Somebody’s Mother By Mary D. Brine
The woman was old and ragged and gray, And bent with the chill of a winter’s day; The streets were white with a recent snow,And the woman’s feet with age were slow.
At the crowded crossing she waited long,Jostled aside by the careless throng Of human beings who passed her by. Unheeding the glance of her anxious eye.
Down the street with laughter and shout. Glad in the freedom of “school let out,”Come happy boys, like a flock of sheep, Hailing the snow piled white and deep; Past the woman, so old and gray.
Hastened the children on their way.
None offered a helping hand to her,
So weak and timid, afraid to stir, Lest the carriage wheels or the horses’ feet
Should trample her down in the slippery street.
At last came out of the merry troop
The gayest boy of all the group; He paused beside her and whispered low,
“I’ll help you across, if you wish to go.”
Her aged hand on his strong young arm She placed, and so without hurt or harm. He guided the trembling feet along, Proud that his own were young and strong;
Then back again to his friends he went,
His young heart happy and well content “She’s somebody’s mother, boys, you know, For all she’s aged, and poor and slow;
And some one, some time, may lend a hand To help my mother—you understand?— If ever she’s old and poor and gray, And her own dear boy so far away.”
“Somebody’s mother” bowed low her head In her home that night, and the prayer she said Was: “God be kind to that noble boy, Who is somebody’s son and pride and joy.”
Today, the we lost an icon. Some would say an American Icon, I would say a North American Icon. I like most grew up listening and watching Dick Clark’s Rocking New Years Eve. As a young boy with the babysitter for company, a can of pop and bag of chip’s as Dick would entertain us for a few hours. Then he would announce that the ball in Time Square was about to mark the last few seconds of the year. Later that ball became known as the Big Apple. I would watch and wonder what the new year would hold, what great things I would see, hear and do this coming year. I started each year with Dick Clark and I am sure that this coming New Year’s Eve, I like so many people will think of him for at least a few seconds as the new year approaches.
Today I am going to think of his family, his wife and his three children. To them, he will be remembered on so many times other then New Year’s Eve and today they are in my prayers. Thank you Dick, for all those years you stayed with me and my family, counting down the last seconds of each year and welcoming in the new one.
1929 - 2012
Normaly I write about someone who has died and how the life they have lived helped or touch others. Well today I want to share a poem I have on my office wall, a reminder of what I do each and every day. Yes each and every day, always a phone call away from death. Please enjoy and share with your friends, would love to see this retweeted, placed on facebook and sent to all we know. Thanks
The midnight hour, the darkest hour
That human grief may know,
Sends forth its hurried summons-
Asks me to come - I go.
I know not when the bell may toll,
I know not where the blow may fall,
I only know that I must go
In answer to the call.
Perhaps a friend - perhaps unknown-
Tis fate that turns the wheel-
The tangled skein of human life
Winds slowly on the reel.
And I? - I’m the undertaker,
“Cold-blooded”, you’ll hear them say,
“trained to the shock and chill of death,
With a heart that’s cold and grey.”
Trained - that’s what they call it
How little they know the rest -
I’m human, and know the sorrow
That throbs in the aching breast.
Bennett Chapple - 1903
I am sure that most of us now have received the news that Whitney Houston died today. As the world begins the process of grieving for Whitney and talk begins about her Celebration of her Life to come and the list of invites grows. I wonder if the most important person gets invited. Will Whitney be invited? Will she be the true guest of honour at her service or will she be left out. I hope she is there, I hope the family gets a chance to spend time with her. I know everyone says have a party, celebrate my life. I only hope that she is invited to her own party.
Actor Karl Slover, who was best known for playing a Munchkin in the 1939 classic film The Wizard of Oz, has died at the giant age of 93.
One of the last surviving cast members of The Wizard of Oz. Slover, who was one of the smallest male Munchkins in the movie, played the lead trumpeter, a townsman and soldier in the Oscar-winning film.
Karl’s stardom was by chance, he was originally cast in a smaller roll. His luck changed when another actor got stage fright during filming and Karl was promoted to lead trumpeter.
