Sharing with you things that are on my mind...Maybe yours too. Come back to Wrights Lane for a visit anytime!

24 February, 2014

A BAGPIPER WHO WAS LOST WITH GOOD INTENTIONS


A bagpiper was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. The deceased had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery in a remote location in the country. 

The bagpiper was not familiar with the area, and got lost. Being a typical man, he didn’t ask for directions. He finally arrived an hour late, and saw the funeral director was already gone, and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left, and they were eating lunch.

The bagpiper felt bad and apologized to the men for being so late. He then went to the side of the grave and looked down and saw that the vault lid was already in place. Not knowing what else to do, the bagpiper started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. He played out his heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. He played like he never played before for this homeless man. As he played his last song, Amazing Grace, the workers all began to weep.

When the bagpiper finished, he packed up his bagpipes and started for his car with his head hung low and heart full of emotion.

As he opened his car door, he heard one of the workers say, “Sweet Mother, I never seen nothin’ like that before and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for over twenty years.”

Note from Dick: Variations of this item have been posted numerous times on the Internet, but I thought that it would be fun to re-post it on Wright's Lane...It reminded me of the time when, along with my late wife, we inadvertently arrived an hour early for the church wedding of a friend. While not recognizing any of the sullen faces in congregation, we remained completely innocent of our mistake until the church doors swung open and a casket was wheeled in. Sheepishly and as quiet as possible, we took our leave from the funeral service.

23 February, 2014

COLD HARD FACTS OF LATE FEBRUARY

Late Saturday, February 22, afternoon sun glistens off the ice between Southampton and Chantry Island on Lake Huron. Another deep freeze is predicted over night.

20 February, 2014

INTRODUCING A NEW BLOG SITE

EVERY SO OFTEN I CREATE A NEW BLOG OR BLOG SITE THAT PAYS TRIBUTE TO SOMEONE THAT HAS MADE AN IMPRESSION ON ME OVER THE YEARS. TODAY I'M INTRODUCING A NEW SITE ON THE LIFE OF THE LATE JACK FRASER SR., A YOUNG IRISH FARMER WHO CAME TO CANADA AND PROMPTLY CREATED A MEN'S CLOTHING RETAIL EMPIRE. STORES ACROSS CANADA CARRY HIS NAME TO THIS DAY. THIS IS A FIRST-PERSON ACCOUNT ABOUT A MAN'S VISION AND HIS DEDICATION TO QUALITY AND FRIENDLY CUSTOMER SERVICE. TO VIEW THIS NEW SITE CLICK HTTP://JACKFRASERSR.BLOGSPOT.CA/

JACK FRASER SR.: 1891-1960

17 February, 2014

THE REALITY OF BOYHOOD DREAMS THAT WERE NEVER MEANT TO BE

A discussion that I was involved in the other day prompted me to realize just how much war and the military was ingrained in the lives of those of us who grew up in the 1940s. There was never an era like it in Canadian history and there will never be another one like it in the future.

World War II was the defining experience of our lives. It bred a sense of patriotism and an intense consciousness of being a member of a distinct generation, set apart from those that came before or since. For most children, the war years were a time of anxiety. For many, this was a period of family separation. For some, it was a time of profound personal loss. For everyone it was a period of restraint and sacrifice. Fun was found in simple things like parlour games and visits with family and friends.
Me in 1943 and again in 1954.

War affected the way we played and impacted our imaginations. It had a powerful effect on the rhymes of childhood, the books, comics and newspapers we read, the movies we watched, the music we heard and the food we ate or didn't eat. Current events at school were focused almost entirely on news from the European front and the local boys who were serving overseas. When we sang God Save the Queen every morning before class and at the opening of all public gatherings, it had special meaning. We planted victory gardens and belonged to the Junior Red Cross. We collected care package items for soldiers and for needy families in war-torn European countries.

