It’s far too soon

This one will be short, I promise.

I realize that now that Hallowe’en is over, it is time for the Christmas merchandise.  American Thanksgiving is coming up at the end of the month, but that merchandise was  fighting the Hallowe’en stuff for shelf space so we can ignore that.

November 11 is Remembrance Day in Canada and Veterans’ Day in the US.  This is the date in 1918 when the Great War ended and now commemorates all those who have lost their lives throughout the years and across the world defending our freedom.  November 11 is also this coming Sunday.

That is ten days after Hallowe’en.  Given that Remembrance Day is this weekend, would you  agree that Christmas commercials are more than a little premature.  Remembrance Day, or as it is becoming more commonly known Poppy Day has, over the past few years, become a ten day celebration of our brave warriors.  Other than the desire to serve the great retail god of profit, can you think of a single reason why advertisers and stores (who are preparing their Christmas windows even as I write this) couldn’t wait those ten days?   These men and women sacrificed their bodies and yes, their lives, to ensure that we would have the freedom to have the lives we currently enjoy.  Is it really asking too much to hold off the Christmas displays and adverts until after November 11?  Personally I don’t think so and I will boycott any product or store I see advertising Christmas before we have properly honoured our veterans.


The day from heck

No, don’t worry, I’m not cleaning up my language that much.  The title though is a good description of my Saturday.  The only reason I can’t call it the day from hell is because of one good thing that happened later in the day.

The day started early because I had an appointment to get my hair done at 9:30.  The salon was the far side of the next town to mine.  Before I could keep that appointment, I needed to go to the bank.  We’ve had rain here since Friday evening, and there was no way I was going to wait for a bus with my hair freshly done, so I wanted cab fare.  The lady who does the weaves only comes in when needed, and she is habitually thirty minutes late, so the owner suggested I come at 10.  No problem, or so I thought.

My bank opens at eight, so I figured I could get there around half-past, then have plenty of time to take care of my banking and still catch the bus to get to the salon on time.  What was it John Lennon said about life and plans – “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”?  Got to the bank, then discovered I’d left my wallet at home with my bank card in it.  Great, Bus service early on Saturday morning sucks in Ajax and Pickering.  Fortunately one of the men I drove with was sitting at the mall cabstand, so he drove me home so I could collect my wallet, then return to the bank.  Another $20 I hadn’t planned on spending.  Took care of my business, then slogged through the rain to the bus stop and was able to get into the shelter.

Because I was now running right on the edge of the time allowance of course the bus was about twelve minutes late.  The bus finally arrived at my stop, halfway across town from where I needed to be, at the time I should have been at the salon.  I needn’t have stressed over my tardiness.  The stylist wasn’t there.  In fact, she wasn’t there for another 45 minutes. Had I actually been there for the 9:30 appointment, I would have waited almost an hour and a half before she showed up.  With me, the appointment consists of taking out the weave; unbraiding my hair; combing it out, then washing it and rebraiding it before putting the new weave in.  Obviously this is time consuming, which normally isn’t a problem.  But, based on the 9:30 start time, I made an appointment to get my nails done at two o’clock.  Things being usual, I should have had time to get from the salon, in the west end of Pickering to the nail place, which is near my home in west Ajax. However, since she was so late arriving for the hair appointment, I had to telephone the nail place from the cab and cancel the appointment because there was no possibility of getting there within a reasonable allowance of my appointment time.

I decided instead to do some grocery shopping, then just go home.  In the grocery store, they actually had most of what I wanted – I still have to find the chicken I want.  Get through the checkout and am packing my bags, then prepare to leave.  I’d taken about three steps when the gentleman who had been behind me, called me.  When I turned, he held up my wallet and said “you forgot this”. Since, like most people, my life is in my wallet, it was that act of kindness that prevented it from being the day from hell.

I hope you’ve had a better weekend.


All those years ago

Last night I watched a CTV special on the Cuban missile crisis.  You can look it up in the history books or online if you’ve never heard of it.  All I’ll say, to pique your curiosity, is that those events are the nearest the US and the USSR ever came to World War III.

But, watching that drew my mind back to October 1962 and the events in my life during that month.  I was in Vancouver B C during the early part of October at the army personnel depot awaiting my discharge papers (medical discharge).  Just before Thanksgiving (Canadian Thanksgiving – early October), Vancouver was visited by Pacific hurricane Freda.  The depot had its own power station, but for some reason, the only form of energy available in the kitchens was steam.  Worked out great in some ways – I could have all the tea and coffee I wanted – not so great in others. I swear I’ll never eat steamed sausages again: once was enough.  On the Monday I decided I’d go into the downtown area.  Later in the afternoon, knowing all they had at the depot was steamed foods, I decided to stop at a coffee shop for something to eat.  Counting my money, I realized all I could afford was coffee, so that is what I ordered. It wasn’t until I saw all the turkey dinners being brought in from the kitchen that I even remembered it was Thanksgiving. No turkey for me at Thanksgiving 1962.  My dinner consisted of a cup of coffee.

A couple of days later my papers arrived and I was soon on a train back to Toronto. It was during this trip the Cuban missile crisis began and quickly escalated.  By the time I arrived home, the Soviet freighters carrying the missiles were headed straight for the US blockade and the world was simultaneously holding its breath and crossing its fingers.  Keep in mind that during this time I was still technically in the army, but on final 30 day leave.  My stepfather was also in the army, member of the Royal Canadian Regiment (I had been in the Royal Canadian Engineers) and we were both aware that the telephone could ring at any time ordering him to his post and me to the nearest army base.  Fortunately, the confrontation at sea never happened, but it was a very nervous time for my mother, my stepfather and myself and we’d jump every time the telephone rang.  In early November I finished that final leave and was officially out of the armed forces.

If you ask people in their mid to late sixties, I’m sure you would get some fascinating stories  of their October 1962.  Mine isn’t that fascinating, but I still remember it clearly.  And every Thanksgiving, I have a cup of coffee and reflect on what might have been all those years ago.