Friday, July 29, 2011

Moments of Amusement, Embarrassment, Fright and Magic

Life is a Kaleidoscope...of trials, tribulations, achievements, victories
of celebrations and Good Samaritan deeds. We have all experienced them.
Sometimes Life is Just...sometimes Unjust!

With you, I share a few personal experiences that carved my character
through several years of Life's Journey.


A CREEK meandered through the farm...swamp-like in appearance. When our uncles and family came to visit, it was a  joyous time.  They loved to tease my sister, Eileen and me.  Garter snakes lived in and around the "woodhouse" attached to our home.  They would catch these harmless reptiles, chasing us with them and putting them down our necks.  I was So Frightened!  Thereafter,  I would remain in the house while they dined and chatted the hours away.  Snakes terrified me!...and still do, to this day!

MY BLONDE HAIR is very fine and tends to tangle easily. When a child, Mother braided my hair and my sister's into “pig tails”. My scalp was very tender...many ouches daily! These two braids were always adorned with colourful bowed ribbons, matching the clothing we wore. After this continual pulling of hair and constant “ouches and ooh's” Mother sent me to the village hairdresser. I was never told what was to occur. Shocked was I, when my hair was unbraided and cut off...short!!! In tears, I was so angry with Mother...and So Embarrassed...I could not accept what she did to me! What do I tell my classmates? How will others perceive me now?

Returning home to the farm, it was my turn to cut the grass beside the long driveway. With a push-mower on this hot day, tears welled in my eyes. An overhead bird, as it flew above, dropped a “splat” on my head...adding insult to injury! I was furious...and questioned what I had done to deserve all this!

WHEN WORLD WAR II was raging in Europe, I was in Grade 8. War Savings Stamps, rationed foods, shortages of luxuries were “the norm”. Brant County had a weekly early Friday evening radio program on CKPC. It featured a contest of questions and answers between any 2 teams of Grade 8 students. Four students were principal-selected and invited to meet in Brantford for a dinner hosted by the Board of Education. The superintendent, the 2 principals and 8 students assembled prior to the contest held at the radio station. I was so thrilled to be chosen from our village school. First Time Ever to Dine in a Fine Restaurant! Questions arose...what to do with all the cutlery lined each side of the dinner plate? Beautifully folded cloth serviettes, the crystal-like glasses for water and juice amazed me! The “smarts” told me to observe the adults which became valuable learning experiences. And who was this man in a black business suit called The Maitre-D? This opportunity was not only a Magic Moment, but several hours of unexpected “grown up” manners and deportment.

WE LIVED ALONG HIGHWAY 53 which winds from Hamilton Mountain to Woodstock. It was a paved road. To go to school, I would roller-skate along the pavement, always facing the traffic until reaching the sidewalk at the eastern edge of the village. On one Spring day, a wheel caught a pebble and threw me onto the road. My knee was skinned badly and bleeding. A Labatt beer truck eastbound, was able to avoid me and stopped. The driver was so kind. I was upset with myself for falling and embarrassed beyond reason for having a beer truck driver stop to help me. (My parents were dedicated Christians and very strongly beliefed...dances, alcohol and Hollywood were “taboo”.) To have my parents know of this 'alcohol-related incident' might result in severe punishment. The driver, with his First Aid Kit, cleaned my badly grazed knee, ointmented and bandaged it.  I thanked him very politely.  To me, he was My Good Samaritan.
My parents never knew about these frightful moments.

