Change

I want to start off by thanking everyone for providing me with such a great list of word prompts. I have plenty of inspiration to draw from in the days and weeks to come. I promise to use every word, at some point, in the next few weeks. So, if you don’t see your story right away, not to worry, it is bubbling away in the cauldron of my imagination and will be ready soon.

I was challenged this very day by one of my writing mentors, Jo-Anne Teal, to create a 33-word post that revolves around the word, “change”. She said that she was going to play along by publishing her own post tonight. So, I found some quiet moments this evening and cobbled together the following piece of writing. i hope that you like it.

 

    

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

The Other Side of the Fence

 

Once I was entrusted with the lives of young children. Now, my fingerprints are all that separate me from the predators. What a change being on the other side of the school fence.

 

If anyone wants to know the story behind this story, I will tell you in the comments. Feel free to ask. Thanks, as always, for spending some time in my world.

Throwback Throw Down!!!

This is a #ThrowbackThursday post.

When I first began using a blog as a means of expressing myself in writing and getting my words before an audience, I was fortunate enough to become acquainted with a writing website called Trifecta.  Each week, the folks at Trifecta issued two writing challenges; a short piece of writing that was only 33 words long and a longer piece which, if I remember correctly, was one hundred words.  Each challenge was based upon a single word that was given to us. Our task was to take that word and create a whole world around it.

One of the great benefits that I derived from writing for Trifecta was having the opportunity to meet so many incredibly talented and generous writers from all over the world.  These fine folks would post the most amazing works of fiction and would invite newbies, like me, to offer our thoughts and critiques. They, in turn,would do likewise for the work I submitted. Everyone was so kind. After a while, I felt like I actually belonged in the company of these artists and was beginning to be considered a peer.  Those were heady times.

Unfortunately, the Trifecta writing group disbanded a few years ago and the regular contributors have scattered, once more, to their corners of the world. I am lucky to have made friendships that have survived the end of Trifecta and that continue, via social media, to this day. I will list some of my favourite writers and their blogs at the end of this post.

But, for now, I want to ask for your help.  Since resurrecting my blog, I have not posted any creative writing. Not a single work of fiction. No one poem. Nothing. That needs to change. I want to get my Trifecta-style writing muscles back into shape so, I have a request. Once you have finished reading this post and are ready to comment, please leave me a one-word writing prompt. I will, in turn, take your word and create a 33-word story or a 100-word story….you decide.   In order to give you a flavour of what to expect, I am going to share with you two pieces of writing that received warm consideration from the Trifecta community back in the day; one is 33 words long and the other, 100 words long.

Throwback Post #1

This is a 33-word post. The word prompt was Devil. (It was near Halloween). We were instructed to use a photo or a video and build our story around it. I chose a video of when the Rolling Stones first appeared on American TV. Unlike The Beatles, the Stones were viewed as satanic from the get-go. So, my story went, as follows:

Watching Dad’s Cigarette Burn

Mom gasps…..quietly.

Dad stares. His cigarette burning down.

Mick, seemingly possessed, writhes on the stage.

The song ends.

Dad turns the TV off.

Silence fills the room but, the Devil remains.

I actually was awarded “First Place” for this piece. It was my one and only “triumph”, as it were.

Throwback Post #2:

This is a 100-word story. The word prompt was Hollow. My inspiration for this story were some of the kids I had as students in my classroom at school and the lives I knew they lived.

Waving at Stars

I hate the Super Bowl and the World Series and any other night that gives my Dad a reason to drink

If his teams wins, he drinks to celebrate.

If his teams loses, he gets angry and drinks to feel better.

When my Dad drinks, my Mom gets hit…..a lot.

No matter who wins the game, my Mom always loses.

I hate my Dad.

He never really hits me that much.

Before he gets to me, he’s usually used up his anger hitting Mom.

After he hits her, he always feels bad and says, “I love you” to her.

But, his words are hollow and won’t fix her heart.

I love my Mom.

Her heart is strong, though.

It must be to hold all the Love that she says she has for me.

Some nights, while Dad watches the game on TV, my Mom and me lay on blankets in the backyard.

We stare up at the night sky and look at the stars.

There are stars everywhere!

Some stars are small and others are big but, they all twinkle.

Like diamonds in our sky.

Mom says that on some stars, there might be a Mommy and her special boy on blankets in their yard.

