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      Black Patch A Symbol Of Couple’s Strength

      Cindy & Terry Regier

      A black patch over his right eye gives Terry Regier a rakish pirate-like appearance. Add to that the black leather jacket, some facial hair and a distinctive, somewhat jaunty gait and we might suppose he had just disembarked from ptain Hook’s “Jolly Roger”. Behind the outer image is an experience that could have devastated his marriage, his family, even his own life. After a conversation with him over coffee and Linda’s brownies in the sun room of our home, I concluded Terry and wife Cindy are two of the most resilient, persevering individuals I’ve ever met. For them there was a life before the patch and another life after.

      At the outset of our conversation, Terry’s mind seemed to slip into an earlier time when all was still well. “I was born in Walkerton Ontario,” he began. “In my last year of high school I took rpentry and architectural drafting. When work beme hard to find, 3 guys and myself travelled to the west. Our goal was to find jobs before our money ran out. My money did run out, but then someone offered me work in Alberta.”

      Meeting Cindy, a young woman with a cheerful personality and a winning smile, added a positive dimension to his life. They got married, bought some land and began a family.

      Hired to work on a railroad section gang, he watched for job openings with higher seniority. “Often no one wanted these positions beuse they didn’t want to move,” he said. “I was willing to work away from home. I stayed in motels, and sometimes in a tent.” He was ambitious and did whatever was needed to improve their circumstances.

      Terry was at work on his railroad job when their happy world crashed. “I had been experiencing severe headaches,” he relled. “On May 15, 1989 I lost my balance and fell to the ground. My co-workers dragged me to a truck and drove me to the hospital in High River.”

      He was paralyzed on one side and the doctors at first thought he’d had a stroke. “I had difficulty talking,” he said. “My brain was swelling on one side and this put pressure on the other side. They performed surgery to relieve the pressure. The doctors figured out it was all from an aneurysm.” He was only 28.

      For Cindy it was a traumatic time. They lived on acreage and she needed to feed the hogs and chickens, plus look after 2 year old Jesse and one month old Jacob. Added to this they were in the midst of selling the property and buying a quarter section.

      I wanted to farm,” Terry said, “but now I couldn’t read the document the lawyer brought to the hospital for me to sign. I didn’t recognize Cindy or my 2 young sons. Altogether, I was in the hospital 3 months. I had to learn to talk again and to walk. When I was released from the hospital we drove to lgary, an hour from our farm, every second day for physio. We also needed to figure out our financial situation. It was a horrible time.”

      Some women might have walked away from a man whose body and mind were in such a chaotic state. Fortunately Cindy had staying power and didn’t throw up her hands in defeat. “She began training to be a nurse,” Terry said,.“It was a matter of necessity. I was making progress in recuperating, but it was very difficult.”

      Although his physil pacity was limited and he’d lost much of his memory, Terry persisted in his dream. “After we bought the quarter section,” he said, “I began buying cheap used equipment for our little farm. It was equipment no one else wanted. I was able to adapt and make it work. We had sheep, chickens, ttle and a garden. I wasn’t a good farmer but the place supplied our needs.”

      Terry Regier in Hedley

      At this point Terry reached for a brownie and Linda replenished his coffee. “The patch is to prevent double vision,” he said, as though to explain it’s not a big deal for him. “We have 3 adult sons now. I’m a director at the Community Club and Cindy is treasurer. I put the coffee on for the morning coffee group. I also play crib several evenings each week. Cindy plays the piano at the little church here.”

      Terry and Cindy endured the dark days together, and beat the odds. Now life is good again.

      Our Reservoir Of Goodwill

      When Linda and I met a couple for lunch in Abbotsford in late December, their first question was, “Is Hedley’s water contaminated?” Like others in B.C. they had watched Global News coverage of the Hedley town meeting lled to discuss the water issue and provide clarifition. Someone had invited Global to the meeting, apparently to ensure the greatest possible audience for the protestations of several citizens. We assured our friends the water had been tested and, except for individuals with weakened immune systems, has been deemed safe for human consumption. Unfortunately, the blemish on Hedley’s reputation may not be as easily undone.