WITH 75 ACRES to farm and livestock to care for, my sister and I assisted with many of these chores: gathering eggs, feeding the chickens, picking strawberries,
planting of the yearly vegetable garden, tilling the farm soil for crops; the cutting of hay, grain and corn to fill the barn loft and silo. Since I was to have been a male heir, helping Dad became my responsibility. The nearby farmers neighboured together  with the harvesting of these crops.  Picture this.  When the hay is ripe for cutting, the tractor pulls the hay mower which I rode, tripping the "load carrier" into furrows of freshly cut hay.  Here it would lay for several days to be dried by the sun. Then, when cured, the tractor would pull a wagon  plus the attached hay loader, straddling each furrow.  I drove the tractor.  My Dad and a neighbour on the wagon accepted the hay and dispersed it evenly on the wagon as it came upwards from the ground.  When the wagon was full, we detached the hay loader and drove to the barn side where a trap door to the loft would be opened.  A rope pulley with a giant pincer-fork-grip was lowered to grasp loads (one at a time) to be transferred from the wagon to the loft for cattle and horse fodder over the winter months.
On one such occasion, a lengthy garter snake came up the hay loader onto the wagon. The assisting neighbour, thought it a great “prank” to fling this wriggling green snake to me, landing on my shoulder. I was terrified...stopped the tractor and fled from the field. My Dad would not permit me to play Ladies Fastball that evening with the Burford Bluebirds. I was mortified!

WITH THE HARVESTING of grain, my uncles and neighbours again co-operated. The big noon day meal was dinner! My mother was a great cook...these ravenously hungry men thought her “divine”. All the food was placed on a long table seating all the men. Bowls were always passed in one direction form man to man for each to “load his plate”. One neighbour took a large serving of “cole slaw” and savouring the taste, quickly discovered it was strong horse radish. Wow! Uncle Willie loved my mother's desserts...especially cherry pie, being his favourite. He had 2nd and 3rd slices, telling mother how super-delicious it was. She asked, “Willie, what did you do with the pits?” “What pits?” he questioned. She commented that she'd not had time to pit the cherries prior to baking. How amusing these two incidents!

JIM SCHOFIELD was very fond of my sister. In High School, he “drove a car”! One of the Few! Once a month a “tea dance” was held for students. Our parents would never permit us to attend these (why? because dancing with a man might lead to pregnancy). Eileen wished to attend these with Jim. She asked me to tell our parents that she was “researching some material in the Library”. Later he would drive her home....letting her out of his car, away our farm home. (Yet, for our parents, it was OK for her to be involved with the drama classes and musicals.) I found it amusing that I was part of this plot to “'cover for her” while she and Jim enjoyed themselves socializing with the many students.

FOR TWO SUMMERS our parents arranged for us to attend a Christian camp for teens held at Port Ryerse along the shore of Lake Erie. During these 2-week holidays, we had work details to accomplish...setting up and preparation of tables in the dining hall with clean-up after each meal, dishwashing, serving the meals, garbage removal. It was such fun with all these teens and the aquatic activities. We had never learned to swim. (Whiteman's Creek just north of the village was where “learning to swim” was experienced...our parents forbade us to go to this swimming hole...where it was “jump... and swim or sink”). The Lake water was shallow; several feet from shore was a floating dock which was an open invitation to swim to and loll in the sun. All friends encouraged Eileen and me to wade through the water to reach it. I asked about the water depth, but was ensured, “It's easy to reach.” I nearly drowned as there was a section where the water was over my head and I was upset by the waves. I moved frantically, trying to turn myself around to face the shore, hoping I would survive...I believe a lake nymph came to my rescue.

WHILE ATTENDING my final year of College in Toronto, a friend became engaged. We arranged a Bridal Shower for her. The usual games and conversation ensued. After the opening of gifts, each “guest” was given a wrapped gift. One at a time, a gift was opened which generated fun and much interest. I had a round tin with a lid on the top to remove. Out sprang a long green snake...artificial, it was..but so traumatized me, the plate and teacup on my lap, fell crashing to the floor, breaking and spilling badly!

FOLLOWING GRADUATION, I returned home to work for the summer at Spalding's Sport Factory. My father had sold the farm and moved to Brantford where he physically built a service-station-garage selling Supertest gasoline. My father still treated me as a teenager, insisting on curfew hours and strictly governing my activities. Unfortunately, I had to make the decision to move out (to my mother's chagrin). I urgently needed money to attend Teachers' College in September. I boarded with a family affiliated with the church I attended. Mom knew where to reach me. At the end of August, my Dad telephoned, requesting to meet with me. He had a cheque in the amount of $200 from the IODE (Independent Order of the Daughters of the Empire)...a bursary given to selected students embarking on extended education toward the building of a career. Somehow, somewhere , this organization heard of my financial plight. What a Magical Moment! Of equal importance, the relationship with my Father was reinstated.