Maybe that little space boy is waving at us right now.

We’d better wave back, just in case.

So, we wave at the stars, Mommy and me.

“Goddamn, fuckin’ refs!” Dad screams from the living room. A glass breaks.

Mom kisses my forehead.

She brushes the hair away from my eyes.

She asks me to look at the stars that twinkle and shine so bright.

To count them and keep on counting until I run out of numbers

or the sky out of stars.

She hugs me tight and holds me close.

I can feel her heart beating fast and strong.

“Promise me you’ll keep counting until I come back.”

I promise.

She gets up and goes inside.

I wave at the stars and start to count.

So, now you have a flavour for what you will get in return if you leave a one-word prompt for me. You can choose whether you want a 33-word story or a 100-word story but, one way or the other, a story is what you will see on the pages on this blog.

Here are some of the wonderfully talented writers I met over at Trifecta. If you think I am a good writer then, you’ll really like these folks. They are my role-models. I can’t recommend them highly enough.

Bjorn Rudberg

Jo-Anne Teal

Tina Hickman

Barbara Purple Moose

Start with these four fine folks. If you like what you read on their blogs then, let me know and I will include more links in future posts. For now, thanks for reading. As always, I appreciate the fact that, out of all the things you could be doing with your time, you chose to spend these past few moments with me. Thank you.

If The Library Was On Fire

In the middle of my teaching career, I spent a few years out of the classroom in the glorious role of Teacher-Librarian at a large elementary school in Bowmanville, Ontario. For those of us who adore Children’s Literature, being a school librarian is about as good as it gets. Not only did it become my professional responsibility to read books aloud and promote literature at all grade levels but, it also became my duty to go shopping for new books to augment what was already on our shelves!  Book catalogues from various publishing companies would fill my school mailbox so, a lot of my professional reading became familiarizing myself with the latest books on the market. There were a lot of reputable publishing companies vying for my attention and my school budget but, the company that I eventually came to love above all others was called Groundwood Books.  The creativity, originality and quality of the books they published impressed me. The very first book I ever ordered from them still impresses me to this day. It was a Picture Book biography of Charles Darwin called The Tree of Life.

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The Tree of Life  is written and illustrated by Peter Sis. Peter Sis, originally born in what was then, Czechoslovakia but, now living in the United States, is an award-winning illustrator. His penchant for detailed illustrations presented in unique and creative ways is on full display in this story of the life of Charles Darwin, author of The Origin of Species. At the moment of purchase, it was unlike anything Picture Book for children that I had ever seen.

Darwin’s life experiences aboard the HMS Beagle, his meticulous record-keeping and cataloging of the new species of plants and animals he encountered; especially on The Galapagos Islands, the political fall out of publishing The Origin of Species and the personal toll it all took on his life are all afforded great care and detailed expression by Sis.  Each new page is an encyclopedic exploration of Darwin’s exploits and discoveries. Consequently, The Tree of Life stands as one of those Picture Books best enjoyed in one’s lap, curled up in a cozy spot, so that every image, every position of an object, every placement of a word or a phrase can be savoured and relished for the beauty it possesses upon the page. This is a book meant to be read in standard, horizontal fashion but, also, upside down, sideways and even, with flaps that open to reveal the magnum opus which is The Origin of Species depicted visually.

I can remember the day this book arrived at school. That particular day, third period, I had a Grade 6/7 class visit the Library. This class was led by a teacher who believed in the importance of books and reading so, when his Library time came, he always accompanied his class and read silently with them for the entire period. Because this is what he wanted with his period in the Library, I always acted as the good role-model and read long with the class, too. This day, I read The Tree of Life by Peter Sis for the very first time. As those Grade 6 and 7 students sat quietly reading their books, I was sitting there having my mind blown wide open!  What a wholly and completely different take on the traditional biography.  I remain as captivated by this book today as I was when I first read it fifteen years ago.

Even though I stopped being a Teacher-Librarian years ago, I have still maintained my connection with Groundwood Books and continue to receive their catalogues in the mail at my house. The quality of the roster of books that they publish remains very high, in terms of the beauty of the writing, the artistry of the illustrations and the topical nature of the themes being discussed.