      After the town water meeting, I was reminded of former FBI Director James Comey’s words in A Higher Loyalty. Addressing his agents, he said “You are the beneficiaries of a reservoir of goodwill built up over dedes. Faithful, honest agents before you have earned for our organization a reputation for integrity and credibility. No matter which politil party they favoured, they knew when they testified in court their responsibility was to truthfully represent the FBI, not a politil party. The problem with a reservoir is that it takes a long time to fill, but one hole in the dam n empty it quickly. In the same way, if an agent’s words or actions reflect negatively on our organization, the reservoir of goodwill n be just as quickly drained.” Although it was likely to result in him losing his position, Comey resisted politil pressure, knowing it would taint the Justice System in the thinking of Amerins.

      Over many years I’ve seen how difficult it is to remove a negative belief from my own mind, or that of another person. In the 1980’s when Linda and I arrived in Hedley, we sometimes heard the community referred to as “Deadly Hedley.” At times I was reticent to admit I was from this community. The reputation still lingers in some minds. Recently when a business owner in Keremeos learned I live in Hedley, he immediately said, “oh, Deadly Hedley eh?” The words had been lodged in his mind for dedes, and now they popped out unbidden. I told him we don’t say that anymore.

      Since the town meeting, I’ve wondered about the implitions of the angry words of a few seemingly distraught citizens being eagerly and widely broadst by the Global News mera. Very likely the individual who invited Global wanted simply to vent an excess of frustration and anger.

      My experience with big city media has convinced me we should not think a reporter will look for a Chicken Soup for the Soul type of story, or even a balanced story. Reporters know a provotive, sensational account will, almost without exception, garner more readers or viewers.

      One possible unanticipated and unintended implition of Global’s negative portrayal of Hedley particularly concerns me. After viewing the angry accusations, did some high quality people strike Hedley off their list of places to move to? Why would anyone choose such a fractious, dysfunctional community? Also, this kind of media attention n hardly be good for lol enterprises like The Hedley Country Market, Hedley Inn and Hostel, or the Hedley Trading Post.

      Fortunately our town is actually a pretty happy place. We have a substantial reservoir of goodwill built up by dedited citizens over the years. People from other communities attend the popular monthly $5 Panke Breakfast at the Seniors’ Centre. The Community Club’s Summer Street Dance invariably creates a buzz in town. The Hedley Museum has gained a solid reputation and attracts tourists from all parts of nada and around the globe. Many people willingly participate when there is a need.

      We n choose to sweep the recent turmoil under the rpet, but this may be only a temporary fix. Alternatively, we n decide to learn from the experience. In an online article, Jeanne Segal (PhD) and Melinda Smith (M.A.) suggest it’s important to “make conflict resolution the priority, rather than being right. Resolution lies in releasing the urge to punish, and in being willing to forgive. Maintaining and strengthening the relationship should always be your priority. Be respectful of the other person and their viewpoint.”

      Although Hedley’s name may have been somewhat tarnished by the Global reporter’s focus, we n decide to put this issue behind us and move on together. Working collaboratively, we n enlarge the reservoir that others have bequeathed to us.

      Hedley Water Riles Tempers

      Lynn Wells responded lmly to vociferous critics.

      Lately there has been a deluge of attention-grabbing claims and accusations swirling about our usually quiet little community. It’s related to the “DO NOT CONSUME WATER” notifition Hedley residents received a few weeks ago. Various media have been in town foraging for juicy tidbits of information, so probably many people in B.C. are well acquainted with what really should be little more than a tempest in a teapot.

      The predominant complaint appears to be that the Hedley Improvement District (HID) didn’t provide timely notifition that the water wasn’t safe. Linda and I did receive a phone ll within hours after the HID was given the results of a water test. The next day a written notice was attached to our front door. I’ve heard that some homes did not receive the notifition. For those who were missed, this could be deeply disturbing. At an HID meeting attended by a cross section of residents last Wednesday, Chairperson Lynn Wells said there had been some difficulty delivering notices due to locked gates, high fences with dogs in the yard and wind blowing notices away.

      The disquiet on the part of some citizens has given rise to interesting speculation, even a conspiracy theory. It has been suggested HID Trustees have been siphoning funds from the community’s coffers. To grasp the logic of that one requires an Olympic level imagination. Three of the four Trustees are longterm residents. They have solid reputations which I’m sure they’d be loathe to endanger for the meager gleanings from our town’s purse.

