Saturday, June 25, 2016

Gardening for the Disadvantaged



Gardening for the Disadvantaged

I was just settin' out there on my balcony wonderin' what I might blog about this week. Watchin' the old folks up on the rooftop over the pool doin' their gardenin' (an socializin') gave me an idea. Well that's how our complex is. I can look down from our third floor apartment an' see what's goin on. There's some forty plots, four feet wide by eight feet long in boxes three feet high and they're given out by lottery every spring. Not surprisingly, the boxes are all spoken for an' all planted too.

It's pleasant to sit an' watch all the activity goin' on down there. Old people, young people, little ones takin' turns runnin' around on the roof top and helpin' mommy or daddy or even grandma water the plants. It's like an all day garden party, what with the comin's an' goin's of the people. The thing is, they all gotta inspect every plot on the rooftop before they get to their own little acre. If that's not enough, they gotta point out an' comment on every plant.

But that's not the best part. The other day two oldsters come out the door, hand in hand, teeterin' down the ramp. Slowly, they go through the whole ritual, he with is cane an' she with an arm brace type cane. Finally, they came to their own plot, done some putterin' an' then struggled slowly back up the ramp. I was worried they wasn't gonna make it, but they finally did an' disappeared into the buildin'. Then I see a relatively young man in one o' them electric scooters, in fact two different guys workin' in their plots. They was able to pull up along one side an' do whatever to their gardens, then scoot over to the other side an' work it from there.

Them plots is just high enough that they can do what's necessary right from their chair an' narrow enough that they can work a whole half the plot before goin' to the other side to do the same. The thing is that nobody's got to get on their hands an knees to weed the gardens, so anybody can do it either standin' up or sittin' down without getting' a back ache or crawlin' around without bein' able to get up again. I'll tell ya, every seniors livin' place every care home an every apartment block should have these garden plots for their tenants. They provide an alternative activity that gets people outside, gives them some fresh air an' pleasure, no matter what their ability is or their physical condition. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

A Moment of Sunshine - Part II

A Moment of Sunshine Part II
Well, I never . . . . . . Who'da thought? It's so simple that it's easy to miss. We're all so busy either creatin' or fendin' off the babble of the haters an' lovers alike, we have no idea of how to bring them together. My brother-in-law John posted a thing on facebook the other day that made such a lotta sense (at least to me) that I couldn't help but put it out here for all to see. He said something like: Ya can't all talk together at the same time (an' make any sense) but ya can all sing together. OF COURSE!  Don't ya remember them three hundred African firefighters who dropped in to the Edmonton Airport on their way to Fort McMurray just a few weeks ago. They didn't know each other that well but they did know the words to the music an' they sang an' danced up a storm like nobody's business in preparation to go to work as a unified team. It's just too bad they didn't get their employers in on the music. There's a big message to be read into that.
Well an' it's also a Mennonite tradition (or used to be) to sing some hymns out of the song book at social gatherin's or just ordinary visitin'. Everybody knows the words to them songs an' you can belt 'em out with gusto. An' think of the marchin' songs, the sea shanties to unify the participants into a work force, an' the frightenin' Waka war canoes. Think o' the Sun dance ceremonies an' the litany o' Powwows.
Here's the punch line. Suppose there was an amendment to the constitution requirin' all the political parties in both the commons an' the senate to gather together for a sing-song for a whole hour every mornin' before the start o' business of the day. Well they already approved the changin' o' the national anthem recently so why not approve this as well. I can just hear the whole bunch o' them singin' a rousin' version of "We Shall Overcome". That was a song that got my son Fred through washin' dinner dishes every day, so it has some merit. Well I don't sing no more cause I ain't got the breath an' my voice is too squeaky, but I sure remember the power a large choir had in moving all the singers to belt out their harmony until the boards under their feet trembled. It was remarkable.
If I was to suggest anythin' the government could do to work more co=operatively an more effectively, it would be to appoint a Minister of Music to the cabinet. His/Her mandate would be to replace that stupid question period thing with choral singin'. That in itself would be an improvement (unless everybody decided to sing off key). At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.
Just sayin'.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Moment of Sunshine

