Am I 82? Or 24?

I have a confession.

I am really an old lady. A very weird, eclectic old lady. I am the kind of old lady that lives in a small town and becomes the object of gossip and kids telling stories about you being a mythical creature.

You do not have to take my word for it though. I have reasons why I believe I am an old lady.

I like Antiques.

I mean, actually I love antiques. I love old furniture, I love the history, and I love the fact that the pieces basically have past lives, and that you are a part their lives, and the future owners if you take care of it. I also love the fact that the articles have survived through people, disasters, and ups and downs. They are objects with a history, like pieces of art, in and of themselves.

I like Vinyl.

I have my own growing collection, and a player that I clean and maintain. I love the old school quality and scratchiness. The fact that it sounds more like you are there in the recording studios uncut. It just feels better to put on a record and sitting back and listening to it. Records are a memory. CD’s are stolen moments of time, but I would rather have the true memory, than a stolen moment. Honestly if there was a way to do it, I would listen to records in my car…Bad idea.

I like eating dinner at 4.

I know I surprise myself, but I really have no reason for this. It just feels nice to be done another part of your day at 4.

I like Films older than I am.

My top 5 favourite movies (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Roman Holiday, Singing in the Rain, White Christmas and Casablanca)
are all older than me. They are full of love and the way it was portrayed back then, and the simple brilliance of not just being romantic, but also better; at least in my opinion.

I actually own this photo thanks to a lady who knows me Very well. Thank you Birute Pilipaitis!

I actually own this photo thanks to a lady who knows me Very well.
Thank you Birute Pilipaitis!

I am an old lady in many ways, and that is why I truly believe I have a little old lady inside of me. She lets me be able to enjoy the more simple things, because the simple things in life are what makes life worth it.

~ Andreah

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For today, tomorrow and yesterday – thank you!

Yesterday, just as every day, was a day to remember: to look at our past and think of those who died and fought for our future. And although yesterday was officially marked as Remembrance Day, we should still hold all those men and women who have died for our freedom in our hearts and thoughts.

To forget them would mean that we have forgotten how free we are in Canada. It is because of them that we are privileged to live in the beautiful country we call Canada.

Poppy's

In elementary school, it was never properly explained what Remembrance Day was. There was a moment of silence – a staple on November 11th – and a possible movie or video shown in the gym, but the magnitude of what the soldiers have done for us never fully hit me.

Every year, the week leading up to Remembrance Day the History channel screens small documentaries on WWI, WWII, and the Vietnam War. Suddenly I get a second chance to learn my country’s history, and learn of the men and women who served for Canada.

There is no old and out dated book in front of me to write an essay out of, there is no teacher grading my knowledge of the occurrences, but just simply me and those veterans who are brave enough to tell their story for anyone who will listen, so we can remember and never forget.

On the left is Cody's Grandfather, he fought in the second World War - and never spoke of what he saw, or experienced. We remember for all the veterans.  This is the only picture we have of him.

On the left is Cody’s Grandfather. He fought in WWII and never spoke of what he saw, or experienced. We remember for all the veterans.
This is the only picture we have of him.

Remembering is all they ask for – remembering, and never forgetting. It seems so simple, and yet there are many soldiers’ stories who will never be heard, there are those whose names have been forgotten, whose faces are distant.

For all those who have lost parents, grandparents, cousins, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends – thank you.

For those currently serving – thank you.

For those who will serve – thank you.

You have fought for and will fight for Canada, for our freedom!

Lest we forget.

~ Jacqui

It is so much more

When you’re younger, making your way through elementary school, then middle and on to high school, the weight of Remembrance Day does not fully register with most.

The events that took place are usually only understood as stories and dates that we rehearse until we remember them, able to recite them for our tests and presentations. We take pause to mark the day of November 11th with assemblies, moments of silence, the playing of the haunting hymns of the bagpipes and the reciting of In Flanders Fields.

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But it is so much more.

Even through adulthood, some are still sheltered from the true meaning of the sacrifice made by those who choose to sacrifice self for country, sacrifice self for community, sacrifice self for generations of family that they may never meet.

