Gratitude Challenge

There are many people in your life that deserve to be thanked – for lifting your spirits, offering advice, helping out and simply being who they are. Sadly, we don’t say, “Thank-You” enough. I challenge you for the month of November to learn to make gratitude a part of your everyday life by showing appreciation to a different person each day with a handwritten note, a pleasant phone call or a thoughtful email. So, over the 31 days of November, that’s 31 heartfelt thank-yous. Make is the start of an important lifelong practice.

There are many ways to say, “Thank-You”. A few suggestions:

“I appreciate the way you…….”

“I love it when……….”

“Because of you I can……..”

“ I’m honored that you are willing to……”

“I admire your strength in……..”

Phone Booth

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Back when I was still refereeing basketball, Betty and I decided to take a trip to Seattle, Washington. Those were the days when Canadian Airlines were flying into and out of Dawson Creek. Usage was so good that they added a “red eye” flight to Vancouver, leaving Dawson Creek about 11:30 at night. And for only $99 round trip per passenger. Being the frugal couple that we were, we decided to take that flight. Since, through basketball and business, I had been numerous times to Vancouver, I said I would make all the arrangements. Now this was in the days before the internet and therefore no Google nor booking on line. So by phone, I booked our flights, reserved a car rental at the Vancouver airport and reserved over-night rooms for us at the hotel I stayed at when refereeing games in the Vancouver area. This hotel was owned by two brothers. One of whom was involved in basketball and the other was an official for the Canadian Football League. It was in a quiet area not too far from the airport and was a nice place to stay. Since we knew each other, I knew they would provide nice rooms for us.

And the appointed evening arrived.

  • We boarded the plane, arriving in Vancouver about 1:00 a.m. No problem.
  • The rental car was waiting just like I ordered. No problem.
  • Off we drove and since I knew how to get there, No map.
  • And we arrived at the hotel about 1:30 am. No problem. Wrong!

The name of the hotel I reserved rooms at was not the name of the hotel we were sitting in front of. Somehow when I phoned information for the hotel number I gave the wrong name of the hotel and the operator gave me a number which I had phoned and made the reservation. And it wasn t this place. 2 am, no map and I had no idea where the location of my reservation was. But all is not lost. I have the address of the place we were supposed to be at. Excellent, you say. Not quite. I wasn t aware that street numbers in Vancouver continue from the city on into it s suburbs. So I drove. And drove. But could not find that address. Things are a little tense inside the car, but salvation was at hand. Driving by an empty lot, Betty saw a phone booth sitting in the middle of it. For those who do not know what a phone booth is, it is an enclosed space, complete with a roof and a door. Above the door is a light and inside is a phone that you can use if you have the right coins to make your call. Since I also had the phone number for where I had made arrangements, I was instructed by my wife that all I had to do was make the call and ask for directions. Simple, you say. Not in my world. I dutifully got out into the dark night, walked into that empty lot, glancing around to locate any nefarious individuals who shouldn t be there, and went into the booth. I read the instructions which indicated that I needed 15 cents to make the call. Horror of horrors, when I dug into my pocket for change, all I had was quarters. The instructions, advised me that I could use a quarter, but there would be no change given back. So I left the booth and walked back to my rental car. When I told Betty that I hadn t made the call and the reason I hadn t, well I guess you can fill in her words she said to me.

I do not remember what words I said to him, however I do remember what he said to me. He said, the call cost .15, all I had was a quarter, they give no change – I was not going to waste .10.

Now, my grandkids won t even stop when walking to pick up a quarter which someone had dropped.

And that is my story and I am sticking to it.

Now it is your turn – tell us a story

Ice Tea Can

October 2018

On my daily walks shiny things always catch my eye. I am careful to look the object over very carefully before I pick it up as I cannot in good conscience throw an object back down again after I have picked it up to have a closer look. I have found a few coins – one time I dug 30 pennies out of the snow after pennies were no longer used as currency – a couple of times a $10 bill -(buys two visits to McDonalds for Ray and I) – but mostly nickles, dimes or quarters. Amost every day I come home with a can or two of aluminum beer cans or glass beer bottles, they are worth .20 at the recycle depot. A couple of times the beer cans were actually unopened.

