Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Just in time for the baby boomers! All those who have paid into the system all their lives cannot be guaranteed anything now that this threshold has been reached. It was expected, but not for another six years. Here in Canada, we are being warned that the CPP will be tweaked in the near future. There have already been changes such as a disincentive to take the benefit early. There are just too many elderly needing pensions for the number of workers to support the system. This mass of humanity moving through the time continuum is problematic and those of us who are of this 'boomer' age had better get used to some pretty severe discrimination in the near future. We have built the nation, but now will be seen as nothing more than a drain on the economy and health care services. We will be done away with, at least those of us who have nobody to advocate for us and are not wealthy enough to fend for ourselves. But hey, we still have voting power and statistics prove that more of us vote than of the younger generation.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
I grew up on the prairie and had no experience with boats, let alone ever saw one. Where then does this intrigue with boats come from? I must have had the odd ride on a small boat when my dad would take me fishing in the Saskatchewan lakes, but I only had my first experience in a real boat when I move closer to the west coast. The idea of sailing is appealing, but only insofar as I am accompanied by an experienced sailor. Sailing the waters of Georgia Straight in a ferry does not count as there is no connection with the sea. Travelling up the north coast in the freighter, the Northland Prince was only slightly more adventurous as we would encounter gale force winds and high seas on a regular basis. I think living on an old tug, or a house boat, or a larger cabin cruiser would be a great experience. I believe I know the answer as to why I have not pursued this longing. If I get seasick and/or broke doing it, my dream will be dashed. If it turns out to be the greatest thing I ever did, there will be no turning back. I might turn out to be like the fellow who said that the second happiest day of his life was when he bought his boat. The happiest day of his life was when he sold it.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
This photo belongs to the post of a few days ago. It is the front view of the home with the ice arena in the back yard.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
There are many leech organisations in our society and one of them is a consumer protection agency called CSPI. Centre for Science in the Public Interest. This is the marvelous stuff they come up with.
"MacDonald's is the stranger at the playground handing out candy to the children." These people have very little to do to justify their existence so they are targeting MacDonald's advertising that sells toys with 'Value Meals'.
The CSPI says that "MacDonald's use of toys undercuts parental authority and exploits young children's developmental immaturity - all this to induce children to prefer food that may harm their health. It is a creepy and predatory practice that warrants an injunction"
Creepy? I'll tell you what is creepy. A government agency assuming that every kid who eats a value meal is doing so because he has usurped his parents authority over him and is dictating everything in his life including what he eats. Oops, hold on. I think they are onto something. I am sure you have witnessed it in a public place, where the kid rules his parents and uses threats, coercion and blackmail to get his or her way. This sort of thing is rampant in society as parents are afraid to exercise authority over their kids because they might damage his self esteem, his self determination, or his right to exercise his free will as per the UN charter of rights and freedoms for children. Discipline is cruel and unusual and spanking is physical abuse beyond the pale. So, the kids are taking over, but not in all cases. There are still parents who will buy the value meal on rare occasions as a reward or treat and the rest of the time the child will get a healthy and nutritious diet.
This is something that will only be solved by education and not by some faceless bureaucracy slapping an injunction on a business trying to market a legal product. So, CSPI, go after the negligent parents and not MacDonald's
The photo is of some elderly guy going for a Value Meal, or is it the toy he gets with it? (Taken on the Pitt River Dyke)
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
It was more that a year after I gave these people a quote on re-painting their house, that they called and gave me the go ahead. I knew them from church and busylizzy had a connection with the lady of the house and her sister. Apart from being a well built home, the best feature of this residence is the fabulous view from both floors facing east. (the back of the house) Very few neighbours make this a very quiet and peaceful area with a lot of room for entertaining or kids to run around in. One of the rooms I did was the exercise and massage room on the lower level. I discovered that she was a qualified masseuse so I booked a massage, in fact I booked two massages. For the record, busylizzy was with me both times. I gave back some of the profit I made on the job but it was worth it. Both times I was limber for the rest of the day and slept like a baby at night.
Monday, June 21, 2010
How does one go through life treasuring every moment as if it were the last? One hears of this from those who have had a near death experience. One's perspective and priorities are changed dramatically and forever. Can a person function with a renewed perspective like this? I believe we must say yes to that question. Having a renewed gratitude for life itself, is life changing. Treasuring the small blessings in life makes a person fun to be with as nobody likes a person with a continued negative attitude. Loving those around you as though they might be taken from you at any time would have a profound effect on relationships, for the good.
I have lost friends over the years, but none have had the effect on me that Erv's loss has had. I honestly think I speak for many others too when I say that, and in that, I can find consolation and even a reason for his death. I am beginning to see some changes being brought about and it is comforting to know that one can influence others in life and in death. It gives meaning to the fact that loved ones are sometimes taken tragically and suddenly and with no apparent immediate reason.
