Saturday, October 25, 2014

A day in the life of a polliwog.

So much has been happening in the last month that is worth telling you about I don’t even know where to begin.  So far, this has been one of the best years I have experienced in a very long time.  A lot of that has stemmed from my setting an intention last January to accomplish a number of fairly significant goals in my life with, as my family calls it, P & V*.  And by best, I mean, real, authentic, heartfelt, loving, joyous moments that seemed to be strung together like an endless string of bright fairy lights!  What radiance!  So when I tried to zero in on what to write about today, I landed on one tiny moment, that encapsulates all of those adjectives – a couple of hours spent with my brother Paul… affectionately known as Polliwog.

I may be a tad(pole) biased – (this pun’s for you W) – but I have always thought my brother is the cutest, funniest, rambunctious, hard-working, thoughtful, and loving guy on the planet.  He is a very handsome man, now in his early fifties, can imitate Jim Carrey perfectly (especially his role as The Grinch), has been up to mischief for as along as I can remember, works as a shop teacher (his students adore him), owns a beautiful farm on the river, constantly puts others’ needs before his own, and is passionate about many, many things.

I’m currently spending several weeks in Ontario and have had the luxury of spending more quality time with my Mom and siblings.  Last Saturday, one of my sisters and I went to Polliwog’s farm to help him chainsaw and stack firewood to get ready for what is promising to be another Arctic-vortex-like winter here.  He dressed us both in coveralls, toques, work mitts, and boots so we could withstand the blustering wind that accompanied our efforts.  He was hysterically funny, and the two hours went by in a flash.  We laughed our guts out at his impersonations, felt good about the physical exercise, and just really enjoyed being with him.  We had him all to ourselves for those two hours.  There’s never a dull moment with that man.  It was a great time.  After we stacked the last piece of winter fuel, we headed to another barn where he proudly showed us his latest acquisition.  One of his passions is “collecting” things that other people have tossed aside as useless.  He loves to go to the nearby steel junkyard, and pick through the rejects for what he considers to be future treasures.  His latest score was the container portion of a wheelbarrow.  (I guess you’d call that the barrow?)  As I could see he had plenty already, I asked him why he was so excited.  He said that it was a very good one (construction grade), worth quite a bit of money, and that he could take it to his shop class and one of his students would learn how to fabricate the wheel housing and bring the thing back to life.  I could understand all that but still wondered what he would do with it once it was all finished.  I mean, how many wheelbarrows does one man need?

And then he told me that one of his former students had just purchased her first home.  He knew it was a stretch for her so he was putting together a housewarming present for her.  He figured she’d probably need a lawn mower, a wheelbarrow, tools, etc. and so he was putting together a potpourri of useful things to celebrate her big step in life – all repurposed from items out of his collection. I was so touched by the enormity of his gesture and I know that this is just one of hundreds of wonderful gifts he has given to those who he feels could use a little help. It occurred to me that he epitomized my father who never ceased to find ways to be of service to others.

I hope to spend more time with him while I am here.  I am thinking tomorrow might be the day we attempt to put a new roof on the woodshed.  Anything for my brother.

With so much love for my amazing family,


P.S.  I am quite sure that the rest of the year will continue to yield amazing experiences and developments… stay tuned!

And, as always, to underscore my post, a song about brothers… a little different perspective from what I’ve just written about, but touching in light of events in Ottawa this week. 

*piss & vinegar

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