Recently I got a glimpse of a can, walked over to it, a can of iced tea – not opened. I shook it, it rattled simular to the sound of a spray paint can that has a ball in it. Nearby was a plastic grocery bag. Well how convenient is that – an unopened can and a bag to carry it in. I brought it home and set in on the counter where it sat until several days later when it was really hot and I thought, “This would be a good time to have that iced tea”. So I preceeded to open the pop top can – the ring came off! Well, I should be able to just press the lip down but better use a screw driver to push it down, I don’t want to cut my finger. H-m-m-m-, it’s not moving, feels like something solid underneath. Maybe the can opener will give me access to the tea. The can opener did not want to cut where it should have, but the lid just came off by itself – (evidently it had been glued back on). Now the lid is off and I can see inside, it doesn’t seem to be tea. There is a layer of plaster of paris encircling a glass jar with a white screw on lid. By now I am really curious so I unscrewed the lid. I turned the can up side down and out fell a – I had no idea what it was. I will try to describe it, see if you know. It was metal about 4 inches long in total x 2 inches wide. There were 2 small cylinders at the top and a separate metal cap with a hole in it. Well, what in the world have I found? I showed it to Ray, he put it up to his nose for a smell, smelled a little oily, but we still did not have a clue. So what shall we do? Dispose of it? We don’t think so because it could be dangerous, besides we are curious. Shall we phone the RCMP? Yes, let’s do. We talked briefly with the receptionist, her suggestions were; just throw it out, or have a member come and pick it up, however there were no members at the station at the present or we could bring it down to the station. We chose to bring it down mainly because we’re still wondering what this thing is. We chatted with the receptionists, they had no idea, (or at least they claimed), or explaination. They just, again, advised to get rid of it and don’t drink from anything that you find on your daily walks. Duh! As we were talking a constable appeared, looked the object over and told us it was a vaporizer. Apparently e-cigarettes and vaporizers are very much the same – liquid is heated via a battery to produce vapor to inhale. He informed us that the appliance costs about $200. that kids google information to find out how to create hiding places that parents do not know about. Really! why would you go to such lenghts to keep informtion from adults? So we left the can and contents with the RCMP and walked away shaking our heads, thinking we learned something today, but did we really need that information? And just in case some younger generations out there – beware, we are not totally unaware.

Now it is your turn – tell us a story

Betty Good

Hello Family

Hello Family;

Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving annually the 1st Monday in October – October 8th this year. Ray and I savor every moment and are grateful for every new day with whatever it brings. We will be sharing dinner – turkey with all the trimings – with our daughter Sharon and Dale Sexsmith at their house. Some of you will remember being at their home at the 2009 W.Oswald reunion when we went 4 wheeling and Merna bought the rock sign at the auction to add to her collection of rocks. It will just be the 4 of us, the Sexsmith children have all left the nest; Jena in Calgary, Kalvin and Tyler in southern BC. We are looking forward to the wedding of Jena and Dillon Rampp on the 20th of October – fun time with the family and meeting the rest of the Rampp family.

I am updating William and Mattie Oswald genealogy. If you have recent information (additions, omissions, or corrections) that you want me to include, please let me know.

I am encouraging the family of William and Mattie Oswald to write stories. I believe our stories leaves our grandchildren, great-grandchildren, all of those that come after us that had no opportunity to meet us in person, an insight into our lives; the information they will not find on the genealogy websites. What we were like, the things that made us happy or sad, how we spent our days, how the world was different from what they experience. An awesome legacy to leave the family that comes after us. Remember what Art said, “The story doesn’t have to be long.  It doesn’t have to be funny, It doesn’t have to recount a traumatic experience.  It is information about us that if we don’t write down, will be forgotten.” (I would add: but it should be true.)

Thank-You for Loving Us.

Ray and Betty Good

April 2016

April 2016
Dawson Creek, BC

Typical spring in the Peace River country – warm sun, water running, mud, dust, geese are returning (haven’t seen a robin yet); as patches of snow recede green grass appears, leaves are beginning to think about popping out. We relished the unusual mild temperatures of our winter. I wore my heavy winter boots only 2 times, the heaviest winter coats, mitts and toques remained in the closet. The biggest snowfall of the season fell while we were in Vancouver; our neighbor kindly shoveled so when we got home the snow bank was at the side of the driveway.

