The end of summer in so many ways and a last long weekend before we return to all of the normal work and school activities that cause us to run around like hamsters on a wheel.
Labour Day was much more meaningful for my father’s generation . This hamster has had a relatively soft life and although I worked at lumber mills and brick plants during my university years, after graduation work has had little physical aspect, although I once got a nasty blister from holding a pen. Quite simply, I have enjoyed privilege, and I am indebted to the generation that preceded me.
My fathers generation, born before the depression, had a very different view of Labour Day. After riding box cars during the depression working throughout western Canada wherever he could, he got a job in the early 40s as a nickel miner in Levack Ontario, where he laboured underground for 30 years.
When my father started his mining career, the wages were pitiful . The mine was 3000 feet deep (over 1 km). Each day my father would appear early in the morning get into a huge cage with several other workers and be lowered a couple thousand feet into the bowels of the earth. There he would drill blast and shovel. When he returned to surface, he was blackened with dirt, which would be resolved by being part of a huge gang shower, and he would come home clean, except what he brought home in his lungs. The next day he would return, put on the same dirty clothes, and be lowered into the earth again.
During that time, my father’s working conditions improved drastically. Not from the kindness of his multinational employer, but rather from the hard work, and occasional strike by his union.
The rate of mining accidents and deaths was very high in the 1950s. My father’s job was a difficult, dirty, and damaging (to his hearing￼) life. But he was a very hard worker, and often was the highest bonus earner of the hundreds of workers in that mine.
My fathers privilege was to work hard under difficult dirty circumstances, and risk his life every day at work, at the same time as being part of the union to improve those conditions for future workers. You can imagine that my fathers employment contributed heavily to his political views.
And that is labour. And that is why I know that Labour Day is more than a simple stat. It is to celebrate those that have worked and built our society, and those that have worked to establish the rights and wages that we have today. My fathers hard life funded my soft life. Oops, I think I’m getting a blister from my keyboard.
I have posted before that one of my few extravagances and one that my wife, Pam finds particularly irritating, is my collecting of automobiles, although I sense that the writing is on the wall for at least a couple of our cars, or perhaps me.
Suffice it to say that the vehicles that I drive are ones that I find attractive in an automotive sort of way. I like the style of the vehicles, both front and back. Over the last few years it has become apparent to me that many people like the look of the back end of my vehicles.
This morning I needed to take a fast trip from Harrison to Abbotsford and then back to Harrison, my goal being to get back to Harrison in time for the Bands on the Beach festival which includes one of my favorite musicians Harrison local Todd Richard. In honor of his upcoming performance, I headed out of Harrison in the mustang convertible, which has only Todd Richard CDs in it, and they were playing loudly.
As I drove towards the freeway, I had a pick up truck behind me, that was highly attracted to the back end of my Mustang, in fact, so attracted that I couldn’t see his headlights at various times. Now I may not be good at intimacy, particularly vehicular intimacy, but a vehicle traveling so close to me on the highway, or the freeway, which has been happening so often lately, causes me great concern. In fact, my usual procedure is to speed up and enter the right hand lane at my first opportunity to let the affectionate follower move on past me. This seems to happen no matter what vehicle I’m driving and it makes me wonder if the drivers, who are usually driving big pick up trucks or SUVs ever took driver training and understand about the time it takes to stop a vehicle if there’s an emergency brake situation.
Driving skills seem on the decline, as is general common sense.
As I continued my trip towards Abbotsford, I came upon a jeep which had a big banner across the back of it. The air blowing through it made it difficult to see the top, but I did make out that the first word started with an F. The word below it was Trudeau, and there was apparently an upstretched middle finger showing in the middle of the banner. I believe that everyone is entitled to their political views, but the expression and the banner is offensive to most people who were raised in polite families. Don’t misunderstand. I have no problem with someone having that political sentiment. It’s the expression of it in that manner that I find rude. I’m not clear whether the driver thinks that people are going to change their vote, because they are suddenly convinced by his banner, or he just wants to vent and express himself.
