Friday, June 28, 2013

Mysteries of Man (and Woman)

A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs.
A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she does not need.

A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.
A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.

A successful man is one who makes more money that his wife can spend.
A successful woman is one who can find such a man.

To be happy with a man, you must understand him a lot and love him a little.
To be happy with a woman, you must love her a lot and not try to understand
her at all.

Married men live longer than single men, but married men are a lot more willing
to die. Any married man should forget his mistakes; there's no use in two people
remembering the same thing.

Men wake up as good-looking as they went to bed.
Women somehow deteriorate during the night.

A woman marries a man expecting he will change ... but he doesn't.
A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change ... and she does.

A woman has the last word in any argument.
Anything a man says after that, is the beginning of a new argument.

There are two times when a man doesn't understand a woman ...
before marriage and after marriage.

Barbecue Protocol

We are about to enter the BBQ season. Therefore it is important to refresh your memory etiquette of this sublime outdoor cooking activity. When a man volunteers to do the BBQ, the following chain of events are put into motion:

The woman buys the food.
The woman makes the salad, prepares the vegetables and makes the dessert.
The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces, then takes it to the man who is lounging beside the grill ~ beer in hand.
The woman remains outside the compulsory three meter exclusion zone where the exuberance of testosterone and other manly bonding activities can take place without the interference of the woman.
The man places the meat on the grill...then more routine he exhibits!
The woman goes inside to organize the plates and cutlery.
The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is looking great. He thanks her and asks if she
will bring another beer while he flips the meat.
The man takes the meat off the grill and hands it to the woman...then more routine.
The woman prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins, sauces and bring them to the table.
After eating, the woman clears the table and does all the dishes.
EVERYONE PRAISES the MAN and THANKS HIM for his cooking efforts.

The man asks the woman how she enjoyed “her night off”.
.. and upon seeing her annoyed reaction,
concludes that there's just no pleasing some women!

(Graciously I thank Tom for the foregoing experience)
Here is a poem written by an African Shakespeare:

                                                Dear White Fella:
                                                Couple things u should know ~
                                                When i born, i black
                                                when i grew up, i black
                                                when i go in sun, I black
                                                when i cold, i black
                                                when i scared, i black
                                                when i sick, i black
                                                & when i die, i black

                                                u white fella
                                               When u born, u pink
                                                when u grow up, u white
                                                when u go in sun, u red
                                                when u cold, u blue
                                                when u scared, u yellow
                                                when u sick, u green
                                                & when u die, u grey
                                                & you have the cheek to call me “coloured”!

Merle Baird-Kerr . . . November 23, 2011
Comments welcome ...scroll down (may enter as “anonymous”)
or e-mail ...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fate and Destiny

FATE:  the inescapable future, destiny.
DESTINY:  the seeming inevitable course of events.

Wondrous happenings have occurred in our lives: often we have been in the right place at the right time to meet someone very take advantage of a rare opportunity leading to success in selecting the courses at college/university leading to a vocation exemplifying our inborn and learned skills.

However, Life is not always Happiness, Peace and Success.  Consider recent headlines in current events:  Terror in Boston...Bombing Suspect Conscious...Via Rail Terror Plot Suspects in Court.

Recent writings have told you that my son is on assignment, working as a Technical Analyst in New York City.  A few weeks ago I published some impressions he had of this great city.  The following I received from him on Monday, April 1, 2013 and with his permission, I forward his observations.

Today I Will Visit the 9/11 Memorial

As you know, they have a national memorial on the original site of the twin towers.  The actual footprints of the original towers remain and are transformed into a permanent memorial for the 3,000 plus victims, including those aboard the planes themselves.

While admission itself is free, it is a construction site and they can't have it overwhelmed with visitors.  So limited numbers are given out as passes at half-hour intervals.  (And of course, they charge you money for this free pass.)

Nevertheless, I'm not likely to get a better, more convenient opportunity to see the memorial up close and in-person, so I should go while I have the chance.  I ordered a pass for 5:30 today.  And I shall make the arduous two-minute walk over to the site after work on this fine, beautiful day. I do not have a camera with me, but there's nothing in particular I want to photograph;  it is very easy and cheap to visit again.  It has become the “must-see” on a visit to New York City.

(As a side-note, Anthony Perkins' wife was on AA flight 11 and perished on 9/11.  Perkins himself died from AIDS several years ago.)

The entrance is on the south side.  I left my stuff at the office and just walked over, since you can't even carry a pocket knife in there.  They check your pass in three places and you  have to take off  your coat to put that and any bag/purse through the airport style X-ray conveyer and then walk through a detector doorway.

