Standing up for Canada …
A child stood silently on an overpass in southern Ontario this day waving a Canadian flag. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Canadians stood with her along the 170- kilometre journey as four of Canada’s latest war casualties passed on their way to their final resting place.
They surely speak for us all with their presence — standing respectfully, waving flags and even saluting as the bodies pass. They have done so since 2002 when the first Canadian soldier fell in our overseas war.
It is, we are told, a silent tribute; a tribute from them directly and from all of the rest of us who wish we were there to join them. The people of the Highway of Heroes are heroes themselves in speaking so powerfully for us all. Surely we owe them a debt of thanks for their initiative, their dedication and their devotion to Canada and the men and women who make the ultimate sacrifice.
Our feuding politicians might want to consider becoming part of this highway vigil if they truly mean what they say with their continued utterance that they do what they do, “for the good of the country and the people.” They call it leadership, yet it looks a lot more like ego-ship from here.
As a result of their shenanigans they’ve turned me into a dysfunctional voter. None of them hold any appeal, and that’s putting it mildly, though they could turn me around if I saw one of them actually attending the vigil on the Highway of Heroes.
The calm in the eye of our political storm gives us time to think; to consider peace, order, good government, our Highway of Heroes and our children during this Christmas season. We, and they, could even get philosophical and consider Hal Borland’s thought: “You can’t be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet.”
I turn to our children, whose joy and enthusiasm fill our houses with the spirit of the season. Another example our leaders in their House on the Hill might want to consider following. Besides, there’s often a lot of hidden wisdom in their playful shenanigans.
Good Times, Hard Times, Our Times, Political Times…
A grandmother was telling her granddaughter about her childhood. “In winter we skated outside on a pond; in summer we played on a swing made from a tire hanging from a tree in our front yard; in the fall, we rode our pony, we picked wild raspberries in the woods and your grandfather hunted grouse and ducks … and her granddaughter interrupted her saying, “I sure wish I’d gotten to know you sooner.”
Yes, there were good times in the hard times, but there was a lot of hard too. It was the opposite of today. We had a lot more want than get!
Shirley, who told us about Lynette, added, “Isn’t she a treasure?”
Eight-year-old Lynette was asked, what do most people do on dates?
“Dates,” she replied, “are for having fun and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough!”
Hmmph! Ten-year-old Ricky’s pretty cool too, isn’t he, when asked for his advice on how to make a marriage work.
“Tell your wife she looks pretty, even if she looks like a dump truck.”
Or Johnny’s logic when the teacher asked the class to write a sentence about a public servant.
Johnny wrote, “The fireman came down the ladder pregnant.”
Chagrined, the teacher took him aside and asked, “Don’t you know what pregnant means?”
“Sure,” said Johnny, “it means carrying a child.”
Kelvin followed. He’s the eight-year-old boy who was asked, how would the world be different if people didn’t get married? “There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn’t there?”
Most youngsters, as we older people tend to call them, would likely give George the prize of the week for his letter to God. “Dear God, My father thinks he’s You. Please straighten him out.”
A tip of the hat to the people who stand for us beside the Highway of Heroes, to our future, our children, to the food bank operator who reminded us recently, and her words apply universally to all the other charitable helping hands, “Needs grow as donations slow!”