Days: Good Friday

(Yes I am recycling. This is a copy of my Good Friday post from the past… I liked it so I am sharing all over again!)

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This day seems to be the forgotten holiday of the year. There is no lead-up to Good Friday. No frenzied fanfare of festivity. No elaborate feasts to plan and prepare. That is probably why I like this holiday the best.

Good Friday really is a day off from the bustle and hustle of the consumer world. No sales. Just time to contemplate the world. I am sitting here this morning with a second cup of coffee, watching the sun peak over the horizon. There is a slight mist on the roofs of the houses as the day slips from springtime chill to springtime warmth.

I have time to think. Let my brain play with words. Roofs. Rooves. I remember learning in school that the plural of roof was rooves. But now we use the american “roofs”. When did that change? The rule I learned was if it ends in ‘f’ or ‘fe’  then to make the plural you drop the “f” sound and writes “ves”.

dwarf to dwarves
elf to elves
hoof to hooves
knife to knives
leaf to leaves
life to lives
self to selves
wolf to wolves

Of course then there are words that ignore the rule anyway – like the plural of beef is not beeves. And the plural of proof is not prooves.

Ah English the language of rules, and long lists of exceptions to the rules! This is why English is such an exceptional language.

As you can see Good Friday is for getting diverted and contemplative. Mindless musing. The above was simply pointless stream of consciousness.  A raw slice of my brain straight up. I am full of trivia. Or full of something.

My favourite memory of Good Friday is from many many many years ago. I was in my early twenties. I was with some friends driving up to Midland, Ontario to find a very specific restaurant that served Lake Huron whitefish. Our friend and driver had heard the fish was incredibly fresh and delicious.

Now I don’t remember the restaurant name but I do think it was Henry’s Fish Restaurant. I’ve been back a few times so my memory may be muddled. And the fish is still worth the long drive!

But this memory isn’t about the destination. It is about the journey. That day was a foggy Good Friday. Dense white cotton fog slowing us down to well below the speed-limit. The trees and posts shadowy dark flickers flashing by us. The road shiny black and slick. There was no-one else on the road. Just us – some friends on a journey. Cocooned in our own reality.

In the back of the car was a book – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – and for me it was an incredible find. At that moment, in that space, that book and the message inside clicked with me. There are concepts in that book that I had no idea could actually exist! My friend – the driver of the car – saw me thumbing through the book and gave it to me.

From where I sit today I can see that same book looking at me from my shelves. It is bedraggled and stained and dog-eared. The book has survived the years – my friend the driver did not. He died later that year from leukemia. But on that Good Friday there was no leukemia darkening our thoughts. On that day we were full of life twenty-somethings on a road trip. Our driver was a big robust man full of life and zest – and by the fall of that year he was an anemic husk gasping for air in a hospital bed. He was much too young to die.

That Good Friday held no hint of the sadness waiting in our future. We laughed, we talked. The restaurant wasn’t open we arrived, so we walked the waterfront. We drank early morning beers (cans in bags – oh we were so clever!) by the lake, while we discussed philosophy and how we would change the world. By the time we had finished our exploration of Midland – the sun had burned away the morning fog.

The fish was indeed wonderful, and we promised that next year we would repeat the road-trip. We promised that this would become our Easter weekend ritual. I’ve been back since then – but the ritual never blossomed.

In the mid-afternoon sunshine we drove back the way we had come. No hurry to get anywhere, we stopped at used bookshops and curio stores along the way looking for old National Geographic magazines. And books on World War II history. Our own version of an Easter Egg hunt for those that no longer believed in the Easter Bunny.

Good Friday: A good day to remember how we have arrived at this moment in time. And to remember those who we loved and left behind.


Ramble: Making it Big!

Yesterday was a big day for me! A day of reward and unexpected success. So yes indeed Merry Christmas to me!

Yesterday I had the “single day” most views ever on my blog at 1,798 views. My normal daily traffic is around 65 daily views. This is what that looks like visually:

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Excuse the blurry screenshot (I’ll fix that later cause I’m in a rush….). You can see the essence of what I am saying with the massive blue-bar on the right towering over all other days! Or to think of it another way in one day I almost had as many views as I would get in one month!

Thanks folks for reading all about what to do with left-over Prime Rib.