ON WEEKENDS, when home from Teachers' College, I would often walk to the Arena to ice-skate. With white skates slung over my shoulder, I briskly walked in the winter air to enjoy a few hours of activity. A carload of guys slowly drove by, and with the window run down, someone yelled, “If I had a swing like that in my back yard, I'd cut the ropes!” I was So Embarrassed!

AFTER MY SECOND YEAR of teaching,I spent the summer on a tour of Europe. My parents drove me to Montreal to board the ship for Scotland. For my Dad, this was “a high”...seeing this ship that was to cross the ocean...he was awed by the opportunity to board it for 30 minutes. He seemed so proud that I was “living his dream”. After docking on the Scottish shore, we boarded a tour bus, meeting our travel companions...passengers from all walks of life and varied ages. At one rural area, we stopped along the road's edge to view the long-haired Highland cattle grazing on the far side of the field. Gary, a High School teacher from Hamilton, cupped his hands and mooed and mooed and continued to moo...when suddenly, a bull rushed at full speed toward him, ready to jump the fence. Gary very quickly retreated to the safety of the bus! Very Amusing!

MONDAY EVENINGS, I played badminton at Westdale Collegiate in Hamilton. It was a great recreational few hours weekly. I met John Cornale and occasionaly paired as “doubles” at a few local tournaments. He was tall and athletic, fun to be with. From spring until late fall, he played and Captained a soccer team in Oakville. It was apparent that his team would win the championship. He invited me to the Celebrations Dinner and Dance. I Could Not Dance! He asked me three embarrassed that I'd never learned dance, I kept giving him excuses. So sorrily disappointed was he, that he invited someone could I tell him that I was unable to accept, for fear of spoiling and ruining his triumphant evening, due to my inability to dance?

THE FOREGOING EXPERIENCE incited me to Dance! Latin American music soared within me...if only I knew what to do with this romantic, sensual beat! I have a good sense of rhythm, having studied piano,  singing with my parents when young, singing with church choirs and groups; also dueting with my sister's soprano voice in a few Toronto engagements. Enrolling at Arthur Murray's Dance Studio in Hamilton, I felt, no one knew me! One of the instructors introduced me to Richard Baird-Kerr, from Chile who had attended McMaster University and presently working at Stelco as a Research Chemist. He was learning Fox Trot and Waltz...and I the Tango, Cha Cha and Samba. We became good friends...within two years we married. When our son was four years old, we flew to Ecuador and Chile to meet Richard's family, during the months of January and February (summer months). Exciting!

WHEN MY CHILDREN were young, I remained at home about five years to stabilize their growing and learning stages. Due to no full-time teaching positions available at this point of re-establishing my career, I successfully passed the courses and qualified as a Sales Representative in Real Estate. It took a couple years to start and grow this business. I had many successful years. It was often difficult and financially challenging to raise two children and work full time, with seldom a weekend off. The recession in the late 80's and early 90's seriously affected my business. I was frightened for my were most people working as Independent Contractors!!! Property values declined; real estate holdings were lost and debts accumulated. The important and significant factors in life are one's Sanity, one's Health and one's Attitude! Life has its valleys and mountains. To balance the scale of ups and downs are the Magic Moments that revitalize our lives.

Personal Friendships are among the most fundamental of Human Needs.
The quality of these friends often define the outcome
of our decisions and actions.
Someone once wrote, “Friendship doubles your joy and divides your sorrow.”

I could have written a hundred more personal experiences
resulting from Amusement, Embarrassment, Fright and Magic...
as could you, the reader.
Our emotions are severely affected and could be damaging
to our development and demeanor.
We can all reflect on individual incidents,
realizing now what we “could have, should have done”.

