Hi, Come on in!

The greeter at the door was no different than many I have met in the past. His words were simple and common. With a welcoming smile and a peaceful tone, he enthusiastically said “Hi, come on in!”. So without hesitation I walked in with assurance and confidence. The place was familiar to me. I had visited it fifty eight times before. The surroundings had not changed. Many of the people there I had seen often and some were very close friends. There was certainly a high degree of comfort. Our conversation was filled with stories about the past. The conversations focused on our work, kids, and parents; world events; our dreams and aspirations. But in the midst of all of the chatter and activity, there was constraint. Though somewhat shallow, there was a measureable sense of anxiety. I had entered an unpredictable new year and I was not alone.

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A Short Autobiography

It’s my birthday today. Fifty-eight (58) years ago I was born in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. My parents, Bill and Joyce Hillier, had 6 children: 5 boys and 1 girl. I was number 5, the last of the sons but with a younger sister. I was born on my mom’s only sibling, her sister’s birthday. She is 88 today! We didn’t have much of the world’s goods. My Dad was a carpenter (cabinet maker) who was paid just over $3.63/hr and worked six days a week, 10 hours a day. My mom stayed at home with what was no doubt a very heavy workload managing home and family. We didn’t need much to be cared for properly or to have a great childhood. Our needs were covered quite adequately. Our wants, well that was another matter. Like every kid, especially at this time of the year, we all wanted a lot. But our unfulfilled wants did not interfere with our happiness.

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Why Not Me?

Many times when I read updates from those listed on Facebook, I tend to get a bit discouraged. Everyone seems to be having such a good time. Their lives appear to be so successful. So many wonderful posts and pictures let us believe life for them is just perfect. Stories of their latest travel adventures, purchase of beautiful homes, new cars in the driveway, constant partying, families so loving and successful, fulfilling jobs and everyone smiling and happy! Can it really be? When I read what they have to say I immediately ask, why not me? Why isn’t my life as wonderful as theirs?

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Fact or Fiction

Young and old gathered on the sidewalks of Lakeshore Blvd. in Oakville. A constant flow of marching bands, clowns, dancers, celebrities, cartoon characters and old men from the Rotary and Shriner’s clubs reliving their childhood while riding mini motorcycles, all led up to the reason for our attendance and anticipation. Whether fact or fiction, the cherry Ho! Ho! Ho! proclaimed loud and clear from the elf of the North Pole brought smiles to all of our faces eliminating the chilling effect of us being tightly wrapped in nature’s bitter cold. I

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Keeping Love Perfect

My Mom’s 85th birthday will be celebrated in a few weeks. Our time with her now become hours of reflection of years past. During a recent visit, I remember her recalling times during Wold War 2, when she, her sister Gwen and her Mom (Flora) and Dad (Samuel) upon the hearing of the war siren, would quickly go the damp and cold unfinished basement and stay there until it was considered safe to leave. They were required to have all of the lights in the house turned off to make it more difficult for enemy aircraft to identify their location.

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The Mayflower

Ten years ago my five brothers organized a moose hunting trip to Newfoundland, the place of our birth and early childhood. Fourteen of my fifty-seven years were spent living in Corner Brook but unlike many “down homers” I never learned the skills of hunting, fishing, and trapping. While I love the outdoors, my youth was spent snowmobiling. skating, sledding and skiing.  Since 2005, many other hunting trips, mostly for deer, were taken by my brothers with me absent.

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Keep Laughing!

I remember a number of years ago, our company, The Smith Group, had purchased (at my recommendation) another company that was technically bankrupt. It was my responsibility to manage a “soft receivership” which meant renegotiating all of the short and long term debt at $.10 on the dollar. While in the process, sales revenues significantly declined and losses were substantial. Things just couldn’t seem to get worse. One of the VPs who was a previous owner of the recently purchased company, had a few simple words of wisdom for the young manager. Jim said to me, “Merv, in all that you do, don’t loose your sense of humour!”

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My Wish Book

I had just finished my appointment at Total Image with my hairdresser, Julie. I walked down the stairs at Oakville Place Mall and then through the Sears department store on my way to the car parking lot. In the hall to my right was a bin with the 2014 Sears Wish Books neatly stacked. It was August, but the Christmas fantasy had already begun. I quickly grabbed one, hoping I did not have to pay for it, and rushed home. I was anxious to scan through the Wish Book and discover my childhood all over again.

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Dear Murph…

A person’s greatest reward but also greatest punishment is what h/she may leave behind!

Each year my nephew Andrew and his wife Amy with their two kids, set aside at least one week to enjoy our cottage in the summer. This year was no different. Except, they respectfully asked if we were open to having friends join them. Of course that is what makes cottaging so much fun. The more the merrier! So their friends and three kids were included. Several days later, Andrew called seeking permission for two more attendees, over and above the nine already confirmed.

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Staying Alive on God's Great Dance Floor!

I was just ending two wonderful weeks at the cottage. The weather during the week had been excellent for completing the required annual repairs and maintenance. And on weekends, the weather was even better, perfect for boating, kayaking, swimming and fishing.  It was now Friday. But with much nervous anticipation, I finally received an email from my Doctor’s assistant, Judy. It was definitely good news. But after receiving her message I was confused as to why I was suddenly becoming uncharacteristically discouraged.

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