October 2010 Archives
Man, it sure is quiet and lonely here now without Bryce and Joan. Wonder what I will do today.
Oh, wait, it isn’t quite 8 a.m. and I don’t even think they have left town yet.
Anyway, this may be the final chapter in the Bryce Repair Job blog. The Bostocks are heading home to B.C. this morning. The boy landed in Calgary September 4 seriously broken following an accident and now he has been repaired. All is good.
I think an event like this, which hopefully most of us won’t have to deal with in life, just fractures a family’s sense of well being right to the core. I don’t think I have ever seen four people so anxious to get back to the same, old, boring routine of home life – a place where they can get up in the morning and go to bed at night knowing that all is reasonably right in their world.
It is that closing scene from The Waltons, for those old enough to remember that TV series. A nighttime picture of a quiet farmhouse, and the voices in the dark… “Goodnight Daddy, Goodnight Momma, Good night Mary Ellen, Goodnight John Boy….” And then the light goes out. As corny as it was, that is the peace we all long for in our daily lives – to turn that light out at the end of the day with peace of mind.
So there must be some life lessons from this Bryce Repair story:
- A head is not harder than a rock.
- Best friends are lifesavers in so many ways.
- The health care system does work when you need it.
- Never underestimate the power of prayer and positive thinking.
- When the chips are down, family and friends come out of the woodwork.
- The green paste on a hospital meal tray may not be real food.
- Even a short walk in the sunshine and fresh air is a wonderful thing.
- Ice cream is good – especially a Marble Slab waffle cone covered in candy sprinkles. (But nine bucks, who knew?).
- It is amazing how smart and capable some16-year-olds are, if you just take the time to listen.
- The road home sometimes seems long, but it is fantastic once you get there.
If I have one tiny but important criticism we all can learn from – don’t ever delay in playing your Ace sympathy card. If Bryce had been on the ball that first week of recovery I’m sure he could have whispered through the tubes and bandages, “Mom, Dad, I would really feel a lot better if I had a new truck” and bam, there would have been a new pickup waiting for him in the hospital parking lot. But, no, he dawdled and now I fear that window of opportunity has closed. He’ll be lucky to get a Happy Meal at McDonalds in Canmore on the way home today.
One other lesson that could be added to the list – on those days when you have a kid, or a spouse, or friend who is important in your life, bugging the hell out of you, and you could just throttle them, take a moment to dig down deep somewhere and appreciate the fact they are still there, even if they are driving you nuts.
Lee Hart is a long time blogger and social media guru who can be reached at email@example.com
I have always known that eating works wonders for me, but this may be a case where ice cream is indeed a miracle food.
Just this week I witnessed a young man, who has been in hospital for nearly two months recovering from a serious head injury, eat a $9 ice cream cone (who knew they were that expensive) and a few hours later he is given the medical green light to head home. Medical science and prayer may have played a role in Bryce’s recovery somewhere, but I now believe it was the $9 Marble Slab waffle cone, covered in candy sprinkles that really made the difference.
His pending departure is joyous news, since the boy has been ready to get out of the Foothills Hospital in Calgary for about five of the past seven weeks. Sure he wanted to get back to school and chores, but I think the desire to get home really kicked in shortly after he realized that a green paste in one section of the meal tray, really wasn’t one of the Canada Food Guide groups. We just weren’t sure what that was.
He had some healing to do, rehab and there has been a protracted period trying to get his blood back to a normal consistency. That I.V. pole was about to replace Josh as his best friend. But finally this week the doctors said close enough and disconnected the last stubborn line. There still wasn’t any firm commitment on when he would be discharged, but Thursday, his first day of I.V. pole freedom he ventured to the mall with his mother for a Chinese food supper and capped that off with a $9 Marble Slab waffle cone, covered in candy sprinkles. That’s when the miracle happened.
The next morning, doctors checked all the vitals and said “boy, you are good to go.” It must be the Marble Slab recipe, because his Mom and two other elderly guests at dinner all had Dairy Queen deserts and none of us won the lottery that night. So it appears Marble Slab ice cream really has the power.
There has been a small lottery operating in the boy’s hospital room the last week or so, as visitors put their name on the board with a date they guessed Bryce would finally be released. I know I didn’t win the door prize, which was a gift basket of latex gloves and bandages, but the grand prize winners are Bryce, his parents, sister Kendal and friend Josh who will be able to finally turn the page on this stressful chapter, and get back to normal routine at their southeastern B.C. home.
It could have been a much different story following the September 4 ATV accident, which landed the young man in hospital, with a badly swollen brain, and a ton of uncertainties about if, when and how he would recover. This could have been a 10 month to a year, or longer recovery process.