Remember that, “We need not Walk Alone!” Like the author of a book who credits those who researched and assisted him toward his completed writing, we can do likewise. I can attribute praise to a High School teacher, to a neighbour lady, to an elementary school principal, to 2 or 3 women from networking organizations, to a tennis buddy who at a time of diversity gave me the strength to positively face the future, to a Harley Davidson biker who introduced me to true fun, to a ski enthusiast who shared the thrill of downhill skiing at various winter resorts. A couple of years ago, while in Connecticut where my son was working, I met a wonderful gentleman at a local bridge club...a World War II Veteran who is titled, “The Oldest Military Blogger”. He is delightfully “young at heart” with a positive attitude and of intelligent mind. It is a pleasure to know him. We inspire each other to write. I respect his wisdom, his judgement and his sincerity. He is my mensch!

A friend is someone we turn to
when our spirits need a lift.
A friend is someone we treasure,
for our friendship is a gift.
A friend is someone who fills our lives
with beauty, joy and grace.
And makes the whole world we live in
a better and happy place.

Merle Baird-Kerr    (written November12, 2010)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Moment . . .

This title... in today's newspaper introduced a cartoon ~ Rhymes with Orange.
The middle-aged “man of the house” wearing striped pyjamas is propped up against a single pillow in his four-poster double-size bed.  On one side is a shag floor mat, the other side a small table with a vase of flowers and a glass half-filled with water. A scenic mountain picture hangs on the wall. His wife, knitting, sits on a chair drawn close to his bed. She quits her needles, seriously facing her husband as he speaks. “I saw a bright light and went towards it. Suddenly words appeared, 'Are you sure you want to shut down now?' I chose 'cancel' and here I am!”

“Moment” is defined as a brief, indefinite interval of time; a particular period of importance, influence or significance in a series of  events or developments.

Perhaps you, the reader, has had a “Moment in Life” that transformed your thinking...perhaps a decision that impacted a positive change
 or a path that led to unexpected achievement.

Consider these Historic Moments

Charles Lindbergh (an American aviator) at 7:52 AM on May 20, 1927 gunned the engine of his “Spirit of St. Louis” and aimed her down the dirt runway of Roosevelt Field, Long Island. Heavily-laden with fuel, the plane bounced down the muddy field, gradually becoming airborne. Thirty three and one-half hours and 3,500 miles later, he landed in Paris...the first to fly the Atlantic Ocean alone!

The spectacular 1937 destruction of the German dirigible Hindenburg, called into severe question , one of the first means of realizing man's dream of flying.

The Second World War...a military conflict that began in 1939. The climactic battle of WWII ended with the D-Day invasion on Normandy Beach June 6, 1944...the Germans surrendered.

The Moment of Silence is observed each Remembrance Day at 11 AM (November 11 in Canada)...a period of silent contemplation, prayer, reflection or honour those who have served our country in wartime.

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 was the spaceflight which landed the first humans on the Moon! Neil Armstrong declared, “That's one small step for Man; one great leap for Mankind.”

“Women Sharing a Chemical Moment in Time” brought together women chemists from 37 countries on January 18, 2011 using modern communication meet for a “breakfast meeting” in similar time zones linked to the other countries...from Poland to Prague, The Netherlands, Germany, Peru,
Liverpool, Colombia, etc.

To tread back into history... meet Dr. Marie Curie who is known to the world as the scientist who discovered radio-active metals i.e. Radium and Polonium. She was a Polish physicist and chemist who lived 1867 to 1934.

In Today's World, Consider:

...a camera photo, capturing a Memorable Moment, forever to be viewed.

...the Wedding Day when two lives unite, wedded in matrimony with promises declared to each.

...Olympic joy when an athletic record is set and a gold medal awarded.

...accolades when an actor is announced as an Academy Award recipient.

...the Touchdown pass that wins a toughly fought game.

...the Home Run that wins a World Series Baseball game.

...a Grand Prix Jump-off when it is often the fraction of a second that decides the winner.

...the first bloom on a newly planted rose bush.

Today, the cartoon, aforementioned, was the source of my ruminations about Moments in Life.
The most significant moment in My Life was when our son was born! Full term, he eight pounds, rosy complexioned with chubby cheeks, perfectly formed hands and feet, dark hair (as his father's); a wonderful treasure to cherish ~ as he lay upon my then deflated tummy.
Truly, a Miraculous Minute!
Significance of Birth as a Landmark attaining Personhood!