It is said that time heals and it is true. Those that are left, process the new reality, and other thoughts eventually fill in where only grief lived before. But also, it becomes apparent with time, that there is a reason for everything. God does not make mistakes, nor is he surprised by anything, but it often takes Him a long time to convince us that He knows what He is doing. We are slow learners. And in understanding, and finding a reason, comes healing.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
It was a few days after Erv's death that one of the men in the Care Group suggested that just the guys get together to remember Erv. We wanted to do it in a pretty spot near some water so we chose Macdonald Park, a central location for us all. We found that last night was a convenient time for us all and we met there around 7 pm.
We walked along Sumas River dyke for 6 Km. reminiscing and telling stories all the way. It was a cool gray evening, but there was no wind and the water was calm and reflective. It was quite a beautiful evening as we made our way back to the picnic shelter where we shared some refreshments and again, in a more formal way, remembered Erv. Ian and I each read some scripture and recalled how Erv was somewhat 'outside the box' except for his faith. There he was rock solid and quite orthodox. It was cathartic for us all and it became a valuable tool which has helped us all to heal from the pain of such a great loss.
It really was a perfect evening in everyway, except one. Our friend Erv was missing and would so have enjoyed it.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
"A newspaper from Victoria, Texas, reported that the Hispanic community decided to voice its displeasure with upcoming immigration law changes. How? By boycotting businesses owned by Caucasians. They then announced that the boycott was a success - reducing sales by 19%. The business community, however, claimed success too. It said shoplifting had gone down 77%.If those figures are correct, it suggests that Hispanics in Victoria buy 20% of goods sold but steal 3/4 of those that disappear from the shelves."
No doubt, both sides are putting a bit of 'spin' on the figures. If the business allegations are true, they will be hoping for a continued boycott, not something you hear from business too often.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
For even more about Africa, check out my friend Ian's Pics on the sidebar of this blog. He was on safari not that long ago and used his Pentax to capture all the action. He has posted some great photos with more to come.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
The newlyweds were very kind and friendly folks but only had eyes for each other and let us 'workers' alone most of the time. It was a few years later that the husband passed away and his wife sold the house and moved into a condo. She remained my customer and we are like long lost friends every time we meet. She never did re-marry but gave her life to working for a para church organisation. She is still at it, although only part time these days.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Apparently, two young fellows were driving down the road right here in our little city and several people called 911 to report that a man was brandishing a gun or "perhaps a replica gun" out the window of a passing car. The police apprehended the would be criminals and gave them a good talking to, a warning you might say. So what was it, actually, the young man was waving out the window of the car? A banana! Hey, I don't make this stuff up. This is the new reality when paranoia rules. I am confidant that the police officers involved have had adequate training in determining the difference between a gun and a banana. If not, somebody could have got shot, and not with a banana.
Please study these two photos very carefully. I am providing a vital public service here in that I am showing all my readers what the difference is between a gun and a banana. For those of you who are not sure, the photo ABOVE is a gun. The photo BELOW is a banana. Oh, and don't go waving any fruit out of your car window or you may get taken down by the SWAT Team.
I had not ever seen a Cedar Waxwing in BC, and there he was, right at the end of my 200 mm zoom range.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Our lives are always on a fine thread, no matter who we are, what age we are, or how healthy we are. It is presumptuous for any person to assume that they will live beyond the next moment. We can even weigh the odds and yet they mean nothing. How many people do you know who died instantly and unexpectedly? I have known many in my lifetime. Why I am I still here? I would not dare to say "Because of God's grace". The expression "There but for the grace of God go I" bothers me a great deal because where was God's grace for the person to whom we are referring? Does not God "allow the rain to fall on the just and the unjust"? We are all susceptible to God's laws, the laws of nature as some would say. God is perfectly capable of suspending those laws at any given time or place, but I suspect he does not do it that often.
We are all born to die. The statistics are that one out of one will die. We do not usually choose how or when, but it is inevitable. So then where is the comfort or where is there an answer to the big question of timing. I believe that if we are ready at all times, it does not matter when or how it happens. The pain and suffering of loss is only for those who are left. We feel a big hole in our lives and it hurts. But this grieving is for ourselves only, if the person we miss was ready for his death. We certainly do not have to grieve for him or her. The troubles of this world are over with and the joys, well the joys that we think a person might have missed out on do not compare for one moment to the joys of being in God's presence.
So next time we come home from the medical checkup and gloat, it would do us a great service to read something like John 3: 16 and take it to heart just in case a rock falls on us when we least expect it.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
One is remembered by what his interests were and by the people he touched during his lifetime. And so we were reminded that Erv was an avid adventurer and outdoors man, and a man who loved Jazz and The Blues. The service was predominantly a recitation of memories of Erv, starting with his two sisters Laurene and Valerie. It was a warm, humorous and emotional journey they took us on as they recounted Erv's early life, born in Alberta and then moving to Ontario before his adventures "out west" began. I was laughing one moment, crying the next as the ladies poured out their admiration and love for their big brother. I have heard so many stories of Erv's life but never in chronological order like this. It made more sense this way and gave me an insight as to how he became the man that he was.
