The Recovering Farmer

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wasn’t That a Party

So in what could be considered to be the blink of an eye it is over. For so long we had planned, looked forward to, and prepared. Now the whole experience seems but a mere memory, already fading as thoughts about work take hold.

We left Prince Edward Island early this morning. Although, truth be told, we came close to spending another day there. For some strange reason I had not checked the itinerary and as a result showed up at the airport just as passengers were beginning to board. Thank goodness for small airports. We got on the flight. Made it to Toronto to barely catch our connecting flight. But we did. And were back in sunny Manitoba by morning coffee break. Wait a minute. There was nothing really pleasant about the weather we came back too. Cold and dreary. But we are home nonetheless.

For some reason travelling by air has lost its appeal for me. It probably didn’t help that I was not able to have my usual quota of coffee this morning. You finally get on the plane, find your seat, hoist carryon luggage into the overhead bin, I still don’t think it would have fit the rack they have in front to measure these things and I know for a fact it was overweight but who was I to argue, and throw yourself into a space that was meant for people much shorter than I. And before the plane had reached cruising altitude and I had had a chance for caffeine, the woman in front of me reclined her seat. Not gently but with an attitude. At that point I was ready to. . . . Not going there.

Ever wonder about the marvel of flight? I spent some time thinking about that this morning. I have always been intrigued with things that float and things that fly. The cottage we had rented sat on the shores of a bay that is utilized by cruise ships and freighters. Massive steel vessels that, for some strange reason, stay afloat and move through the water rather gracefully. It was neat to see.

Back to planes. Quite frankly you don’t want to think about it too much. It could be compared to sitting in a culvert with wings. Held together by rivets and silicone. Okay, I made that up. After speeding down the runway it hurls itself into the air. It was okay till we hit turbulence. Something that felt similar to driving too fast down a country road full of washboard, or most any street in Winnipeg. It made me really wonder what keeps those things together and in the air. Like I say. You really don’t want to think about it too much.

Here I am back on terra firma. Made it. Mission accomplished. Our daughter got married. It was a success. Provided us with the opportunity to see the culture, the community that helped shape our son-in-law’s life. Met his family. Met his friends. It was an awesome experience.

Also had the opportunity to connect and socialize with friends and family that made the trek out east for the festivities. To be able to sit back, enjoying the view, eating good food, and connecting with friends is the ultimate. There may be differing opinions, there may be certain passions that arise, but at the end of the night we can look back and say, “wasn’t that a party”. And here we are, back home, continuing with the reality called life. Make it a good one.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mind Boggling

Sitting on the shores of the Atlantic, in the beautiful province of PEI I am sending out the following thoughts. Tomorrow is the big day. It has truly been a whirlwind of activity. When our daughter first got engaged and they announced the wedding date it seemed like we had forever to get ready. Suddenly it is here. Just like the summer that never was. It has come and is almost gone. From the outset they have asked me to be involved. Obviously said yes and never gave it another thought. Now that we are getting close I am getting really worried. I have been particularly emotional. I wonder why. After all it is only my daughter getting married.

As part of the wedding I have been getting prepared to add my two cents worth as I alluded to some time ago. Found an interesting quote today when I was researching further the difference between men and women. I suppose some of you may think I am consumed by that. Not really. Just aware that there is a difference and I like to do what I can to help. “Men like to socialize by insulting each other but they don’t mean it. Women socialize by complimenting each other but they don’t mean it either.” I am leaving that one alone. Might get me in trouble, if it hasn’t already.

As part of the ceremony, as weddings go, there is always a unity ceremony. Some years ago when my son got married they used wine. Mixed a red wine with a white wine. Signified a relationship that could not be separated. This go around there is a plan to use sand. It was neat to take my future son-in-law back to the old stomping grounds. A place that I played at as a child, a place that my kids played at. A sand hill that has provided a ton of fun for a lot of people. You see, the decision was made to use sand as part of the ceremony. So in some way shape or form we will be taking that out to PEI where, during the course of the wedding, that sand will be mixed with some good old red sand from PEI.

That is all good and well. But research it. An estimation has been done that would suggest that there are (approximately) seven quintrillion five quadrillion grains of sand on all the beaches in the world (that’s a 75 with 17 zeros behind it; i.e., 7,500,000,000,000,000,000). And in case you have difficulty wrapping your heads around that it has further been suggested that there are 100 stars in the Universe for every grain of sand on the Earth’s beaches. That is truly mind boggling.

What is my point? I have no idea. I know that life is like shifting sand. Never sure where we will end up. I know that life is unpredictable. But I also know that time is passing us by. I wished someone a happy birthday the other day. He looked at me and asked whether I was aware that I had never been older than I was that very minute. That is mind boggling. That was a week ago. That means I am even older than I was then. That is scary. That puts things in perspective. I need to re-adjust.

Watching young people, the next generation, enter into long term relationships is both mind boggling and reassuring at the same time. For lack of a better term let me call it the magic of love. Good to see. As for the rest of us, remember, life is not about the number of breaths we take but about the moments that take our breath away. Looking forward to having my breath taken away in the next few days. Also hoping I will survive that. Make it a good one.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

RIP Robin Williams

It came as quite a shock yesterday when one of my kids let me know that Robin Williams had died. Not only that he died, it appears to be a suicide. Perhaps it is because I seem to be able to relate to a lot of his stuff. Perhaps it is because I have, and keep having, to face similar struggles as him. Perhaps it is because I talked to someone the same age in the last few days who also is questioning his very existence. Maybe it is because when I would see Robin Williams, whether on screen or doing standup comedy, he always provided a laugh. Not many in show biz can lay claim to making me laugh on a regular basis. He did.