When I drove by in the convertible (yes, I was speeding when I passed him) I thought of raising my middle finger high in the air, which would not be hidden by the roof of any vehicle to express my view of his upbringing, that he feels that this is a civil way to express an opinion. Then I remembered that I have never given “the finger” to anyone. I was raised that way, and I only have a few more years to keep my record unblemished. I don’t want to disappoint my deceased mother.
Incidentally, this is not intended to be a partisan post. I have never voted for Justin Trudeau, or any of his local candidates. My comment is directed at the civility and patience of people in terms of the way they express their views and how they drive. Would their mother approve? Would their driver training instructor?
Drive safely (and not too close to the car ahead of you) this week end. And if you are in the Harrison area, come to the village and enjoy Bands on the Beach
Most families have traditions of being together for the major holidays. Yesterday our family assembled under one roof in Harrison to apparently celebrate International Dog Day.
Our daughter Lauren has spent the summer working at various one week postings coordinating day camps at various United Churches including in Whitehorse Yukon. Weekends of late she has spent at her new independant residence in Abbotsford. Last night was somewhat of an abberation for us to be all together. The photo below shows Lauren’s reunion with Griffin, one of our two dogs celebrating International Dog Day. Lauren may be Griffin’s favourite person. The photo is posted with her paid consent.
She leaves today. Adam leaves today as part of his trip to Whistler, a planned trip that was cancelled for Pam and myself because of Andrews summertime injury.
Andrew plans that he and his mother will return on Tuesday to Abbotsford to shorten the three times per week trip to Vancouver General Hospital for ongoing treatment of his injury. People may recall that that in July, I posted of a household accident that almost took his life or his arm and left part of our house looking like an abbatoir. His arm is slowly healing and his hand function is slowly recovering. We hope for a full recovery but he has months of healing and rehab ahead of him. His attitude is fantastic.
Some will return for the Labour day weekend, but as of Wednesday our family will be split in four different locations. Such is the modern family.
Not me. Or I wouldn’t be posting this. Although Pam thinks that on my death I will try to post about it. Although I haven’t figured out the logistics yet, I would try to put a positive spin on it (positive step for the environment ?) and use a flattering photo
(if in fact one exists).
Lately I have been inundated with Facebook and Messenger posts with that intro, with the ghoulish belief that I will immediately click the link to find out who I have outlived. Usually up to ten people are tagged. I have not clicked yet. But these constant Facebook phishing and fraud exercises are becoming tiresome. And worse.
A friend with an elderly husband told me how he was being successfully targeted by Facebook frauds. The more isolated you are, the more you depend on social media.
I just reviewed my profile for the last few years and noticed that the few news items that I had attached to a post in the past have now been deleted by Facebook, even if a couple of years old. I am impressed by the efficiency of the petulant algorithms that are carrying out Facebook’s threat to remove items and avoid paying for professional journalist prepared content. The Facebook model is to make a fortune selling advertising (immense amounts) attached to other people’s content, without paying. No need to respect copyright or intellectual property rights or a moral recognition that some of the content has been prepared at a cost to some other form of media. Everything is free in the Metaverse, except of course advertising. Well played Mr Zuckerberg. And no, I don’t want a cage match.
But I digress. It was not my intention to make a political statement. My point is simply this: If Facebook and the algorithm gods can so efficiently and quickly remove attached news articles, even from the past, why are they unable to remove the various fraud and phishing posts that seemingly only get removed when reported. The news items don’t need to be reported.
We need Mr Zuckerberg to have the same hissy fit about fraud and privacy that he has had over the Federal “ Online News Act”. Time to clean up Facebook Mr. Z.
Today is a potentially momentous day for our family as it is the day that Lauren will sleep her first night in the house that she will share with two roommates for the duration of her UFV attendance. In order to facilitate our little bird leaving our Abbotsford nest, my wife, Pam, and I headed off to Abbotsford from Harrison Hot Springs this morning to assist her in moving her bed and some other items to her new abode. In typical Palmer fashion we both went in our own vehicles. I have posted before about our mutual discomfort with each other’s driving.