What a joyful time it was being surrounded by such amazing literature all day long, every day, in that school Library.  Some times, I would find a quiet moment while I was there and I would play an imaginary game with myself in which the library was on fire and I only had time to save a handful of books before I had to evacuate through the door. The longer I stayed in that role as Teacher-Librarian, the more books I read and the harder it became choose which ones I would save as the flames licked at my heels. But, no matter when this scenario played itself out in my mind, The Tree of Life by Peter Sis, was always one of the books that I was determined to risk life and limb to save.

It is just that good.

Gift Cards

As a family, we all like to read.

When the girls were younger, Keri and I made the deliberate decision to set aside a portion of every, single day to read to them.  We read Picture books, mainly. But, we, also, read Joke books, Cookbooks, Riddle books, non-fiction books about whatever happened to be of interest in their world at the time, crafting books and so on. We read to the girls because we valued sharing a portion of ourselves with them. Just us and just them. Usually, some cuddling and cosy times were involved. Often, good questions were asked and discussions held. In time, both girls sought comfort from books on their own and, as such, both have developed subject interests that reflect their personalities. Both read a lot. Since they are both growing up, they read less and less with us by their side and more and more on their own. But, they do read. In order to encourage them to continue reading on their own, we gave them a card. No, not a gift card to a book store. Instead, we gave them a card of immense value and importance and it didn’t cost us a dime. Keri and I gave each girl their own Library card.

If reading is our religion then, libraries are our church.

Public libraries are a gift to the world.  They provide access, within communities, to the totality of the world’s stories and ideas and opinions and they do this for free.  You can borrow almost any book on almost any topic and the good folks at your local library will let you borrow it for a few weeks for free!  DVDs, audio books, magazines……all free to borrow.  You can research historical documents, attend lectures, meetings and workshops, all for free!  A Library is a safe haven for the lonely, for seniors, as well as, for parents with newborn babies who just need some adult contact in order to maintain their sanity. Public Libraries, by their very nature, are open to all who seek inspiration or solace from stories or, who seek knowledge of the world around them. They are Holy places. Libraries are a treasure and the MacInnes Family loves them!

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This is our local public library. We wear it out!

When the girls were first born, up until they entered the school system on a full-time basis, they spent much of their time here. The Library had many programmes for toddlers and newborn children that exposed them to songs, poetry, drama, stories and crafting, all the while doing so in a social setting with other children. These programmes were fun. Pairing reading with pleasurable sensations is one of the keys to helping children develop a desire to become readers as they grow older. It is the same philosophy behind the bonding process that occurs in your home, with your newborn babe, when you hold them in your arms and sing to them or read to them. Babies soon begin to associate your words with the pleasure of being held close. After continued exposure to this combination, babies grow into toddlers who grow into young children who begin to automatically view books and stories warmly, even if you are not there to hold them. Our library did a great job of augmenting the loving parenting that our girls were getting at home. It was the beginning of a very wonderful relationship for our girls with public libraries in our area and around the world.

Whenever we travel, we make an effort to visit libraries. When we travel to Cape Breton to visit my mother, we always stop at the Glace Bay and the Sydney branches of the Cape Breton Regional Library System. Nanna has her own library card which she makes available to our girls whenever they visit. The beauty of this arrangement is that we do not have to pack copious amounts of heavy books when we travel “back home”. Instead, we go to the local libraries upon our arrival and stock up with enough reading material to last throughout our visit.

Sometimes, when we travel to bigger centres, just visiting gorgeous libraries is enough. This is certainly true of the beautifully-designed Halifax Public Library, which has been listed as being one of the top 10-20 public libraries in the world.  When we travel east to see my Mom, we always make a point of stopping in Halifax to see my sister, Mary. When we visit with my sister, we always end up at the Halifax Public Library.

Architectually-speaking, the Halifax Public Library is very modern looking and, certainly, a sparkling addition to the skyline of the city. All glass and interesting angles, the Library grabs your attention and draws you inside. Once inside, the library is dazzlingly bright and airy. The Halifax Public Library is five stories tall and hums with activity on all five levels. The design is amazing. People seamlessly flow in and all about the space. It is very well-stocked it is yet, ever so spacious. How clean the lines are in all directions. There is a coffee bar and a rooftop patio that is always busy. The roof is covered in organic material, too, that helps the building breathe, as it were.

As modern and airy as the Halifax Public Library is, the New York Public Library’s flagship branch, the Stephen Schwartzman Branch, is stately and classically-designed. On our recent trip to NYC, the very first place we visited was the library. What a gorgeous space; all marble and oak and an air of refinement.  We treated this space with reverence and moved through it in hushed steps and quiet manner. How lucky we were to have been there. How lucky New Yorkers are to be able to go there whenever they so desire.