Then Ernie, Erv's "forever buddy" gave a long dialogue about Erv's adventures and his characteristics of friendship. I could have listened to that man all day. He gave a very intelligent and articulate account of his friendship with Erv and as he was speaking I said to myself over and over that what he was saying was so true, and yet I could never have put it quite like that. I could see why he and Erv were such good friends for all their lives. They are similar in many ways, on the same wave length, one might say. Erv had spoken to me of Ernie several times, but I had never met him.
In the program, there was a tribute given to the company that Erv worked for. They were described as "the best company in the world". That is high praise! When the president of the company stepped to the podium and spoke of Erv, I came to understand why that accolade was given. Jay Campbell gave an impassioned account of how he met Erv, how Erv impacted him, and how Erv also impacted the company for the better. In a personal chat with him later, he recounted how Erv was such a large part of their success. He was the second driver from outside the family that they hired and it was the best thing they ever did. Erv was known throughout the company simply as #1. Jay told us all the employees and drivers would be wearing lapel pins henceforth, as a tribute to Erv, with #1 imprinted on them. They will also be naming a lane into the property 'Erv Doerksen Way'. They just recently gave a donation to the Children's Hospital in Erv's name. How wonderful to see a large successful company give such accolades to one of its employees.
It was then time for Erv's kids to take the podium. His son, daughter, their spouses, and their children stood by as Peter, the son, spoke for them all. What a difficult task, but so well done. Peter has large shoes to fill, but I can see that happening. During the slide show of Erv's life, there were some photos of a young Erv when I was sure I was seeing Peter. Peter's wife Sherena, a wonderful photographer, put the photos together and did a masterful job. Later during the reception, the slide show was playing and it was difficult to take one's eyes off of it. I discovered later that she had help from Ian, Erv's kayaking buddy and sometime member of our Care Group. Ian's passion is also photography and you can see some of his work from the link on the sidebar of this blog.
Our Pastor Vic tried to make sense of Erv's death by giving us a few word pictures which for me, at least, were helpful. Heidi, another one of our Care Group, played flute, as only she can, as the guests were dismissed and ushered to the reception. It was there that I connected with many people, some I had not seen for many years, but we all had Erv in common. Again there were tears shed, but also some laughter as we recounted stories.
I really had no idea that Erv had impacted so many lives. Some would have said that he had missed his calling, that he should have been a teacher, or a pastor, or an academic, but I can see that he did not miss his calling at all. We spoke of that on the beach in Mexico not long ago. He told me that he had not pursued goals and dreams but found it an adventure to take life as it comes and make the best of it. It had been a great lesson to me that no matter who we are or what we do, we can make our lives count. The faith that he lived out in such practical terms touched everyone he met. He was authentic and as Jay, his boss said, virtuous, and in such a consistent way, that everyone at his memorial felt exactly the same way about him.
Will they say that about me some day? I have learned something valuable from my friend Erv both from his life and in his death.
What now remains is a trip to the location where Erv took his last breath, a gathering of some of his good guy friends to reminisce and share stories, and of course, to help Delores in what ever way we can to re-invent her life. We will wait for time to heal the wounds and the hurting hearts, and as that happens, we will always recall, with a smile on our lips, our good friend, Erv. His constant theme in life was joy, so we can do no less.
Monday, June 7, 2010
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
the LORD's love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children's children-
with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
Psalm 103: 15 - 18
In remembrance of Erv, my usual blogging is on hold for a few days.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
For the last three days I have had an opportunity to talk to many of Erv's friends at length and it has been therapeutic. On Friday evening our Care Group convened to remember Erv, to laugh, to cry, to pray, and to try to make some sense out of his passing. We all die, not one of us knowing the day nor the hour, but the random accuracy of Erv's death is what I struggle with the most. I find it helpful to concentrate on my many good memories of a most remarkable man, Erv Doerksen.
I first met Erv in 1986 when I sat in on an adult Sunday School class that he was teaching. I was quite taken with his intellect, his 'turn of phrase', his vocabulary, and his unique insights into Biblical truths. It was not until at a wedding a few years later when we were formally introduced to each other. He recognised me from church, was pleased to meet me and made me feel like he was genuinely interested in me. Erv was good at that. He was the poster boy for Dale Carnegie's book "How to Win Friends and Influence People". I felt as though he would be willing and pleased to get together with me sometime later. Little did I realise that it would happen a short time later when two orphan Care Groups from church amalgamated and we became the group that met on Sunday nights. I was thrilled that he offered to be our study leader and with his communications and teaching skills and his wife Delores's gift of hospitality, we had a really good thing going right from the start.
