Last night my wife, Pam and I, in the company of our two youngest children and some friends attended our daughter Lauren’s High School Graduation from Abbotsford School of Integrated Arts. During the lengthy ceremony, Lauren received three scholarships, in addition to the UFV entrance scholarship that she had previously received.
I am as always proud of Lauren, as I know that this is one small step to her eventual destiny of running the world. The moment is also a little bittersweet as Lauren has always been my little buddy and companion, and now she is very close to spreading her wings and leaving the nest.
Lauren has enrolled at the University of the Fraser Valley to commence courses in September one of which will be a class in the Faculty in which I teach as she has signed up for Business 100. Lauren has her own vehicle and has made plans to move into a house with roommates in July. Although I am very proud of her independence I will miss her very much. She has indicated that she will come back to the house often as she plans on doing her grocery shopping at our house. I’m not sure what that means. Usually when the little bird leaves the nest, it finds its own worms.
I am also very proud of the fact that our oldest child, Andrew is expected to be enrolled in a couple of classes at UFV in the fall so that with my continued presence there will be three of our family attending the campus.
Congratulations to all of this years graduates.
As we age and remember long gone parents we continue to improve and expand our understanding and appreciation of them. My father, Albert Hedley Palmer was born in 1911 and became a young adult at the beginning of the depression. He rode the rails (in boxcars) between his childhood home of Biggar Saskatchewan and the Fraser Valley where he came in the summer to work on farms (including the farm of my grandparents where he met my mother) and returned to Saskatchewan for occasional work for CNR in the winter. He got his first permanent job as a nickel miner in Levack,Ontario at the age of 30.
In all the photos that I can find of my younger father he always looks the same. Like he doesn’t give a damn. Usually with his shirt half done up, his hands in his belt loop. Often with a cigarette in his mouth. Often a sneer on his face. Usually looking like someone I might cross the street to avoid if I saw him ahead of me.
But then I remember, he grew up in the depression, worked hard jobs (and then underground mining) slept in boxcars and then sheds on farms where he was working. Probably the greatest joy in such a challenging life was a cigarette and a drink. Do I expect him to be dressed in a suit and looking prissy?
He was a hard working man who always went to work even when sick (that was once a virtue before Covid turned it into a vice). Always extremely honest . Never wanted anything that wasn’t his. Frugal but never interested in wealth, only what he needed . Amazingly accepting of life and death. Always prepared to help neighbors and strangers in a way that only growing up in hard times can instill in you.
When I was younger I was occasionally embarrassed about my underground miner father with his grade eight education and sometimes imperfect grammar(which improved throughout his life- he was my mothers work in progress). Particularly when I attended Osgoode Hall Law School where half the students came from wealthy families. But I learned. The years have removed most (but not all ) of my arrogance.
Wealth and education will not bring contentment. My father was content. He was honest and hard working. He was also nonjudgmental (a bit of a contrast with my mother on that trait). Perhaps I failed to mention one of his most important traits to me. Although a “tough”man in his youth when I came along when he was 45 he was a fantastic father. He did so many things for me and with me. Quite simply he always put me ahead of his own interests.
So I have gone from mild embarrassment to aspiring (and in many cases failing) to be like him. And he is my role model for being a father. Apparently the depression may have been a better teacher than University.
To my father who has not physically been in our lives for thirty years, Happy Fathers Day.
Nothing diverts me to Facebook faster than invigilating midterms and exams or marking them. Tonight I am invigilating a midterm for my UFV Business Law class.
I have often posted about aging, and it’s negative effects on my mental and physical abilities. It is possible that I have occasionally exaggerated but there is no denying that the person inside of me, whose self image is trapped in his thirties is constantly surprised and disappointed to see a present day photo of himself.
Lately I have been asked by many people about when I decided to grow a beard because they have just noticed it. Truth is, I have had a beard consistently since 1982. That’s right. My beard is forty years old. It is my most longstanding relationship. I grew it initially to make myself look older and more mature as a lawyer.
But it has turned almost totally white, and I have let it grow, thereby making it noticeable. Want to look a lot older, fast? Grow a white beard.
There are useful aspects of a beard. Time saved shaving. No one wants to kiss you (who cares at my age) . It can catch teeth when they fall out. It makes you look wiser (helpful). It makes you seem jolly ( at least until people talk to me)
However, the reason that I had Pam take the photo below is that I don’t need to help nature make me look old, so I’m going to shave it off.
Will I recognize myself? Will I feel a sense of loss and immediately start growing it again? These and other questions will be answered in a subsequent post. After all, I give a final exam in three weeks.
And then there’s the marking…..
Facebook Memories brought this post in which I was tagged four years ago, to my attention. Jubilee Park is an historic Park that was run down, with needles to be found in the gravel of the playground and unfortunate people tenting in the park despite the lack of washrooms. In short, from a downtown business point of view, it was a very sad gateway to the downtown. With a large provincial grant, city of Abbotsford money, and a $400,000 contribution from the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association’ the park was reconstructed. Better parking was created, with better assembly space and facilities. Many said it was wasted money and that the park couldn’t be returned to its former glory. But many said the same about the entire historic downtown of Abbotsford twenty years ago.
Today the park is a busy centre of the downtown. The children’s playground is safely used, Banters ice cream brings crowds as do pickle ball courts. Not to mention the highly successful Saturday Farmers Market. The park has been restored as a well used centre of the community, part of the return of our downtown to being the heart of our city. A success story!
I have had the privilege of being on the executive of the ADBA for these last twenty some years and having a major sense of accomplishment.
Oh, about the homeless. Although the park is less attractive to them the provincial government has financed shelters and housing in the downtown, so they have not been entirely displaced by the “dreaded gentrification”. In fact another organization of which I am president, the Kinghaven Peardonville House Society (we treat addiction) is building a further 60 plus units of support housing in another location in Abbotsford. It is possible to work towards an attractive business community centre and contribute to the social well being of the marginalized. But there is so much more to do.
Photo by Dave Loewen -- June 7, 2019
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