Wednesday, October 26, 2016

I Should Say Something, Right?

I should say something, right? The question is, “What”? 

A weather report? We had no summer to speak of, only a single weekend without rain. We had a monsoon season, which is good in a way because I’m sure it replenished the ground water supply after a long drought. But the farmers can’t catch a break because we had a very dry, cold spring, then the heavens opened and it didn’t quit raining from late May until freeze-up, when it started snowing, before the crops had time to ripen. Farming in Alberta is a vocation only for a gambler. 

A KIVA report? Our 80th KIVA loan went to Anna and Mary, who form the Gitangu Urumwe Women’s Group in Nakuru West, Kenya.  The lady with the beautiful smile, who is raising her hand in the photo, is Anna. Anna is 51 years old, married, and a mother of seven children. She joined KIVA partner group, Hand in Hand Eastern Africa in August 2014. 

Anna is a farmer, raising maize, potatoes and poultry. Having gone through enterprise training provided by Hand in Hand Eastern Africa, she has been able to commercialize her farming activities. She applied for a KIVA loan to purchase nutritious poultry feed and mineral supplements to maintain a healthy and productive flock. She hopes to obtain a higher income from the sale of eggs and meat in the local market. This will enable her to support her childrens’ education and provide for other family needs.

Road TRIP! Because I haven’t been to Golden in many years, Ian and I took a weekend road trip in September, just so I could reacquaint myself with the place. It was a beautiful drive, on this side of the mountains the trees were at their height for fall colour. Of course I walked off and left my camera sitting on my desk. Once we crossed over into BC and onto the western slopes of the Rockies it was still summer, and everything was still green. 

Golden is a beautiful small town, situated at the confluence of the Kicking Horse and Columbia Rivers. It’s in the Columbia Valley, with the Rockies to the East and the Purcells to the West.  “Downtown”, such as it is, is mostly small shops and restaurants, and is concentrated within a few blocks.  Up on the highway there’s a big box “home supply and lumber” type store, and fast food places, but no other big box stores. 

We spent the time we were there mostly cruising the streets, looking at the neighbourhoods and at the houses listed for sale that we might be interested in. I’d really like to be in a rural area where I can have a big garden, loads of flowers, fruit trees, chickens, a dog and not have city lights drowning out the stars. And I don’t want to smell neighbour’s smoke - especially their marijuana smoke! Canada is about to legalize marijuana. I have nothing against pot, as long as I don’t have to smell it, which I have to do almost daily here. I am allergic to it and it makes me sick. 

Ian really wants to be in town and within walking distance to downtown. He’s very practical. Me, not so much. We’ll see. There has to be something for sale when we are ready to move, or we will have to build. That’s a long process. 

A report on family activities? Also in early September cousins Bob and Pam, from Florida, made a stop in Calgary for lunch and a visit. Bob and I share a 3rd great-grandfather, one Levin Clark born in 1750 of Sussex County, Delaware. Levin, referred to a “Patriot Levin” to distinguish him from the son and generations of grandsons who share his name, served in the Revolutionary War as one of General Daniel Morgan’s Sharpshooters, a small regiment handpicked by Morgan for their marksmanship. He spent the winter of 1776 at Valley Forge with George Washington’s Troupe’s, some of it sick, and in the hospital. After the War he went back home to Delaware to farm and lived to the age of 84.  

Ian and I met Bob and Pam at one of our favourite lunch spots and we spent a couple of hours swapping stories and comparing notes. Being so far from the big family I grew up with is very hard. And though Bob and I had never met before we have corresponded for 35 years, so it was instant recognition. 

Movie Review: Ian and I went to the movies! Amazing! I wanted to see ‘Kubo and The Two Strings’,  which did not disappoint. I feel it’s a movie which will only improve with repeated viewings. It has a lot of Ninja/Samurai-type action for those who like that sort of thing (not me particularly) and some excellent philosophy, while the sheer beauty of the sets and animation kept me attentive through the slow-paced unwinding of the plot. Definitely one to watch again and again. I will be snapping this one up as soon as it is marketed as a DVD.  

Okay, a Buddhist joke just popped into my head. One winter evening the Abbot of a famous temple dressed himself in rags, presented himself at the Emperor’s table, bowed humbly and asked if he might be fed dinner.  The Emperor looked down his nose at the old man and said, “You scallywag! Who do you think you are? Off with you before I have the guards drag you away and cut off your head!”  The Abbot shuffled away hurriedly and disappeared into the darkness.   

The next evening the Abbot dressed himself in his Priestly garments and again presented himself at the Emperor’s table, and again asked if he might have dinner. “By all means your Excellency!” the Emperor replied, motioning him to come closer. “Come sit beside me at the head table!”  

The Abbot, came to the place the Emperor indicated, then proceeded to undress, folding his splendid robes carefully on the chair in front of him as he removed them.

“What, what are you doing?” the Emperor cried in alarm. 

“Oh, I was here in rags yesterday, and you refused to feed me. Today I came in the robes of my office and you are delighted to feed me. So the meal is not for me. It is for the robes.” And he walked from the palace naked.  

I’ll end with coffee. My very good friends A and L in France sent us six one pound packets of very special organic coffees. You cannot imagine the wonderful perfume emanating from these packets, even though they are vacuum packed in aluminum paper.  Organic Medium Roast, Organic Dark Roast, Organic Columbian, Swiss Water DeCaffinated, Organic Ethiopian Limu and Sumatran Takengon. As the Sumatran Takengon is L’s favourite that’s where I’ll start. Oh My Goodness.  Thank you seems so inadequate. Wouldn’t you agree?