In 2007 Karl along with 6 remaining Munchkin stars were honoured in Los Angeles with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
But you ask why a survivor? Well that’s easy, when Karl was born in Czech Republic as Karl Kosiczky. Those days were very different then today, his father who was 6 foot 6 inches tried many different treatments to make Karl grow. At the age of 9 his father sold Karl to a troup of traveling midges in Berlin.
Karl made his way to America with his traveling troupe and that troupe was the nucleus of the Munchkins. In the 40’s he moved to Florida and worked for a traveling carnival owned by Bert and Ada Slover. There connection was so strong, they became his surrogate family and he legally adopted their last name.
Finally a family he was able to call his own.
1918 - 2011
Now I am sure most of you are looking at the title today and wondering what planet I am on. Well I have both feet firmly on the ground we call Earth. And I believe that funeral’s are now in vogue again, funerals for celebrities, politicians, the so called royalty of our time.
We as a society will flock to the television to watch the funeral of Jack Layton, line up for hours to sign his register book and pay our respects. And these are all good things we as a society need to be doing, this is how we show our support to the family and the beginning of our own healing process. However when death comes to those we love, whether it be family or friend, what do we do. It seems our society has opted to do nothing.
What do we tell our family to do in the event of our own death? We tell them to just get rid of our body, cremate me and do nothing. We opt for a “simple cremation or burial” with no fuss. We say things like we don’t want to burden our family and friends with a funeral.
Let me share with you a story of my neibour whose wife died a few years ago. He chose to have no service with a direct cremation, no notice in the paper, “No fuss”. Well her death came in the dark of winter and it was several weeks later my wife and I ran into him at the grocery store. The first thing I asked him after our hellos was how is your wife? And then he had to relive and experience the whole visitation period in the produce section. As we parted and said our goodbye’s he turned to me one last time and said with a tear in his eye that he wished he had done something, so all those who loved and cared for her could have the opportunity to say goodbye and give him the support he really needed.
On Monday, I watched the season nine opener of Two and a half Men with the other 28.7 million US viewers. As I watched, I relieved that we were all watching to see the funeral, to mourn the loss of not only Charlie Sheen from the show, but his alter ego on the sitcom Two and a Half Men The season nine opener began with the funeral of Sheen’s character, Charlie Harper, after he was apparently killed by a metro train in Paris.
So as I said in the title, the Funeral is in Vogue again. I only hope that we can bring back the funeral for those we truly love and impact our lives.
We as a society are so blessed to have the opportunity to show we care when a friend or family member dies. The Layton family is giving us an opportunity this Saturday to do just that in an official way. The state funeral for Jack Layton will take place at Roy Thompson Hall after Jack lay’s in state in Ottawa.
A fitting tribute to Jack that Prime Minister Harper called up Olivia Chow, Jack’s wife to offer this special privilege. Olivia so graciously accepted and I believe this show’s on both sides the way that Jack lived his life. He honoured and respected everyone, he may not have agreed with what you were saying, however he gave you the opportunity to speak. He listened carefully and would respectfully debate with you and show you his side of the discussion.
For those of us who are unable to attend the viewing in Ottawa, or the funeral in Toronto, you can sign an online book of condolences at www.ndp.ca. If you live in the southern Etobicoke area of Toronto, you can come into Ridley Funeral Home between the hours of 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. to sign a condolence book. This book will be available from Tuesday, August 23 to Sunday, August 28th. Ridley Funeral Home will deliver the book to the Layton Family shortly after the 28th. Ridley Funeral Home is located at 3080 Lake Shore Blvd. W. Toronto, Ontario. www.ridleyfuneralhome.com.
Yes I would call Jack Layton my friend and your friend. He was a friend to everyone in Canada from coast to coast to coast. No other politician in recent memory captured so many Canadians eyes like Jack Layton did. His infectious smile, quick remarks during debates, outstanding ability to win over everyone with charisma like no other.
