I guess we have to help

Makes us a little sick to know that our friends Sam and Chris Stott are planning to move more than a good walk away. Shouldn’t be allowed. But we promised to help them spread the word about their house for sale. Really, nobody buy it! But if you must, I get dibs on the apple tree in the back yard. This from Chris:

Check out this video feature for our house, and share with your friends in Saskatoon — they may be in the market for a home in Nutana. Contact brent@brentherman.com for all the details.

No skin off your nose

My friend Lisa Bendall runs a blog called 50 Good Deeds, a completely happy place you should go to from time to time to restore your faith in humanity. I recently emailed Lisa about two unrelated but very nice and very unexpected things that happened to my son Jim and me on the way home from Jim’s work at the YMCA the other day. I do believe that little nicesties, kindnesses, thoughtful gestures make a significant difference not only in the recepient, but in the person who does something good (especially if it’s something selfless with no expectation of something in return.).

As a postscript to my little story to Lisa about nice things people did for us, I’m convinced happy breeds happy. Yesterday, just after Jim pumped gas on 8th Street and we were pulling out of the gas station, I spotted a Metro newspaper box. “Hey, Jim, can you hop out and grab one?” It was very, very windy so he struggled with the box lid for a minute, gave up and got back in the car. A woman pushing her way along the sidewalk in the blowing dust, yanked open the box, ran over to our car, and when I rolled the window down, she said, “Here! It was stuck!”

I said, “Thank you so much! Sure is windy!”

She said, “Yep, that’s spring in Saskatchewan!”

“Want a ride?” I asked.

“Really, are you serious? You don’t know me!”

“Hop in!” So she wrenched open the back door, plopped down with her bags. “I’m Linda!” she said and we were no longer strangers.

“Where do you live?”

“At the end of 8th Street, behind the funeral home. I hope that’s not out of your way?” Off we went and we chatted about springtime in Saskatoon. We pulled in and she thanked us. She stood and waved in the parking lot with a big smile. Jim kept waving until we couldn’t see her.

“That was a nice person who needed a ride,” I told him.

“I know,” he said. We backtracked the way we had come because it really had been completely in the other direction. It only took about 20 minutes extra; we had time.

Niceness is as niceness does.

 

Ben plays Disney

Would have loved to see this Rhye concert in person (son Ben even get a high five toward the end of the LA Times review. He said the acoustics were phenomenal in the Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles) the other night. Rhye (Ben’s been playing keys with them for awhile now) was sold out. Found this piece on YouTube so we got to see a bit of Ben’s performance even though not in person.

The strength of distant ties

We’re always trawling for connections to make Jim’s life full and interesting. Sometimes I feel like a stalker when I notice someone making a genuine gesture of interest in him (not that “awww, isn’t he special? kind) but authentic ones that might have something lasting lurking behind them. Rick and I often bemoan the fact that so many bright lights in Jim’s life life far away. He’s got family and friends who have a genuine realtionship with him who live in Australia, New Zealand, the UAE, the States, throughout Canada. If there was some way to make all those people come to their senses and move to Saskatoon, preferably within walking distance of our house, think of the barbeques and movie nights Jim could throw?

But instead of thinking of those far away connections with regret, maybe there’s a way to perceive them differently. A colleague of Rick’s just marked his 50th birthday and in an amazing collaboration of friendship, people from all over the world who know and love Dean banded together through the miracle of social networks and helped him celebrate. Read about it here and have a look at the article Dean linked to about the strength of weak ties. It’s a bit academicky, but the title got me thinking about how we can celebrate all those satellites who orbit around Jim, which is fitting since he often considers himself the centre of the universe :) Maybe the trick is to keep a line attached to those who are distant and just reel them in from time to time to make Jim’s life richer. Those connections are not weak in the sense of loose and flabby, but weak only in terms of physical distance. It’s our job, and Jim’s, to keep them strong.

And, come to think of it, Jim does need new socks.

 

Natural Saskatoon, mark your calendars!

Saskatoon’s Candace Savage, nature advocate and author, invited me to help out a bit with the NatureCity Festival coming up in May, a week-long celebration of all the natural spaces, places and things in Saskatoon that make this city the best place to live. There’s a full slate of fascinating sessions, speakers, a fantastic warmup day at the Farmer’s Market, and prizes to be had. Go to the website and check out the growing list of mostly free activities and help celebrate what is wild about Saskatoon.

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