The plan was to put a trailer on the back of Pam‘s van and move the items over in the trailer. I have mentioned before that I am a bit of a vehicle hoarder and that we have six vehicles spread between the houses in Abbotsford and Harrison. Our two biggest vehicles have been sitting on the Abbotsford driveway because of their propensity to consume vast quantities of gasoline. Those are the vehicles, however, best suited to pull trailers and move beds and other items.
When I arrived this morning, Pam was standing with Lauren beside Pam’s van, and I could only see the look of disgust as they discovered mouse faeces ￼throughout Pam’s van. Pam then spent the next significant period of time cleaning and vacuuming her van. Lauren was not prepared to go into the van once the mouse droppings were discovered. I made a dismissive comment to Lauren, which was intentionally not audible to Pam, about the consequences of leaving food in a vehicle. My courage in expressing my opinions in such matters is legendary. But then Karma intervened.
Lauren and I then decided to put the items into my Lincoln with its backseat down and the mattress put in through the back hatch. We then loaded the back of the car, and when we were ready to head off to our destination Lauren noticed mouse feces on the passenger seat in the Lincoln. A fast vacuuming, and my reassurance that any mouse would only have been in the Lincoln for a short time resulted in her acceding to getting into the car to drive the contents to her new residence.
Unfortunately as we unloaded the car, we discovered a lot of mouse feces in the car. Lauren found this revolting, particularly that her items had been on it. I was surprised at her reaction and her reaction to my suggestion to just ignore the mice droppings. Actually if she is in fact really going to run the world someday she is going to have to learn to deal with mouse droppings, spiders, etc, in a different manner. I’m sure she will now be cleaning her mattress and all of the contents ( formerly said “continents” in error) that were carried over with great vigour.
A conversation about whether or not a dining room table of her deceased grandmother that was now in storage might be appropriate in her new residence caused us to visit one of the units in which we store items in downtown Abbotsford. As she looked through the items to see what might be useful in her new residence she found…….. well, you can guess. Mice are apparently everywhere this summer.
I wish my little bird well in her new residence and I expect she will enjoy her first night of total independance. Unless of course she finds a mouse……
My two daughters may have a very good relationship but they are two totally different individuals. My 18-year-old daughter Lauren has the diction of a Victorian matron, never swears and quite often subjects me to praise music when she’s playing her music in the car. My 16-year-old daughter Jordan apparently has delusions of being a rapper using words that I’ve never heard in the context that she uses them and playing music that has obscene words and expressions in it, that I can only pray she does not understand.
Thursday was my anniversary with my wife Pam. It was a mile stone one and I remembered it because my assistant put it in my calendar. In fact, she put it in a day early for warning and I mistakenly wished a happy anniversary to my wife on the wrong day. My kind and helpful assistant also purchased an anniversary card for me which I dutifully gave to Pam. I did not have the opportunity to drive by the cemetery so unfortunately I had no flowers to offer.
This morning, in Harrison Hot Springs, my daughter, Jordan made comments about my failure to be a romantic husband with regard to the anniversary. She expressed that I have “no game”, whatever that means, and that it was a surprise that Pam even married me. She gave further examples of me having no game, and I wasn’t able to come up with any countering arguments. The whole discussion did not leave me feeling good about myself, but then few discussions do. Clearly, I have no game.
This afternoon, after doing some work around the house, I was walking down to the Harrison Hot Springs beach and across a crosswalk that I have determined will be the ultimate place of my demise, and which I think of as “the crossing of death”.
Perhaps it is the excitement of heading up the lake for camping and recreation on Rockwell Drive which connects to this piece of highway, but drivers speed and feel that the crosswalk requires them to stop only if you are directly in their path and there is some uncertainty even of that.