I never had the pleasure of meeting Jack, however I feel like I have known him for so long even though he was only in the House of Commons since 2004 and leader of the NDP since 2003. He stirred a passion in many Canadians this past spring to get out and vote, he lead the NDP to 103 seats across Canada and became the Official Opposition for the first time in its history.
Even if you sit on the other side of his politics, you can’t help but like Jack. He treated everyone the same, with respect and dignity. He was slowly bringing decorum back to the House of Commons. Jack’s death brings a loss to all of us in Canada, a loss of a great leader and the loss of a friend to all of us. In our sadness, we cannot forget his family. Jack leaves his wife Olivia Chow and his children Michael and Sarah and his granddaughter Beatrice.
As I write this post today, my heart is heavy, the loss for Canada will be felt for a long time, and the loss for his family will be felt even longer. I hope we give his family the time they need to grieve; we treat them with the same respect Jack treated everyone else with. And if we are blessed with a public service for Jack, we give him all the honours he deserves.
Olivia, Michael, Sarah and Beatrice, you’re in my prayers. Jacks epitaph could easily read “Jack Layton, he made a difference for all of us.” He made a difference for all of Canada, but most of all, he made a difference for his family with his love, strength and support.
Rest in Peace my friend
1950 - 2011
Death and laughing are two things that happen together more often than not. If you spend time at a funeral home, you will hear laughter coming out of the visitation rooms. Don’t get me wrong, you will hear soft tones, crying and hushed whispers from the same rooms, however more often than not, you will hear laughter.
Well earlier today hackers were able to get into the website of Le Devoir (a Quebec newspaper) and post that Quebec’s premier Jean Charest was dead. Once the paper found out about the Hacking, they quickly shut down their website and posted a note to correct the hoax report.
The premier was able to joke about the report since he is still very much alive. He claims he has been written off by many papers in the past, but this was the first time any of them have gone at it from this angle. Glad to hear the Quebec Premier is doing well and able to laugh and joke about his own demise.
The hot breezes of July have been replaced with the warm winds of August. And as we look forward to the coming fall, we realize that our summer is slowly slipping away from us. This has been an interesting and terrifying summer so far. I know I am fortunate to have had the last few weeks away from work to spend with my family. We mainly stayed around Ontario and as I like to say “I refreshed my soul in Ontario”.
Others around the world have not enjoyed the great weather, security and freedom we do in Canada. I have been watching the streets of London burning, young people doing things so unimaginable to me. The senseless deaths, destruction and injury to so many in England, for what? Nothing has been accomplished; nothing has improved for these young people who say they want change. If anything, they have set themselves back by their actions.
I have listened to Prime Minister David Cameron tell us it is the “Broken Society” that needs to be fixed. He has pledged a war on gangs, review of all policies, speed up plans to improve parenting and education. Will these programs work? I don’t know.
Over lunch with some good friends this weekend we were discussing the events of the last few weeks and I was asked why I thought this was happening. What can be done to fix the problem? Here is what I told them.
This stems back many, many years. In the late 70’s, early 80’s we as a society decided that the way we raise our children was going to change. We were no longer going to have a neibourhood where one parent would be home to raise the children. We decided that we needed more and more, more property, more houses, more cars, more toys, more money. The way we accomplished this was to send both parents out into the workforce. This left a huge gap to be filled in. The parenting gap, the expense of taking care of our children was growing to the point of the second income, however that second income was needed for all the other things we decided we needed. So our personal debt grew and grew. Then the brake down of the family was going full steam ahead and now we have so many single parent families working two or more jobs, just to get by. And our children are left to take care of themselves.
In my opinion what can be done to fix this problem is for government to support the family. Support them by making it financially feasible for one parent to work and support the family on that income. Do this with tax breaks. For each family we take one parent out of the workforce to stay home and care for the family, we are cutting down the unemployment line. We are providing another support back to the neibourhood where the children are playing. I know I am making this sound very simple; however I do believe this will improve our families, children, neibourhood’s, communities, cities and countries.