But next week, October 26, about seven and a half weeks later, he’s scheduled to be heading home. I’ll be glad to see them leave for many reasons, but mostly because I am running low on parking money, and I would really like to save some cash for one of those miraculous $9 Marble Slab waffle cones, covered in candy sprinkles.
Lee Hart is a long time blogger and social media guru who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
I had an email this morning from the head cheese at FBC (Farm Business Communications is the division of our parent company that looks after our family of publications including Grainews, Canadian Cattleman, Country Guide, Alberta Farmer Express and Manitoba Co-operator, New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic – okay, those last three aren’t part of FBC). But, I had an email from the publisher advising me that one of the gals in accounting is retiring after 34 years. I think Barb started there when she was 10. (Here's a photo of her happily working on my expenses)
I am getting to that stage in life when people ask me about retirement (although come to think of it, it has often been suggested for the past 20 years). And I guess it is something I/we think about, but I always come back to the question “retire to do what?”
Quite a few of our friends are retired, and I have a lot of colleagues in the agriculture industry who have “retired”. But, so often what I see are people who retire from one job, to go to a different job, that maybe has a different timetable. One couple was telling us the other day, they are so busy in retirement they haven’t even had time to go golfing. What’s wrong with that picture?
Now, if my goal was to retire so I could get up in the morning when I feel like it, putter around the house, sneak in the odd golf game or fishing trip when I can, and then do the odd bit of work when the mood strikes, well then, I guess I am already there. I have the the Dorothy Syndrome. I click the heals of my Ruby Slippers and repeat to myself “There is no place like where I am”.
To really make a change in my schedule I would have to get up at 5 a.m., get organized, dress so I looked presentable to the public, go to some office by 8 a.m. where there are other people I may or may not like, be reasonably pleasant and sociable all day – that team player crap, actually do some work for several hours, fight traffic to get home in the evening, have supper and go to bed, stressed over all the stuff I didn’t get done today and should do tomorrow. That’s a major change that doesn’t really appeal to me.
I think I am just stuck here in this hellhole of a home office, in my sweat pants, doing this salt-mine of a job, between naps, for the foreseeable future. When I win the lottery this Friday or Saturday then maybe I will reconsider, and do something really easy like farming. I always remember an old joke about the farmer who won $1 million and people asked what he would do with the money and he said, “keep farming until it is all gone.”… I am sure that is a joke, although no doubt some days real farmers have to wonder.
The only fly buzzing around my life plan ointment is when good, solid, pleasant, hard working people like Barb in accounting retire, there comes an ever-increasing risk that some bright, younger, over-achiever might land in that job and start asking stupid questions like, “why are we paying this guy, does he do anything?” Right after my nap, and Oprah, I’ll have to find out who the new person is and start sending him compliments and gifts. That strategy has worked for years.
Lee Hart is a field editor for Grainews in Calgary, Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by email at email@example.com
I had a long and sometimes emotional conversation yesterday with Saskatchewan rancher Ken Habermehl. He recently was cleared of any wrong doing in a hearing regarding the shipment of cattle to a community pasture in May 2009, where it was found upon arrival that seven animals did not have CFIA approved RFID ear tags. (Read more about it in the October 18, 2010 issue of Grainews.)
Habermehl maintains he checked all 200-plus head at his farm south of Outlook before about 10 trailer loads of animals were hauled 67 kms to pasture. And when the CFIA inspector – the Button Cop - found seven animals with no tags Habermehl did everything possible to re-tag those animals. He still ended up with a charge of failing to tag cattle and a potential $500 fine.
It took nearly a year and a half of legwork that culminated in a one-day hearing in June, and then three more months of waiting for a ruling by the tribunal in late September that quashed the charge and fine.
Habermehl and his witnesses, and apparently many other beef producers, maintain the approved RFID tags don’t stay in – they have a poor retention rate -- and livestock owners who do their best to make sure these permanent tags are properly installed in the ear, shouldn’t be penalized if they fall out either through normal animal activity, or in the congestion of transit.
The whole point of this national cattle identification system, as I understand it, is to make it possible to trace cattle through the beef production system so if we do have another Mad Cow (or something else) that threatens world health and security, it can be tracked back to the farm or origin so the remainder of the plagued animals can be quarantined or destroyed. And as we have learned with all the crap that has happened since May 2003, that is a good thing.
Now, life is full of shysters and if there was some evidence the Ken Habermehls or the Cargills or the XL Meats of the world are working to screw the system by shipping illicit untagged cattle or meat either to make a point, or because they are too lazy to do a proper job, then yes, throw the book at them.