Walking around the site from outside, it seems hard to believe the park-like setting is actually in there.  They've taken the actual footprints of the original towers and turned them into gigantic fountains.  Name plates are around the top, under which is a shallow pool of water around the perimeter.  It plunges twenty-six feet into the pool.  Then in the center of the pool there is another square plunge, for which you cannot see the bottom.

There was a pear tree on the original site, which survived the disaster, albeit damaged.  The NYC Dept.  of Parks “rescued” this poor little tree and nursed it back to health in another location; and in 2010, transplanted it back at the memorial site, where it lives today.  This tree they call...the Survivor Tree.”

The names on the plates around the perimeter are categorized as to where they died, such as Flight 11 or Flight 175 or Flight 93 or Pentagon or World Trade Center as well as several local emergency squads.  While I did not know any of the names, it gets a little emotional when you think about what they represent.

Some years ago, I heard a certain visiting Pastor speak at a church; he spoke of a time he was flying for a meeting at a personally inconvenient time.  He introduced himself to the lady he was seated next to, who introduced herself as a head stewardess, who was only travelling...and not working.  She told a remarkable story that some years later, her daughter had called and would be in town to see her on a certain Tuesday.  But she was booked to fly that day.  So she asked some others who were free if they could fly that day instead.  None were available, until one girl named Cece volunteered.  So she happily changed the schedule and Cece worked Flight 175 in her place. 

Imagine how this lady felt when that flight crashed into the south tower!  “That was my flight,” she exclaimed to the Pastor.  “I should have been on that flight. Some people believe in 'fate', but I don't anymore.  Cece was a Christian and had invited me to her church a few times, but I never went.  She didn't know the plane was going to crash.  I've been tormented with this since 9/11.  I feel like God took one of his own to die in my place, so that I could have a second chance!  That has been so hard for me to live with.” It's not every day that a Pastor hears a story like that.

I had seen Cece's name on the list as a flight attendant, but I couldn't remember the flight when I was there to actually find her name on the memorial.  That was the only name I really knew about.

William Jennings Bryan ~ 41st United States Secretary of State spoke
“Destiny is not a matter of change.  It is a matter of choice.
It is not a thing to be waited for. It is a thing to be achieved.”

Crafted by Merle Baird-Kerr...April 25, 2013
To comment...scroll down...may sign in as “anonymous”

Sunday, June 23, 2013

"Behind Walls"

Cities Behind  Walls

For thousands of years, humans have been defending their cities by building large walls around them. Over time, the cities spill over the walls ~ but sometimes they remain “hemmed in”!  Research shows there are hundreds and hundreds of these throughout our domain where walls are still evident today ~
many built in ancient times.

12 Impressive Walled Cities in the World

YORK, England:  Founded by the Romans, taken over by the Anglos, captured by
the Vikings and finally incorporated by the Kingdom of England in 954.

HARAR is ancient walled city in eastern Ethiopia.  It is still intact, becoming the symbol of the city.

TAROUDANT has the best preserved walls in Morocco and often called “Grandmother of Marrakech”.

TOLEDO, Spain:  An often overlooked gem, it was capital of the Spanish Empire until mid 1500's.

PINGYAO, China is the best preserved walled city in the world.  
 It has 72 watch towers and 6 majestic gates in which to enter.

OBIDOS, Portugal: The castle and walls of the village were remodelled in the 18th century.

XIAN, China has a history of more than 3100 years.

ITCHAN  KALA, Uzbekistan, built of sun dried brick walls has 4 gates each side of the fortress.

AVILA, Spain...a medieval city built on the flat summit of a rocky hill.

CARCASSONNE, France is the largest walled city in Europe.

JERUSALEM, Israel is a holy city to 3 religions ! Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

DUBROVNIK, Croatia is nicknamed “Pearl of the Adriatic.”

Other Significant Walls

The Walls of Jericho:  (according to the Biblical narrative)
The first battle of the Israelites during the conquest of Canaan was the “felling of the city's walls” after Joshua's army marched around the city blowing their trumpets.(158 Bible verses can be referenced.)

The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made up of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood and other materials ~ across the historical northern borders to protect the Chinese empire against intrusion by various warlike peoples or forces.  It measures approximately 5,500 miles

The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the East German government  in August 1961 to prevent its citizens from fleeing to the West.  For 28 years, the Berlin Wall was the symbolic boundary between Democracy and Communism during the Cold War.

Quebec City, Canada:  Its “Old City” ramparts are the only fortified city walls in the Americas, north of Mexico that still exist.  This city, along the St. Lawrence River, is a tourist attraction to view both its quaintness of the old…and the modern of its expanded population.

Animals Behind Walls

Mice...are often heard scratching in walls and ceilings of private homes.
Opossums, Raccoons and Squirrels frequently invade attics for nesting.
Roof Rats are common in Florida.
Snakes often winter below ground near dwelling basement walls, as told me by a Burlington friend who with fright told me that a couple had slipped through a window into a cosy warm room. WOW!

