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Tag Archives: Luck

Ramble: I’m not white…but sometimes I play one…

It happened again. That funny question that irks and tweaks the underbelly of self-identity. “What are you?”

The snark rises and I stutter, “Ahh…huu..man?”

The smirk flashes annoyance, “No I mean like where are you from?”

“Oh I am Canadian – born in Ontario. Not far from here…”

Interruption arises, eyebrows raised, “No I mean your people where are they from?”

“My parents were refugees, fleeing tyranny. And…”

A spark dawns and interjects before I can finish, “Oh you are Middle-eastern. Turkish?”

Now I am annoyed, and I can feel the emotions brush across my face and furrow my brow.

“How about I finish. They came from Europe. 1956. The failed Hungarian Revolution made my father realize he couldn’t stay because he would be arrested and tortured again. And my mother had just had a baby. So when the river froze in December of 1956 they walked across the ice to what is now Croatia.”

A nod. I see they are listening.

“My mother’s brother was in Toronto, so he sponsored them to come to Canada. And in July of 1957 they arrived in Quebec on a refugee ship. And…”

I can see the question coming before it becomes sound, “So you are European – cause you don’t really look white. Kinda Asian actually. Your almost black hair, and skin with a hint of colour and your eyes are almond which is why I said Turkish…”

My turn to speak up and over, “Yeah. Hungarian-Croatian. Well actually Croatian-Hungarian is more accurate. The village was mostly Croatian, but in the Hungarian side of the border. That part of Europe is a mix of people spilling between tribes and blending. I hear there is some Gypsy – Roma – ancestry in my genetic makeup. And some of the tribes that settled in the area had Asian and Middle-eastern origins.”

The other listens, and nods. And summarized my label, “So you are white then..huh. So hard to tell.”

I sigh, and reply, “Nope I am not white, but I’ve been mistaken for one before. I am human. And while my skin has a lighter-tone, my attitude is universal. The place of my birth, and the colour of my skin has nothing to do with how I have experienced the world, or how I think. My advice to you is top labelling people based on outward appearances. You cannot judge a book by its cover; Nor can you see the human inside the body if all you see are the shape and colour that they wear. Yes indeed we are each unique individuals; but close your eyes and open your ears! And you will be surprised to learn that we are all more alike, than we are different.”

I can see my words have offended, as they turn and move away. Truly they meant no harm in asking such an innocent question. Yet it wasn’t innocent at all, merely unthinking and presumptive.  As I watch them leave, I can hear my mother’s voice in my head, “This is why you can’t have nice things – you always break them.”

Yes Mom, I do break them. Because I expect them to be better than that to begin with…

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Ramble: I Miss You Mom

I haven’t posted for a while because my Mom was in and out of the hospital in the last month, and on January 16 she peacefully passed away. Free at last from the many years of struggle with her health. 

It is strange how we create a routine out of the obligations of life. A pattern is shaped from necessity and reluctantly overlaid. Eight years ago my father died, and my mom asked me to come see her more often. At first it was every other week. Somewhere in there it became a weekly visit. Usually on a Saturday, I’d be up by 6am and on my way. The 2-hour drive a quiet pleasant meditation through lovely Ontario country-side. A stop for a coffee. Sometimes a pause for walk on a trail.
I’d stop at the grocery store along the way and get what was needed, And arrive at my Mom’s usually before 9AM. We would have breakfast, discuss what was new and news, make a to-do list of what needed doing, Check the sump-pump, change the filters, light-bulbs, garden, lawn…whatever. Somewhere in there the PSW would arrive and help my mom with her personal care.
Then my mom and I would have lunch, and we’d cook something extra for the fridge and freezer. Sometimes we would bake – tea biscuits, cake, cookies – so my mom would have goodies to offer her many guests through the week. Her local church/community was simply amazing for how they took turns visiting her each evening.
Sometimes I’d stay for dinner, but usually by 4 pm I’d be heading back on the trek back the other way to my own home. Back to my own to-do list that was waiting for me.
Yes there were times I would feel trapped by the pattern of obligation. Times I just felt too tired, too overwhelmed…
And still I would go – maybe shifting the visit to a Monday…
I am not writing this to grumble and brag. I did what I did because I was available and I could. It was my choice. I am writing this because it became such a part of my life that today, this morning, In this here and now of quiet reflection, I realize and I feel the empty space that is here and now. It feels odd not planning a shopping list, gathering the tools to bring, creating a menu, finding a recipe…
I am writing not to say what I did, but to say how much it is missed. 