Hopefully, as a family, we have many more travelling adventures in store for us. Wherever we end up, you can be assured that we will find a way to include a trip to the library on our itinerary.  But, you don’t need to travel the world to see a great library because a great library already exists within the comfort of your own community, ready to share the world with you there. If you haven’t visited your local library recently then, please do so. You might be pleasantly surprised at all it has to offer.

This month, libraries are encouraging citizens; especially families, to come in and sign up for free library cards. This is what we did years ago for our girls.  By providing access to the world of free books, these library cards have proven to be the best, most practical and cost-effective gift we have ever given to them.  Not long after getting their cards, they became aware that they were allowed to borrow fifty(!!!!!) books at a time. Now, when we go to the library, which is fairly often, we take those large, heavy-duty shopping bags with us……and we fill them to the brim!!! I kid you not. 🙂

Our girls are readers. Our family loves Public Libraries. Do yourself and your family a favour and visit your local branch today. The world awaits……….and it is all for free!!!!!!

We Are With You

There are some events in History that are just so impactful and larger than life that we all know exactly where we were and what we were doing when they happened.

When 9/11 began to unfold in New York City, Washington and Pennsylvania, I was just welcoming a class of Primary-aged students into the Library at my school in Bowmanville, Ontario.  My only thoughts at the time were ensuring that everyone was sitting quietly so I could launch into my read aloud story. Just as I was to begin, the school custodian entered and motioned for me to come over. We are both diehard Toronto Maple Leaf fans so, for him to interrupt my class must have meant a big trade had happened or so I thought. But, unfortunately, the news wasn’t hockey-related. Both towers were on fire by the time he spoke with me. Moments later, he returned to say that one tower had fell. My custodian was a big, strong man but, his complexion was ashen by this point.

I’m not sure what any of us taught that day. The whole day was a blur. Parents showed up throughout the day to withdraw their children, keeping them as close as close could be at home. Teachers gathered around computers to watch CNN online.  The whole school seemed silent…..all 700 staff and students, silent. Some unbelievably serious stuff was happening and we didn’t know why. But, in times like that, as is so often the case, we automatically came together as a school community. We answered all student questions as best we could. We stayed calm, at least on the outside, and that helped keep the kids calm. We supported each other; especially, our one staff member who had a daughter who worked for National Geographic and who happened to be at a conference in Washington that day. It was four long hours before the phone call finally came and everyone allowed themselves to breathe again.  And then, we went home and watched TV and watched TV and watched TV.

The enormity of the violence remains surreal.
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This past summer, my family and I travelled to New York City and visited the 9/11 Memorial. The experience of doing so moves me still. It is hard to fathom what exactly happened that day at the tip of Manhattan Island, even standing on the very site of the tower collapses. The scale of the loss is almost overwhelming.

But, what strikes me most about the events of that day are the individual stories that arose as the dust was, quite literally, still settling. The phone calls to loved ones from those trapped within the towers before they fell. The First Responders who, despite lugging heavy gear, climbed up into the towers past those who were fleeing downward and out. The citizens in Gander, Newfoundland, who housed and cared for all those stranded passengers from the jumbo jets that landed there when U.S. airspace was closed.

The 9/11 Memorial Museum does a superb job at putting a human face on an inhuman tragedy. We entered the Museum to the sound of a perpetual roll call of honour for the victims. “My sister, _______”, “My father, _________”, “My friend, _________”, “My Captain, _________” and on and on it went.  Then, we entered a gallery that housed photos of each victim; some had displays of personal items with them that had been donated by their families. You could touch a computer screen to find out more about each person who lost their life that September 11th morn. Then, an exhibit showing a crushed fire truck, where we learned of the heroic deeds of the many police officers and fire fighters who gave their lives to save others. Cantor-Fitzgerald stationary, single shoes, photos in broken frames that once sat upon office desks, dust-covered articles of clothing…..the things that once belonged to people who lived and were real.  There was even a display dedicated to rescue animals who entered the smouldering wreckage. Lives forever changed. Heroes all.

