Another World

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is HEDGE. Here’s a verse in limerick style that I wrote in response:

PRIVILEGE STREET

Through the thick hedge the young girl peered
at a house where the windows weren’t cracked
the lawn was so green, the windows all screened
and the driveway cement was intact.

The stair steps weren’t crumbling, the roof had no hole,
no cracks in the walls could she see.
She sighed as she wished that a home just like this
would shelter her own family.

Image by F Muhammud at Pixabay

Beauty and The Beast

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was The Extraordinary in the Ordinary.

The idea behind this prompt was that there’s beauty in the simplest things and I wholeheartedly agree. I’ve been amazed at times by the petals of a flower, the iridescence of a bug, the symmetrical shape shape of a tree, the strength in a mechanic’s hands as he twisted a wrench. But today my thoughts have gone in a different line.

Innocence
Beauty
Murderous

Last Sunday morning my sister Donna lost her life to drugs.

Brushes, Candles & Drugs

Hello Everyone! I wonder what sort of a day you’re having?

So far this day has brought me a mixture of relief, celebration and sorrow. I’m relieved and relaxed because our Craft Sale is over. On Friday I was at my table at the Villa from 10am-5pm setting up, chatting with other vendors and customers, and selling a few of my pictures. I didn’t sell a lot, but then mine weren’t Christmas-themed like most of the items for sale. I should do some snow scenes to fit the season.

I’m putting my brushes away for a few days, but am happy in retrospect to have done the work even though I didn’t sell many paintings. Every bit of painting works toward improving. Also, I photocopied a dozen with the thought of sometime making note cards. And here’s one:

I did add more sky colors to the water on the left before I varnished it.
I have much to learn about reflections.

Re: the candles mentioned in my title. Today is our grandson’s 11th birthday, so there’ll be cake and candles and presents for him this evening.

Sad to say, a few tears have dampened the joy when I got the news that my sister Donna was found dead this morning. She turned sixty-six two days ago.

When we got home from church there was a message on our phone from my sister Wilma, saying she had to talk to me. Wilma has been living in Alberta for years; she and I have chatted a few times a year since our sister Rose died. So I knew this call was serious and suspected a death or accident — never dreamed it would be Donna, though. But then, I haven’t had contact with Donna for ages and had no idea she’s been a heavy drug user for years. The drug paraphernalia found with her indicates she likely died of an overdose.

I’m very sad about this. When we were younger I was close to Donna and have always cared very much for her in spite of our lack of contact. At our sister Rose’s funeral three years back Donna gave me a big hug and then disappeared, didn’t stay to talk with anyone. I knew her life wasn’t at all stable, but thought alcohol was the main issue. Her youngest son is apparently also heavy into drugs and is currently doing time at the correctional centre. So the authorities had no trouble locating him when his mom was found dead. An autopsy is pending.

Her oldest son is working in northern Alberta and can’t be contacted, so all the planning is falling on son #2, the one who has his head together. I talked with him this afternoon and we both grieved over his mom and their messed up home.

But We’re Canadians

A few days ago I received an e-mail from Merriam-Webster listing all the new words they’re adding to the dictionary this month. I see Heather at Ragtag Daily Prompt has decided to use one of these for today’s prompt. AMIRITE isn’t a word as much as a slurring together of several –something that’s been going on for quite awhile, as you will see in my little dialogue.

Mom squeezed Lanny’s shoulder. “You know our rules, Lanny. None of your friends stay here overnight without us knowing. When we’re away we want to know what’s going on here.”

“So I’m grounded,” Lanny mumbled. “Amirite?”

“Yes, you’re grounded. And can you please pronounce your words properly. It’s Am. I. Right.”

His sister Bella spoke up. “Don’t you know, Mom, that amirite is now a proper word? You can even look it up; it’s one of the newest words is Webster’s dictionary.”

“What next! People just can’t jumble a bunch of words together and call it a new word. The English language will degenerate into a series of mumbles that no one understands.”

“Too late, Mom,” Lanny replied. “People have been jamming words into each other for centuries. Like however. That’s in the dictionary.”

“And henceforth,” Dad put in. Mom glared at him.

“And moreover,” Bella added.

Mom sighed. “Nevertheless…”

“See! How many eons ago did someone run that one together?”

Bella grinned. “Yeah. Whensoever did that happen?”

Lanny waved his hand dramatically. “And furthermore, old Daniel added it to his dictionary.”

Mom shook her head. “I give up.”

“BUT,” Dad said sternly, there’ll be no amirites here. We’re Canadians and ‘EH’ will do nicely.”

“So I’m grounded, eh?”