Humans have an insatiable fascination with wild animals.  Every year, millions of people travel safaris and visit zoo enclosures to see them.  Nearby in Rockton is The African Lion Safari a truly magnificent place for families to view tall giraffes, kingly lions, playful monkeys, in spacious almost-natural-habitats. Also consider the many people who cage canaries, parakeets, parrots…even gerbils.

People Live “Behind Various Types of Walls”

In some countries, the entire property is high-fenced or surrounded by walls. Overnight, even their cars are brought within the enclosure.  When visiting family in Santiago, Chile a few years ago,  this was “the norm.”  Walls were gardened with ivies, with grape vines and climbing flowers.  Each home seemed protected…as a castle.  The same was true, also in Buenos Aires. Here at home, residences are often now found within “gated communities” or high-rise condominiums.

Sad it is when men, women and often teens are imprisoned or confined  to guarded lifestyles and those who are relegated to spend the remainder of their lives in nursing home facilities or even mental institutions. Behind these walls, their lives are dictated to, are guarded 24 hours daily and given limited opportunities to fill in the gaps where once they had great interest.

Behind the “walls of a home”, how often it is when a family appears to have a great lifestyle!  Parents come and go perhaps with attractive vocations…children have their school activities and recreational interests…a couple cars in the driveway and maybe a boat…and it appears to the neighbours that “this family has it all.”  Yet, behind closed doors,  verbal or emotional abuse, even physical abuse may exist.

During my job days of teaching and sales, I’ve met a few individuals who “hide behind their secrets.”   They live a Life of Pretense!  We really…don’t know them! 
                          They fear showing their true identity.
                          They will falsify facts to make themselves feel important.
                          They may have fallen “into a dark valley” due to past circumstances.
                          They long to have achieved  much more in life.
                          They may feel insecure and lacking confidence.
                          They may feel threatened by an impending illness.
                          They may feel rejected by friends and society.
Consequently, they put up fences and “build walls around themselves.” Therefore, others cannot invade or penetrate their secrets. Of course, one can always do as Shirley Valentine did in movie of the same name ~ Talk to the Wall!

Yet, Walls Can Be Broken Down!
 Primarily, one must recognize the “need for help!”

                                          Seek someone in whom you can confide.
                                          Step “outside the box” and “go beyond  your borders.”
                                          Develop a “positive attitude.”
                                          Adopt new policies to live by.
                                          Learn new skills through knowledge and experience.
                                          Attend group meetings and create new friendships.
                                          Become involved in projects.
                                          Go beyond the “normal call of duty!”
                                          Become a Better You…Happiness will reign!

                         Joseph Campbell wrote:  Follow your bliss ~ and the Universe 
                               will open doors for you, where  there were only walls.
Words of Wisdom

I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
(Maya Angelou)

It’s not the mistakes that matter…it’s how you recover from them.
(from Barbara Freethy’s novel ~ Garden of Secrets)

Merle Baird-Kerr…crafted May 5, 2013
Comments always welcome…scroll down…may sign in as “anonymous”
or e-mail…

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Of Gods and Grandfathers

A local parent and grandfather writes:

The only part of that whole story of the existence of God, the all-seeing, all-known Heavenly Father, that resonates with truth for me is that , it seems, Jesus died, childless, upon a cross.  That suggests that God was never a grandfather and that I can believe.

If God were a grandfather, no child in this world would go to bed hungry or cold. No child would awaken to the prospect of starvation or disease in a refugee camp, slum or unsanitary hovel.  Grandfathers don't let that happen to grandchildren; not to their own nor to others, anywhere.  If God were a grandfather, neither would he.

If God were a grandfather, no child would be bullied at school because of his weight, appearance, personality, cultural or ethnic  background, mannerisms or sexual orientation.  Grandparents can be brought to weeping ~ just thinking of such cruelties.  God would weep, too ~ if he were a grandfather.

If God were a grandfather, every child's game would end in a hard-fought draw in which every young player gave their best, played well and scored the winning goal.  No child would ever walk away from a game choking back those sad, stalwart tears  of  disappointment  that being on the losing side brings.
Grandparents are rendered bereft and heartbroken by that look.  Given the power of deity, grandfathers would banish it from the earth.

If God were a grandfather, the prayers and pleas of his grandchildren for victory or favour over another in any sporting or competitive endeavour would go unanswered, unrewarded and perhaps even earn a stern grand-fatherly finger-wag.  Grandfatherly finger-wagging is one of the more effective tools with selfish or disobedient grandchildren.

If God were a grandfather, he might try it with some football, soccer and basketball superstars who pray and beseech  so arrogantly and so selfishly in search of heavenly indulgence.  Of course, if God were a grandparent, he would not let his grandchildren play professional hockey, ever.

