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Showing posts from May, 2018

Within the walls of Windsor

Windsor Castle--the Royal Collection Trust states that it is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. Today it was on show in all of its beauty and glory, its walls witness to a love story that makes us believe in happy endings. Today Prince Harry and his beautiful beloved Meghan got married amid pomp and pageantry that felt like an elegant party rather than formal ceremony. It was worth every hour of lost sleep to watch with a breathless world as the first guests arrived, perfectly coifed and dressed, and imagine the feeling of really being there when even from afar we felt such anticipation and excitement. 

As I watched the wedding from Canada, my brother, Rob, was doing the same in England and both of us were thinking of another time in the history of the castle, 70 years ago. 

In 1947 my father, Chris Cater, was in the Grenadier Guards and stationed at Caterham Barracks. One day when off duty, he met a 21-year-old Dutch girl, who would one day be my mother, at Speaker…

Just Listen

"Mom," said Brenda a couple of months ago, "I want to place an order for 50 strawberry tarts."  I have a small pie business, and the tarts were for a special lunch at the school where she works.

"No, problem," I said--she didn't need the tarts for several weeks. Brenda is well-organised and always plans ahead. I am not entirely as organised as she.

However, as the delivery date (a.k.a. the "nick of time") approached, I found the perfect recipe. The process involved was a little more complicated than I'd anticipated, and I was surprised at the weight of strawberries needed for the recipe, which was for only 6 tarts and would have to be multiplied many times. And I would need to buy tartlet tins.

Getting tartlet tins on short notice proved to be impossible. I checked first on Amazon. Although I found the perfect tins there, they would not arrive in time. A local store that promised to carry the tins had them-- but only two! I was grateful…

Boundaries and Bonds

Almost three years ago, on the first Sunday of my "retired life," I left the church after morning service giddy with newfound freedom. Instead of turning left, from the church driveway, to go straight home, as usual, I decided to turn right, drive to the nearby village and visit my mother-in-law, whom I love.

I found her in her backyard, sitting on a garden swing, beneath a canopy that shaded her from the August sun. She loves to be out in the fresh air and loves to garden. Undeterred by the fact that her knees hurt and her leg may "give way" at any moment, she will strategize as though planning a complex military operation, and somehow accomplish the goal she has in mind. In between these manoeuvres, she will stop until she regains energy for the next onslaught.

That afternoon, we sat for a couple of pleasant hours in the sun. Around us, insects buzzed, birds sang, the breeze played with our hair as the canvas canopy over our heads flapped--and we talked--and talked…

The Quest for Balance

Mid-April, snowbound, churches closed, flights cancelled--spring in Canada!
Weather alerts said this would be a historic storm and warned against unnecessary travel--freezing rain already had wreaked havoc with hydro wires and highways.

It had been an unusually busy week and a Sunday at home felt like a gift. I poured a steaming cup of black coffee, found my favourite chair, and by the flickeringlight of a candle, embraced the time to reflect.

Prompted by recent conversations with a few friends, I found myself thinking about balance, i.e. the fine line that so many of us struggle with--between being "useful" and "used up"--between success and being a victim of one's success.


Paul and I are retired so you would think that this struggle is behind us--but not so much! It was Aristotle who said, "Nature abhors a vacuum," and this does indeed seem true if we leave the filling of available time to chance.

By default, our time will be taken up and we may find our…