Wednesday, October 24, 2012

R.I.P. Walter

Today is the anniversary of my Dad's passing.  To tell you the truth, I cannot tell you how many years that he has been gone, but I still miss him, and think about his influence upon my life.  For example, when I was dealing the the profile page of Facebook, I think that I quoted my dad when I said ;"You can play when your work is done." That I listened to my dad most of the time is a bonus for me, because I eventually did work hard, and now I am playing..

Dad was a post-war baby, and by that I mean the First World War.  He grew up with his twin, Jack and his sister Marg in the Depression times in Canada.  While he didn't elaborate on the tough times that he and his siblings had growing up, it was clear to me and my sister that his childhood was one of  work, effort, and support for his parents.  He was certainly not priviliged, and he learned to value  the product of his own labours.  He didn't talk much about the 5 years that his service to his country as a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force had upon him and his own hopes and dreams.  Neither he nor his brother, who also served complained about the time  away from family, the isolation of service, nor the sacrifices that they and their friends made.  It needed to be done, and that generation did it, many sacrificing everything.

I guess we can blame Dad's generation for creating the huge swath of Boomers who are now retiring in droves and creating a pain in the backside for the younger generation, my kids and Dad's grandkids, in that he and his cohort worked their tails off to provide for their families.  Demographics being what they are, I suppose there will always be a perception that the former generation was privileged and had the cream off the top of the milk jug, but I know that my Dad and Mom worked their tails off to provide for their kids.  I know that the times that I had with my Dad were special and I am so very grateful for his life.  I am the kind of guy that gets emotional over the photos in the shoeboxes, and the anniversairies that everyone else (except my sister) has forgotten. I value the lives of those who have come before me, and I celebrate their lives in my small way.  I can only hope that I can be as good a Father to my kids, and that they in turn will love and cherish the sense of family that parenting  should bring to them..Thanks for all that you gave me Dad, and best of all thanks for showing me what courage is all about...

Back to Antigua and another day fighting the war of the Verbs. My teacher is very cool, always supportive and encourage, and she has never frowned or made a face at my botched Spanish.  Today we walked to the post-office and mailed off some more weight from Blondy.  As my friend Anton predicted, I am starting to shed weight and pieces of stuff as I roll along, either deciding that this or that is unecessary, or too weighty.  I sent home my maps of Mexico, believing that by the time I see Mexico again I will have enough Spanish to not get too lost, or at least find myself again.  I sent home my backpacker stove and an accompanying pot: I haven't made one cup of coffee in two months.  Maybe I will be kicking my ass in the middle of Bolivia, but I need to pare down the weight and make some room in the panniers for necessary stuff.  I discovered today that it looks like I have left my tarp behind somewhere.  I had planned on a simple tarp over Blondy and I when the weather gets nasty.  It was a cool camouflaged tarp.  Now I suppose I will have to settle for a "Tahsis roof" tarp.

We walked around a market that I had not been in, and the colours and fabrics just blew my mind.  If I were heading north, I would be purchasing some colourful pieces to brighten up those Canadian winters.  Perhaps when I roll through here again I will do the market thing.

You know what?  These two guys got the message too, and I am very proud of them, as I am of their sister, who works double hard as a Mom and a journalist..

In addition to my upbringing by good parents with excellent values, I am so lucky to have very good friends who have always been there for me.

Around dinner time tonight, a friend whom I had met on the road rolled into town, and managed to get a room in the house where I am staying.  We have made plans to go look at a volcano tomorrow afternoon.  (Anything to avoid studying, I guess)

This is not the friend who rolled into Antigua. If you are wondering where your son is Mike, you had better look to his girlfriend(s)....
 I was whining about the number of firearms that I was seeing, particularly the sidearms and shotguns.  If I really understood the history of Guatemala, I would also better appreciate that some folks need to protect what they have, and probably have had first hand experience with la violencia.
I also was reminded that my friend Mike is a stainless steel shotgun kind of guy, too.
(And he lives in peaceful Canada)

And before anyone thinks that I have forgotten the beautiful art that we have in British Columbia, may I remind you of some of our native designs and colours:

Today, thanks to my son and Google, I learned how to download pictures from my phone.  I am gradually catching up on technology, but I am afraid that it is an uphill climb..
 I miss my family and am grateful that they are more or less together on the great Prairies of Canada.

Blondy on the streets of Antigua
 This little girl is guarding Blondy.  I think I have met her bigger brother a time or two...

 These are for you Doug...

There are at least a dozen colonial style buildings that are at least 200 years old in town..

 A back-strap loom from my balcony...

In spite of the serious earthquakes and the damage resulting from them, Antigua is a beautiful town and the people of the city are equally as beautiful..I am grateful that I was taught to work hard so that I could go out and play later....