Archive for August, 2008

Sitting with the dying

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

This morning I ventured out.  The purpose was to sit with a friend who has cancer.

Although there is pain, there is also peace.  In the past few years “salvation” has become a real and daily part of life.  So as we talked, hope arose and life was good, even though pain was present and death is just around a corner we can almost see.

What can  be said?  We talked of funerals, of family and of life.  Some things were difficult, others just daily chatter.  And as I left I blessed her, as she had blessed me.

Rosetown here I am

Monday, August 18th, 2008

Well, after a funeral service for Cecil Ditson, I’m now in Rosetown.  The evening meal was with my mom and dad, and my wife Jill.  We’ve chatted and sent an email.  Now we are relaxing and I’ll head back soon.

As I was driving over, I crested a hill just past Netherhill and coming to Brock.  As I searched the horizon I was struck!  This is the usual place I turn to Jill and tell her how beautiful the prairies are.  I think it must just take that amount of driving before I unwind and can actually look at the horizon.  And it is beautiful!

Today the grain is turning.  The fields are turning white.  Another week or so and we’ll be watching combines swath and winnow (I think we still use that word) and clean the grain.  The straw and chaff will eject and the grain will find it’s way to a bin, awaiting shipping to world markets.  And that’s just one of the industries that maintain our patch of ground called Kindersley!

Trixie the dog

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

The weirdest thing happened last night.

My wife had gone to be with my parents in Rosetown.  My sister and her family, where my parents live, were headed on vacation to Waskesiu. 

While there, Jill had prepared meals.  As the day ended she went outdoors with my sister’s dog.  The dog did it’s business, Jill was about hers (two very different businesses!).  They returned to the house.

trixie the dog, Dec. 2007

Trixie, the dog, began to eject things from both ends.  Vomit and poop.  And convulsing.  Jill called me and thought the dog was about to die.  She checked with others and tried to contact a vet.  They were all away for the weekend.  A vet clinic would phone back.  Others were called and some possible remedies suggested.

Trixie continued to convulse, then pant and finally became perfectly still.  In human parlance, she died.  I think it was in around two to three hours after initial signs of sickness appeared.

What do you do with a dead dog?  Especially when the family is away!  The decision was made to bag the dog up, put it in a friend’s freezer and let the family deal with the remains when they returned.

Not my idea of a great way to start five days away from home.  Jill is doing well — I wish I could say the same for Trixie!

A life lived

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

At 92 years of age, Cecil Ditson passed away this morning, Thursday, August 14, 2008.   The funeral will be held Monday, August 18, at 1:00 pm at the Kindersley Alliance Church.

When I returned to Kindersley a few years ago, Cecil and Mary invited me to their house.  He took pride in his garden and I had a quick tour through the back yard.  I had to figure that anyone who still bows down to feel the soil and smell the life of living plants at the age of 89 still has a touch of life left in him!!

Now that life is with Jesus — I wonder if there is a garden Cecil is ready to tend there??

Back in the seat again!

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Funny thing to say — “I’m back in my seat!” 

For the last six days I’ve been involved in my father’s 90th celebration.  Getting ready, experiencing and winding down.

So today I was back to my office.  A few calls asked how I was, and I replied that I was back in my seat.  Each time the appropriateness was there — I talk sitting down!  And each time I was reminded that the seat holds certain responsibilities.

First was a call telling us that one of our seniors is dying.  I had visited him earlier last week and there were some indications of his weakness.  But he had been in and out of hospital on other occasions that were much the same.  This time he will not come out.  The reality of death and the need for someone to share it is welcomed by the family.  So my wife and I headed off to the hospital.

Another few calls were to check up on others whose health is not great.  They seem to be in good spirits although their bodies are withering away.

A call to Prince Albert to work on a possible work group.  A call to someone to play piano.  Other calls followed.  Each from my seat.

How does it feel?  Good to get things going again.  At the same time there is much to do. 