Personally, the first time I feel I began to understand the weight of it from a third party perspective, was the reaction of the USA to the September 11th attacks when soldiers were stationed overseas. It made it somehow more real, more vivid. It was a war – whether agreed with or not – thankfully carried out off of home soil, taking place in my lifetime.

I remember understanding even more when a good friend of mine bravely told me he wanted to train and apply for the military. While I ran with him willingly to help him train for the physical portion of his exams, I remember thinking that I wouldn’t know what I would do if he was called to war in our lifetime, if something were to happen to him because of his chosen sacrifice.

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That is what makes it so much more.

It’s the vow to country of the person who speaks it, but it is also the wife, the husband, the mother, the father, the grandparents, the children, the siblings, the friends that remain. It’s the unwavering determination of the soldier to serve and protect, but it is also the support of each person behind the soldier, waiting back home, sacrificing what most Canadians are beyond lucky to call normal, everyday life, while separated from the person they love.

When soldiers were finally allowed to start coming home after the initial wave of reaction to the September 11th attacks, I rememebr the videos that began to circulate online of soldiers surprising and reuniting with loved ones. Watching the realization of the moment light up in the faces of children, wives, husbands, partners and parents, I feel like I got it even more.

1st Brigade Combat Team Soldiers Return Home After Afghanistan Deployment

It is so very much more.

The tears that filled my eyes, the lump of gratitude that welled in my throat, the ache that resonated in my heart for those people, in the anticipation of being in one another’s arms again, I could only imagine what it would be like to be the person waiting for the return of a loved one. While I can speculate based on the loss of life I have experienced, and separation from a loved one for an extended period of time I have endured, I cannot with all of my might fathom in words, thoughts or emotions the supporting cast of that soldier’s life might be feeling.

It is so much more.

It is with hearts of thanks for the sacrifices made by the soldiers that have fought to gain and maintain the freedom we have in Canada, and the loved ones that so bravely stood and continue to stand by them that we reflect on this Remembrance Day.

RemembranceDay

As we pay homage to the troops of the past who sacrificed to secure the freedom of our country and to the brave men and women who fight for and prepare to protect it today, please be sure to pause, reflect, and give thanks for the sacrifices made for the freedoms we take for granted daily.

~ Toni

Smiles to a stranger

Today I met a lovely woman.

Joe and I have been very busy getting rid of some scrap metal, and cleaning out some unwanted things from the apartment. One of these things was an old steamer trunk The Mom let me have when I first moved.

This is an old hefty thing, brown and gold, and it held blankets for most of the time that it was with me, and held toys when it was with our mother.

I was sad to see it go. I didn’t know if Value Village would take it, and didn’t really want to take it to the dump.

I knew it had memories, and not just ours, but from probably years past.

Maybe it used to hold treasures from someone’s past?

Maybe it used to hold an old wedding dress?

Maybe someone once packed it full of their most prized possessions in a move away from home?

I was bringing it out to the car and all ready to load it in, when a woman stopped me and told me how lovely it was!

I told her where it was going and that if she really loved it, that it was hers! She was so taken aback that she started thanking me over and over. She told me a bit about herself and her apartment, and how she was sure with a little attention that the trunk would live on to make many more memories!

We started talking more and I gave her my phone number and we made a plan that some time in the near future we would go have a tea or something.

It was such an awesome meeting, that I know I made a new friend.

My friends love that wherever I go, I always meet new people and always make friends, but it is so not hard. I just think of people as friends I haven’t met yet. Of course, I don’t always just randomly start talking to everybody, but when you get that feeling you just know that a smile can make all the difference.

Strangers

It was lovely to meet you Laurie, and I can’t wait for that tea!

~ Andreah

Happiness and histories

I’ve been thinking a lot about history. There have been empires that have risen and fallen in all our years on this planet. Wars raged, places discovered, and countless loves found and lost. We all have our own history as well. We have our own way of looking at things. What we see and what we think is 100% unique to ourselves. And in my opinion, I think that no one remembers that fact.