If God were a grandfather, all wars would end immediately.  Every grand-child would go home safe and nobody's grandchildren would be made to kill each other ever again.  Every soldier who has died in every war, on every side, was somebody's grandchild. Any grandparent will tell you that one more senseless death of one more grandchild will be one too many. Grandparents mourn and understand the torment of every other grandparent who has suffered that loss.  God, as a grandparent would not allow that  to happen.

If God were a grandfather, child soldiers would not exist, their captors and tormenters banished to a new and more awful level of hell.  Perhaps the existence of all soldiers might be reconsidered by a grandfatherly God.

Girls and young women would go to school freely and happily.  Grandfathers would drive the school bus, keeping them safe  from acid attacks, beatings and the brutal repression of their right to knowledge and education; their right to  childhood.  The perpetrators of such callous brutality?  Press-ganged and shipped to that same level of hell. Grandfathers would happily drive that bus too!

If God were a grandfather, our world might look entirely different from the world we see around us.  When I look about me at a world filled with...hunger, cruelty, hatred, vanity, cheating, pain, unnecessary suffering and death...too often and sadly, in the name of God the Father and his Son,I am forced to conclude that:  perhaps we simply have too many gods  and not enough grandfathers.

A Father’s Wish
(from one of my ardent followers)

Recently, I overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together at the airport. The departure was announced.  Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the father said, “I love you and I wish you enough.” The daughter replied, “Dad, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed.  I wish you enough too, Dad!”  They kissed and the daughter left.

The father walked over to the window where I was seated.  Standing there I could see he wanted and needed to cry.  I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, “Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?”

“Yes, I have,” I replied.  “Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?”

“I am old and she lives so far away.  I have challenges ahead and the reality is ~ the next trip back will be for my funeral,” he said.

“When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, ‘I wish you enough’…may I ask what that means?”

He began to smile.  “That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations.  My parents would say it to everyone.”  He paused a moment  and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail and  he smiled even more.  “When we said, ‘I wish you enough,’ we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them.”  Then turning toward me, he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory:
     I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright, no matter how gray the day.
     I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.
     I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.
     I wish you enough pain so even the smallest  of life's joys may appear bigger.
     I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
     I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
     I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.
He then began to cry and walked away.

They say it takes a minute to find a special person…an hour to appreciate them
…a day to love them;  but then, an entire life to forget them.

TAKE TIME TO LIVE! Live simply…love generously…care deeply…speak kindly…enjoy your latte!
Be busy doing what you love to do. To all my friends and loved ones…I WISH YOU ENOUGH!

“Any man can be a Father.
It takes someone special to be a Dad”

Crafted by Merle Baird-Kerr…May 18, 2013
Comments appreciated…scroll down…may sign in as “anonymous”
or e-mail…

Monday, June 10, 2013

"Fountain of Youth" (Part II)

The names contained herein have been changed to protect identities;
I have renamed them after Explorers and Adventurers.

At the Dance Studio, I met George, a quiet gentleman from Chile.  He had graduated from McMaster University...presently working at Stelco as a Research Chemist (specializing in metallurgical properties).  He was learning Fox Trot and Waltz...and there I was, with Latin American rhythms and dance step routines.  We developed a friendly relationship and met many times over a 2-year span.  I believed at that time, (although I wasn’t “infatuated” with him, nor was I “madly in love with him”), that proven friendship was the stepping stone to a solid relationship and successful marriage.  Within 2 years, we married and had two children.  Over the years our compatibility waned and after 16 years, we amicably separated...and later divorced.  What is Love?  Why did I not experience long-lasting Joy of Marriage?  The answers are a Mystery!

After a 5-year lay-off to be home with my children until both were in school, returning to an income now  became a necessity.  Soon I met Ferdinand, who was legally separated from his wife.  We were “therapists” for each other.  He became the excitement in my life...whether lunch or dinner or the game of  tennis.  His attention and ardour impressed me.  We enjoyed a few mini-vacations in the Caribbean.  This was wonderful while it lasted...until I discovered that he was living with a woman in Mississauga.  I was devastated!  He left me, realizing I knew about his “double life”...or was it a triple?

When my son was 12, Shirley, a long-time-friend, and I drove to Gray Rocks in the Laurentians, north of weeks for the three of us.  In my class was Simon (of Lebonese descent), a mechanical engineer from Pennsylvania.  He noticed that I fell several times on that first day and was quite concerned.  I explained that due to the frigid temperatures,  my goggles were continually fogging, which affected my visibility.  He invited me to join him at the apres-ski bar for a glass of refreshing that was...when you have leisure time to unwind, relax and  listen to a local band.  Next morning he met me at the ski shop, and to my amazement, offered me a pair of new ski goggles!  I was so grateful and impressed and asked him, “Why?”  His response, “So that every time you wear them, you'll think of me!”   How Romantic!  What a Dear Man!  We shared our 2-sessions daily with the Instructor...then free-skied,  following which we enjoyed the apres-ski lounge.  On Friday, our class was taken to Mont Tremblant for a fabulous ski day.  What an experience schussing down these magnificent mountain slopes! A few of us made plans to return to Tremblant over the long Easter weekend.  My Life once again, became Alive! 