“All good!” as one of my friends would say. 

A computer day!

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

My brother, Murray, had once proclaimed that he would never use computers.  That was, until he required them for research, and email, and other miscellaneous things.  Once a Luddite, not always a Luddite!

Monday, Murray and I looked over a machine that Jill uses constantly.  Unfortunately usage was low, in fact non-existent.  We tried a new power unit.  The fans whirred, but the monitor did not light up.  We hooked another computer to the monitor.  That worked just fine.  We tried once more and nothing, not even the BIOS settings, appeared.

Conclusion — the motherboard was fried.  A quick talk with our local “Radio Shack” (now “The Source by Circuit City” – could you come up with more circuitous name) guy revealed what we had thought.  Buy a cheap new machine instead of trying to make a new motherboard work with an old machine.  Thankfully they had a cheap machine (actually, it was cheap and quite usable).

We transferred over the old hard drive (with all the data safely saved) and a DVD drive.  The rest of the evening was spent in setting up programs and getting things running so Jill could use the machine.  This is my first experience with Windows Vista, and so far the results are working in my favor!

Today’s task?  Finish off my last day of vacation (I took from last Thursday – this Tuesday for my Father’s 90th Birthday celebration).  I’m sure there will be some more quirks to the new computer, but other than that, a bit of relaxation will be in order.

Family Portrait

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

Saturday, and Dad’s 90th birthday celebration excites the hall.  We had around 125 for a “come and go” tea.  Then a family and friends supper with around 65.  Roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, peas, salad, dessert.  All good!!

Here’s the immediate family in portrait.

90th anniversary family portrait august 9 2008

Camera straps and serendipity

Friday, August 8th, 2008

So, what happens when your camera strap accidentally joins in with the picture you are taking?  Creativity happens.  Witness the picture of my neice, Elizabeth (Liz) Barton.

Liz Barton - neice - August 8, 2008

Prairie grass

Friday, August 8th, 2008

No, I’m not talking about the drug type of “grass”!

We were in the midst of setting up some table centres for my father’s 90th birthday celebration.  For all the beautiful flowers and other accoutrements we could add, something seems right about prairie grass.

My father was born into prairie farm life, and farmed for a number of years.  My earliest recollection of pictures of my father are of him in wheat fields.  After leaving the farm there was still a great pull of the land.

So, we pulled some tufts of grass.  They set nicely into the white vases.  Surrounded by white table clothes and blue highlighted runners, the vases looked quite welcoming.  We may add a few more plants to the arrangement, but the grass will be an outstanding part of the mixture.

Now, just one more sleep and the afternoon celebration begins.  If you are around Kindersley between 2:00 – 4:00 on Saturday, drop by the Alliance Church (74 West Road) and join us!  90 years doesn’t roll around too often!

Lambeth Trivia

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

Every once in a while, while reading very serious material, something tickles my funny bone.  The Times of London put together an article on the recent Anglican Lambeth conference.  Anglican representatives from around the globe meet every decade to discuss the state of the Anglican communion. 

This one promised to be a bit stormy!  A number of Bishops did not attend because they felt things were getting too liberal in the church.  Some were not invited.  Things seemed a bit precarious.  A compromise was reached but who knows where that will lead — a moratorium on gay consecrations and same-sex blessings as well as a moratorium on consecrating cross-boundary bishops to minister to evangelical congregations in liberal dioceses.

Heavy stuff!  Now, here is the Times Trivia that struck my funny bone:

The Lord gaveth

500 pairs of holy socks bought by bishops during the conference

120 litres of Communion wine drunk during 25 hours of worship

3,610 pints of lager consumed

10 years between conferences

1,320 minutes spent in 16 “indaba” groups

50 copies of In the Eye of the Storm signed by Gene Robinson, the gay Bishop of New Hampshire, sold

2 copies of The Truce of God: Peacemaking in Troubled Times by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, sold