Tragic! Often overused, but not this time. And, a word of sincere gratitude

‘Tragic.” I tweeted earlier today that “tragic” is overused.  However, what has happened in Fort McMurray and what is happening now (we pray for a rapid conclusion to the wildfire assault on the community) is indeed a “tragedy.”

The blessing is that to date no lives have been lost.  The tragedy is so many have been disrupted and altered forever.

A fire which assaults your home and destroys not only the structure, but also claims the memories of a lifetime (and longer, including previous generations) is a horrific experience.

The fire we experienced in 2012, left the basic structure of the house standing, but the inside was either gutted or compromised beyond fundamental repair by smoke and water damage.

Even last week, as I was making the final preparations for my return to Ontario, I realised memories I wanted to accompany me were gone. The fire.

In the case of Fort Mac an entire community is traumatized.  The impact of a community threatening-destroying fire is far greater than any individual such occurrence.

What must be added and thankfully is, in most cases, is recognition of the valiant nature of the men and women who fight fires.  The firefighters, professional and volunteer, who put their own lives at risk in order to preserve what is most significant to you and me.

Firefighters belong to that special breed of people who put themselves in the line of greatest danger to selflessly serve those who need what only the men and women who live on the front line of danger, first responders, are able and willing to do.  And that is to rush forward when every instinct associated with self-preservation demands you run the other way.

Forest fire , Incendio Florestal

Forest fire , Incendio Florestal

Thank you and God bless you.

You can go home again

My move from Quebec back to Ontario is complete, except for a few details, like getting set up in my new home, but the physical part is done. I decided to travel light and left much of the contents in the house for the new owners, but even travelling light resulted in a fortress of boxes piled into the centre of the house.  I ‘think’ everything is ‘needed’ category.

Several times I’ve heard “welcome home” from people who identified themselves as long time listeners.  I very much appreciated that.  Now waiting for the “should have stayed where you were.”  It’ll happen, I know.  That’s OK too.

My thanks to Andrew Lawton for again hosting the show this weekend.  I’ll be back next Saturday and Sunday and in the meantime, it’s getting boxes emptied and life here set up.

Miss speaking with you.

just a few remaining days in Quebec

So there I was at the counter of the local coffee shop trying hard to think of the French word for bacon.

It was my first week in Quebec in ’07, after having relocated from the Hamilton/Burlington area of Ontario.

I was doing fine with the “trois crèmes, trois sucres” part.  I’d even figured out the plain bagel I prefer is a “bagel nature.”  It was the bacon which ground me to a halt.

I finally said, “what’s the word in French for bacon?”

Yup! “Bacon.”

You’d almost expect the language coppers to appear from the shadows and write out fines for uttering a verboten Anglo word.

I’m winding down my last days as a resident of the province.  By this time next week I’ll be immersed in satisfying Ontario’s bureaucracy re acquisition of health card, driver’s licence, etc.

The most noticeable change? I won’t be sliding by with my ‘reasonable’ command of the French language any longer.  Life is much more simple when we communicate in the language with which we’re individually most familiar.

That written, last month, when I spent a few days in

Moving van with cardboard box and chairs by house

Moving van with cardboard box and chairs by house

Ontario scouting locations to call home, I did speak French to the staff at an LCGO store.  The confused looks were priceless and particularly after I brilliantly added “oh…that’s right, you speak English here.”

Oh well, it’s the little things I tend to notice, like ordering my “triple-triple” coffee, instead of “trois et trois, avec un bagel nature et fromage leger.”

And, of course, that uniquely French word, “bacon.”

Back to boxes now….