Simon telephoned once or twice a week.  He invited me to join him for a ski-week at Heavenly in California near Lake Tahoe.  Sadly, I declined...I had two children “to family” who needed a parent at home.  When summer arrived, I spent two wonderful weekends with him in the Poconos.  This was “the man of my dreams”...who adored me, cared for me and whom I respected in the highest degree!  For the first time, I felt that I was truly in love.  Discussing my teenage son and younger daughter, we realized our life together would be complicated.  I could not take them out of Canada away from their father.  To me it was significant they continue to spend time together as they mature to adulthood.

Decision release myself from Simon and he from me was most difficult. Without him, I was weak, remorseful, unhappy, in tears!  How could I move forward without him?  He assured me, “You have greater strength than you realize!”  It was a sad day when we parted ...never to see each other again.  Flying home, I asked, “Why was I given this opportunity to meet such a wonderful whom I gave my heart and soul...then to see it crumble away?  As I flew into Toronto, the sun was setting beyond the horizon ~ I convinced myself that I must move on...the Sun will Rise Another Day!

Several years later, one of  my inquiring Real Estate clients  was Thor, continually seeking information about this property, that property...would view a few with me...nothing seemed to satisfy  him.  Finally he stated that he had no intention of buying soon...just waiting for some “fantastic deal”.  He enjoyed life since retirement from his business ventures.  He frequented the gym, he travelled to Palm Springs in California, to New Mexico for an annual Pow-Wows and wherever his fancy took him.  One Sunday afternoon, he rode his Harley Davidson motorcycle to my home.  My family was amazed!  Jimmy, my nephew, visiting us from Chile was impressed with this “bike”  since he rode a smaller one at home for his transportation to and from work. Everyone was thrilled to have a ride on Thor’s bike!  He was a “fun person”!  After spending a few years working and raising my children, he with his 1380 cc bike  gave me a “new lease on life” with a new-found sense of freedom.  We spent many road-days together.  Romantically, I had no interest in him...his company was enjoyable.  There is a unique “lure of motorcycling” ...the air, the roar of the engine, the acknowledgement of other bikers on the road ...the dress of leather jackets, boots, helmet and chaps. One such excursion was to locate a private island with a turn-of-the-century castle in the St. Lawrence River. Persistence paid off in contacting the Florida owners.  For a couple years I had a “private listing” on Jorstadt Castle…resulting in several showings and a couple offers on it! (Today it is known as “Singer Castle” and can be seen on Internet.)  My friendship with Thor ended when I became aware he had other women in his life…for various reasons.

Today, as I sit at my computer ~ when the bright sunlight streams through my window, to keep the rays from blinding my eyes,  I wear a royal blue trimmed pink peaked cap…Harley Honey…embroidered script written and showing four butterflies each side of the title.  There’s symbolic message here!

One Sunday evening, attending a dance in Milton with Jill, I met Leif…a wonderful dancer. Together we enjoyed dinners, the Big Bands who often performed at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto…the enormous dance floors, the dress-up occasions for gowns and tuxedos.  He was insistent upon more than mere interest.  He adored me and wanted to live with me, marry me…however I had no emotional attachment to him.  He was difficult to rid from my life…almost to the point of stalking…even (as a locksmith) changing the locks on my doors to provide himself with a key.  Friendship Ended…Forever!

One of my friends introduced me to Vasco, a local businessman who was semi-retired.  We met and  dined together a few times at local restaurants.  I learned very quickly that this man, although he wanted a lady in his life, was still devoted 95% to his business, operated by his son.  He had  nothing better to do with his time!  He proved to be unreliable, had no hobby or interests except for his daily bottle of red wine.  To me…this was a dead issue…and Bye, Bye!

* * * * * *
In mid 2006, I retired from business because of chronic degenerative osteo-arthritis and moved to a one-bedroom apartment…the next phase of my life! I had abandoned sports due to lack of physical ability. My life now needed adjustments.. I had a small design company…Mardadi Designs…creating accessory fashions for women, children and men.  I’ve enjoyed movies, staged theatrical productions, more extensive reading, lunching with friends, often playing duplicate bridge weekly at local clubs.

