Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pocket Change

Well, it's the end of another summer and the days are definitely getting considerably shorter, not to mention cooler. And although we are heading into my favourite season, “Sweater Weather”, I will miss the long, drawn out, sunny summer days. The trees are slowly shutting down, turning the bright greens of their leaves into the brilliant, vibrant hues of autumn. Mother Nature has cleansed her palette and has begun repainting anew the landscape - blessing us with a canvas of untold beauty. And, life as we know it, moves on. As the cooler weather begins to encroach upon us, instinct, it appears, wants us to move indoors. However, I am not quite ready for that just yet. Mind you, there are still a number of unfinished chores begging for my attention and reluctantly, I am tending to those as time permits. As for extra curricular activity, my Sunday night hockey group have already taken to the ice. There is just something unnatural walking into an arena carrying hockey gear while wearing shorts. Oh well! C'est la vie!

I know it has been awhile since I have last posted but there are times when personal responsibility's become the order of the day. And believe me, my days are indeed full. It was also quite necessary to enjoy some of the summer days that finally presented themselves to us. We did have quite a fair amount of wet weather this year and so, when the sun shone, I wanted to be under it. To say that I was able to enjoy some new experiences would be an understatement. Pedaling around the nearby countrysides and taking in the rolling landscapes of the many farmers' fields was not only breathtaking but therapeutic as well. It seemed, to me anyways, that when you drive the roads on a regular basis, that each scene blends itself into one and they tend to all look alike. But when you travel at a slower pace your eyes catch things that you would have normally missed.

Like a solitary figure tending to the crops out in the vastness of the green and gold fields while the midday sun beats down on him and his gently rolling tractor. There were many a farmer that put a smile on my face as they gave me a gentle wave while I rolled by. And now, their efforts of toiling under that hot sun have begun to pay off as the crops hit the week end markets. Corn, carrots, potatoes, beets – the shopping list is endless. Fresh, crisp and juicy apples along roadside kiosks not to mention the pies and other fresh baked goods at the numerous vendors. Jars and jars of fresh preserves and varieties of pickles too numerous to name. It's a great time of the year. For obvious reasons, our harvest season begins a lot earlier than those of our neighbours to the south. But I am sure, they too, have begun to enjoy the abundant cornucopia that the farmers sweat equity has produced.

Sadly, this is also the time of year when those less fortunate begin to find it more difficult to fend for themselves, trying desperately to make ends meet. You see them on street corners, parks or outside of grocery stores, begging for a little pocket change. These are not the type of people you would normally see begging for a handout to feed a craving or a fix. But people who are already on limited or fixed income foregoing pride in order to put some food in their stomachs. We are fast approaching the season of Thanksgiving when many of us have so much to be thankful for. Our health, a steady income, our friends and families. Not to mention the frills that go along with that. Sometimes it is to easy to take all that for granted I suppose. In our haste to get on with our days, we scarcely give these people a second glance. Sometimes stopping, most times rushing on to our next destination.

But, every once in awhile, something happens that stops me in my tracks. I was leaving the grocery store the other day when I heard a garbled voice muttering something I couldn't quite understand. When I turned to face the person to ask them to repeat themselves, I had to look down as there, seated in a wheelchair, was the remnants of a man who had seen far better days. His body twisted and crippled and his eyes, dark, sorrowful and desperate. Again, he slowly and quietly asked if I could spare some money so he could buy some food. Of course I obliged without any misgivings. These are the situations that always grab a strangle hold on my heart. I'm not sure what happens to me, shame perhaps. I become uneasy as I fumble through my pockets for my wallet. Digging out some cash to hand over to this man. There are times I wish I could do more. But at the same time, I wonder what has gone so wrong with our system that this particular man is forced to humble himself in order to feed himself. Without even knowing it, this man taught me a little about humility and a persons desire to survive. It's too bad life has to sacrifice some of these forgotten human beings to teach some of us what life is all about.

So, as Thanksgiving approaches for us here in Canada and later in the United States, remember those whose lives have had a little less joy in their hearts. Especially when you exit the store and see one of those lost souls, humbly mustering up the courage to ask for a little pocket change.


smiles4u said...

Oh Mr. Boogy you never cease to amaze me with your way with words. You describe so well what is before you and make me think outside of myself. I like this.

You remind me of how much I have to be thankful for but also how much I miss in my daily life because I am so focused on getting from point A to point B and then to point C and D. Not always but enough that your post here makes me stop and think about my day.

Your post also brings to mind something my daughter shared with me not long ago. She told me that my son puts all of his change in the cup holder of his car and that once it is full he takes that money and uses it to help a homeless person. He uses it to buy food and water for them. She told me that there are a lot of homeless people where they live in Florida. When my daughter told me this I was left speechless. I don't share this in order to brag about my son. I share this because of the lesson he has taught me in this. My son doesn't even know that I know that he does this. Your post reminds me of this lesson. Thank you.

I am glad that you have been taking time to enjoy life and taking time for the important things. It has been quite cool here also...leaves are changing quickly and our garden has been harvested.