“You got it.”

“Come on, Lanny,” said Bella. “Lets make ourselves some fluffernutters.”

Dad’s eyebrows went up. “What in the world…”

Lanny smirked. “You’ll have to look it up in the dictionary.”

Mom looked helplessly at Dad. “Will we ever understand them?”

October Passes

Hello Everyone. I suppose in many parts of the world, the month of October has passed into history, while we have only five hours left in this month. But I didn’t want to see it disappear without sending a note to those of you who are still following my blog.

As I said, for many of you November has started, and with it NaNoWriMo. I wonder how many of you are participating in the National November Writing Month this time around?

No NaNoWriMo for me this year. Rather, I’ve been painting landscape scenes. We’re having a little Luncheon and Craft Sale at the seniors’ residence where I cook part time and I’m planning to get a table there to sell some of my amateur paintings. Each vendor will look after selling their own stuff, whatever handmade crafts or baking they may do. This will take place one day toward the end of November, so I still have a few weeks to paint up a storm — and some calm seas, some mountain valleys, a few prairie scenes, the odd bird.

Other than that, life is going on as usual for us. The chillier weather has come; last weekend the ground was wet three times from passing cloud sprinkles. (Can’t really say bursts.) We’ll welcome whatever comes, and the frost in the mornings has helped to settle the road dust.

We celebrated our daughter’s 50th birthday on Thursday, then I invited the family here for dinner today and we celebrated again. Fifty is quite the milestone on the highway of life!

Now I shall leave you with this quote — and try to think of next month in this light. 🙂

Giving Disease A Jab

Hello and welcome to SEPTEMBER! Did anyone see SUMMER as it whizzed by?

Leaves are starting to fall, most of our pretty birds seem to have zipped off, harvest is underway — except that the rains we were praying for in July have finally come. I’m glad I’m not a farmer! Mind you, quite a few crops were cut and baled last month because there wasn’t enough grain in the heads to be worth harvesting.

As for me, I’ve started digging up my one large flowerbed. I left it uncultivated in spring because it was so dry; now that it’s been raining I’m getting it ready for winter and for planting next spring.

I’ve been digging around in my family tree roots lately, too, and discovered a family tragedy. One that was quite common back in those days. I can’t imagine how devastated great-great-grandfather Charles must have been when…

– his wife Ann, passed away on Dec 3rd, 1863. She was about forty years old and her youngest child was just a toddler.
– his father, John Watchorn, died on Jan 1st, 1864 at the age of 68.
– his daughter, Ellen, died on Jan 14th. From the records, it looks like she was in her early teens.
– his six-year-old son, Charles Jr, died a few weeks after Ellen.
Ann and her children are buried in one grave with a common headstone.

At one time I made a note in my records that gr-gr-grandmother Ann died of smallpox. An epidemic of that sort would account for the number of deaths in one family in such a short period of time. It’s odd that I can’t find any death records for any of these people. Were they lost in a fire or in transit to the Dept of Vital Statistics, or were there so many smallpox deaths in the area at that time that they weren’t recorded individually? Perhaps a local newspaper of the time would give me a better picture?

Of course I wondered if there was no smallpox vaccine available in their day, so I did some research. Yes, smallpox vaccine was available then. However, there was apparently a lot of fear and resistance, or just plain indifference, to the idea of vaccination. According to the Museum of Health Care at Kingston website:
“Smallpox vaccine was used widely in Canada during the early 1800s, although it soon became neglected. Low immunization levels led to persistent outbreaks…”
The Montreal area experienced the worst outbreak in 1885 when 3000 people died from smallpox. The epidemic spread from there into parts of eastern Ontario.
“Anti-vaccine sentiments mixed with religion and French-English political tensions helped fuel the crisis.”

Sigh… Do things never change?

Well, yes, they do, thankfully. In 1924, a Doctor Heagerty writing about smallpox, lists the terror people felt when the menace was mentioned and all damage it has done in the past, leaving so many people dead, crippled, or scarred for life. Then he writes:
“Vaccination has altered this, and forgetful or ignorant of the appalling ravages of the disease in other days, we now scarcely give the subject of smallpox a thought.”

Small pox, whooping cough, diphtheria, polio. Immunization has dealt a death blow to these scourges our ancestors feared. In more recent years measles, rubella, hepatitis, chicken pox, meningitis, pneumonia, and various influenza vaccines have made life easier yet. We’ve conquered a lot of killers.

So it puzzles me when I hear people who are alive today because their grandparents, parents, and themselves have been saved from these once common killers, now opposing COVID vaccination. I guess some things never change.