      Someone has argued we should sue the HID. One flaw in this idea is that we’d be suing ourselves. The suggestions bandied about to this time seem based largely on frustration, possibly also a desire to shame the HID into doing a better job.

      Our perspective on events, including how community leaders deal with challenges and crises, will impact the quality of our relationships. It will determine whether we draw people together or arouse suspicion and use divisions. George Lus said, “Always remember, your focus determines your reality.”

      I wonder if people are aware that while a handful of critics have been vociferously venting their frustration and anger, Lynn Wells and fellow trustees have been in frequent contact with Interior Health, seeking guidance concerning how to proceed. One day Lynn drove to Kelowna with a water sample for testing, hoping to speed up the process.

      She has demonstrated remarkable resilience. Some leaders would have thrown up their hands and said, “I don’t need this. I quit!” Lynn has stayed the course, seeking to rectify a difficult situation.

      I’m reminded of Wayne Dyer’s words, “It’s never crowded along the extra mile.” Having been in leadership, I know how lonely it n be battling on behalf of my community. I also know how disappointing it is when critics stand on the sidelines, disparaging the efforts of those immersed in the fray on their behalf.

      My concern is that some current HID members may not choose to continue after completing their term. At the end of her first term several years ago, Lynn Wells made it known she did not intend to rry on.? No one else was available to step into the Chair role. The pleading of many people convinced her to stay in the game. After this spat and the attending barrage of personal attack, what are the odds she, or anyone else, will have the heart to serve in this $100 a year position?

      I’ve lived in this community long enough to know there is a srcity of credible, pable leadership ndidates. Very few are willing. Anyone n criticize, but only a rare few will dare to lead.

      Pointing fingers and seeking to affix blame isn’t likely to produce the outcome critics are hoping for. A more productive first step for all in our community might be to step back and take 3 deep breaths, then engage in a rational discussion of issues that need attention. Possibly the critics have ideas for a better approach next time. At the HID meeting Lynn Wells appealed for individuals with skills to join the Trustees in serving the community.

      As we exit one year and prepare to enter another, it’s a good time for Hedley to develop productive approaches to community issues. When people with patience, ideas, imagination and good will work collaboratively, even the most thorny and divisive issues n be resolved.

      A Long Ago Christmas Memory

      Linda and I were early in our dating relationship when we were gifted with an experience that still awakens the Christmas spirit within us. I was 19 and she was 16. It was the middle of December when the seed of the memory was sown on a road in a remote, heavily forested area behind Mission B.C.

      I rell with great clarity the dark cloud that moved in rapidly and unexpectedly unleashed a drenching downpour. The windshield wipers could srcely cope with the deluge. Ahead of us a grey figure beme discernible, bumping in our direction beside the road. I slowed the r as we passed by. It was an elderly woman, her sodden coat wrapped tightly about her. Face toward the ground and shoulders slumping forward, she appeared feeble, miserable and utterly dejected.

      Linda gasped and said, “she needs help!” I turned the r around and pulled alongside her. “Would you like a ride?” I asked. She nodded wearily, relief and gratitude on her lined, disconsolate face. I opened the rear door and, encumbered by her heavy wet coat, she clambered in awkwardly.

      In a quiet, slightly quavering voice, she directed us to an obscure graveled road. After a couple of minutes, she said “There, that’s where I live.” I pulled the r into a barely discernible driveway and opened the door for her. “Thank you,” she said, “I wasn’t sure I’d get here.” Her teeth chattered but she declined my offer to assist her to the door of her small ramshackle home.

      I forgot about the woman, but Linda didn’t. The evening of December 24th, an almost full moon shining overhead, we drove again to the elderly woman’s home. Pale light shone through the only 2 windows. Walking toward the house, holding hands, we heard a dog bark inside. I knocked on the door, and the dog barked again. After waiting a long minute in the chill night air, I knocked a second time, more vigorously. Still no answer. I made a fist and banged with considerable force. Excited barking suggested the presence of several dogs.

