Cakewalk Chronicles – Floods, family and good friends

Esther Darlington MacDonald's musings on living in a small interior town.

What more can happen?

Ever experienced a hot water tank leakage? No? Well, how fortunate you are. But I’ll tell you one thing, if it happens, you’d better have insurance to cover.

It was just one more straw on the camel’s back so to speak, but, as one sage member of our community commented, “You’re never tested more than you can take.” Or words to that effect. Small comfort, that.

Anyway, Sherman, fresh from a rather lengthy stay in RIH, and doing as well as can be expected at home, noticed the moisture in the carpet in our spare bedroom, where he watches tv. It soon became apparent that this was no small matter. A call to B.C.A.A. resulted in a prompt visit from On Side Restoration in Kamloops, and the water seepage was tracked into the adjoining bathroom and linen closet, as well as the spare bedroom.  A crew came a while later, tore up the carpet and began to dry out the effected areas. Massive drying machines, fans, etc. Sherman and I had to vacate the premises, along with our little sweetie, Tanner. Yes, the River Inn would accept a dog. We had to hastily pack and leave.  I now have some idea how those families who have to leave at a moment’s notice because of a flood are feeling as they breathlessly put together the things they will need, like, immediately. Toothbrush, underwear, that sort of thing. We arrived in late afternoon and we were promptly taken in hand by our gracious host, owner of the hotel, Mahmoud Meralli. This gentleman, (and I use the word entirely appropriately) made our six day stay at the River Inn comfortable and reassuring.

I learned a little about Mahmoud. He is an Ismaili Muslim. Ismaili is a branch of Shia Islam. There are two branches of Islam, Shia and Sunni. The Ismaili branch is a scattered but cohesive community in 25 countries including Africa and Asia, as well as North America. The spiritual head is the Aga Khan, one of the most enlightened men in the world. He has established schools, hospitals. In 1972, the dictator Idi Amin expelled thousands of Ismailis and the Aga Khan helped those displaced to find homes in various parts of the globe.  Happily, Mahmoud and his family found that home on Vancouver Island. His two sons were educated at the prestigious St. George School there. It was a happy story, and our stay with Mahmoud at the River Inn made our hasty exit from home much easier. I should also mention the staff of Chris’s Under The Bridge, and Chris himself. They were as close a “family” atmosphere as you could wish for. Our gratitude and thanks to you all!  May your Christmas be as warm and hospitable as you made our visit!

The Newtown tragedy

I guess the world is in shock over this terrible tragedy. Friends visiting discussed it. People in our coffee places talked about it. And of course, gun control and mental illness are at the forefront of everyone’s questins. The Americans are looking at gun control as they never have before. President Obama’s speech at Newtown challenged the nation’s “Right to Bear Arms”.  Who knows where it will lead, but the safety of our children surely must trump the lobbies pushing unrestricted use of automatic weapons and other firearms. Yes, not everyone who uses a rifle threatens. That’s ridiculous.  There are responsible users of fire arms both in Canada and the U.S.  Always have been. I used a rifle myself and shot ducks and grouse. That is not the problem. The problem is unfettered use of automatic weaponry that kills dozens of persons, too readily available to anyone with the money to buy them. That is the problem the U.S. will be looking at in the months ahead. And yes, I know that in Canada, stabbing is the most common means of attack, not shooting. But that argument seems pretty weak in the fact of those beautiful little children mowed down at the tender ages of 6 and 7.

Recycling toys, etc.

Boy!  Was I ever heartened by a small documentary recently showing how plastic toys, tvs and computers are completely dismantled and parts recycled right here in BC. A man holding a bright shiney red plastic fire engine toy complete with wheels said, “Every part of this toy will be recycled”.  Some days, it seems kind of silly, going out on the deck to put my tin cans, packaging and glass jars into separate bags…but hey! Packing cardboard down to the recycle bins downtown may seem at times inconvenient.  But knowing that the cardboard will be reincarnated into something else that is useful and necessary.  Well, it helps to bear that in mind.

My great grandson Zhangu

I have a great grandson named after his father’s great grandfather in Sierra Leone who was a great leader of his people. Zhangu is now 5 years old and this year was enrolled in kindergarten. My grand daughter Ayisha sent me his first school picture. That bright eyed, intelligent, handsome little boy is reminding me that, if you ever wondered what life was all about, this little lad who speaks so clearly and confidently, affirms that there is a grand design that impels each one of us, and though the way may seem difficult beyond words, there is a meaning to what we call Life.  I think of my step son George Petel, whose late mother was a Shuswap from Bonaparte, and his father was my late husband Ross Darlington. George’s childhood was one of the most difficult a child could have. Today, he is a successful civil lawyer in Calgary with a beautiful wife and two lovely little girls. I tell you. Life really does take full circle when you are my age. I turn 82 this month.

Handi dart transport for seniors

I was once again disappointed by the decision of Cache Creek council to withdraw funding for this. You just can’t realize how difficult it is for seniors who no longer drive to have access to transportation. Not only for medical reasons, but for the essential social inter-action. Even if the facility seems under used, it is still essential and necessary. People remain healthy in old age because there are resources they can depend on. And transportation is one of them. It is a poor reflection of any community that fails to recognize this. Shame on you! Money can’t be that short! The social value of transport from Cache Creek and Clinton to resources in Ashcroft simply cannot be under estimated.

Home care

I cannot say enough about those fine women who provide Home Care. Since Sherman’s release from hospital, we have had several come every morning to check on my dear man. Their moods are light and amusing. Their willing hands and hearts are so appreciated! God bless em!

Merry Christmas and Happy 2013

May each and every one of my readers enjoy the warmth and goodwill that this season brings. I’ve appreciated your appreciation of my historical articles and biographies of local people. A little positive feedback goes a long way in this profession. All the best from Sherman and myself.

Esther Darlington MacDonald