Spending time in Vancouver was on Ray’s bucket list, so we chose December 15th, 2015 – January 31st,2016, hoping to escape shoveling mounds of snow and experience milder temperatures – how were we to know Dawson Creek’s winter would be the mildest ever?
The big city offers opportunities that are not available to us in northern BC.
*We soon learned to allow ourselves plenty of time to get to a venue as often we waited in line for as long as an hour;
*The sleigh ride over Canada with Santa was spectacular with Betty holding on tight even tho buckled in;
*Services in 3 different churches each with distinct personalities different from each other;
*Our apartment was right down town so we could walk where ever
we wanted to go, claiming our space on the sidewalk was a challenge without bumping someone and dodging umbrella spokes or dodging seniors in their motorized wheelchairs who seemed to claim the right-of-way ;
*Strolls along the waterfront observing huge freighters waiting to unload, boats of all sizes and grandeur, small ferries zipping passengers short distances, including us;
*High tea at the prestigious Wedgewood Hotel due to Betty talking the Maitre de for a table although we had no reservation:
*Dazzling Christmas lights, elaborately and creatively decorated Christmas trees.
*The sky train took us to a huge mall, (there was nothing there we could not live without);
*Time spent with children, grandchildren and friends living in the lower mainland;
*Receiving news of 1st cousins’ deaths – one on each side of the family and serious health problems with our daughter.
*Most of all we will remember the people that we meet, some only briefly, some chatting over coffee and cinnamon buns. Every person we meet brings something to our lives that was not there before; we are learning to cherish every person we meet. Our lives are so enriched by these brief encounters.

It is now just over a year ago that Ray was flown out to St. Paul’s hospital to remove a blood clot that was threatening his leg and life. The clot was removed and he came out of surgery with life and limb intact. He spent several weeks in hospital resting and recovery while hassling the staff and flirting with the student nurses , then Dr.s’ visits and home care nursing after we were home. Betty had to give me (rather volunteered) a series of shots in the stomach with a menacing look on her face. It was an amazing
experience. At no time did we feel afraid, we always knew that whatever the outcome, it was going to be OK. We learned to TRUST! Trust that someone who knew a lot more than we do was looking after us. We were once again reminded of how vital and important the support and company of our friends and family that share our values and experiences is. It brings us strength and courage, we are so grateful. We are presently almost back to pre-emergency surgery condition; nerves in Ray’s foot are growing back, he is working at bringing the yard back to where he wants it after a season of doing its own thing, working a full day, giving Sharon an entire day off. Has not yet returned to once a week bowling – maybe next year.

Spent a wonderful 10 days in Indiana with my siblings and extended family. A time of sharing memories, taking trips down memory lane, times of laughter, eating together, being silly and just quietly being together.

Plans for upcoming summer – nothing definite yet but some possibilities:
An Oswald reunion in Nebraska – is there anyone out there willing to offer me a place to stay for a week or so? Already have an offer for rides to and from Omaha airport.
Trip to southern Alberta;
Family coming to visit;
and who knows what adventure awaits or who might decide to look us up as they pass through our town.

How would you finish this sentence? My favorite thing about Spring is. . . . . . . . . . . . .

It is now May, the landscape has changed. Bushes are flowering, leaves continue to break forth from the winter rest, the Mayday trees are sending
us their almost overpowering aroma from a block away, large patches of yellow – pesky dandelions. Apparently spring is early all over BC, they are telling us the fruit crops in the Okanagan are ahead of schedule and that we can expect BC cherries in June. Unfortunately the warm, dry windy weather brings devastating wildfires burning north and east of us in Alberta, and north of us in BC; people have had to evacuate on very short notice. Costs are estimated in the billions of $ thousands of people displaced, (how can the effects to humans be measured?), awesome pictures on Google – (Fort McMurray, Alberta). Closest to our home about 40 miles, we are seeing no effects from our home.

Our goal is to eat healthy and be active, staying away from processed and packaged foods – (we make exceptions for ice cream) and cook like our mothers taught us – the buzz words are “eat clean” or “eat green”. I’ve tried kale, it chews like leather but leather tastes better. The yard work, sessions at the gym, and daily walks keep us active.

Life is short, and we do not have too much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel the way with us.
So be swift to love, make haste to be kind, and may the blessing of God be with you.

Thank-You For Loving Us!
Ray and Betty Good