Many children had to grow up quickly during wartime. Some teenagers were required to leave school early to take jobs. While fathers fought in the war many younger children had to fend for themselves while their mothers worked to keep food on the table.

Most resources in the 1940s went to the war effort. Frugality and rationing were a fact of life for all Canadian families and people were resourceful out of necessity. Churches were the glue that held communities together and were the focal points of most social activity. People sought togetherness, faith and hope in a better day to come.

Neighbours and relatives who were conscripted into the armed services and fought overseas at the time were idolized by youngsters like me. Soldiers and baseball players were my role models and they continued to be well into adulthood.

For veterans returning from the devastation they had witnessed during World War II to the jubilation and normalcy that awaited them at home after peace was declared in May of 1945, the world must have felt like their oyster. Soldiers came back to heroes' welcomes and ticker-tape parades. What might not have been top-of-mind for those veterans was the job market that awaited them. Much like today's military personnel who leave behind the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, World War II vets returned home to financial uncertainty. That economic anxiety was the result of not-so-distant memories of the Great Depression. In the '40s, as is the case today, the issue of military personnel returning from service created challenges for employers, policymakers and the soldiers themselves.

Much to the credit of many employers and at the urging of government, priority consideration was given to returning war veterans in the mid and late 1940s. I mention this fact because it hit very close to home for my family in a rather unfortunate way.

My father Ken was born in 1899, too young as it turned out, to qualify for military service in World War 1 (June 28, 1914 to November 11, 1918) and too old to serve in World War 11 (September, 1939 to May, 1945).  While still a teenager and an apprenticing barber, he formed a rag-tag army reserve unit in his hometown of Dresden, ON.  With a few items of equipment gleaned from the Kent Regiment in Chatham, he and 10 other friends (all born in 1899) took part in drills and malitia-type training. When peace was declared a year later, the unit disbanded.

Fast-forward to 1947 or '48 when the first-ever Liquor Control Board (LCBO) store was established in Dresden and interviews were being held for the position of store manager. The job had certain appeal for my father who was about 47-years-of-age by then with 30 years of barbering under his belt. The going rate for a man's haircut in those days was 45 cents (50 cents for a shave) and in a good week Ken would bring home a paltry $20.00, so it was understandable that the $45.00 a week LCBO salary would be a factor in his applying for the job.

We collectively (my dad, my mother and me) kept our fingers crossed when it was learned that the list of applicants had been narrowed down to two people -- my dad and one other chap, a WW11 vet. Guess who got the job?  While devastated, my folks understood rationale in the hiring decision but there was a noticeable deflation of spirit in my father that he took to his grave some five years later. He was truely locked in to a line of endeavour that provided borderline subsistence for his family.  He felt he had let us down...The pain was palpable.

Meantime, interest in both baseball and the military escalated into my high school days.  When I should have been applying myself academically, my mind was on things baseball and army. I became Commanding Officer of the Lambton Kent District High School Cadet Corps and my math teacher Frank Brown, a retired Army captain, took me aside and said that if I could improve my grades to an acceptable level he would recommend me for officer training at Royal Rhodes Military College.

Bless his heart, I know that Frank was trying to motivate me to upgrade my marks, but my mind was already made up.  I had become disenchanted with school in general and knew I would not finish out the term. The lure of professional baseball was just too great and I left high school the next spring for a training camp in Cocoa, Florida. I was a far-too-young, wet-behind-the-ears 17 year old who would soon have his eyes opened to the cruel reality of professional sports and the odds against a Canadian kid making the grade in the great American pastime.

When the baseball career did not pan out and I found myself at a dead end in the men's retail clothing business,  I resurrected my interest in the army.  I thought about school chums who had already joined the armed services -- Carmen Harrett, Nelson Sommerset and Jim Simmons (Navy), Larry Gray and John Watson (Air Force) and Dave Meldrum and Larry Browning (Army). "If they could make it, then why not me?" I reasoned.  Still just 19 years of age, I walked into the army recruiting office at Wolseley Barracks in London and found myself sitting in front of the resident recruiting officer, a Major.  With a surprisingly fatherly demeanor and while another young fellow about my age was signing enlistment papers in an adjoining office, the Major generously interviewed me for a good hour.