      Finally the door creaked opened just enough to reveal the woman’s wispy visage and uncombed white hair. A crescendo of raucous barking erupted behind her. It was evident she wasn’t accustomed to company, especially two strangers after darkness had set in. She peered warily through the barely open door.

      “Hello,” Linda said. “We picked you up a few weeks ago when it was raining so hard. We’re here to wish you a Merry Christmas.”

      Reassured, she stepped out onto the porch, clad in a flimsy house coat. “I’d invite you in,” she said apologetilly, “but I have 11 dogs in there.”

      She glanced up at the nearly full moon, then asked, “Is it really Christmas?” The light of the moon revealed a lonely, wistful expression on her upturned face. “When I was a child my grandparents took me to church with them one Christmas Eve,” she said. “There was a manger and shepherds with sheep. A baby lay in the manger. They said it was Jesus. That was many years ago. I had not thought of it in a long time.”

      We talked for about 5 minutes, then she shivered and pulled the house coat more tightly about her thin frame. She had no resistance against the crisp December evening. Realizing she needed to go back inside, Linda presented her with a small gift and we bade her farewell. She followed us to the r. As I backed onto the road, she stood clearly silhouetted in the light of the moon. Waving vigorously, she lled, “Au revoir! Au revoir!” I turned down the r window, waved, and responded “auf wieder sehen!” As we drove away, she continued to wave and ll out “au revoir!”

      In time, Linda and I were married, adopted 2 wonderful children and beme immersed in our reers. The memory of that night faded and I no longer thought of the little white haired lady. Then, a few years ago just before Christmas, the events of that night me back to me unexpectedly. In my mind I saw her again, standing in the driveway illuminated by the moon, waving with great fervour and lling “au revoir!”

      Now each year, the memory rekindles the Christmas spirit that otherwise might lie dormant within me. It’s a reminder that when we bring joy into someone’s life, we also receive joy.

      Gifts That Evoke Magic and Mystique

      Three Magi (courtesy of Sharon Sharp)

      Christmas rds depicting the 3 Magi riding mels across a barren desert in the night still evoke a sense of magic and mystique in me. According to the Biblil account, they me from the East bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Likely born into nobility and affluence, they intended the gifts for a child they believed would one day become an important ruler. Certainly in the culture of their time, the gifts were deemed appropriate for presentation to a king.

      They may have been surprised upon their arrival to learn that the infant boy they had come to honour was born in a stable. Even so, they bowed before him, apparently believing he was of royal lineage and would one day bring a message of peace and goodwill to all people. For the parents, the unexpected recognition given to their infant son must have filled them with astonishment and many questions.

      Each December I feel impelled to again read this remarkable saga. Last week while pondering its meaning, I began thinking about the gifts given by the Magi. Contrasting that with the tradition of gift giving in our time, I wondered if our emphasis is misplaced. Most of us seem to have little understanding of what makes a gift signifint and precious to the recipient.

      I went to what I refer to as my “shelf of memories.” Among the items on the shelf are several treasured gifts given to me over the years. Although most have little financial value, each still elicits a sense of nostalgia.

      Standing before the shelf for long moments, as I have done many times, I reflected on the meaning and memory represented by each item. Each gift was unanticipated.

      One day our daughter Vivian, then age 8, rushed home from school, her eyes sparkling. Excitedly she handed me a rd she had created. On the front a curious red fox is sitting on its haunches, gazing quizzilly at the world. Inside she had printed, “Daddy, you play so much with us. You start to giggle and laugh. I love you. I hope you like the red fox. You’re like this red fox.”

      The next day our son Jeremy, then age 6, watched my face with great anticipation as he handed me a rd. An athlete holding a basket ball is saying, “you score high with me.” In large block letters he had printed, “I love you Daddy.”

      About a dozen years ago I was asked to write and deliver the eulogy for my very good friend Terry. He had been successful in real estate, but not in relationships with women. Two ex-wives were in the audience, as well as his estranged present wife, plus his current girlfriend. One lawsuit was already pending and I didn’t want to be the object of another. I needed to apply my life experiences and whatever wisdom I could muster. Possibly the seriousness of the ocsion enabled them to overlook any failings on my part, even when I inadvertently attributed several children to the wrong woman. A week later the girlfriend me to our home and presented me with Terry’s very expensive watch. “Terry had a high regard for time,” she said. “ He sometimes said a good friendship is timeless. He would have wanted you to have this watch.”