Today, when I was crossing a car approached, and I recognized the car as one of our family’s vehicles which was being driven by my wife, Pam, who had been in Chilliwack getting groceries. She stopped. She STOPPED. There can be no stronger sign of love than that. Clearly, ￼I have game .
I would admit that over the last several years I have taken a certain joy in creating somewhat lengthy and rambling posts usually once a week that entail family events and celebrations or my more humorous (and often embarassing) experiences. I usually focus on events that are very positive or humorous. My goal has always been to entertain or to at least cause reflection on every day events.
As my posts focus on the positives, one could wrongly conclude that myself, and my family members lead charmed lives without challenges. That, of course would not be reality.
Last Thursday I posted that our daughter Lauren was celebrating her 18th birthday and was about to celebrate her independence by moving into a house in Abbotsford. I lamented that one of our little birds was about to leave the nest. Little did I know that later in the day an event would happen that almost caused us to lose one of our little birds.
A freak accident with a shattered glass window resulted in a badly cut arm with severed, arteries, nerves and tendon. With just myself and my injured oldest son in the house in Harrison at the time of the accident, I held a towel over the wound for compression as tightly as I could with approximately a litre and a half of blood pooled on the floors and carpet of three different rooms. As we waited for an ambulance, which seemed to take forever, I had severe concerns that it would not be in time. ￼ I thought of how unsurvivable losing a child would be.
An ambulance did arrive and stop the bleeding and take our son firstly to Chilliwack, and then to Abbotsford Hospital where he underwent over four hours of surgery to reattach the arteries and save the arm. He then was taken into Vancouver General Hospital, where he underwent over five hours of surgery to reattach nerves and tendon.
My wife stayed in Vancouver General Hospital, sleeping on a chair in the room during his stay there evidencing one more time what a wonderful, devoted mother she is. Our little bird is now home in Harrison with his immovable cast with us all hoping for the maximum return of function for the arm.
What of our house filled with pools of blood when the ambulance left and I followed? My wife’s sister, Michelle, who was visiting from Hawaii with the help of her daughter and our two youngest children, cleaned up broken glass and blood from four rooms and any and everywhere that the dogs (and I) had tracked it. Truly, blood had spurted everywhere. I doubted that I would ever want to go back when I left the house to follow the ambulance in my car. But on my return, the blood was all gone. Thank you, Michelle and kids. What a difficult, but wonderful job you did. And to my wife, Pam, whom I traumatized with a phone call while waiting for the ambulance, and who sat by the bedside at VGH for almost 3 days, I appreciate you more than you could ever know. And I’m sure your little bird does as well.
Once again our family encountered a fantastic response from the medical system. We are grateful to Dr. Lewis at Abbotsford Regional hospital and to the surgeons who worked at Vancouver General Hospital.
There is much rehabilitation and doctors visits ahead. But our little bird is approaching these challenges with a good attitude. Hopefully our prayers will be answered and the arm will have full function (and yes, I prayed).
Hug your loved ones tight
Happy 18th Birthday to my daughter Lauren Palmer.
I should apologize that so many of my recent posts have been about Lauren or photos of her, but this spring and summer has been her time to go to prom, graduate from high school, move out of the house, and of course, today is her birthday.
Although I have many beautiful pictures of Lauren that have been taken over the years, this photo is my favorite. This is the photo of a little preschool girl, who seemed to follow me everywhere. Who went with me to board meetings, UFV classes and community events. As a result, she shares so many values with me.
But now, my little buddy is moving out. She will be sharing a house with two roommates as they all go to the University of the Fraser Valley this fall. This weekend is the weekend of the big paintathon in the house into which they are moving.
Her independence and destiny of running the world, leaves her less time for me. She has better things to do now than tag along with me to the various pursuits to which I have devoted my life. What are the odds that I can lure one of the other three children to spend time with me? Unlikely unless I can develop some interest in computer games or makeup.
Happy birthday, Lauren. Welcome to the world of being an adult. You are going to be great at Adulting.
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.
Posts copied from FaceBook.