My son has for many years been working as an EDI Engineer/Consultant hired by Agencies for contract work in a few American cities…although at this writing, he’s currently in Calgary, Alberta. In 2008, he was working in Connecticut.  He drove home every Friday evening (8 ½ hours one way) to be home with his family, returning each Sunday evening). Frequently, I’ve visited him in these various locations.  In May he invited me to spend a week with him in this New England state.  Two later times (August and December) I again returned. The Director of the ACBL club there  arranged partners for the Monday and Friday games.  In December when the pre- arranged partner was unable to attend, he brought me Samuel…a wonderful gentleman,  an avid bridge player and a WWII Veteran*** who was at Omaha Beach on D-day!  With him on these two days, I experienced an unusual connection (and unknown to me, it was mutual).  His birthday had been on Thursday…so following the Friday game, we shook hands…I kissed him on his cheek with double wishes for his “Happy Birthday Yesterday and our Happy Bridge Today!”  He was amazed!  The  next week he contacted me with our game results and an invitation to return again.  Through e-mails we kept contact.  He requested that my son install Bridge Base Online (BBO) whereby we could together play bridge.  This was a new venture…about which I knew nothing about it!  With my son’s expertise and Samuel’s telephone directions on how to “navigate this system”, gradually I became adept and after much endeavour began to “play like a pro”!  He and I have exchanged Bridge conventions which have enhanced our game. Our “online opponents” can be from anywhere…China, Germany, Iceland, Chile, etc.  BBO has the ability for us to create “Friends” around the world. When seen “online”, we chat briefly…may even play Bridge as partners…e.g. Poland, Oregon, England, Ohio, France.  I  have a few with whom I regularly play…yet my best and most knowledgeable Partner is Samuel… playing 3 or 4 times weekly.

*** His blog site…Oldest Military Bloggerkey in to access his wartime experiences.
A few times yearly we visit together and play at local Bridge Clubs. We inspire each other…shared much conversation…met his family and friends...travelled to Tennessee…he’s returned to my home turf that he calls “Canada” and absolutely loves our “Escarpment Country”. In my life, he has been a beacon…as I have been his. Perhaps the Universe had destined us to meet.  My son calls our unique meeting, Divine Intervention (or Providence). We both feel younger as if we, together, had visited the:

 Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine, Florida.

I read that Ponce de Leon landed there in 1513. Today the Fountain of Youth is a National Park…the natural spring still bubbles away. It is legendary, that it restores the youth of anyone who drinks of these waters. 
                                                      May our attitude be ever youthful.
May we eternally drink from these waters.

Can you match the foregoing names with the following Explorer surnames?
...Heyerdahl...da Champlain

Four other Men in my Life are significant: Andrew,** my Son who has long time been My Trusted Friend, two grandsons and Jimmie (nephew) who lives in California. Jimmie and his wife, Marcela, moved  to US from Chile a few years ago. By e-mail, Jimmie and I regularly communicate. While my son was working in Silicon Valley, opportunity knocked. The four of us met…spending Labour Day weekend together…touring Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe and Squaw Valley, the wine valleys of  Napa  and Sonoma…truly  unforgettable experiences! 

**Birth of the Blog

In 2011, while working in Calgary, Andrew chatted with me about “this blog” he, (along with a couple personal friends), was urging me to sort of a biography of a few articles and prose I had often written…very applicable to people’s daily lives.  The conversation went something like this:
“Are you ready yet?” he asked.   “No,” I hesitatingly replied.
“Do you have a name or title for your writings?”   “Yes, I believe I’ll call it…Kaleidoscope of Life.”
“Let’s do it now…I have the time.  What’s your Introduction?”   “I haven’t solidified my ideas, yet.”
“Just write a description of your blog’s intent…you can alter it later.”

Then, with our installed Team Viewer program, he directed me to select a  background scene and then proceeded to establish…Merle’s Kaleidoscope of Life. Observed onscreen, I exclaimed, “WOW…it looks beautiful!” A few nights later, he showed me how to amend my Introduction.  Then from my Document File  (thanks to Pary for assisting me to create this), I selected one of my written articles…it may have been “Tapestry of Life.”  He patiently walked me through the process to “post it” on my blog (step by step, by step, by step)... noting  chronologically on paper as my guide for the next  “posting.”

To Andrew, I am eternally grateful!  Without his assistance, this probably would not have transpired.  Today…my blog is Alive!  Since the initial conversation to begin this journey, I’ve published over 300.

Words of Wisdom

Leave the beaten track behind occasionally and dive into the woods.
Every time you do, you will be certain to find something
you’ve never seen or experienced before.
(Alexander Graham Bell)

Merle Baird-Kerr…originally written December 4, 2010
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Friday, June 7, 2013

"Fountain of Youth" (Part I)

A Moment's Decision Will Affect Our Lives...
to return to the way things used to be...or
to chance something new and possibly quite wonderful!

