On this Christmas Eve . . .

Let us pause for a moment and count our blessings:

We give thanks for having clean water to drink and a surfeit of food to eat (while many in this world have neither).

We give thanks for our health (while many are sick and dying).

We give thanks for all the rights and privileges we enjoy (while many live under the thumb of oppression and persecution).

We give thanks for living in peace and security (while many live in the midst of war, under threat of genocide, or as refugees).

We give thanks for the joy and love of family and friends (while many feel unloved, lonely and hopeless).

We are truly blessed. Let us work in the coming year to extend these blessings to others.

#ChristmasEve #ChristmasBlessings #Prayer #Thanksgiving #Contemplation

Christmas Baking with Mom

“Do we have everything?”
“Check the recipe and see what we need.”
I make a list: currants, sultanas, dark raisins, almonds (whole and slivered), almond flavouring, glace cherries, mixed peel.
“Do we have enough butter and sugar?”
“I think so, but check.”
Sugar, yes, but we’ll need several more pounds of butter.
“I’ll do the shopping.”
I go to Mom’s home Friday night. We’ll have to start early Saturday morning to get everything baked. We start watching a silly Christmas movie on TV.
“We have to get the fruit soaking.”
Into the kitchen, dump currants, raisins, fruit into a bowl.
“Rum or brandy?”
“How about both?”
We giggle. And pour in the alcohol. Continue reading “Christmas Baking with Mom”


They left her in the bleakest months,
the months of darkness and cold
when earth was dead and rock-hard.

Earth mined out with fire and pick-axe,
leaving a hole like the one in her life,
grudgingly yielding frozen clods
like the one where her heart should be.

Cold promises of heaven and resurrection
spoken on this little hillside,
this little Golgotha,
could not dispel looming loneliness,
days and nights now to be spent alone,
dreams forever unrealized.

Embraces could not console her.
Soft words could not dispel her grief.

Daughter put her arm around her.
She did not move.
She left.
Her body left,
but her heart remained behind in the cold hard ground.

#Bereavement #Grief #Mourning #MargaretGHanna #Poetry

Mitigating the Dirty Thirties – Relief

The rains stopped in 1929.

No one panicked. Dry years were not unknown – there had been the occasional one or two every decade so far. Everyone knew the rains would come again “next year.” Abe certainly believed so, for in the fall of 1929, he purchased a new Rumley combine.

The new Rumley combine, 1929; Abe on the combine, Garnet and Addie standing in front of the tractor

But the rains didn’t come “next year,” or for several years after. Crops struggled. What little grew was quickly devoured by grasshoppers, that is, if it wasn’t blown away first. Abe recorded annual yields between 2 and 9 bushels per acre. In 1937, the year of no rain, it plummeted to 1/3 bushel per acre, a “total crop failure.” Continue reading “Mitigating the Dirty Thirties – Relief”