I am sitting in our den which is at the back of our home and is open to our kitchen. There is a fireplace, gas, which means we use it a lot – often at the oddest hours, and bracketing the fireplace are two tall, narrow windows. In one of those windows is a very small oak table which I am using as my desk and which is where I am sitting now. The window faces east, towards CR 45, Grafton and beyond that, Presqu’ile (‘though, of course, I can see none of those). My view is of our back garden, of our wind chimes which are dancing merrily today, of our pergola (which is dominated by a way out-of-control Wisteria vine) and my bird feeder, which is hung from the pergola. It is sunny, our lawn is greening nicely and I can see a clump of tulips which have sprouted about five inches. It is the perfect spot to daydream or to reminisce…
Make each day your masterpiece.*
I’ve been indulging in a trip down memory lane today, thanks to Jeopardy last night and the answer to a question in the “He Said” category – about the above quote. In February of 1976, during my first reading week, I travelled to California to visit my cousin who was living there, working as a nurse. This was my first time flying alone – travelling anywhere alone, actually. My first grand adventure without Mum and Dad. This was as momentous for them as for me. Perhaps you know already, but my mum had a series of miscarriages and stillbirths before I came along so you can just imagine how cosseted I was.
Whilst at Uni I played basketball with Annie, Laura and Frances. Together we are FLAP. I’ve written about these special women several times already. Knowing how important basketball was to me and what an amazing program existed at UCLA, the campus was high on my cousin’s agenda for sightseeing trips during my visit. We spent an entire, happy, exciting day there, most of it at Pauley Pavilion where we watched the men’s Bruins practice for March Madness. That practice was also watched by newly retired coach John Wooden. The atmosphere in such a grand venue was overwhelming to a kid who was used to watching men’s varsity basketball at UofT’s Benson Building gymnasium. That morning there were more spectators taking in the Bruins’ practice than at UofT for men’s/women’s double-header games.
Coach Wooden, quite clearly bemused by my unabashed enthusiasm, wandered over to us, sat down, and began a rambling conversation about basketball. He asked all about my team, my coach and my experiences and we spent a happy hour or so exchanging basketball stories. It was only after he left that I found out who I’d been speaking with. After the practice ended, we visited the Pauley Pavilion gift store where I spent #MoreThanICouldAfford on Bruins wear – a couple of t-shirts, a pair of socks, and a pair of leather high tops. Best day ever, at that time of my life.
Coach Wooden was a bit of a philosopher and I’ve saved a number of his quotes over the years, all written inside my 1975-1976 journal. At this time of physical distancing, one of his quotes is highly appropriate:
Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.*
All over my social media feeds are images of my friends making the very best of the way things have turned out: Loads of fresh loaves of bread (one even baked in a wood oven), home made cookes and cakes, indoor seed gardens planted by the tiniest of fingers, community messages of love and support written in chalk on the sidewalks of Cobourg, pictures of our local radio station’s daily “My FM Fun Photo Challenge“, neighbours helping neighbours, Cobourgers celebrating and thanking our front-line medical team, our first responders and the staff of our grocery stores.
One of the reasons today was a masterpiece is because this afternoon we had our appointment to pick up our first ever PC Express order. Our only local pick-up location is YIG in Port Hope. Our appointment was 2:00-3:00 and Cam arrived at about 2:30, called the shop and the loveliest young woman named Olive came out with our order, put it in the trunk of his car, wished him a happy day and left with the advice to book our next pick-up time immediately. Easy, smooth, friendly service. Perfect! A masterpiece!
Since placing our order there have been additional restrictions placed on the on-line ordering process so I’ve been jokingly referring to this order as our mystery package as we’d no idea which products would be included and which not. We did not get our broccoli, our tissues, our toilet paper and our bleach. Otherwise, everything was there, fresh, nicely packaged, exactly as we’d have done ourselves. A masterpiece!
When one’s activities are limited beyond the scope of imagination, and when that curtailing is done by a medical team one simply cannot ignore, appreciation for help of this magnitude goes far beyond a mere thank you.
Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.*
This ought to be tattooed on my forehead. It is very easy for me to fall into the trap of bemoaning all the missed days of playing at Presqu’ile, of meeting up with friends, of shopping, going out to eat – all my usual activities. When that becomes my focus, I have indeed allowed what I cannot do interfere with what I can do and that is almost criminal because the possibilities, even in isolation, are endless. I hope you are focussing on what you can do even when – especially when – it might be very hard. Do what I say, not what I do!!!
‘Til next time, y’all…
*John Wooden, “The Wizard of Westwood” was the head coach of the men’s Bruins basketball team at UCLA from 1948 through 1975 – nearly thirty years. During that time he established the team as a national powerhouse, winning ten NCAA championships. Mr. Wooden and his wife were honoured on December 20, 2003 when the basketball floor at Pauley Pavilion (home of the Bruins) was named the “Nell & John Wooden Court.”
Hey there “KC” – today’s “magnificent mug” brew was peach-mango – tasty but not as nice as peach-ginger.