Prince Albert Voice
Last August my family and I learned the Nutrien Fireworks Festival would be postponed from the September long weekend 2020 to the Family Day Long Weekend 2021. Immediately my family and I started to prepare to attend. The pandemic has already taken so many things away from the children, we didn’t want them to lose this weekend as well. It has become our tradition to attend at least one of the nightly fireworks events in the past and we didn’t want to lose this special opportunity to combine our family celebrations with the fireworks festival.
Bigfoot. Sasquatch. Loc Nes Monster. Little People. Leprechauns. Fireballs. The Blarney Stone. Witikos. Rougarou. White Light Balls. Nenebush. Wisakechak. Ti Jean. Zombies. St. Louis Phantom Light. Shape shifters. Ghosts. I think every culture has some mysterious stories that support a deeply cultural oral history that supersedes any other belief system people may have. The month of February has been designated Aboriginal Story Telling month and, as such, there are a lot of virtual events happening through local libraries, Métis locals and community Literacy councils. It’s a wonderful way for people to share the legacy of oral traditions and storytelling. And for Aboriginal people around the world, oral traditional stories have been an excellent way of not only sharing the history of their ancestors with the next generation, it’s also allowed the traditional first language to stay alive and be passed forward. Each story provides the listener something to learn. And one of the really terrific things about oral stories is, depending on what the hearer is going through in their life, each story represents different lessons that can be learned and applied in an individual’s life. So I thought I’d share some stories with you this week. Nothing too scary but each has a lesson, which has value no matter what anyone thinks of the story.
This past weekend I heard news regarding one of my Aunts. She is one of those special people who has a knack for making each person in the room feel like they have an incredible connection that no one else has with her. She has a way of making me feel like I am her favourite person in the world, even though she’s never actually said those specific words. It’s been there in every look, every hug, each conversation and every kiss. These weren’t just stolen moments, they have always been poignant, intentional and significant amounts of time where we invested in one another to catch up and create new memories.
Every day, the Ellen show concludes with the advice to be “kind” to one another. It’s good advice, especially during these challenging times when people seem really wrapped up in their own world as they either try to stay healthy or ignorantly attempt to prove the virus doesn’t exist. Little do the latter care they are actually perpetuating the side effects of the pandemic including mental health issues and filling up hospital beds with people with their negligent actions as they compromise their own wellbeing and that of others. These actions hardly demonstrate being kind to one another. Lately, as people start to receive the COVID vaccine, I’ve heard that we should all be “kind and patient” with one another as we await our turn to qualify for the vaccine. And I started to think about the one person no one ever speaks of being kind to… ourselves. In all of the months where we’ve been practicing social distancing, wearing face masks, hand washing and various other activities that promote good health I’ve heard very little about how to take care of our personal self and to be kind.
Sometimes people are moved to do things that are just inspiring and so incredible it hits a person right in the emotions. It’s difficult to not want to find a way to become a part of the kindness being extended to others by complete strangers, just as a way to say “thank you, you’re appreciated” or even, “I hope you have a wonderful day.” I think I didn’t realize how kind people were being when they “passed it forward” in the Tim Horton’s drive thru line. The person ahead paid for the order of the person behind and it kept going until someone broke the chain. I first learned of this kindness when a Tim Hortons in Winnipeg reported 228 cars paid it forward until someone smiled, said “Thank you!” and drove away… without paying it forward to car 229! As 2020 came to a close, people in Prince Albert were thinking of ways to pay it forward and I wrote about a busy young man who owns and operates Reid’s Baskets and Things out of his home. When he and I talked back then, he had some days ‘blacked out’ on his calendar as he had seventy gift baskets to prepare.