Ramble: Waterloo Region Record: Failure to Deliver the News.

Hello Circulation:

I just received my renewal notice and I am writing to inform you I will not be renewing my subscription. I had hoped to receive the paper before I left for work 8 AM weekdays and 9am Saturdays. Which I think wasn’t a very high expectation on my part. Yet it was an expectation that was never met. Instead I would come home to find my paper tossed under my bushes or in the puddle when it was raining. While the hunt for the papers was somewhat exhilarating, that small delight was negated by the waterlogged papers.
On my vacations I did catch sight of my local delivery person carelessly tossing the paper out the window of their truck as they sped by my driveway and on to the next driveway. They paid no attention to where the paper ended up (under my car on that occasion).
I did complain about the failure to deliver in a timely fashion and nothing was ever done to improve the delivery. So I went from weekly delivery to weekend only. Oddly enough I continued to receive a weekly paper for an extended period after changing my service. A small ray of sunshine.
Suffice to say I am less than impressed. I have regaled my neighbours and co-workers with my stories of the poor service. I realize you do have to work with whomever is available to deliver – however in this case your employee has failed to perform. And that in the end reflects poorly on your organization.
I had subscribed as my small contribution toward keeping The Record a viable local news source. I now am surrendered to the fact that The Waterloo Region Record doesn’t care if it delivers.
Sincerely
Stephen M.

Ramble: Just Saying

There are words inside me. And no one to hear them. They float on the tip of my tongue in swirling poetic tones. Waiting for the moment to arrive and launch their crisp sonorous meters into the air. I stay silent because I do not dare to break the silence when none are near to hear or care.

The ticking clock winds down past the hour into the next and then around again, clicking into the sunset crawling across the eastern walls of my living room. Gone gone gone much to soon is the charm of my youthful truth spilling out from my pain into the wounded evening light bleeding from behind the clouds.

And there it is then. The finality of the moment breaching the infinity of our progress into some other tomorrow we never imagined happening. It is always just there. Out of sight and out of mind. Lurking between here and the garden gate.

And so now I sleep. Deeply. Forlornly. Avoiding my fate. Avoiding the light. Avoiding the dawn that will rattle me awake,

Ramble: Sleeping Muses; Silent Voices

Some days are better than other days. And some days are more bitter.

Here I drift within the doldrums of darkness. I am creatively unsparked. Where my writer’s heart should be playful beating out a cadence for each line – there is only the flat-lined hum of cardiac failure. Does anyone even read this blog anymore? Why would they? There is nothing new here. No new words and thoughtful inspirations. Just the ongoing recycling of hunger unfulfilled.

I need a new shtick.  A new gimmick for a new audience. I could write about food and beverage. Indulge in fine craft beers paired with exotic hand-crafted local cheeses. Spew sensual sentences about the tantalizing tastes teasing my tongue with balanced tones of esters and glucose exciting my hunger for more. And no I cannot do that. I would be lost in my enjoyment of the food and forget to write my thoughts.

Oye.  Sports? Ick. Music? <yawn>

Book reviews – oh wait I would have to start reading again. And I find I get side-tracked by wondering why the writer decided to branch the story away from an enticing side-quest into the normal well-worn plot points of what sells books. Ah yes – I guess that answers that thought. I have a dozen books strew around my house partially read and bookmarked inside and beneath the dusty dust-jackets. Award winning books I was told I should read for their current cultural relevance and revelations. Oh god they read like re-warmed shit strained through  pompadour to mask the unpleasant stench of plot banality  and the de jure unexpected plot-twist de jour….

Oh I would pluck mine eyes from my head if I am forced to read another word crafted by Joseph Boyden.

Yes I know he is renowned and regaled and endowed with awards. I cannot stand how he writes. But I guess that is why there are a thousand other writers waiting to be discovered. Oh my god – I actually wrote a review? What? An unintended and unenlightened review! I must also admit I hated the movie Titanic – so that may be a sign that you should go read Boyden!

Enough for now. I just felt I should force myself to write something. ANYTHING!

And I did.

Happy November.