Talking to Strangers

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“It’s an Irish hat”, she tells me. “It was made in Ireland”.

Good to know, I think to myself.

It’s not unusual for me to find myself somewhere talking to a stranger. I don’t mean the station wagon, gingham wearing type of stranger – I mean a scary person. I mean the type of person your parents warn you about and stay awake at night worrying about.

She is toothless, her hygiene is wanting and her toe nails are long. They are so long in fact, that I doubt wearing shoes is possible for her. And yet, she and I had in depth conversation about this lost hat.

The hat, the Irish hat, had been discarded at the bus stop. Most likely it had slipped from the man’s arms, which were holding too much already. Or, maybe a great gust of wind came up suddenly and sent this Irish hat flying from his head.

Regardless, the hat was now without its owner and my friend, this scary person, is concerned about returning it to him.

She models the hat for me and almost does a little gig. She stops, though, and adjusts it differently.

“It feels strange”, she tells me.

“It’s probably dirty”, I tell her.

“Do you think someone is looking for it?”, she asks me.

“Maybe”.

I can tell she is considering what to do. She looks at the building in front of us and, I know, she wants to deliver it honestly to the front desk. I can image the reaction. Her mind might even be considering a campaign on Facebook or Twitter. Perhaps she will tweet about the Irish hat daily for a week until the man notices these tweets and attempts to contact her. “@bus stop#bring money”.

Others at the bus stop have stepped away from her and yet I cannot move. Perhaps the reason is because it’s the end of the day and I’m tired. Perhaps I feel evil about abruptly ending our conversation.

I do, though, secretly wish for the early arrival of the bus for I fear she might ask to exchange phone numbers with me.

It’s within consideration that she might be respectable in certain situations. Those toe nails could be cut; that hair could be washed. I could even throw the Irish hat in the washing machine and give it a fluff and dry in the dryer. That would make her happy. I’m certain of it.

And yet when the bus does appear, I rush to it too quickly and I don’t look back. I exchanged pleasantries with her. My commitment is done, is it not?

However, I have looked for her, somewhat reluctantly, when I returned to the same bus stop. The hat is gone, too. I imagine it resides on her head now, hiding the dirty hair, but giving her a regal look too. She probably wears it eating breakfast at MacDonalds every morning and especially at bingo on Saturday nights. She might even wear it when she visits her brother at the half way house. He will be envious of such a nice hat, such a nice Irish hat.

Maybe I should start wearing hats.

 

Jerry Lee, (1999-2014) R.I.P.

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Jerry loved starched pillow cases, fresh cut grass, butterflies, flowers, and could not resist the temptation of a piece a crumpled tin foil.

Salmon juice was her favorite drink. She took it straight up, and when she was finished, she would pound her paws on the table for more. She was also known for tapping Pam on the back in the middle of the night, almost to say: “Are you awake, Pam?”

Jerry Lee died today at 1:30.

She will be missed greatly by Pam, Lucy, Ebony and Minnie (to some degree), Grandpa and Grandma, too.

Goodbye my  muffin head; rest in peace.

Trooper

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I caught Trooper last night in concert at Woodstock’s Southside Park. They were great! Have not heard of them? They’re a Canadian band who were popular in the 1970’s.

Take a listen.

 

Robin Williams, 1951-2014.

Robin Williams

R.I.P.

You will be missed.

A Food Bank for Anna

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Anna is hungry and so is her family.

This week Anna Windass of the British tv soap “Coronation Street” put her pride aside and went to the local food bank to feed her family. She broke down once inside, sobbing uncontrollably.  There she was instructed about the sobering facts of hunger and realized that she was not alone. It can happen to anyone.

Illness, unemployment, disability are all issues that can leave someone desperate. It’s said that an individual should have enough savings, (accessible funds ) for three years of recovery. That’s how long it takes for someone to get back on their feet. If you pay out $1, 500 a month in expenses, multiply that by 36 months. ($54,000) Most people do not have that much put away, and take in mind, I have not considered any emergencies you might have in those three years, nor medical prescriptions.

Hence, you can see why it’s very easy for people to end up on welfare. If there is no recovery in this scenario, the prognosis is grim and leaves one relying on social assistance indefinitely.

The ease of getting food in this episode is perhaps not realistic. Here are some misconceptions I noticed in the show:

1. Generally, you do not just walk in. You have to set up an appointment where you register to see if you are indeed eligible. Your income and expenses are documented and any changes must be noted to the agency immediately.

2. As well, you are generally only allowed one visit per month. This is due to the incredible demand for food in Ontario. Some cities have more than one food bank, so if you are really organized, you could visit one per week.

3. It’s common for food banks to close in the summer months. Donations are down during the summer. Hunger is not just at Christmas. People tend to forget about the people in need during the remaining 11 months of the year. This is somewhat ironic too since produce is plentiful during the summer.

4. Many food donations are stale or past their date of expiration. I have often heard people complain about others who take advantage of food banks. I am not sure if that’s an accurate perception.

So, please think of Anna or the women she represents.

If you have a garden right now and have excess stock, I encourage you to drop these vegetables off to your nearest food bank.

 

 

 

 

1914 – 2014: One Hundred Years…

Pam:

Other than one quote here, it’s an interesting article. The media cannot seem to win. Either there is too little coverage or not enough. I enjoy reading every aspect of the Great War.

Originally posted on Contra Spem Spero... Et Rideo:

100. A magical number — very round, three digits, exceeds current human life expectation…

The centenary of the Great War ( 28 July 1914 –11 November 1918). It was one of the deadliest conflicts in history, paving the way for major political changes, including revolutions in many of the nations involved, says Wikipedia, and it knows.

For days, the news media was overflowing with images of princes, princesses and world dignitaries without titles photogenically bowing their heads in every spot appropriate for the occasion . Photographs of the battlefields coated with corpses, accounts of seeing comrades blown apart by artillery fire…

British soldiers dash towards the enemy lines in 1914, not long after war broke out.

British soldiers dash towards the enemy lines in 1914, not long after war broke out.

As 888,246 red ceramic flowers stood abloom around the Tower of London, I read an excellent article in the Guardian,  1914: the Great War has become a nightly pornography of violence by Simon Jenkins. It…

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I love lilies!!

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The smell is lovely, too. I’d like to say this is from my garden, but it’s not

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