choices that looked good at the time but turned out poorly, about choices offered but not taken, or even choices that shut out what may have been more desirable choices. “When studying people and why they experience regret, researchers from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that people experience regret more for the things they didn’t do rather than the things they did do.”

    Like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day are we doomed to live our senior years constantly revisiting every failure, stupid choice, or careless selection? This is almost like one of those bad news good news stories. The bad news is that constantly revisiting memories of the things we have done wrong, and regret can be a habit. Some folks remember so many of these instances that there is almost no place left in their life to remember what they have done correctly. They should have married someone else. They should have gone to university or college. They should never have had that last drink and driven home. Our life, indeed, might have been different and much, much better were we able to see into the future. But we can't and we didn't.

    So, how can we move from a life position of constantly regretting what we have done to a more healthy appreciation of the good that we can do?

    1. Make a list, hopefully short, of the things you find yourself regretting and going over and over in your mind. What does each of these events teach you? Mistakes and bad choices are often the price we have to pay for learning how to do things right. You might even have had to repeat the mistake two or three times before the lesson really sunk in. I remember as a kid, making a bad choice, having it turn out disastrously, and saying to myself “Well, I better not do that again.”

    2. If the regret involves something that still exists today, make amends or reparations. For example, if you regret shoplifting when you were younger, pay the merchant back if the store is still there. If you betrayed someone, and that person is still alive, apologize for not being loyal when they needed it. If you didn't get a post-secondary education when you were younger, then sign up for a continuing education course. It might be too late for you now to start a new career, but it is never too late to learn more.

    3. Forgive yourself for not being perfect. Many of us would have made different choices had we known in advance what the outcome would be.

    4. Balance regrets about things we have done in the past with gratitude for all the things that make our life worthwhile now. Every time you find yourself remembering something you regret, stop the thought right there and list three things you are grateful for right now.

    5. Someone said: “Regrets are visitors in the guest house of the mind.” Ask yourself whether or not you have someone staying in your guest house who has stayed way past limits. It's your job to evict them.

    6. Stop saying “What if?”


    … I've loved, I've laughed, and cried

    I've had my fill, my share of losing

    And now, as tears subside

    I find it all so amusing

    To think I did all that

    And may I say, not in a shy way

    "Oh no, oh no, not me

    I did it my way"

     

    … For what is a man, what has he got?

    If not himself then he has naught

    To say the things he truly feels

    And not the words of one who kneels

    The record shows I took the blows

    And did it my way

    … Yes, it was my way

  • 11 Mar 2022 1:37 AM | Anonymous

    The Wisdom of the Elders?

    by MacTwachle

    When we get older we may think that we have become wiser.  Well, we do have 20/20 ….hindsight. Whether that is wisdom,  I cannot say. Every generation since the dawn of talking man has believed that the Old have something to tell the Young. Perhaps we do. Many younger generations have believed their grandparents were one brick shy of a load and had nothing to  contribute to a world that was ‘different now’. Certainly in the  past 200 years we have seen events and technologies speed up in  an astonishing way, so if we seem a little out of step, that is  hardly surprising.  

    The 1st Nations have much to teach us, their uninvited guests,  about honouring the elders. Without those Elders, their culture  would have been completely lost. They find their identity in that  culture so it is of vital importance to their view of themselves.  


    So what would I tell my Granddaughter that might help her with  her life in tomorrow’s world. She is already not a creature of the  main herd. So I perhaps do not need to tell her to make her own  mind up about what she sees and what she hears, but I’ll mention it anyway. I might recommend to her that she seek out  books that can show her the different sides to many stories. I must remember to tell her not to just eat the wieners of life.  Huh? Well, its my Carpe Diem message. What if my granddaughter were a wild child ? I might suggest she take up  hobbies that would give her the thrills she might seem to be  seeking, without destroying her life.  

    To any young person I might say - Do not hate without just  cause. Make sure you find a life partner with whom you are  truly compatible - I failed that one - Love your fellow man with  as much compassion as you can summon. - That one fits with  “Every black beetle has a mommy that loves it”. Whatever job you find yourself doing - do it to the best of your ability. On second thought, if your job is nefarious, like Al Capone…. this is where old wisdom collapses!! 

    Remember to stop and smell the roses. Daily life is made up of  1,000 tiny moments, each one of them a precious miracle. The  sunrise, the fresh snowfall, and hey I’m still breathing and I  made it to work on time - yea! That makes life a celebration.

    Each person must find their own path. All we can do is hand  them a map and pray they use it. I invite the reader to imagine  what they might say to a young person of today, faced with  today's challenges and the hazards of tomorrow.

  • 4 Mar 2022 10:59 AM | Anonymous

    Working for Gus: Memories from Peter’s Drive Inn

    by Kathy Newman 

    Do you remember your first paying job? I had earned money  helping my brother with his Star Weekly Route, but my first real  money job was as a 17-year-old working at Peter’s Drive Inn on  16th Ave. N.E. in Calgary. I worked for Gus and Barbara Peters  slinging hamburgers, making dairy treats and all the other  necessary tasks I was asked to do such as washing the floors. 