Ramble: Christmas Memory

Santa claus

I saw Santa. Once . Long ago. I am certain I did.

Not a store-made Santa who sits on the big chair and smells of cigarettes and aqua velva. No indeed not one one of those poorly cloned copies who need pillows for bellies, and cotton for beards.

I saw the real Santa. I swear I did.

I was 5. Or maybe 6. That isn’t really important to this story. All that matters is I was young enough to still see magic, and feel magic. To sense real magic when it happened. And it happened.

Christmas Eve. I was supposed to be asleep, but there was no way I could sleep. My parents and some other adults had gathered for the usual Christmas Eve festivities. Singing carols, eating treats, and drinking drinks that made adults jolly with the spirit of Christmas.

While the adults laughed and sang loudly, I lay in my bed listening for that moment of magic. And then. There. That noise;  a bump on the roof. And a jingle, jangle. And one loud stomp. It was so loud I was sure the entire world had heard it.

Far downstairs the adults were as loud as ever – their old grown-up ears not able to hear the magic. I pressed my face to the frost covered glass, trying to see through the Jack Frost swirls and curls. A flash of red passed by. It had to be him.

Silent as a mouse I moved through the house. Small enough to pass beneath the singing jolly adults without being noticed. I passed by and into the backroom where the Christmas tree waited for Santa’s generosity. I was too late! The tree stood proudly over a mountain of presents, and the stockings sagged from the weight of the goodies inside.

English: A Christmas Tree at Home

I moved quickly to the backdoor, where my boots were drying. I slipped them on and popped out, and right into a perfect belly and a soft red velvet suit.

It was him – the one and only Real Santa.

He raised a finger to his lips to command my silence, and I wide-eyed obeyed. He smiled, and winked. Helped me stand up. Then he reached into a large bag he was carrying and pulled out a toy airplane with flashing red and blue lights. A wonder of his workshop given right to my hands.

Then he turned me toward the door, and pointed for me to go back inside. One does not disobey Santa if one wants another magical Christmas! I bolted inside as if I was pulled by eight tiny reindeer. And I whistled and shouted and called out his name: “Santa is here! Santa is here!”

The adults turned and smiled at my clattering excitement. My parents bemused let me drag them outside so I could show them the proof that Santa was not just real – but in our backyard.

Being adults they were much too slow. By the time coats and boots had been found and put on, Santa was gone. Vanished except for his boot marks leading toward two thin lines – the marks of his sleigh. And numerous small round marks left by the prancing reindeer.

I told my parents what had happened. and showed them the airplane. But I could see they didn’t believe me.

Then from down the road we heard the jingle of bells, and a loud HO! HO! HO!

And then a crack and a  burst of light into the sky, with a deep rolling voice calling, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Later as my mother tucked me into bed, she kissed me on the forehead saying, “You lucky boy. Not just anyone gets to see the Real Santa Claus.”

And that is how I know Santa is more than just a story – because I met him for real over 40 years ago on a cold snowy Christmas Eve.

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Poem: Joy to the Old

It is Christmas time
all around lights are gleaming
When I was young long ago
each day was filled with wonder
family gathered in warmth
spilling into laughter
Was that joy?
I think it was…

It is Christmas time
all around carols playing
Now these bitter winter winds
jingle bells make me shiver
family no longer near
floating home in memory
Is that joy?
Doesn’t feel like it…

It is Christmas time
the tree is half decorated
ornaments sit in broken boxes
garlands twisted into knots
forgotten abandoned
in the silent gloom
Where’s the joy?
Gone far away.


POEM: Orange Spice

every orange
begins as a blossom
forms into fleshy orbs
of firm juicy delight
carefully peeled
slowly stripped
juicily devoured
in the heat of day

each slice
tenderly moving
from my fingers
to your lips

the tangy zest
saved set aside
left to be dried
mingled with spices
cinnamon
nutmeg
cloves
tickling
teasing
tempting
melding
with loose
dark leaves

You and I
speak softly
of today
tomorrow
and forever

the moment boils
into silver liquid
shimmering steam
whistling eagerly
for some attention
hot splashes
unleash memories
of exotic India
awaken spicy tang
orange blossoms
unfurl reborn
on our tongues
as we savor
this moment
and each other.


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