One may say, “Nothing in Life is Perfect.”  Be assured, “Nothing is Permanently Perfect.”  There are Perfect Moments…and the will to change that, will bring more such moments. Life has complications and maybe impossibilities that try to beset us.  It is a rich discovery …to find that Moment to Live.

* * * * * * * *

A Potential Mother, first seeks freedom and independence...always dreaming of love, a husband, home and family. Marriage, to a woman, is a step to achieve these goals...providing a Life of Happiness and Great Personal Fulfillment!

Men seek in Women:  confidence, intelligence, unmaterialistic, spontaneity, playfulness, sensuality, honesty, independence, supportive. Men explore all these qualities.

Each looks for “the perfect match.”  For generations,  woman was dependent upon man finding her…by chance meeting...arranged marriage…church or neighbourhood friend.  Women today may independently search Mating Groups on Internet, they frequent bars, gyms and sports where men can be found, attend Singles’ Dances.  Others are more subtle…relying on opportunities for their destiny.

From my viewpoint point and reflecting on  memories of several attentions over many years, I consider some decisions wise and some irrational.  We feel that we are intelligent at any stage...the 20's, 30's 40's then we question the disappointments and failures.  The male, I am confident, has experienced  same.

Please understand: As I introduce these “men in my life”, mostly, they were acquaintances, becoming friends for a period of time.  Only my husband lived with me.

In Grade 8, Elmer and his twin brother moved to our farm village.  He was tall, lithe, athletic and intelligent.  We found ourselves competing for high marks.  Throughout High School, we were in the same classes...always sitting near the other and secretly passing notes.  I dreamed of possibly “a life together some day”.  To me it was a great omen that the letters of Elmer and Merle were the same. Although he attended University of Toronto, I rarely saw him. My mother informed me that Elmer then did post-graduate work in London, England and graduated from Carlton University in Ottawa as a Civil Engineer.  He retired as a Professor from University of Waterloo a few years ago.

At the tender age of 18, I suddenly discovered the first emotional stir for the opposite sex.  A church acquaintance of my parents drove to our home with a handsome man (dark hair and of swarthy build) to discuss some business with my father. Glancing at Lawrence,  my teen age body said, “WOW”!  I longed to see more of him...which didn't meet my father's approval.

Contrary to common belief, it is the Brain, not the Heart,
that is responsible for all emotions.  The Brain breathes...
beauty into art... drama into the crashing waves along a rocky shore…
serenity into a dramatic sunset…anger into uncalled for injustice…
danger into a possible vehicle collision.

Names have been changed to protect identities in the following;
I have renamed them after Explorers and Adventurers.

While at College in  Toronto, Jacques invited me to an International Baseball League game...the Maple Leafs at Maple Leaf Stadium.  I was so flattered, yet felt somewhat uncomfortable, having not yet experienced the etiquette and good manners of a gentleman who buys the tickets, provides a blanket to cushion the hard seats, purchases hot dogs and pop from the selling vendors, who takes my hand as we navigate the many stadium steps. I felt truly honoured...yet unable to garner my inner feelings.  How do I handle this?  We dated a few times...remaining friends. (The Maple Leafs ~ now  Toronto Blue Jays.)

Sebastian was 25 and I was 19.  Handsome with curly auburn hair, he was anxious to marry and was  most disappointed when I rejected his proposal.  I had a Life ahead  to to qualify for  job positions...but mostly to “find myself”.  Marriage, as exemplified by my parents, was nothing I was in any rush to experience.

As happens, with most females, I admired Al, Bill and Marco in College.  Only Marco showed any interest who wanted more than I was prepared to give...and deterred me by his sexual advances.

Returning home to Brantford for a summer job, Abel, who lived in my neighbourhood, invited me to attend the September Commencement Exercises.  He had already spent one year at London’s Western University..  The evening was conversationally pleasant; distances prevented any further development of our friendship.  He  graduated with a Business Administration degree; job awaiting him at Eaton's.

I was employed by the Hamilton-Wentworth Board of Education as a teacher, spending about 15 years with students varying from Grades 3 to 8..  Specialty Supervisors visited our classrooms a few  times yearly observing our students' progress...then offering suggestions for improvement. Roald, a Physical Education Supervisor, paid special attention to me, flirting and hinting at out-of-school-meetings (he was married).  This was unacceptable to me!.  My perception of the situation said, “I'd be thrilled to spend some time with this handsome man,” yet common sense ruled! “I'll not be responsible for the breakup of any man's marriage.”

Then there was Henry, a Grade 8 teacher in the same school, who at noon hour one day, suddenly zipped open his fly and flashed his enlarged swollen-looking penis!  Seeing me shocked, he stated, “You'll love this!  When can we experiment?”  Blatantly I replied, “Never!”   It was total revulsion!