It is a treat for me to read your post tonight since I have not had much time for the computor or the blog world lately. When I actually had a chance to go on the computor and then seen you had posted, it put a very big smile on my face. Thank you for touching my life with your big heart. Love and hugs to you my dear friend. Lori

Michelle said...

Beautifully written Bogey!

And yeah, no matter the circumstances, no one should have to beg.

Good to 'see' you again


ms toast burner said...

Nice to see you post again, Bogey but it's also great that you're out there living life and soaking it up.

I know exactly what you mean about people who are homeless and/or out on the street asking for spare change.

On one hand seeing it offers me perspective on my own problems and on the other hand, it's horrible that in this country we as a nation seem apathetic to people on the street.

When I moved to England a while back, that was one thing that I noticed... the proportion of people 'sleeping rough' as they say over there, was so tiny compared to Canada. It's an embarrassment how poorly Canada deals with poverty, homelessness, etc... that results in people getting into situations I can not imagine. I feel a donation to the food bank coming on...

Anyways... enjoy the fall colours!

Hilary said...

Thanks for your kind reminder. It's good to see you post again. Your words are wise and reassuring. Thanks for that.

James said...

Hi Bogey, I love sweater Weather most of the winters in my life have been days in the 50's to 70's degrees F range and bitter cold nights that dip into the 40's. Texas was a bit colder, but now I really get to see the true four seasons and I look forward to them.

I am truly thankful all year round for what I've been blessed with. I know what it's like to be homeless and even to beg for money. (been there and done it) I choose not to live like that anymore and that was one of the best decisions that I ever made.

Have a great week and take care of those knees.

Shammickite said...

I agree with you about the charms of Sweater Weather, it's nice to be bundled up warm and cosy while the wind blows and the rain rains. But I have to admit, I miss those lazy summer days wearing my bright colours and my short sleeves and packing the towel and swimmers to go off to the beach or a neighbour's pool!
Yes, I am always thankful for my situation in life. I'm not rich, but I have food on the table and a roof over my head. There are many who don't enjoy such luxuries. I haven't seen any in my town so far, but as the city encroaches on the countryside, I'm sure they will come.

lakeviewer said...

Wonderful post, thoughtful and generous. Lots to think about here. Good to see you around.

Bogey said...

Thank you Lori for the kind and blush worthy sentiments. Your comments always make me smile. That is a very generous and selfless gesture made by your son. It is a very simple yet worthwhile act of kindness. I can only imagine the mother who left that kind of imprint on his heart.

Hi Michelle and thanks for the kind words. It is good to be back. It seems as though I have a lot of reading to catch up on.

Hello MTB, it's good to be back although I will be pacing myself out a little. And yes, I agree, our country falls way behind in helping those less fortunate, at least from a political standpoint. The worst city I saw so far has got to be Ottawa, bar none. It was embarrasing to think how many politicians walk by and see so many people destitute almost camping on the door steps of the Parliament Buildings.

Hello Hilary, nice to see you again as well. It is indeed a pleasure to see some kind and familiar faces.

Hi James, it's good to 'see' you again. I am sure you will enjoy the spledour that is winter up around the northern hemisphere. But at 40 deg. F, I would still be wearing shorts, at least if the sun were out. It sounds like you have a life well worth sharing and enjoying. Enjoy the Autumn beauty. I am sure you already are.

Hello Shammi and thanks for stopping by. Autumn is definitely my favourite times of the year. I too enjoy the feeling of snuggling into a warm sweater and letting the weather blow around me. It's invigorating.

Hello Rosaria and thank you for the kind words. I am grateful for the little extra time to be able to sit and think about things again.

Nancy said...

Wonderful reminder, Bogey. Thank you. You are so very right - no matter how hard you might think things are - there is always someone much worse off. Remembering to give in this season is very important.

Lori ann said...

What you've said here is so kind and humbling (is that a word?) I don't think I will ever stop at a homeless person again with out thinking of your words. I know I can't change anything and I definitely can't help everyone, but if like you, we each helped one person even in a small way, what a difference that would make.
It was lovely to hear you were making the most of the weather and the great outdoors, so good for the heart and soul.
And yay for sweater weather! when your a knitter it is a welcome season indeed.
Thank you so much for your last comment at my place. It meant so much to me.

Amel's Realm said...

Beautiful post, Bogey, in many many MANY ways. :-))))

I haven't seen any beggars here in Finland, except one time a healthy 30-year-oldish Finn guy asked me for some coins and I refused to do it. :-((((

Too bad there's no Thanksgiving here, but I'll try to remember to be thankful every day.

Bogey said...

Hi Nancy and thank you for stopping by. I think it is when we stop and look into the faces of those less fortunate, we can utter these words, "...but for the Grace of God."

It's the baby steps we sometimes need to take in order to make even a little dent in the realities that surround us. You have already made a huge contribution with your trip to Africa and the good will you left behind there. Don't forget that. And you are so very welcome and deserving of those kind words. Sometimes, it is the examples of undonditional love that you have for your children that others out there should see. You should be very, very proud for the example that you have set for your children.

Hello Amel and thank you for your kind words. Sometimes what people project on the outside may appear to be healthy, but it is what is going on on the inside that we should be thinking about. I am sure it takes a great deal of courage to humble yourself in front of others who know not your journey.