No one recalls that our moods, our experiences, and everything in our own personal lives, including our own lessons and attitudes, are pushing us through the world. I often forget this point myself and end up thinking that the customers I deal with sometimes, when they are being in no way polite, are just horrible people. The one thing I always forget is that they are probably going through a lot of stuff, and if the most simple things, like a card reader error, can ruin their day, that I shouldn’t be upset at them. I shouldn’t hate them for the one minute I am in contact with them. I should remember to be just a little bit more understanding.

I work at a gas station right now, and see people from so many different lives enter through those two sliding doors into my workplace. Sometimes they are so rude and coarse and rough. Sometimes they are as sweet as honey in your chamomile tea. I am standing behind a register, ringing up your gas purchase, your lottery, your candy, and I am doing my best to smile for you. To make sure that when you come into that particular gas station you have as easy a transaction as possible, while still doing my job. I am pleasant and welcoming for each new customer. I too have a lot going on constantly, and I want them to understand and be polite, like I try to be with them no matter what catastrophe I may be dealing with in my life. However, wanting them to act how I see fit doesn’t ever work, because it all comes down to history.

We interact with people on a daily basis who are trying to move the mountains in their lives, trying to forge a better future, out of their various histories. We are all living in one confined planet. We are all trying to get around! We are all trying to live for us, our families and our friends.

Here are some examples of what I’m talking about:

There is a woman who comes in to get gas. She has two grown children and always wears a smile, even though she has a lot on her plate, with her own business and bills, and yet she still is smiling.

There is a man who can barely walk on rainy days and yet he drives his friends around, because they were there for him and saved him in the war, so he does the driving now. He is in pain probably more than half the time I see him, but he still wears a smile for me.

There is a student who doesn’t know what she wants to do in her life, but she is working towards a degree in economics so she will get a good job and be able to take care of her mom one day, because her mom gave her everything she never got in life. She gets really frustrated because the card reader doesn’t like her card on the first few tries, especially at me when I first met her, but now she smiles because I took my time with her and her card.

There is an angry man who won’t talk or look you in the eye, and if you question him he will scream at you, no matter who is in the store, but get him on his good day and his smile is actually quite nice and his eyes can look quite kind.

There is a little girl whose mom gives her a weekly allowance for doing chores. She saved up the allowance so she could pay for her mom’s gas and two movie tickets, because she wanted to have a mommy-daughter date with her mommy who works too hard. She paid me all in change, but I still smiled and couldn’t stop for the rest of my shift even as I counted all those coins.

The people I see every day have vast, amazing histories and wonderfully complex lives and thoughts. They see me for maybe 10 minutes tops in their entire day or week, and all I can do is try and smile, and to make this one thing in their soon-to-be histories at least pleasant, if not happy.

I just want everyone to be happy and spread the happy. It’s not easy, ever, to let the little, stupid, nagging things go. It is harder than diamonds to actually carry out those three little words in our day-to-day lives: let it go.

Exasperated one morning, after a falling out with someone, I was visiting Joe’s aunts. I was obsessing as I sometimes, okay, usually do, and Aunt Brenda just looked at me and said, “Let it go! Get over it!”

I honestly just started laughing. Because it is so simple. Just let it go. Let go of the stupid little things, let go of the tough bad huge things. Yes, work through it, but when you are out in the world, let it go. Be happy! Smile, even when everyone is bugging the piss out of you!

So yes, even though our histories are long and stretched out, varied and eclectic, we are all together. We all have the hard days and stupid exhausting moments of frustration, especially when someone or something gets under your skin. And everyone has days when nothing, no matter what you try or do, makes things better, but I just want you to remember one thing if that stupid day for you is today: I want, no, need, for you to be happy. Because it is a great, big, beautiful world full of great, big, amazing moments, and this one will pass. You will feel and be completely different tomorrow. We are never the same people in each and every passing moment. Change is inevitable. I want to give you this moment for happiness, your happiness. I want you to let it go, and just delight in the fact that in this moment, you can smile and turn it all around.

Be happy! Keep smiling!Happiness

~ Andreah