A man in love beautifully comments, “All that matters is the serenity
of the moment;
just being with her...and breathing with her!”

We must not allow the clock and the calendar
to blind us to the fact
that each moment of life is a miracle and a mystery.”
(H. G. Wells)

Merle Baird-Kerr
(written July 26, 2011)

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Child's View of Retirement

After a Christmas break, a teacher asked her young pupils
how they spent their holidays. One small boy wrote the following:

We used to spend Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa. They used to live here in a big brick home.  But Grandpa got retarded and they moved to Florida.  Now they live in a place with a lot of other retarded people. They all live in little tin boxes. They have three-wheeled tricycles and they all wear name tags because they don't know who they are. They play games and do exercises too. But they don't do them pretty good.

There is a swimming pool there. They go in it and just stand there with their hats on. I guess they don't know how to swim. As you go into their park, there is a doll house with a little man sitting in it. He watches all day so they don't get out without him seeing them. When they sneak out, they go to the beach and pick up shells that they think are dollars.

My Grandma used to bake cookies and stuff, but I guess she forgot how. Nobody cooks, they just eat out. They eat the same things every night - “early birds”. Some people are so retarded they don't know how to cook at all. So my Grandma and Grandpa bring food into the 'wrecked hall” and they call it 'potted luck'. My Grandma says that Grandpa worked all his life and earned his retardment. I wish they would move back up here but I guess the little man in the doll house won't let them out.”

This poem I love...and titling it...The Modern Grandma of Today

In the dim and distant past,
When Life's tempo wasn't fast,
Grandma used to rock and knit,
Crochet, tat and babysit.
When the kids were in a jam
They would always count on Gram.
In an age of gracious living,
Grandma was the gal for giving.

Grandma, now, is in the gym
Exercising to keep slim.
She's off touring with the bunch,
Taking clients out for lunch.
Driving north to ski or curl...
All her days are in a whirl.
Nothing seems to stop or block her...
Now that Grandma's off her rocker!

Merle Baird-Kerr
(written June 13, 2011)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

To All the Kids Who Survived

 in the 1930's, 40's, 50's 60's and 70's!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank
while they were pregnant.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can...
and didn't get tested for diabetes.
Then after that trauma , we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs
covered with bright coloured lead-based paints.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets
and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets,
not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking.

As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats,
booster seats, seat belts or air bags.
Riding in the back of a pick-up on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.
We shared one soft drink with four friends from one bottle
and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank Kool-Aid
made with sugar, but we weren't overweight because
We would leave home in the morning and play all day,
as long as we were back when the street lights came on.
No one was able to reach us all day. And we were OK.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps
and then ride down the hill only to find out we forgot the brakes.
After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We did NOT have Play Stations, Nintendo, X-boxes; no Video Games at all;
no 150 Channels on Cable, no Video Movies or DVD's; no “surround-sound";
no CD's, no Cell Telephones, no Personal Computers; no Internet or Chat-Rooms...!

WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth
and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.
We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt
and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays,
made up games with sticks and tennis balls
and although we were told it would happen,
we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door
or rang the bell or just walked in and talked to them!
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team.
Those who didn't, had to learn to deal with disappointments.
Imagine That!!!

The idea of a parent “bailing us out” if we broke the law
was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers,
problem solvers and inventions...ever!
The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovations and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility
and we learned How to Deal With it All!
If you are one of us...Congratulations!

You might want to share this with others
who have had the luck to grow up as kids,
before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives
'for our own good' !

Quote of the month by Jay Leno: “With hurricanes, tornadoes, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunder and lightning storms...
tearing up the country from one end to another
and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks...
are we sure this is a good time
to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?”

Merle Baird-Kerr
(written June 12, 2011)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Address ... to Children of Today

A neighbour's kid asked the other day, “What was your favourite fast food when you were growing up?” “We didn't have fast food when I was growing up,” I informed him...”all the food was slow”..

“C'mon, seriously. Where did you eat?”, he questioned. “It was a place called home,” I explained.