At the same time, if you have a hard working stiff who is doing his best and the technology he is “required” to use fails him, why should his hide be nailed to the wall? In this case there were seven head in a holding pen found with no tags, and Habermehl apparently used all his resources to correct the problem as quickly as possible. Even the tribunal report used the term “no harm, no foul”. It is not like we were facing the imminent risk that if these seven cows hadn’t been tagged, that every consumer of Canadian meat in Japan would, three weeks from now, go crazy and croak.
And I can’t even criticize the Button Cop. Probably, just doing his job. There was no point in him putting his ass on the line for an agitated, yet-compliant, rancher, because ultimately turning a blind eye could have landed him unemployed and Habermehl still facing charges. I learned a long time ago, the law distinguishes between what is legal and illegal, it doesn’t determine between right and wrong. But, there is always hope that in the broad administration of justice, that lawmakers will one day find the perfect clause to allow rational thinking people to apply common sense without penalty.
Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary. Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Today, October 4, me and the Little Mrs. are marking five years of wedded bliss. Oh, we’ve been married for 35 years, I’m just counting ones that were happy.
I think that is an old Rodney Dangerfield joke, but I didn’t want my wife to think I had gone all mushy or something.
But, 35 years with the same woman! Man, some of those big numbers roll around in life that make you stop and think ‘where did the time go?’
I had to remind my Mom last night where she was 35 years ago. Her first guess was playing euchre at the Pioneer Hotel in Williamsburg, Ontario, but I had to set her straight. “No Ma, you were in Cranbrook, B.C. You and Dad traveled West to see your baby boy get married.” I think she is still angry because she missed that evening of card play. (Truth is I don’t think my Mom ever was inside the Pioneer Hotel, although she’s dealt many a four-hand euchre game in a lot of places over her 85 years).
But, Ang and I have hung in there for the past 35 years. Not every day has been like a honeymoon – although I've been told I AM pretty special to live with. But overall it has been good. There have been what I expect are the usual ups and downs in a relationship. A few arguments, some give and take, and many issues of compromise on both sides (that’s the daily routine), but underlying it all is a solid foundation of love and respect and desire to make all work out. (And as these recent photos show we're still able to smile after all this time.)
And it’s been a good run. We have two great kids – young adults – who both seem to be well on their way in life; two adorable grand puppies – who bring us double joy every time they visit – joy when they come, joy when they go; a nice home, good health, good jobs and a very nice mortgage, which keeps us both energized to keep working those good jobs.
And for icing on the cake, we’ve also had the same toilet seat for 35 years. A hand painted, wooden seat, with the picture of a cow sleeping on a banana hammock between two trees on the underside of the lid. It was a wedding gift from Angie’s maid of honor, Kim. We’ve lived in about 10 different houses over the years, but the toilet seat has always made the journey. It is part of us. Like one of the family. It makes going to the bathroom fun. I think it also reminds my wife every time she looks at or sits on it, “we really do need a bathroom renovation.”
Enough of the sentimental journey. Thirty-five years down and another day to go. I’m not into long range planning. A guy never knows when some sweet young thing wants to kidnap you and make you her ‘boy toy’.
And now, let’s bow our heads and close with the Ten Commandments of Marriage, sent to me recently by pastor Ken Loschiavo of Winnipeg:
Commandment 1: Marriages are made in heaven. But then again, so is thunder and lightning.
Commandment 2: If you want your wife to listen and pay strict attention to every word you say, talk in your sleep.
Commandment 3: Marriage is grand -- and divorce is at least 500 grand!
Commandment 4: Married life is very frustrating. In the first year of marriage, the man speaks and the woman listens. In the second year, the woman speaks and the man listens. In the third year, they both speak and the neighbours listen.
Commandment 5: When a man opens the door of his car for his wife, you can be sure of one thing: either the car is new or the wife is.
Commandment 6: Marriage is when a man and woman become as one; he trouble starts when they try to decide which one.
Commandment 7: Before marriage, a man will lie awake all night thinking about something you said. After marriage, he will fall asleep before you finish.
Commandment 8: Every man wants a wife who is beautiful, understanding, economical, and a good cook. But the law allows only one wife (unless you are a Muslim or in Utah).
Commandment 9: Marriage and love are purely a matter of chemistry. That is why one treats the other like toxic waste.
Commandment 10: A man is incomplete until he is married. After that, he is finished.
And a short story about hope:
A long married couple came upon a wishing well. The wife leaned over, made a wish and threw in a penny. The husband decided to make a wish too. But he leaned over too much, fell into the well, and drowned. The wife was stunned for a moment, but then smiled, 'It really works!'