A Moment of Sunshine
It don't take much to brighten up yer day it seems. I guess all that broodin' over the negative things goin' on in the world reaches the saturation point sooner or later. Ya just get fed up with one thing after another goin' awry. But pretty soon ya start to see the sunny side of even the saddest of affairs. What I'm talkin' about is the passin' o' Muhammad Ali. It's sad indeed that this "Mountain of a man" as his daughter described him is no longer with us and one feels an empathy with his family. But no one is really surprised, given his long standin' illness. But that's a separate issue.
What it was that put a smile on my face was not his boxin' prowess though that in itself was a wonder to behold, but rather his single-minded steadfastness in (with the help of his lawyer) defeating the U.S. government and the U.S army all in one fell swoop - without even firing a single shot. It was basically a battle between an adversarial government an' a pro-activist human bein'. It wouldn't have stood out that much for me had it not been for those two goons currently runnin' for the U.S presidency an' all their red-neck followers.
Ali exercised his right to refuse the draft and took whatever the government had the right to dish out. He steadfastly defended his position and spoke eloquently about the injustice of the Vietnam war, never once waverin' in his conviction. Well, three years later the government gave up an' he was allowed to resume his career. I think the government was still secretly smartin' over that one when Ho Chi Minh kicked the Americans' arses right outa Vietnam anyways an' Ali continued in his career, winning several more world titles in the process. The American government in the meantime went on for years ignorin' the poor slobs who went over to Vietnam on their behalf in their murderous adventures.
What made me smile was the recognition in it of a story I had written a few years ago called "Talking Stick" that pitted the different facets of adversity against pro=activity within the spirit of a single person, the talking stick representin' the basis of real truth. It paralleled the ancient Indian myth that tells you which path you choose accordin' to yer own wishes. It explains a lot about personal choices and has a ripple effect on communities and even nations. So each must live with the other since it's never gonna be settled. An' it makes me smile 'cause I ain't gonna be around that long to see the results. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf where I can watch it all go by.
Just sayin'.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Sell, Sell, Sell

Sell, Sell, Sell!
Well if that don't beat all. Now they're puttin' pop up ads on the TV - right in the middle of their programs. I'm just waitin' now for them to put pop up ads on their own commercials. There's so many commercials on the TV now, you forget the storyline o' the program you're watchin' for crimeny sakes. They're like them magazines what are ninety-nine pages o' advertisin' in a hundred-page book.
Up to now, it's been a blessin' to be able to record the various shows an' then watch 'em later by cuttin' out the advertisin'.
Thinkin' back now, when the power was out for a coupl'a hours at our place an' I was starin' at a blank TV, it was kind'a peaceful an' serene. Oh sure, I couldn't watch a program, but on the other hand, I didn't have to watch some jackass try to sell me somethin' neither. So I just sat there starin' at the black screen. It was kind'a nice, actually. A coupl'a years ago, I wrote a piece on how the CRTC should legislate a separate channel for advertisin' only. That way, if you were lookin' to buy somethin' you could just go to that advertisin' channel an' look up what ya needed. But apparently nobody agreed with me.
It seems somebody decided we don't need to go shoppin' for what we need no more. No, now we gotta' buy what them pukes put up on the TV. It's buy, buy, Buy!
 None o' their advertising makes any sense no more neither. The only thing worth watchin' is them heavy horses of Budweiser's in their commercials. Other than that it's all crap designed by people who got no sense of how to relate to what they're tryin' to sell, taken in by the people tryin' to sell it, who pay good money to the TV stations that wanna make a buck, all governed by the vastly incompetent bunch at the CRTC.
Next thing ya know, we'll be legislated into buyin' a lot o' this junk just so the TV stations an' the advertisers can get richer. Tell ya what: Why not sell a whole bunch o' broken TV's so people can watch blank screens without seein' or hearin' anythin'? That's a peaceful preoccupation whereby ya can let yer imagination wander to wherever it wants to go an' there's no bills to pay neither. I'll bet if we done that, the CRTC an' the whole industry would sit up an' take notice. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.
Just sayin'.