Submitted by Audrey MacNaughton
Vaseux Lake froze over Thursday night. Three Coots on the ice this morning looking for open water. Clear to the rocks below the surface of the ice. Few more days before skating, though.
Carl – Episode 2
Last week we left Carl startled by the sudden approach of someone from behind. He stumbled and fell into some evergreen branches. As he struggled to regain his footing, he turned to see the tall leader of his summer tormentors reaching down for him. He braced himself for the expected attack.
“Don’t worry old man, I’m not gonna hurt you this time.” The young man spoke softly, still offering the tattooed and scarred hand to Carl. As he helped Carl get up, the man pulled a crumpled bag from his pocket and handed it to Carl. “What’s this?” Carl asked. “It’s your stuff,” the man explained. “It’s your stuff back. Even the money in your wallet.” “I don’t understand,” Carl said. “Why would you help me now?” The man shifted his feet, seemingly embarrassed and ill at ease. “I learned something from you,” he said. “I ran with that gang and hurt people like you. We picked you because you were old and we knew we could do it. But every time we came and did something to you, instead of yelling and fighting back, you tried to give us a drink. You didn’t hate us for hating you. You kept showing love against our hate.” (Valentine’s Day??)
He stopped for a moment. “I couldn’t sleep after we stole your stuff, so here it is back.” He paused for another awkward moment, not knowing what more there was to say. “That bag’s my way of saying thanks for straightening me out, I guess.” And with that, he walked off down the street. Carl looked down at the sack in his hands and gingerly opened it. He took out his retirement watch and put it back on his wrist. Opening his wallet, he checked for his wedding photo. He gazed for a moment at the young bride that still smiled back at him from all those years ago.
Carl died one cold day after Christmas that winter. Many people attended his funeral in spite of the weather. In particular the minister noticed a tall young man that he didn’t know sitting quietly in a distant corner of the church. The minister spoke of Carl’s garden as a lesson in life. In a voice made thick with unshed tears, he said, “Do your best and make your garden as beautiful as you can. We will never forget Carl and his garden.”
The following spring a poster declared: “Person needed to care for Carl’s garden.” The flyer went unnoticed by the busy parishioners until one day when a knock was heard at the minister’s office door. Opening the door, the minister saw a pair of scarred and tattooed hands holding the poster. “I believe this is my job, if you’ll have me,” the young man said. The minister recognized him as the same young man who had returned the stolen watch and wallet to Carl. He knew that Carl’s kindness had turned this man’s life around. As the minister handed him the keys to the garden shed, he said, “Yes, go take care of Carl’s garden and honor him.”
The man went to work and, over the next several years, he tended the flowers and vegetables just as Carl had done. During that time, he went to college, got married, and became a prominent member of the community. But he never forgot his promise to Carl’s memory and kept the garden as beautiful as he thought Carl would have kept it. One day he approached the new minister and told him that he couldn’t care for the garden any longer. He explained with a shy and happy smile, “My wife just had a baby boy last night, and she’s bringing him home on Saturday.” “Well, congratulations!” said the minister, as he was handed the garden shed keys. “That’s wonderful! What’s the baby’s name?” “Carl,” he replied.
Author: Joseph E. Stickney in Stories for Children (Adults too?!)
Submitted by Henry Wiebe
With permission this ‘comment’ remains in the that section as well…… but printed on the main page as the issue is of great importance to many
Financing a Feasibility Study for Aquatic Centre
………….. It may be too late but this issue has been raised more than once in the past and I cannot think of one good reason to pursue it again. A study doesn’t result in an actual facility but I’m thinking the money spent on such a proposal could surely be more effectively spent elsewhere. While it’s very nice to think about the wants of Osoyoos and the Osoyoos Indian Band I believe we must think of the needs of our own community now and in the near future.
Currently, and in the foreseeable future we have an outdoor swimming pool that will continue to serve us well for another 10 to 20 years. It has been well maintained for the 33 years since it was constructed. It has also been retrofitted with a saltwater system which has pretty much replaced the old chlorine system which was much more costly to operate. It’s also safer. We have an arena that has aged well and been maintained well for over fifty years. The roof needs work, the ice surface needs replacing and the ice plant is likely due for some major maintenance work.
We have a fabulous parks system, a newly renovated skatepark, a great community centre (that is aging too), tennis courts, playing fields, Rotary Beach, Kiwanis Playground, Frank Venables Theatre, and so much more.
For a community our size, with the support of Oliver and Electoral Area “C” we really want for nothing more until we can realistically afford it. We need to continue to look after what we have as priority one. Our tax base has not flourished or grown to the degree that we can really invest in a new aquatic facility that a lot of people will have to travel to just to use it. Yes, it will have more bells and whistles than what we have but it will cost considerably more to operate it. I won’t dwell on the cost of construction since that capital cost will disappear in 20 to 30 years but in the meantime……..ouch.
Please think about what we have invested our tax dollars into to date and how practical it is to continue to maintain what we are so proud to have. There has been quite a lot of discussion and concern for our homeless residents of late and for good reason. I’m inclined to agree that Mayor and Council might want to give more of their time discussing the needs of that segment of our population and how they are in the position to support Desert Sun Counselling and Resource Centre’s very viable proposal now when it is very much needed.
We have active service organization who have supported many community projects over the years – if we can just be patient and look after what we have, we can then look to future when we have a tax base that can help us to sustain such an expenditure as an aquatic centre.