Maybe I feel a bond because he has obviously used humour to cover up many of his own struggles. I was reminded of a statement I make in my website. It goes like this; “Never short on humour, because after all humour can be a cover up for much deeper issues, . . . . “. Laughter is the best medicine. Laughter provides relief. But always know, laughter also covers sadness. Laughter can be a cover up for so many things. And as one headline said, “Behind the laughter was a harsh reality.”

Aside from Mrs Doubtfire, a movie I have watched more than once, Robin Williams provided entertainment in so many different ways. I will never forget his commentary on golf. In fact listened to it again last night. It has always been and remains absolutely priceless. Just google Robin Williams on golf. Beware of the language. But I suspect all the golfers out there can relate to the language. We hear (use) it every time we golf.

What makes me question so much of what has happened is the circumstances around his demise. He suffered from depression. He has had drug addiction issues in the past. He has been married more than once. He has had affairs. He admitted to being an alcoholic. (Excuse the side bar. The last rehab he checked into was in wine country. He wanted to keep his options open. That is good for a chuckle. Then again you may have had to walk in those steps to get it) Obviously he has been in the public eye. It would seem that money was of no consequence.

So what is it? What pushes people over the edge? A darkness that even his comedic personality could not fix. In the days to come I suspect we will hear more and more of what might have gone wrong. Perhaps we will never know. Perhaps it doesn’t matter. We just know that another person lost their way in the challenges life throws at us. Read a quote recently that went like this. “It is said that the spirit of man can endure only so much and when it is broken only a miracle can mend it.” (John Burroughs) I suspect Robin Williams did not experience that miracle. His struggles are over. He has silenced the demons.

So here is to you Mr. Williams. Thank you for making me laugh, and in that laughter, overcome many of my own challenges. May you have found the peace that eluded you here on earth. May you have found a golf course that works for you. May each stroke (watch the video) feel better than the stroke before. Because at times, quite frankly, it does feel like a stroke. For the rest of us? For God’s sake, if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, if life is too much to bear, talk to someone. Anyone. It helps. Make it a good one.

Friday, August 8, 2014


My last few weeks have been somewhat hectic. After all there is a wedding coming up in two weeks. So preparations have been made, or are being made. So many things to think about. Particularly because we are venturing out to PEI for the festivities. Happens that my daughter’s boyfriend hails from that part of the country. It has been interesting to watch that relationship grow. Not that I had a choice. They had been living in my basement for the last two years. Been interesting nonetheless. How you can take a Mennonite from southern Manitoba and see that person in a committed relationship with a Newfie from PEI is both intriguing and interesting, all at the same time. (I suspect I will pay for that) It reiterates the power of Love. Then again many will question what I know about love. PERHAPS I should focus less on love and more on a relationship that is working.

As part of the fun they have asked me to officiate at their wedding. They wanted me to marry them but because the wedding is out of province different rules exist. To get my one day licence for PEI would have required me to fly out there in June for a one day workshop. I have a difficult time wrapping my head around that. How much training do you really need to say; “by the power vested in me by the province of . . . . .”? PERHAPS it doesn’t matter. I will get an opportunity to share my thoughts. That could be interesting. It should be a blast.

I attended a wedding this last weekend and, as weddings go, it was good. I normally don’t listen to what the officiating minister says. Often when sitting in a church I will be mesmerized by the architecture. This wedding was outside, on a farm. I enjoyed the aroma of the freshly cut hay. The sun was warm. The dynamics were interesting. Even the occasional whiff of cow poop added to the festivities. I have always assumed that what the minister said was for the sake of the couple getting married. But think about it, do you really think they are listening? PERHAPS it doesn’t matter. In this particular case I heard a reference to a Bible verse and it caught my attention.

If you venture back in some of the stuff I have written about previously you will find a quote I love to use. “Relationships provide us with identity, purpose and direction. In essence relationships, and therefore community, is a life giving, life defining and life nurturing process”. Takes awhile but if you think about it, it makes sense. The minister at the wedding read some verses from 1 Corinthians which is often referred to as the love chapter. The first verse he read resonated with me. So needless to say I did not hear the rest. What I did hear was enough.

When we got home from the wedding I went to my computer to check further on what I thought I had heard. Took me awhile but I did find it. The beauty of Google is you can search till you find the words that you need to address the situation you are dealing with. Even with Bible verses. (a story best left for another day) It simply says this. “If I could speak in any language . . . on earth but didn’t love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal.” I know some people like that.

We need relationships to flourish. Without relationships, without other people, without a support system, we have a tendency to slip backwards and often find ourselves mired in a bog of darkness, hopelessness, and loneliness. To be involved in a relationship requires open, honest communication and a real desire to understand the other person. When we communicate, when we show others the willingness to listen and understand, we are working positively on our relationship. That defines us. That gives us direction. That gives us purpose. PERHAPS that is love. PERHAPS it is that simple. Make it a good one.