Sunday Soliloquy


Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in exhibition game at...

Image via Wikipedia

Lou Gehrig – Farewell to Baseball Address

Delivered on 4 July 1939, New York

Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.

I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans. Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day?

Sure I’m lucky.

Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball’s greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy?

Sure I’m lucky.

When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift – that’s something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies — that’s something.

When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter — that’s something.

When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body — it’s a blessing.

When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed — that’s the finest I know.

So, I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for.

Mid-week Random Ramble010


Chapman as King Arthur in Holy Grail

Image via Wikipedia

Gosh, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ramble these last few days. Seems most conversations have been purposeful and needed, and I’m growing a little weary from the weight of those. So, here’s my opportunity to just open up the top of my skull (remember Monty Python?) and let whatever is in there come dancing out!

1. Don’t you love Monty Python? Watching the ‘Quest’ with my kids is hilarious… listening to them repeat dialogue back is even funnier!

“We’re knights of the Round Table, we dance whene’er we’re able. We do routines and chorus scenes with footwork impec-cable, We dine well here in Camelot, we eat ham and jam and Spam a lot……”

2. Planning the AfterGrad/DryGrad celebration for our eldest son’s grad class. The intent is to provide these young people with a safe and fun alternate to drinking and carousing and hurting themselves. Considering our son attends a Christian School, you’d think there might not be a problem in this regard. Yet, we still have our challenges. AfterGrad is going to be SO MUCH FUN! The planning is a busy, busy undertaking, but so worth it!

Yes, I am living with an almost graduated young man who used to be, only yesterday, riding a tricycle, dropping cheerios off the side of his highchair for the dog, pushing his pop pop lawnmower around the living room, and taking long mid-day naps. How did this happen… this rushing past of years and memories and now we’re at a place where we are looking at letting him go… where, I’m not certain, and neither is he yet. But the time will come when he will wave goodbye from the dorm door, or from the car window, or as he disappears through the security check-in at the airport, and he’ll be transported into the beginnings of his own independent future. I’m going to miss him so much.

3. Thanksgiving Weekend is upon us. My daughter asked me yesterday what the roots of Thanksgiving were. I explained as best I could, but thought maybe a refresher might be in order, both for me and my daughter, but maybe we all need reminding sometimes? Here’s what Wikipedia offers up;

The history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Pacific Ocean. Frobisher’s Thanksgiving was not for harvest but homecoming. He had safely returned from a search for the Northwest Passage, avoiding the later fate of Henry Hudson and Sir John Franklin. In the year 1578, he held a formal ceremony in Newfoundland to give thanks for surviving the long journey.[2] French settlers who came to New France with explorer Samuel de Champlain in the early 1600s also took to celebrating their successful harvests. They even shared their food with the indigenous people of the area as well as setting up what became known as the “Order of Good Cheer.”[3] As many more settlers arrived in Canada, more celebrations of good harvest became common. New immigrants into the country, such as the Irish, Scottish, Germans would also add their own harvest traditions to the harvest celebrations. Most of the American aspects of Thanksgiving (such as the turkey) were incorporated when United Empire Loyalists began to flee from the United States during the American Revolution and settled in Canada.[3]

Don’t know about you, but my Thanksgiving is also about giving thanks. We take the time to acknowledge that all we have, our health, our finances, our things, our food and shelter… all that we have is from God. It’s not Thanksgiving without verbalizing our thanks to one another. We certainly savour, and are thankful for, Turkey and the fixings, and we decorate our home with beautiful offerings of Fall including coloured leaves, Indian corn, pumpkins and squash (horn of plenty type things) and we’ve even added a few little touches of our own. My daughter reminded me of one yesterday. She wants to do it again this year… so that sounds like a tradition has begun.

Last year I provided a hand turned wooden bowl filled with pencils and little pieces of paper, and placed it on our table the week before Thanksgiving. During the course of the week, everyone was given the opportunity to write down what they were thankful for on the papers. As many or as few as they liked. Then, during our Thanksgiving dinner, we took turns reading out loud what everyone had written down. It was funny, poignant at times, and good for our souls.

I’ll have to prepare the bowl today.

4. If you are a dog owner you probably know that chocolate is not good for dogs. Our old pal Buddy spent one lousy night on the laundry room floor, with me beside him, after scarfing down several boxes of Belgian Chocolates… a fundraiser at our kids school run amuck in our home!

Anyhoo, turns out chocolate is not the only food enemy of dogs… just found out that Turkey can have dire effects on our best loved friends. According to my dog trainer and supported by this article, offering large quantities of turkey to your dog, or treating him to the turkey skin this Thanksgiving, might just result in a visit to the vet and a big bill! Thanks for that tip, Liz Corgan, Emmy will be sticking with kibble!

5. And finally, I’m reminded of my personal Thanksgiving tradition. Every October I print off copies of a short story I wrote several years ago. Then I hand deliver them to people I know, neighbours, acquaintances, whomever comes to mind. It’s my way to sharing my heart of thanks with others. This then is my Thanksgiving gift to you.

October Valentine

She walked briskly along the path, unsure of what had brought her there this morning after so many months.  Yet, she had known when she left the house this morning, and had left a note on the counter saying where she was.  The sun was shining brightly, illuminating the fall leaves on the trees and enveloping her in colour.  The dog walked ahead of her, pulling on the leash.

She hummed as she walked, and then began singing.  Once in awhile someone would pass by, and she stopped singing until they were just out of earshot.  She sang and felt the sun on her face, the fresh air in her lungs, and an overall feeling of well-being.  And she thought to herself, “You are here God”.

Taking in the details of the trees around her, she began to admire the contrasting colours of the leaves more closely.  And as she turned back to retrace her steps to the car, she stopped to pick a red leaf off a shrub.  Then she reached down to pick up a yellow leaf from the ground, then another and another.  There were so many pretty leaves to choose from, and before long she had a leaf bouquet in her gloved hand.

It was then that she noticed the shape of the leaf;  a heart shape.  And, at that very moment, God chose to speak into her heart;

“I love you.  I love you.  I am here and I love you.”

She stood still, looking at all the leaves.  The heart-shaped leaves were everywhere, some still hanging from the trees above her, while others created a beautiful carpet under her feet.  She smiled.  It was simple and profound and personal, and she wanted to share it with her friends.

She collected more leaves and continued to walk, admiring the trees full of hearts and considering the depth of God’s love for her.  She realized now that the trees were poplars… fast growing weedy trees that, by some, were considered to be ‘garbage trees’.  Not highly valued, poplar trees were often planted first and then cut down when they were no longer needed.  And God chose those trees to display his love to her.  Not the mighty oak or the stately maple, but the humble, overlooked and often disposable poplar.

Armed with her leaves and God’s message of love, she drove home.

(Photographic illustration borrowed with thanks from here)