“Mom cooked every day and when Dad got home from work, we sat down together at the dining room table, and if I didn't like what she put on my plate,  I was allowed to sit there until I did like it.”

By this time the kid was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to suffer serious internal damage, so I didn't tell him the part about how I had to have permission to leave the table. But here are some things I would have told him about my childhood if I figured his system could have handled it.

“Some parents NEVER owned their own house, never wore Levis, never set foot on a golf course, never travelled out of the country or had a credit card.

“In their later years they had something called a revolving charge card. The card was good only at Sears Roebuck...or maybe it was Sears & Roebuck. Either way, there is no Roebuck anymore. Maybe he died.

“My parents never drove me to a soccer practice. This was mostly because we had never heard of soccer. I had a bicycle that weighed probably 50 pounds, and only had one speed...slow.

“We didn't have a television in our house until I was 19. It was, of course, black and white and the station went off the air at midnight, after playing the national anthem and a poem about God. It came back on the air at about 6 am. And there was usually a locally produced news and farm show on, featuring local people.

“I was 21 before I tasted my first was called...'pizza pie'. When I bit into it, I burned the roof of my mouth and the cheese slid off, swung down, plastered itself against my chin and burned that, too.
It's still the best pizza I ever had.

“I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone in the house was in the living room and it was a party line. Before you could dial, you had to listen and make sure some people you didn't know weren't already using the line.

“Pizzas were not delivered to our home. But milk was...and bread sometimes.

“All newspapers were delivered by boys and all boys delivered brother delivered a newspaper, six days a week. It cost 7 cents a paper, of which he got to keep 2 cents. He had to get up at 6 each morning. On Saturday, he had to collect the 42 cents from his customers. His favourite customers were those who gave him 50 cents and told him to keep the change. His least favourite customers were the ones who seemed to never be home on collection day.

“Movie stars kissed with their mouths shut. At least, they did in the movies. There were no movie ratings because all movies were responsibly produced for everyone to enjoy viewing, without profanity or violence or most anything offensive.

“Growing up isn't what it used to be, is it?”

If you grew up in a generation before there was fast food, you may want to share some of these memories with your children or grandchildren. Just don't blame me if they bust a gut laughing!

(The foregoing was related to me by a long-time friend...
and realizing I had experienced most of the above,
I wished to share her comments with you.)

Merle Baird-Kerr
(written June 12, 2011)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Nostalgia . . . from Yester-Year

A friend related  this about his father:

My Dad was cleaning out my grandmother's house (she died in December) and he brought me an old  Royal Crown Cola bottle.  In the bottle was a stopper with a bunch of holes in it.  I knew immediately what it was, but my daughter had no idea.  She thought they had tried to make it a salt shaker or something.  I knew it as a bottle that sat on the end of the ironing board to "sprinkle" clothes with, because  we didn't have a steam iron.  Man, I am old!
Now that my mind is in gear,
I wonder how many of the following you are familiar with:
Wood stoves
Food stamps
Pea shooters
Real ice boxes
45 RPM records
Roller skate keys
Washtub wringers
Mimeograph paper
Lugged tractor wheels
Metal ice trays with lever
Newsreels before the movie
Busy party lines on the telephone
A car's gear shift on the floorboard
Soldering irons heated on a gas burner
Ignition switches on the dashboard  of car
Pant clips for bicycles without chain  guards
Headlight dimmer switches on the floorboard
Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles
Coffee shops or diners with table-side juke boxes
Hand signals to indicate turns, regardless of weather
Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers

about the
Good Old times!

Merle Baird-Kerr
June 19, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I Think This is Hilarious!  
 Never heard Creation explained this way before !!!

In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth and populated the Earth   with broccoli,  cauliflower and spinach; green, yellow and red vegetables of all Man and Woman would live long and  healthy lives.

Then, using God's great gifts, Satan created Ben and Jerry's ice cream,   and Krispy Creme donuts.  And Satan said, “You want chocolate with that?”  And Man said, “Yes!”  And  Woman said, “As long as  you're at it, add some sprinkles.”  And they gained 10 pounds.  And Satan smiled.