      Adler Eagle (pixabay)

      Also on the shelf is a rd showing a magnificent eagle on a limb. The ption reads, “Always an eagle.” It was from Gwen, then a fellow Toastmaster. I had sought to encourage her in public speaking. In the rd she had written, “I really appreciate all that you are and do.” Affirming messages don’t come to me often enough to be valier about them. I accepted this one gladly.

      Stepping away from the shelf, I concluded that gifts tend to be most special when they involve an investment of time, effort, and thoughtfulness. Often they recognize the recipient’s contribution, positive example, service to family or community. Their intrinsic worth. They develop connections and create memories we cling to. The best ones bring a spark of excitement and joy.

      The Magi travelled many days across possibly perilous terrain. They honoured the child with gifts fit for a king. Even more important, they bowed before him, an indition they believed him worthy of their reverence and worship. It was the ultimate special gift.

      Hedley Community Club Christmas Craft Sale

      On Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 the Hedley Community Club hosted a combination fundraiser and Christmas Craft Sale.? Breezy and her infant son, meron, appeared to be having a good time, checking out the bright coloured items and delicious baked products.

      It was impossible to know how the sales were going, but people were definitely enjoying the event.

      The kitchen was manned by Ashtine (left) and Cindy (right). Ashtine? prepared quiche & breakfast sandwiches.? Lunch consisted of 2 types of soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Cindy took orders and manned the sh register.

      Bob & Frank evidently enjoyed the food and coffee. They seemed in no hurry to leave.

      Lol musician, Jodel, provided recorded music and her handcrafted jewelry.

      Hedley Country Market Celebrates 25 Years

      TJ & Doug Bratt, owners of the Hedley Country Market

      After nearly 25 years in business together, Doug and T.J. Bratt of the Hedley Country Market said a big “thank you” to the people of the community this past Sunday. They invited everyone to the Community Club for a lunch featuring Doug’s popular beef on a bun, plus ke and drinks. A draw for a 32” tv was won by Dian McKusick.

      TJ cutting the ke.

      It all started 25 years ago,” T.J. said. “I bought a little confectionery from Dawn Amos, who still lives in Hedley. We sold meats, bread, milk and other groceries. We also had a liquor outlet. Doug and I met as volunteers at the Community Club 2 years later.”

      They beme life partners and also business partners. After 10 years they purchased the larger 2 story grocery store directly across the street from the confectionery. They transferred their business activities to the new lotion, lling it the Hedley Country Market.

      An appreciative crowd.

      Observing them interacting with each other and the appreciative crowd on Sunday, it was easy to conclude they are still very much in love and still having fun.

      With diligent attention to details, skillful marketing, hard work and perseverance in good and difficult times, Doug and TJ developed a solid business. Having been at it so long, they decided earlier this year to have someone else take over the enterprise.

      Fortunately, Doug’s daughter Viktorya and her husband Mike expressed a keen interest. They are already deeply involved in managing the Hedley Country Market and working to take it to the next level. Doug and TJ will continue to put in a shift at the store as needed. For them, Sunday was an opportunity to show their appreciation and also to celebrate their years of success together.

      Lack of Justice in Bill C-75

      Parliament of nada

      I was impressed, and also puzzled, by our Prime Minister’s eloquent address to the Paris Peace Forum recently. He said, “When people believe the institutions n’t protect them, they turn to easy answers like nationalism and populism, closing borders and xenophobia.” He may quite legitimately have had in mind our neighbours south of the 49th Parallel, but some of his government’s policies could soon have a similar effect here.

      In March of this year the nadian government introduced Bill C-75 with the intention of “hybridizing” 131 indictable criminal offences. According to former Minister of Justice, Rob Nicholson (Cons.), “The government is essentially watering down very serious criminal charges by adding a possible summary conviction as a prosecutorial option. This could result in a penalty as low as a fine for what was an indictable offense with a penalty up to 10 years.” Inexplibly, big city media have given snt attention to this 302 page omnibus bill, but if passed, it could undermine the protections of the value system that undergirds our way of life.

