Archive | Articles RSS feed for this section


20 Aug

Buying and Selling Take Tool Long On The Internet

                 Ed, my neighbor next door, is always looking for a bargain. He is an auction addict and sometimes even has some appetite for yard sales if he is not busy at the farm. Once again, my neighbor shared with me how disappointed he was with the way we recently had our van up for sale. “Do you really think you’ll ever sell your van with that sign in the window of it?” was his first question. Second he asked, “How much do you want for it?” Third question he quizzed, “How much are willing to take for it?” Before Ed could ask me ten more questions, I asked him, “Do you want to buy my van?” I was ready for his answer which was that he would never buy a van because he only drives trucks. While I had him on a two second pause, I told him that he should buy our van for his wife Ruby. “She wouldn’t be interested in it,” Ed insisted. I told Ed that it was fine because it was advertised on four internet websites. “When they don’t work take it to the Yorkton Auction Center,” Ed instructed as left me alone with my van.

                After a week and no sale of the van, Ed said that in the summer, the weather is too nice and no one is on the internet. He was truly skeptical that we were receiving calls and emails concerning the van. By the end of the second week, my neighbor said, “I haven’t seen anyone test driving your van so I guess those calls and emails are worthless when it comes to selling your van!” When our van had not sold in two weeks, my neighbor said the internet ads were useless but he was impressed to hear they were free. According to Ed, eighteen days to sell our van was way too long. We were really pleased with how the selling our van went even if our neighbor was not impressed. 


20 Aug

Downsize! It is Easy to Donate, Sell, or Garbage Your Stuff!

                Ed, my neighbor next door, actually entered my office last week. My office is tucked away in the basement of our house, and it is also the furnace room and the water heater room. No one usually gets into my office except me and our two cats. Occasionally, my wife yells from the office doorway but seldom enters as she says that you need a guide to get in and out my office. Ed was a bit speechless at the sight of my office. He wasn’t at a loss for words long. He said, “It looks like your office is a dumping ground for a lot of junk you could do without.” All I could say was that I had heard that observation before.                                                

I informed my neighbor that I had started a six-month project to de-clutter my office. “If you see any book that you would like there is a good chance it can be yours for the taking,” I said to him. Ed was not impressed as he said that his school days put him right off books just like church puts folks off God. I offered him a music stand as I have two, and even offered him one of my paintings as I have an office full of them. He said he had no need for a music stand and my paintings were either too religious or too abstract. He had come to the office with a paper he needed witnessing, and as soon as we did that he had to leave. It was the first time Ed experienced feelings of claustrophobia. My office is windowless and pretty much standing room only. He thought that his visit could give him nightmares. His worst nightmare would entail being locked in my office, with endless books that he had to read before he could get out of the room.                            

Picking Raspberries

13 Aug

Work After Supper in the Cool of the Evening to Beat the Summer Heat

Ed, my neighbor next door, has been relaxing in the shade of his yard watching me pick raspberries. He has been scoffing because I have been harvesting my raspberries after supper when the heat of the day is a bit less intense. I have been named an old flower child of the sixties who is afraid of the full sun of the day now by my neighbor. This year, my raspberries are both plentiful and a challenge to pick. All the rains in early summer encouraged relentless new growth so my raspberry patch is a real jungle. I’m not complaining, but pickings have been time-consuming as I poke around hunting the raspberries who love to hide. Ed refused any offer of raspberries as he claimed that their seeds got stuck in his teeth. I inquired if Ruby his wife would like some raspberries. Ed said, “Don’t give her any or they will be on the table and I won’t get a dessert that I would like better.”

I tried telling Ed how raspberries are healthy fruit to eat. I said they were rich in Vitamin C and K, and manganese. Tests have shown raspberries can be beneficial in lowering blood sugars and may act to prevent cancer. When I said they might also have the potential to help manage obesity, my neighbor said that I was living proof that raspberries don’t combat obesity. I asked Ed if he had ever seen or eaten black or purple raspberries. He said raspberries only come in red and that black and purple raspberries are a myth. Ed did not want to hear, either that Canada produced 12,285 tons of raspberries in 2011 which was 2% of the world’s production.  My faithful critic next door accused me of giving him more useless facts than an encyclopedia and went into his house.