In the end it was suggested that with my athletic ability and background in cadets, it would be advisable for me to return to school and to complete Grade 13 in order to qualify for officer training.  "Come back with your high school diploma and a career in the Canadian Army awaits you," were the Major's parting words. With no suggestion that I could still sign up if I wanted to, which I would have done, I left disappointed and rejected.

Instead of appreciating that the Major had taken time to offer advice that was in my best interest, I was engulfed with a feeling of inadequacy. I was not good enough to make it in baseball and now the army was out of reach for me too.  Two boyhood dreams dashed and for the time being no more dreaming left in me. While the circumstances were not quite the same, I felt very much like the late Ken Wright's son.

One thing I learned from those early experiences, however, was that there was a difference between having a dream and actually applying myself to it.

Now, 57 years later, and a former newspaper managing editor cum public relations director and lay minister in retirement, I still find myself wondering what if...and dreaming sometimes impossible dreams.

I soldier on with hope in my heart and an ever-so-slight glint in my eye!

14 February, 2014

BE POSITIVE AND UNCONDITIONAL ABOUT YOUR LOVE


Positive thinking merits positive results. Sure this is easy to say but much more complex to apply when we deal with the daily grind of adversity in all of its many faces and facets. An astrologer friend reminded me today that we are spirits having a human experience. When you think of life in this measure you gather a much more profound attitude about “living and making the best out of your life”.

It’s really about taking actions, which affirms this sentiment. When you love you make others feel and sense it and they are less likely to “test” you. Self-confidence begins with a healthy attitude towards the mental, emotional, spiritual, and metaphysical aspect of living.

Making each day count moment by moment is what is most important. When you focus your energy on positive outcomes and exhibit “hope”, you come through clean as a whistle. The Universe grants wishes – but doesn’t distinguish them as “positive” or “negative” so what we fear happens – think, Murphy’s Law. Keep thoughts in the positive by hoping more and trusting in the good to prevail.

No one can control your emotions unless you allow it...I constantly have to remind myself of this fact. This makes you responsible for your reaction to the actions of others. We create our own luck in this way by using our creative intelligence. Worrying blocks our blessings, whereas trusting and being receptive to the energies directing our inner most wishes of  “higher good” come through like rays of sunshine through a window.

Exhale and let go, and inhale -- allowing good to happen without your interaction. This is the magic of serendipity.

As in the attached Mutts cartoon which reminds me of my little dog Lucy, Love Unconditionally today and everyday. This is my message to friends on Valentine's Day 2014.

10 February, 2014

ALL KIDS NEED TO KNOW IS THAT YOU LOVE TO WATCH THEM PLAY

I stumbled across this great article by student leadership development expert Tim Elmore. In it he discusses research on what parents can say both before and after the any minor sports activity to encourage their kids, without making everything about performance (either positively or negatively). Elmore suggests:

Based on psychological research, the three healthiest statements moms and dads can make before their children perform are:

Have fun.

Play hard.

I love you.


...And after the activity:

Did you have fun?

I’m proud of you.

I love you.


It gets even better. Researchers Bruce Brown and Rob Miller asked college athletes what their parents said that made them feel great and brought them joy when they played sports. Want to know the six words they most want to hear their parents say?

“I love to watch you play.”

That’s it. Nothing aggrandizing like “you’re an all-star,” and nothing discouraging like “here are a couple of things I noticed that you can work on.” Just “I love to watch you play.”

My kids are all grown up now, so are my grandchildren for that matter.  None of them were overly involved in sports activities, but I hope that somewhere along the line in the game of life they knew that I loved to watch them play.  There's great joy in watching kids have fun, no matter the activity or how old they are...And that joy continues for a lifetime!