With a yearly income, I had the freedom to explore the games of golf, tennis, renew my badminton interest from High School and learn to ski.  With a few lessons, I became exhilarated with this winter sport.  On a weekly packed ski bus travelling 2 ½ hours north to Collingwood or Holiday Valley, south of Buffalo, I met Christopher...tall, dark and handsome (the ideal man for any woman's eyes)...and an avid skier.  We dated a few times when ski season ended.  In his apartment, one Sunday, waiting for other guests to arrive, I was “in awe” of him...yet reticent to show any personal emotions.  He never chased me...always a gentleman.  I felt relieved, yet disappointed that nothing romantically developed between us.  He was Jewish, which I respected.  My desire was to spend more time together. Those were the days when “women did not telephone men.” I would often stay in Saturdays and Sundays, to await his call between ski seasons.  None ever came.

Monday evenings I played badminton at Westdale Collegiate.  There I met James.  We frequently played  Doubles and participated in a few local tournaments.  He captained  an Oakville soccer team.  We dated several times...all enjoyable.  I didn’t have these fluttery flashes, but he was a ‘fun guy’.  Near the end of his soccer season, it was evident his team would win the Championship.  He invited me to attend with him the Celebratory Dinner/Dance and presentation of trophy.  I DID NOT DANCE! And therefore, I would not embarrass him by going...and too embarrassed to tell him.  I kept giving him excuses, despite my desire to attend.. After 3 askings, he gave up.  He never knew my reasons!  Upon losing him, I was extremely disappointed!  Defeated...I must LEARN TO DANCE!

The lessons with a professional instructor were enjoyable, inspiring, rewarding.  Music I understood and quickly realizing that dancing was an outlet to express myself with choreographed steps to the rhythm and with defined body movements.  The Latin beat from the Caribbean came alive on the dance floor. Now confident, I attended Saturday night dances in downtown Hamilton.  In those days, it was safe to, not only go alone, also to accept a ride home from someone you met. Francis was German, a good dancer...I felt very much at ease with him.  Our friendship was mutual, instilling a warm comfort level.  One Saturday evening, he offered to drive me home.  Approaching his new Ford, I commented, “Francis, I love  your car,” to which he responded, “I want you to love Me!”  Impressed, I smiled.

Through a Varsity group, I met Edmund, a High School Language Teacher.  Fair of skin and red haired, he was very friendly…a fine gentleman.  We were great friends for 2 or 3 years.  He left his teaching position to attend Trinity College (University of Toronto) to gain a divinity doctorate degree en route to becoming a Presbyterian Church minister.  Frequently on Sundays, I took the train to Toronto...he would meet me at Union Station.  Together we would attend Massey Hall to hear the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at one of their rehearsals, following which we had dinner prior to my return train to Hamilton. During the third year, I seldom heard from him.  In May, we met at a Lakefront cafe in Burlington and when dusk, parked beside Dundurn Castle overlooking the Bay.  He asked me to marry him…a huge surprise! To marry him didn’t seem like the “right dream to come true for me”.  Yes,  I respected him...but lacked  romantic heart beats that should spell of “love”. 

I am beginning to wonder about Relationships and Love between Man and Woman. What is it I’m  missing? Are my expectations too high?  From what I had read and heard, “chemistry is rare”…which seems I haven’t yet discovered!  A couple married friends commented, “This romantic excitement isn't cracked up to what you believe.”  Flo, a newly married friend in confidence told me, “I am happy but this sex thing wasn't fantastic.” Infatuation occurs when courting and extends through the “honeymoon days”.  With the daily routine of Life, it wears off.  Pondering all this...what are you left with? A Friendship that is Stable is possibly the basis of a Good Relationship and a successful marriage...upon which  Love will then surface and be built after day, year after year.  Is that the secret?

Que Sera, Sera

( lyrics by the Jay Livingston and Ray Evans songwriting team)

When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother, “What shall I be?
Will I be pretty? Will I be rich?”
Here's what she said to me:

“Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be.
The future's not ours, to see.
Que Sera, Sera.
What will be, will be.

When I was young, I fell in love.
I asked my sweetheart, “What lies ahead?
Will we have rainbows, day after day?”
Here's what my sweetheart said:

(Repeat Chorus)

Now I have children of my own.
They ask their mother, “What will I be?
Will I be handsome?  Will I be rich?”
I tell them tenderly:

(Repeat Chorus)

(To be continued...Part II)

Merle Baird-Kerr...originally written December 4, 2010
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Can you match the names with the following Explorer surnames?
                                           Drake                         Cartier                 Amundsen
                                           Tasman                      Hudson                 Cabot
                                           Hilary                        Columbus              Cook