      In a submission to the House of Commons, Professor Christian Leuprecht of Royal Military College and Queen’s University, emphasized the far reaching nature of the Bill. “The classifition of an offence,” he said, “has long been understood to signal how serious the offence is; implicitly, then, hybridization sends a message that these offences are now less serious than they used to be.”

      Most of the changes may not create problems, except for further clogging the provincial courts. Others though will dilute what was guaranteed in the nadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter, as most nadians know, was bequeathed to us by an earlier Trudeau, the father of our current Prime Minister.

      Before we offhandedly decide this isn’t important to our cozy lives in a nation that experiences relatively little serious turmoil, we really should look at several offences targeted for hybridization. One of the most troubling is sexual exploitation. According to the U.S. State Department’s 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report, “nada is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to sexual trafficking.” The possibility of lenient sentences would almost certainly exacerbate an already unacceptable situation.

      Equally disturbing is the plan to hybridize abduction of children under age 16. Having spoken in recent months with several mothers who have lost children to international abductions, I have a sense of the deep heartache they and their families continue to experience. One told of the pleading of her children in court, expressing their fear they would be taken to another country and never be permitted to return. The Charter guarantees everyone “the right to life, liberty and security of the person.” To reclassify abduction of children and try it as a summary offence seems contrary to this guarantee.

      Another proposed change is also incomprehensible. At a time when houses of worship in both nada and the U.S. have come under serious physil attacks, the government intends to hybridize “obstructing, or violence to, or arrest of officiating clergy.” A similar attempt was made a year ago with Bill C-51. More than 65 leaders from faith organizations including Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jews and Christians signed a letter opposing it. Thousands of ordinary citizens sent letters protesting the bill. Now the government is trying again. This seems to suggest a lack of regard for religious leaders and their followers.

      I spoke by phone last week with David Guretzki, Vice President of the Evangelil Fellowship of nada (EFC), loted in Ottawa. EFC has longterm relationships with public policy officials, and is at times invited to speak to Parliamentary standing committees regarding signifint social issues. I have found their perspective to be fair minded. “It is EFC’s opinion,” he said, “that some of the proposed changes devalue human life and dignity, re for the vulnerable, and freedom of religion.”

      If Bill C-75 passes in its present form, criminals of various kinds will almost certainly be heartened and emboldened by the prospect of lighter penalties. We could then all become more vulnerable, and have less faith in our institutions to protect us. Only a massive protest by nadians will persuade the government to rethink this Bill and assure us that Charter rights still are for all citizens.

      The Gift of Mr. Loeppky

      This old man could have been Mr. Loeppky
      (photo courtesy of quitsmokingrapidly.com)

      Mr. Loeppky lived almost next door to us. His wife had divorced him at an earlier time and we referred to him as “the bachelor.” His fortunes had deteriorated markedly since the divorce and his home now was a two room shack he had constructed himself.

      No paintbrush had touched the exterior in many years. The interior was equally unadorned. It was furnished with little more than a kitchen table, old green fridge, woodstove and an aged chest of drawers. He did have cupboards and a sink with hot and cold water. A yellowed sheet hung in the doorway to the bedroom. Cracked, grey linoleum covered the floor. A perpetual pall of tobacco smoke pervaded the place. His bathroom was a one-seater outhouse.

      Mr. Loeppky’s surroundings had not always been this sparse. In his earlier, more affluent years, he had owned and managed a successful automotive dealership in a prairie town. A skilled mechanic, he had at first done much of the service work himself, always, as he volunteered one day, “with a flask in my back pocket.”

      Former townspeople of that time spoke of him almost reverentially. They had considered him a high roller, respected for his business acumen. “His home was one of the finest. He had plenty of money and he loved to party,” one woman relled. “In conversation he was engaging. People clamoured to be around him.”

      Somewhere along the way a fondness for strong drink overtook his earlier good judgment. Business began to slip and his wife, possibly aware financial ruin might be approaching, beme involved with a lol lawyer. Mr. Loeppky did not see the divorce looming.