As humans, we all have worth and value that becomes apparent when our stories are told. We are richer for this knowledge having been recorded and passed on. As individuals and as societies, we grow stronger when we honour the stories of those still around us and strive for a more peaceful existence for us all. That was the message my whole family took from our visit to the 9/11 Memorial site. Peace.

For us, the most powerful moment we collectively shared as a family occurred toward the end of our tour. We came upon a map of the world on a wall. Before it, stood a row of computers. Sophie touched the computer screen and was asked to enter the town or city where we were from. She did. Instantly, a point of light appeared on the map where Cobourg would be. Next, we were asked to offer a message of hope. Leah typed in, “We are with you.”  Sophie drew a peace sign. I drew four hearts; each one containing the first letter of each of our names. Then we pressed Enter. With the Cobourg light still flashing, our message of hope appeared on the wall. Along with our message, those written by other Museum guests appeared and disappeared all throughout the moments that followed.  Hope and Peace, rising up out of the ruins of the Twin Towers.  That was the only photo we took from inside the Memorial because, as Leah correctly pointed out, “This just doesn’t seem like the time to be taking pictures.”

There is a lot of ugliness in our world but, there is a lot of beauty, too. So, whenever 9/11 rolls around, I choose to focus on the stories of how humanity redeemed itself in the aftermath of that day. I place my bets on the goodness of people coming to the fore in times of tragedy and loss. I am optimistic about our future.

So, as 9/11 began with both, President Bush and I sitting in front of children while holding a book, it ends today with the affirmation, from my family to yours, America, that we are with you. We were on that day and we are on this day, too. God Bless.

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What’s The Name of the Tree?

 

If you know me at all then, you will know that I love books and stories. In particular, I love Children’s books.  Over the course of my thirty-year teaching career, I have read thousands of books aloud to my students; some of which have come to hold a special place in my heart because of the content of the book, the beauty of the illustrations or the purpose that the book served at the time.  I have decided to share some of those books with you in this blog. I think reading aloud to children is important and it all starts with a reader, a listener and a good book. Here is today’s special book. Enjoy.

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The Name of the Tree is an Bantu tale retold by Cecilia Barker Lottridge. The illustrations are masterfully done by the great Ian Wallace.  This book is magical and has always been one of the first books I read aloud each year to my Primary students. Let me tell you why.

The first week of school is always a very important time when it comes to creating a culture in a classroom. In addition to introducing the rules and routines that will form the operational structure of your classroom, the first week of school is when you begin planting the emotional seeds that you hope will bear fruit over time in the form of increased self-confidence, initiative, creativity and inner peace.  You can call this establishing the tone of the classroom, if you like. As a teacher, almost nothing is more important at the start of any school year. If you create a welcoming, safe space for children; a space that values and celebrates the special qualities inherent in each child then, chances are good that your students are going to want to come to school each day and that, once there, they will give you their best effort because they will trust you, as the classroom leader.

***If anyone is interested, I can write a post that specifically addresses the various ways I create a welcoming tone in my classrooms but, for now, I will focus in on the role reserved for The Name of the Tree.

I value the importance of being a literate human being. In a society that is fuelled by information, being literate helps me to successfully navigate through the sea of news and images that fill my TVs and tablets and phones and computers. Being literate helps me to critically evaluate the information I am receiving so I can make intelligent decisions based on what I read.  Being literate is a Life skill as important as any other.

But these days, when students come to school, they do so more with a game-based type of skill set that is important for operating technology and for the creative element that comes from game play and from coding. But, increasingly, children come to school these days without the language-based experiences that come from being read to from books. I was read to as a child. I read aloud to my own children at home. But, more and more, children are being raised in households where screen time trumps book time. Therefore, one of my most important jobs as a Primary teacher at the beginning of a school year is to help my students to develop an interest in reading the books that fill our classroom. Because, as you know, reading books is all about developing vocabulary (which is the foundation of personal self-expression), learning information (which is the foundation of our knowledge base) and developing a sense of wonder and imagination (which is the foundation of personal creativity).

When I extend my invitation for my students to join me in the wonderful world of reading and of books, that invitation comes in the form of The Name of the Tree. As the children sit around me on the carpet that first or second day of school, I inform them that the book I am about to read is magical. I tell them that the book contains a trick to help them remember important things in their lives. In fact, I make them a challenge and predict that once they learn the name of the tree, they will never forget it for the rest of their lives!  I tell them that if I meet them at the mall or a park or wherever in twenty years and ask them for the name of the tree, they will remember it instantly because, once they learn the trick of remembering, they will never forget.