    I had a lot to learn, especially about washing floors. “No, no,  not like that!” admonished Gus as I pushed the huge, sopping  wet, mop back and forth across the Drive Inn floor, diligently  trying to complete one of my least favorite tasks. Gus grabbed  the mop and showed me the only way to mop floors which was  the Naval way. I almost saluted as I watched the methodical  sweeping motion demonstrated by my well-practiced boss as  his strong arms maneuvered that mop into every corner. I was  impressed but stayed silent as he completed the job for me! I  think he liked the physical exertion during the quiet moments  when the Drive-Inn wasn’t busy.  

    However, those moments were few and far between as we  were normally functioning at full capacity. Gus was the master  of organization. As two employees manned the intercom  orders, another added the burgers to the automatic grill and  waited for them to plop down into the tomato sauce before  being placed on the bun which already had the addition of  condiments. Someone else monitored the French fries and hot 

    dogs while window employees made ice cream cones, banana  splits and sundaes when they weren’t taking orders.  

    The RCMP detachment was just East of the Drive Inn, so we had  many red coated customers. Two fellows liked to innocently  flirt with us sweet young girls working the windows. They  would doff their impressive hats and bow when placing their  orders like knights requesting the company of princesses. 

    We decided to have some teenage fun with these two, so I  neatly sliced rounds of banana into the middle of their double  burgers and without smirking passed it through the window  with a gentle, “Have a great day.” About 20 minutes later, I  politely answered the phone in the back office and a deep voice  introduced himself as a Captain with the RCMP.  

    “I sent two of my sergeants over to pick up my lunch. Did you  make my double burger!” 

    “Oh sir, I am so sorry!” I spouted with the realization that the  flirts did not eat one of the altered hamburgers and that I might  now be in danger of losing my job for being silly! 

    “Oh, no need to apologize. I just wanted you to know that your  creation is the best burger I have ever had!” he laughed.  

    That wasn’t the only embarrassing moment at Peter’s. A young  man that I had dated, drove up to the window for a milkshake 

    and I became so flustered that I forgot to add the chocolate  flavouring. He wasn’t impressed! 

    Then there was the time that Gus locked me into the walk-in  freezer with the bread boy! He liked to tease us as our age  range was similar and we were both shy around each other.  Buns were delivered frequently, and Gus always inspected  them. If the tops and bottoms didn’t match, he sent the whole  order back but if the buns were up to his high standards, he  gave the delivery person a milkshake for their efforts. We  always helped to load everything into the freezer, thus, making  it easy for Gus to have his own fun with one of the younger  fellows. We weren’t locked in very long but realized that Gus  liked to play cupid! 

    Gus worked around the clock, but he had a special technique  for relaxing. When in the back making the special sauce, I would  marvel at his ability to sit down, lean back with his feet on his  desk and fall asleep for exactly 15 minutes before jumping up  and completing another task. “I learned that in the Navy too.”  He responded to my query. “We had to rest whenever we  could.” 

    The Drive Inn was constantly under the surveillance of the Fire  Department Safety Officer, but I think he came more than he  needed to as Gus always gave him a Strawberry Milkshake.  Once, he came in when I was peeling a fifty-pound bag of  onions and he wanted to chat. “Sniff, yes, I had, sniff…a good 

    weekend.” I cried using the back of my hand to swipe away the  unbidden tears as I attempted to answer his question. 

    “Girl, I can’t stand to watch you cry.” He uttered as he  retreated from the noxious fumes and breathed in the fresh,  outdoor air.  

    I worked at the Drive-Inn for May and June and then left to  attend the Provincial Recreation Leadership Course in  Drumheller for the month of July. Gus wanted me to come  back in August, so Barb sent me a reminder; a box containing  too huge onions that was labeled, “Less You Forget!” A paring  knife was also attached! 

    In August, I received an order over the intercom that really  surprised me; ” Six Banana Splits.” We had never had that  request before…maybe one or two splits but never six. Luckily, I  asked the customer to repeat their order and Gus heard their  response; “Yes, six banana splits.” A flurry of activity ensued.  Gus helped by lining up the trays and splitting the bananas  while I loaded the ice cream and Carla heaped on the chocolate  sauce, strawberries and the pineapple. Gus finished off each  split with whipped cream. When the car drew up to the  window, I started to carefully hand out the splits but was  stopped when the driver shouted, “I didn’t order Banana Splits,  I ordered Fish and Chips!” 

    “Get out of here and never come back!” ordered Gus who  immediately backed me up at the window and noted their 

    licence number. He had heard me repeat the order so knew  that this was a carload of bad apples out to create mischief.  Anyway, it wasn’t busy, so Gus invited each of us to have a  Banana Split…the most expensive item on the menu! 

    I thrived on the responsibility given to me that summer at  Peter’s Drive Inn as I progressed to the honor of opening the  shop first thing in the morning. This entailed turning on the  burger conveyor belt, making the sauce for the hamburgers,  and training any new staff. I also had some evening shifts so I made sure that everything was cleaned before locking up and  heading home often around one AM.  

    Gus was a taskmaster and a great boss. He demanded  excellence and, as a result, Peter’s Drive Inn won national  awards! Even though Gus has since passed away, Peter’s Drive  Inn still thrives! 

    Now, tell me about your first job!

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