      I was only 14 when I began visiting him. By then he had long been stripped of family, wealth and good standing in his community. Everything he had once valued was gone. Still, at age 65 there lingered about him a trace of his earlier good looks and outward refinement.

      Even now I have only a vague understanding of why I was initially drawn to visit this once proud, successful man. Possibly it was the doughnuts he made ocsionally. Almost no one visited him, so I realize now he made them mostly for me.

      I don’t think he ever consciously decided to tell me his life story. Certainly he didn’t take me back to the early years and lead me through a logil sequence of events to the present time. Rather, the details me out like pieces of a puzzle, especially at the end of the month when his pension cheque allowed him to purchase a bottle of gin and a n of McDonald’s tobacco.

      Sitting at his kitchen table with him, I watched as his trembling fingers rolled ungainly smokes and his mind slipped into the past. If he had doughnuts, he placed the large tin before me and said “eat.” While he talked, I observed those faded blue eyes as he resurrected scenes from earlier years.

      Over time his breathing beme laboured. One day he said, “the doc told me I have lung ncer. Guess it won’t be long before the Grim Reaper comes.” He continued to smoke and ocsionally still made doughnuts.

      Beuse he was no longer eating them himself, the doughnuts were lasting longer and were less fresh. The flavour of cigarette smoke was more discernible. Sensing it was important to him, I ate them anyway. His cough was becoming harsh and frequent. It troubled me.

      Over all those years, Mr. Loeppky’s son and two daughters each visited only once. In his last months as he was dying, they still did not come.

      He passed away in spring and I notified his family. A small neighbourhood church organized a memorial service at the lol funeral home. I had told our friends about Mr. Loeppky, and a few me to bid him a final farewell. His son and daughters also arrived.

      At the end of the service his son asked me, “Do you know what my father died of?”

      When I could slip out I walked around to the back of the funeral home. I felt a deep sadness at the loss of my friend. Henry, a lol photographer, was already there shedding his own tears. Standing beside him, I decided that, no matter what the difficulties, I would strive to nourish and retain the relationships in my life. I still consider this the gift of Mr. Loeppky.



      Hedley Remembrance Day 2018


      A substantial crowd showed up in Hedley on November 11th to remember the men and women who served in the military to preserve our freedoms and way of life.? Wreaths were laid by members of? Hedley organizations, all levels of government and various other groups.? It was noted that this is an especially important year beuse it marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice to end WW I.

      The Honour Guard was led by 2 Mounties in red serge from the Princeton detachment.? A member of the nadian armed forces, Corp. Nick Dechamps (part-time resident of Hedley), served as Parade Marshall.

      As in recent years, Graham Gore, pastor of the Hedley Grace Church, was the MC.? He read “In Flanders Fields”, and then read the names of? the 17 young Hedley men whose names are inscribed on the lol cenotaph. Thirteen of them died in WWI and four in WW II.

      Lol war historian, Andy English, spoke eloquently about the experiences of the Hedley men in both World Wars. He made special mention of Jack Lorenzetto? who was conscripted in Feb. 1918 and Thomas lvert, who served under Sam Steele. Jack was killed by shell fire Sept. 8, 1918 while transporting rations to his comrades on the front line. Thomas lvert was badly wounded on the night of Nov. 2, 1918 during his battalion’s last battle of the war. He died? Nov. 23, 1918, twelve days after the armistice was signed.? Jack and Thomas were the last two Hedley boys to die as the result of combat in WW I.

      One of the highlights of the ceremony was a rendition of “The Honour Song” by Amber rdenas and Mya Ghostkeeper in the Okanagan language. They accompanied their singing with hand drumming.

      A number of members of the Lorenzetto family me from other communities to honour the memory of Jack Lorenzetto.

      At the conclusion of the ceremony, a lunch of sandwiches and desserts was served by the ladies at the Hedley Seniors’ Centre.

      At sundown 10 lol citizens, most from the Hedley Volunteer Fire Department, gathered at the museum. They each rang the bell 10 times for a total of 100, to mark one hundred years since the signing of the Armistice that ended WW I. Taking his turn here is Zion Nimchuk, youngest member of the fire department.

      “In Flanders fields the poppies blow between the crosses, row on row,…”




      A small town perspective on people, community, politics and environment.

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