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The best present is time 

 

My dad always made a big deal about drinking his coffee in a “real cup”. He would never visit Starbucks because they only offered “to go” cups and he was NOT going to bring his own cup if he had to pay for the coffee. I used to think he was just getting to be an old-fashioned curmudgeon. Now that I’m sitting here with my delicious latte in a ceramic mug and homemade banana bread I completely understand what he meant. 

Perhaps part of my understanding comes from not having my dad around to share a coffee anymore. I value highly all those coffee breaks we did get. He left us far too soon; I had so many more conversations in me to have over so many more cups of coffee. 

I went to see “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” at the theatre this past week – it was delightful, full of one-liners uttered by wise old characters who know how absurd the world can be.  The best line of all was “the best present is time”. So true.

So, I’m taking this moment … To remember my wonderful Daddy and to leave you with my thoughts 🙂 Take a moment for yourself soon, even if you feel you have to steal it. It’s the best present you can give yourself and your loved ones. 

And thanks to Giobean Cafe in Kelowna for the wonderful coffee and goodies. My Dad would have loved you guys. 

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It’s not just turkey that spells thanks

It is not only the harvest season but also that time of year when we are reminded to give thanks for all that we have. Most of us will be enjoying a turkey feast this weekend as part of the celebrations. However, with all the news of late that seems to spell doom and gloom I wanted to take time to say that even a can of beans could serve the purpose for gathering folks together to be grateful. In our part of the world we have much to be grateful for, and if you have someone to share your meal with then that is a great start right there.

The family part of Thanksgiving is the most obvious, and although your blood relatives may be far away, often friends can fill the gap and share a special time. I know as a culture we are aware of sharing with those less fortunate as well; Thanksgiving is often a time when people are reminded to give back in any way they know how. There are turkey drives, and donations to the food bank, and all kinds of charities that need the support of the community.

But what about the less formal part of the holiday; what about the essence of being grateful? Can you do that if you are stressed out about work and a busy schedule and having to pay the bills?

Take a lesson from kids and dogs – they are good at making the most of every moment.

We need to make sure we take time for ourselves, to stop and smell the flowers so to speak. That is when it is easiest to be grateful, when you take time to notice the world around you.  Ambition is a powerful thing that can take you places, and responsibilities are important but we need to remember not to let the cart lead the horse. If you collapse from the stress of trying to get that never-ending list of duties completed or from the pressure of trying to live up to expectations, then you will never have a chance to really be grateful and enjoy your life – no matter how much turkey you eat.

In closing I will reprint a poem I included in an earlier column,  made famous when it was discovered on the body of a man who was instrumental in convicting Al Capone. He was gunned down, but no one is sure if the note was something he carried or if it was left by his killers. I leave you to ponder its importance.

The Clock of Life

by Robert H. Smith, copyright 1932, 1982

The clock of life is wound but once,

And no man has the power

To tell just when the hands will stop

At late or early hour.

To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed,

To lose one’s health is more,

To lose one’s soul is such a loss

That no man can restore.

The present only is our own,

So live, love, toil with a will,

Place no faith in “Tomorrow,”

For the Clock may then be still.

May you and yours have a restful and joyous Thanksgiving. Cheers!

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