I began to appreciate Erv more as the years went by. We seemed to enjoy each other's company and would go for long walks where we would have fantastic discussions and debates and we were able to stimulate each other's thinking. I always looked forward to any time I could spend with Erv, alone, and uninterrupted. Our walks would take us for miles, both of us oblivious to time or distance. We would get home exhausted and then continue over a cold drink or a cup of coffee, depending on the weather. I always parted company with him wanting more.
He was a cohesive force in our care group. We scheduled our studies around his driving time table. He worked 4 days and then four days off, so his time off did not always co-ordinate with a Sunday evening. We always somehow muddled through the times he was not there, but would appreciate him so much more when he returned. He was such a great discussion leader, able to draw us out with his comments and gentle questions. His commentaries on the subject of the night were always interesting and you knew he had spent time preparing and thinking about what he was going to say. He had a way of giving value to everything that was said in the group. Nobody ever felt that their contribution went ignored or was inferior. This is what endeared Erv to so many people, to the many who call him 'their best friend". He gave value to everyone he met and would never talk behind one's back. If he had a slightly negative comment to make about someone, it would be tempered with grace and a corresponding positive statement. The only thing that I recall that really irked him were the "bad drivers out there". Coming from a consummate professional award winning driver, it was understandable.
In February of this year, I found a deal on a one week vacation to Mexico and called the members of the Care Group to see who wanted to come with busylizzy and me. When I talked to Erv from the travel agents desk, he jumped at it and gave his credit card number over the phone. As it turned out, he and Delores were the only ones that came with us. We had vacationed with others in the group before, but never with Erv and Delores. We were pumped and really looking forward to it. We were not disappointed. We spent the next week together and had the most memorable time. We lingered at every meal, morning, noon, and night, we sat for hours at the poolside or on the ocean beach, or we walked for miles on the shores of Banderas Bay with our bare feet in the sand and surf. All the while, we were bonding. Erv and I had endless discussions about legacy, the influence of parents and grandparents, politics, our faith, the future of our Care Group, our church and its wonderful leadership, retirement, and just anything else of value. There was not time for small talk, and that is another thing I liked about Erv. It was always meaningful conversation but spiked with good doses of humour. I saw Erv's tender side many times as we talked about our kids and grand kids. We gave each other insights as to how God has lead us throughout our lives. We found that despite our different life experiences, we had a lot in common, but we also explored the differences. We talked late into the night, and would pick up again at the breakfast table, warmed by the tropical sun. As the days progressed we both became more relaxed and were quite undone when the week was over. We vowed that the next time it would two weeks or nothing at all.
When we returned, it was evident that our relationship had taken a good step forward. I knew now that even if the Care Group disbanded, I had a good friend for life. The following months were difficult ones in which to schedule regular Care Group meetings, but we did have some very good ones. The last meeting was only three days before Erv's death. Every member of the group was there. He was happy and relaxed and as usual did such a great job. When he would arrive at the home where we met, he would always ask each one of us how our week was. He really wanted to know. On Sunday, we reviewed the sermon of that morning and he had each one of speak to the topic which was legalism. He wanted to know the environment of each of our up-bringings and if there was legalism or a perception of legalism in our homes and how that impacted or did not impact our thinking on grace, today. It was interesting and we all learned a bit more about each other. I found his story about his grandfather's advice to him insightful and helpful. We prayed after and he closed, as usual, with a wonderful prayer, articulate and inspired. It was a wonderful evening, particularly so. He usually rose at around 3 am on his first day back on the road and Monday was the start of his rotation. We all left and said our goodbyes. I waved to him as we backed out of the driveway, never to see him again, in this life.
What I wouldn't give for just one more time.
Friday, June 4, 2010
I cannot describe the incredible sense of loss we all feel. We went to his home Wednesday evening and Delores, his wife, was surrounded by family and friends and the tears were flowing. Having been in their home countless times, I could not help but listen for his voice and watch for his friendly face to appear miraculously to welcome all the unexpected guests. He would have loved the big crowd and would have got another pot of coffee going. There is a huge hole in my heart. I miss him incredibly already even though I just saw him on Sunday.
I will pay him tribute on this blog spot in the near future.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
As I get older, I have less patience for perfectionism as I realise it should not be a priority in any body's life. It does not matter if it is not perfect. Very good, yes, but perfect is not something you can take with you. Having said that, if I were to have an x-ray, I would prefer it if this good doctor read my negatives.
One other thing. This couple is childless so they have time for a very interesting hobby. They are gourmet chefs and their dinner parties are renowned. They also spend a lot of time in the Caribbean, sailing. Even though I have never been invited to sail or dine with them, I like them a whole bunch.