And God created the  healthful yogurt treat that Woman might keep the figure that Man found so fair.  And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat and sugar from the cane and combined them.  And Woman went from size 6 to 14.

So God said, “Try my fresh green salad.” And Satan presented Thousand-Island dressing, buttery croutons and garlic toast on the side.  And  Man and Woman unfastened their  belts following the repast.

God then said, “I have sent you hearty  and healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to cook them.”
And Satan brought forth deep fried fish and chicken-fried steak so big it needed its own platter.  And Man gained more weight and his cholesterol went through the roof.  God then created a light fluffy, white cake...named it Angel Food Cake and said, “It is Good!”  Satan then created chocolate cake and named it Devil's Food.

God then brought forth running shoes so that  His children might lose those extra  pounds.  And Satan gave cable TV with a remote control  so Man would not have to toil changing stations.  And Man and Woman laughed before the flickering blue light and gained pounds.

Then God brought forth the potato, naturally low in  fat and brimming with nutrition.  And Satan peeled
off the healthful skin and sliced the starchy centre into chips and deep-fried them.  And Man gained pounds.

God then gave them lean beef so that Man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite.  And Satan created McDonald's  and its 99 cent double cheeseburger.  Then said, “You want fries with that?”  And Man replied, “Yes! And super-size them!”  And Satan said, “It is Good!”  And Man went into cardiac arrest.

God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery.
Then Satan created Cuts to the Health Care System.

(If you don't send this to 5 old friends right away,
there will be 5 fewer people laughing in the world.)

Merle Baird-Kerr
June 23, 2011
(from a friend's e-mail to me)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tourist Prayer

Over many years, I've gleaned and gathered numerous “collectables”
which one day, may merit my review of and possible publication
...worthy of reading today!

Heavenly Father, look down on us your humble, obedient tourist servants who are doomed to travel this earth, taking photographs, mailing postcards, buying souvenirs and walking around in drip-dry underwear. We beseech you, O Lord to see that our plane is not hijacked, our luggage is not lost and our overweight baggage goes unnoticed.

Give us this day, divine guidance in our selection of hotels. We pray that the phones work, and that the operators speak our tongue, that there is no mail waiting from our children that would force us to cancel the rest of our trip.

Lead us to good, inexpensive restaurants where the wine is included in the price of the meal. Give us the wisdom to tip correctly in currencies we do not understand. Make the natives love us for what we are and not for what we can contribute to their worldly goods.

Grant us the strength to visit the museums, the cathedrals, the palaces, and if, perchance, we skip an historic monument to take a nap after lunch, have mercy on us for our flesh is weak.

Dear God, protect our wives from “bargains” they don't need or can't afford. Lead them not into temptation for they know not what they do.

Almighty Father, keep our husbands from looking at foreign women and comparing them to us. Save them from making fools of themselves in nightclubs. Above all, please do not forgive them their trespasses... for they know exactly what they do.

And when our journey is over, grant us the favour of finding someone who will look at our home movies and listen to our stories, so our lives as tourists will not have been in vain. This we ask you in the name of Conrad Hilton, Thomas Cook and the American Express ~

Merle Baird-Kerr
July 15, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A "Personalized Licence Plate"

The day was July 11, 2011.
The "Interstate 90” lengthened before me.
Cruise Control at 110 kph ~
I moved with the traffic
as it exceeded the 120's
from east of Syracuse to west of Rochester.

A car intrigued me as it passed on my right.
A lone male driver was at its wheel.
How Astonished I was! To view this auto!
It was the style of my father's
which one time I described to a long time friend:
with long sloping back
from top of rear window to bumper at its tail.
~ I had thought it a Chrysler ~
but nowhere on Internet could I locate it!

The refurbished blue car was a beauty!
With gleaming chrome and colour so shiny.
Had a personalized plate “OUR 49”.
The name on the trunk bore the name
BUICK BUICK ( Well, Well, Well!)

My Dad's similar car was a smokey grey
with narrow red stripes along both sides.
It had “white walls” and windows the same.
Now I have a picture, Internet downloaded
of the car my Father owned and so proudly drove.

Merle Baird-Kerr
July 13, 2011