2 Aug

No One Pays Attention to You Until You Make a Mistake

Ed, my neighbor next door, was rather gracious to me last week. I think he forgot that he was talking to me. The last couple of weeks, I have been batting home run mistakes all over the place. A home run mistake is an error that everyone sees. Just as bad, others cannot believe you made such an obvious bungling of what you are doing. It is like singing off tune so badly that everyone else stops singing and looks at you in stunned silence. Home run mistakes are impressive, and leave other folks talking about you for a long time. It is always good when others make the glaring botch ups. We all are comfortable discussing the bloopers other people make. It is really hard to face our own home run gigantic errors.

My neighbor told me that I worried, too much as everyone has made more than their share of big errors. He said that all I have to do is to act as if I have no idea I made any mistake big or little. Regrets won’t erase your goof ups. Folks, who like you, will see the error as a temporary, unusual occurrence. Those who don’t like you will be glad you look dumb. He ended his advice with his claim that most people are too preoccupied with their cell phone games today, to pay attention anyone else.

On The Road

29 Jul

Going Down the Road to Hug the Grandkids & Experience 1816

Ed, my neighbor next door, isn’t much on geography, and wasn’t quite sure where Thunder Bay is located. He thought if we were going camping there it must be about a day’s drive away. Hearing it is at the head of Lake Superior, he couldn’t figure out why we would go there to camp. Even when, I said it was to meet our son and his family there, he could not see the point of driving that far to camp. He did concede that sometimes grandparents will drive many hours to see grandkids.

I could understand Ed’s vagueness about Thunder Bay because, until 1970, there was no Thunder Bay but the twin cities of Fort William and Port Arthur. In 1970, the two cities and surrounding areas became one as Thunder Bay. I was telling Ed that European settlement there goes back to 1683, and 1717 with French fur trading posts linked with Montreal. In 1803, the North West Company built a major fur trading post at Fort William. That fort has been carefully reconstructed and can be viewed as it was in operation as it was in 1816.  It is a great place to become reconnected with the fur trade, native life of the Ojibwa, the French Canadian voyageurs, the inland headquarters for the Scottish owners of the North West Fur Company, the artisans, and farmers at the fur trading post. I told Ed he would like the experience the thrill of firing an authentic 1812 firearm, or to canoe twenty minute in a birch bark canoe on the Kaministiquia River. Ed told me that he might consider them both when he is old like me with nothing better to do.      


22 Jul

The Problem For You May Prove To Be No Difficulty To Others

Last week Ed, my neighbor next door, had a good laugh at my problem. I had laryngitis and my voice was no higher than a whisper. My neighbor was certain that it was no problem to others if they couldn’t hear me. He was convinced many would see it as a welcome relief. When he learned we were leaving for camping at Thunder Bay, Ontario, he had another laugh. He said that I would be a quiet meal for starving misquotes and that I wouldn’t be able to yell if a bear showed up at our campground for supper. I whispered to Ed that the Saskatchewan misquotes have been so thick and greedy I have no blood left to give to their Ontario cousins. I also said that when it comes to facing a hungry bear in camp, I’m pretty confident that my breath could scare a bear off, as I’ve been told that my breath is like being sprayed by a skunk. Ed said that it was too hard trying to listen to me with laryngitis, but he always likes to see me go away. When I said, “Do you mean you like to see me go away for holidays?” He said, “Okay sure, then too,” as he left for his house.

Laryngitis is a small problem compared to the many folks in our community burdened with flood clean up and repairs to their homes. How good it is when we can view our problems as being resolved in a matter of weeks or days or months. When one reads the Bible, problems are often long term with no relief or resolve quickly. When Joseph brought his father and his whole family to Egypt, they enjoyed the blessing of welcome from the Pharaoh as they settled in Egypt.  For a time, the Israelites prospered and times were good in Egypt but after Joseph’s death and other Pharaohs were ruling time became awful for the Israelites with centuries of being enslaved and treated harshly. The people of God came to have slave masters over them, and their lives were bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar, and all kinds of work in the field. Things went from bad to even worse when the Pharaoh ordered the Israelites to throw every baby boy born to them to be thrown into the Nile River. Only, if they gave birth to baby girls could the baby live.