The short strokes of this story are that there has been a drought in the jungle and the animals are all starving. So, they decide to leave their home and search for food elsewhere. On their journey they come to a tree that is filled with delicious fruit. However, the branches are too high for even the giraffe to reach; the bark to smooth for even the monkey to climb. An elderly tortoise informs the groups that this is a magical tree that will only lower its beaches if someone correctly states the name of the tree.  Various animals travel back, one at a time, to their original homeland to ask the King of the Jungle, the lion, (who has stayed behind when the others left) for the name. He tells all who ask but, because of over-confidence or carelessness, each of the animals has misfortune befall them on the trip back to the tree and none are able to say the name of the tree once they return. Finally, a young, small tortoise offers to go. The other animals mock the tortoise because it is so small and young (at which time, I point to my students that they are all small and young, too). Hmmm!  Anyway, as you may expect, the young tortoise learns the name of the tree from the Lion (in a comical exchange that draws laughter every time I read the story), remembers the name of the tree using a memory strategy (which is the “magical” element of the story) and helps save the rest of the animals from starving.

After the story concludes, I make a point of reinforcing the memory technique by having the kids chant the name of the tree, just like the small tortoise does. Then, throughout the course of the day, I ask random students at random times to tell me the name of the tree and then, I always make a big deal about it, “See!  I told you that you would never forget!  I knew you would remember! And you always will!”  When the kids are in the hallway, getting ready for recess, I will ask a former student who happens to be wandering by for the the name of the tree. Nine times out of ten, they remember on the spot. If they hesitate, I hum the melody of the chant and it comes back to them. Like magic.

This book! That story!

Once the kids hear this story and learn the “magic” of it, their interest in other books in our classroom collection is usually piqued.  At this early part of the school year, I need to open the door to the world of books and have the kids willingly walk through. Once they demonstrate their willingness to, at least, look at books then, I can help them on their journey to becoming readers.  The Name of the Tree has been the key that has unlocked this door for my students for the past few decades now. As such, it is one of the most important books I have ever owned. My students and I are forever indebted to Cecilia Barker Lottridge and Ian Wallace for their efforts. Generations of young readers have been born because of this book. This post is my small tribute.

 

My First Tuesday: Welcome To My Blog.

The new school year started today for my wife and my two daughters. For me, today is the day my retirement officially started. A new start for them, a new world for me.

For the past few years, my school day would begin by taking my daughters to school and waiting there until the bell rang and they were safely inside. Then, as the other Moms and Dads would make their coffee clutch plans, I would head to my car and drive to school to prepare for my own day.  How I begrudged those other parents their freedom.  It was never the fact that I didn’t want to be with my own students or that I preferred coffee that much. It was the fact that I didn’t have the freedom to control my fate. I had to go to work. No choice. I had to go.

No longer.

Today, I saw my youngest safely inside her school and I……….and I……….well, I went for coffee!!!!!   I did.  I got into my car and drove downtown and met two friends, also retired teachers, and we had coffee together on a sidewalk patio. The sun shone down upon our skin. We waved to friendly passersby. We chatted about weighty matters and feather-light ones, too.  But, best of all, there was a school bell there that I was asked to ring. Not a tentative, self-conscience tinkle of a ring but, instead, a full-throttled, lusty declarative ring of freedom for all to hear. So, I rang that bell, loud and long and clear. Every time someone looked our way in puzzlement, my friends would point to me and announce, “It’s his first Tuesday!”, as if that explained everything.

But, it is my first Tuesday in this new life of mine. School traditionally starts on the first Tuesday after Labour Day in Canada. For the first time in 49 years, I was not in school on the first Tuesday. On this day, I was free.  Freedom is intoxicating and I admit to feeling slightly off balance by it all but, in a good way.  The best way I can describe it all is to point to those near-death experiences you read about. You know, the ones with the bright light that you are drawn toward and the loved ones awaiting you on the other side. Today, I got to experience the bright light that is the freedom to chart my own course. I am thankful to my two friends, Pat and Tracy, for being there to help me transition to the other side, as it were.

This is my first post on my new blog. Thank you for reading. I hope to see many of you following along as I embark on my journey with words.  Thanks for being part of my first Tuesday.  It is awesome to be here……on the other side!!!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton