Thursday, August 25, 2011

SHUDDUP ALREADY ABOUT JACK'S FUNERAL BEING OVER THE TOP

Hey, all of you conservative-right-wing-nuts lay off about the outpouring of grief for Jack Layton being over the top. You're just embarrassing yourselves and showing your true colours as usual. Jack Layton had qualities that your leader yearns to have. It's pretty obvious, when millions of Canadians are showing their grief, that he touched a lot of lives and your whiny "he's not worthy" diatribe is not achieving anything but showing how you can never leave the "Party Line", partisanship and politicking behind and just be human beings, which is very ironic to me because that is exactly what Jack Layton did in his political life. He wanted to work with all people regardless of political leanings, race, religion or sexual preference.

MAYBE I'M NOT SO BAD OFF AFTER ALL

I was all prepared to do another big long whiny rant about health-care waiting times and how the different factions within our health care system work against each other and not with each other in the effort to provide healthcare to the province’s residents, who are mainly responsible for the funding of this system, and how a phone call from our local doctor’s office did more for me than my letters, emails and phone calls to I don’t know how many people and how if there is a twenty-week waiting period after a failed surgery to get an MRI perhaps this would indicate that there is a shortage of MRI machines in the province and if the administration and bureaucracy of the province’s Health Regions weren’t sucking up all of the infrastructure dollars maybe we could afford to purchase another MRI machine or two and if Saskatchewan is truly the place to be with so much happening and we’re so well off maybe additional money should be allocated to more doctors and nurses and technicians and hospitals RIGHT NOW…but that’s such a downer, eh? There’s enough bad news out there so you really shouldn’t have to be subjected to more of it.
On the positive side, though, I did get an MRI appointment twelve-and-a-half weeks after the requisition was sent in instead of the twenty weeks that I was told I’d have to wait. Thanks to all of the Kipling Medical Clinic Staff, and Barb in particular, for helping me with that.
In the great scheme of things, though, my aches and pains and frustration with the system are nothing compared to what many others are going through right now. An old roommate of mine, and one of my best friends over the past thirty-five-plus-years, is fighting that evil robber of human lives, Cancer, and has thirty-three rounds of nasty treatments to look forward to in the upcoming months. My problems pale in comparison to his.
Another buddy of mine just lost some toes to his healthcare battle so I think I’m going to take some time to put things into perspective here. I am not excusing the medical system for my treatment, or lack thereof, as it were, but I will acknowledge that there are many other people that are in far worse condition than I am.
And then there’s Jack Layton. One more victim of that evil faceless robber. What can you say about Jack? I had the good fortune of hearing him speak at a Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association convention while he was the President of the Canadian Federation of Municipalities. He was inspirational then and he was an inspiration right up until he succumbed to Cancer.
While one columnist for the National Post, Christie Blatchford, called the outpouring of grief for Jack Layton “over the top”; another columnist, John Moore, offered this response explaining why he thought that the coverage of Jack Layton’s death was appropriate, “People liked Jack as a man and his sunny celebration of our country was infectious. The Prime Minister has recognized this unique bond by making the unprecedented offer of a state funeral. There’s a reason why Canadians mourn this week. It’s the appreciation of personal qualities and uncompromised political vision that they wish all politicians drew on.”
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and everyone should read both articles to judge their merits, but I’ll agree with John Moore. There seems to be fewer and fewer politicians with Jack’s integrity, energy, work ethic and optimism. We need more Jack Laytons in the world and while we mourn the loss of a great political leader we must all pay heed to his last words of inspiration.
“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”-Jack Layton (1950-2011).

MY MOM CELEBRATES 90 YEARS YOUNG!

In 1921 the Bluenose was launched, Prohibition came to an end in British Columbia, Frederick Banting and Charles Best invented insulin, Canadian women exercised their right to vote for the first time and in 1921 Farley Mowat, Maurice Richard, Monte Hall and my Mom, Rose Christine Vedres, were born. There were others, too, of course, but these were some of the more notable ones.
That’s right; my Mom is going to celebrate her 90th birthday on August the 30th. Wow, ninety years. Just think of all the history and all of the changes in the world that Mom would have seen over those ninety years.
Mom was born at the beginning of the “Roaring ‘20’s” but I don’t know how “roaring” it was in Bender or Inchkeith during her family’s stay in those places in the 1920’s. I do know that they left this area for greener pastures in the early 1930’s and Mom’s family, like so many other prairie families, had to endure the “Dirty Thirties” as The Great Depression hit the world.
At the end of the 1930’s Mom was to meet her soul mate in Lowell Hubbard and they were married in October of 1940. The young couple’s marriage began while World War II raged on. The Allies won the war in 1945, Adolf Hitler committed suicide, the U.S. dropped Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and The Cold War began. Other notable happenings in the 1940’s were the introduction of the T-shirt, the microwave oven was invented, the first computer was built, the slinky and Polaroid cameras were invented, the bikini was introduced and Lowell and Rose Hubbard brought a boy and three girls into the world.
The 1950s are sometimes referred to as the Golden Age. Color TV was invented, the polio vaccine was discovered, Disneyland opened and Elvis gyrated his hips on The Ed Sullivan Show. The Cold War continued as the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union began. The ’50 also saw the Hungarian Revolution unfold, the popularity of the hula hoop explode, Dr. Suess wrote The Cat in the Hat, and Fidel Castro became the dictator of Cuba. Rose and Lowell, having vowed to have only two children, completely broke that vow by following up the four 1940’s kids by having two more girls followed by two more boys and then one more girl in the 1950’s. Nine kids in all!
In the 1960’s we endured the Cuban Missile Crisis, the launch of the first man, Yuri Gagarin, into space, the Beatlemania explosion and the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy. The Vietnam War raged on prompting mass protests while “Make Love Not War!” and “Peace” became the hippies’ mantra. Canada unveiled its new flag and Pierre Elliot Trudeau was first elected Prime Minister of Canada in 1968. Lowell joined the United Church of Canada’s Ministry in 1963 perhaps seeking the assistance of God to raise their teenaged daughters and sons through the “Generation Gap” age of the 1960’s.
I just realized that I have almost taken up all of my allotted space for this column and I have only covered half of the life that my Mom has lived. At least it will give you a good idea of how much history can happen in one lifetime. I guess I have two options- 1.) condense the next forty-five years or 2.) make this a serial and continue on with the history for another few newspaper issues. I think I better go with number 1.
I will forgo the parallel history of the next forty-five years and say that Mom and Dad thoroughly enjoyed their life together. Mom lost the “Love of Her Life” in 1990, after having shared fifty years together, and their legacy lives on through their nine children, twenty-five grand children, thirty-five great-grand children and four great-great-grandchildren.
Mom still lives on her own in Medicine Hat and is amazingly healthy and hardy for a ninety-years young individual. It is hard to fathom the number of lives that have been affected by Rose Hubbard’s life. She came from a big family, she created a big family and she will be celebrating her birthday on the 27th of August with so many of the family members that she so cherishes as they cherish her. Happy 90th Birthday Mom!

“In spite of illness, in spite even of the archenemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways.”-Edith Wharton –(1862-1937).

I MISS MY GARDEN

Did any of you get your garden planted this year? Unfortunately we didn’t and boy do we miss it now. Our garden spot was a slough until the middle of June so that pretty much convinced us to abandon those plans for the year. After it dried up we threw in a few onion plants and we’ve got one patio tomato plant. Big whoop. Not that we had a huge garden before but it was a nice little patch that provided us with a lot of fresh produce over the years.
I miss the produce and Deb misses the garden. Her garden was her sanctuary. She always did the planning and the planting and she even misses the weeding, if you can imagine. You know, you can take the girl out of the farm but you cant’ take the farm out of the girl, eh? Me? I just miss eating the stuff.
Actually, we make a pretty decent team when it comes to the gardening. She grows the stuff and I deal with a lot of the finished products. In fact, one year we had such a bumper crop of tomatoes that we had salsa, chili sauce, spaghetti sauce, tomato soup, canned tomatoes and anything else that you could make with fresh tomatoes coming out of our ears.
The biggest problem that year was that Deb was on crutches, with her leg in a cast after breaking her ankle in a GOLFING accident, yes, you read that right, a golfing accident, (a story for another time, though), and I had one arm in a sling from shoulder surgery. Of course, this was back in the days when it didn’t take the medical system more than a year to get something fixed on you, but I digress. Anyway, here’s the one-legged lady and the one-armed man struggling with basket after basket of tomatoes while trying not to become another injury victim in their very own kitchen. I believe we got everything made with nary a new scar.
It was always an August treat to get the fresh peas from the garden and make up a big batch of “zoldborsoleves scipetke tesztaval”, or green pea soup with pinched noodles for you non-Hungarians. In fact, I couldn’t stop thinking about that soup so this weekend I made a big pot of it substituting the Green Giant’s baby peas for garden fresh. It was close but not quite like it could be, you know?
I don’t know of a market-garden nearby and I don’t know of many people with an abundance of garden-fresh produce this year so I had considered climbing a fence or two to seek out some fresh peas but I haven’t raided a garden since the summer of ’71, or so, and I’m a little beyond fence climbing right now anyway; so the Green Giant’s garden it was. Again, it was close, but it wasn’t garden fresh despite what the bag said.
That’s the thing too though, isn’t it? If you were one of the fortunate ones to have persevered and to have gotten your garden planted and are seeing the fruits of your labours coming forth now, then you had better consider a live scarecrow or two for that garden. It won’t just be the birds that you’ll be looking to keep out of there this year.
So if anyone sees a 6’3”, 230lb limping man schmutrooking, (as my Mom would say), or lurking, around their garden patch in the wee small hours of the morning, it won’t be me. It might look an awful lot like me but it won’t be me. Trust me.

“The best fertilizer is the gardener's shadow.” ~Author Unknown

Monday, August 8, 2011

YOU CALL THIS CUSTOMER SERVICE?

I know I shouldn’t air all of my dirty laundry through this column, but on the other hand, it hasn’t really stopped me before, so here we go.
A little while ago my internet e-mail provider decided that it was time for an upgrade and they said that there would be a brief interruption of services as they “improved the e-mail platform to enhance its benefits”. Okay, whatever, the old one wasn’t very good so any effort to improve it would be, well, an improvement, so go ahead, enhance away.
They stated that: “Every effort will be made to complete your upgrade during the early morning hours, but may continue into the day.” That warning was issued on June 9th for the June 28th upgrade. We’re into August, now, so “continuing into the day” has kind of stretched out a bit, don’t you think? They’re still ironing out a few wrinkles but, again, whatever, just don’t lose my stuff and you can improve my e-mail to your heart’s content.
In the notice given to their users about the upgrade they never said anything about backing up your files or your address book, or anything, they just said there might be a slow down on your already too-slow system and the “new and improved” webmail will be available as soon as the conversion was completed. To their credit they had the new system in place by the 29th of June, as promised, but “completed” would be a debatable term.
Gone was my address book. Gone were all my sent files, which, of course, I had been using as a sort of cyber filing cabinet, but the new “enhanced” system looked better and seemed more user friendly but my stuff was gone. I need my stuff! Where did it go?
And never mind all of you “techie” wizards out there that are all…tsk, tsk, tsk...and shaking your heads with your rueful smiles going, “What a fool! You didn’t back up your stuff? You always back up your stuff! Every day, Dummy! You’re just asking for trouble, you know, when you don’t do your back ups.” I know, I know, but, I don’t, and millions of others don’t, either. Do backups that is.
Regardless, my stuff is lost so I send in a query to their “Customer Relations” department at “consumer.support@__________” e-mail address to inquire of their “Customer Services Team” as to where my files are. Their response: “We appreciate the time you have taken to write us, and we acknowledge receipt of your request. We are currently addressing your inquiry and will be contacting you within 48 hours (two business days).” Huh? Two days?! Do you have any idea what “Customer Relations, Consumer Support or Customer Service” means? I guess not.
So I send them a lecture about what “Customer Service” is supposed to mean and how the timeline is unacceptable and everything and what do I get for a response? Yup, you guessed it…“We appreciate the time you have taken….blah, blah, blah…48 hours…blah, blah, blah.” You cannot be serious?
By this time they’ve at least restored my address book but not my sent files so every 48 hours I send them a new e-mail asking where my old sent files are. Finally, they respond by emailing me that I have to phone the HELP line to talk to a “Customer Relations” specialist, or something, in an effort to finally find a solution to the whole schmozzle. A schmozzle of their creation, mind you!
Guess what? “All of our representatives are currently busy…your call is important to us (BULLDROPPINGS!!!)…please stay on the line and a Customer Relations Representative will address your concerns within…pause… (different voice)…15 minutes.” What!? I have to phone you to be put on hold for 15 minutes so you can tell me how you lost my files over a month ago? Really!? Oh the agony! Thank goodness I have been dealing with our health care system for the last eleven months so I am quite used to non-service service, if you know what I mean?
So off goes another e-mail to their “Customer Service Team” stating that I want THEM to call ME. How do you think that’ll go over? Me too. We’ll see what they say in about…oh…48 hours.

“How much of human life is lost in waiting?” Ralph Waldo Emerson-(1803-1882).

THIS OLD MONEY PIT


There seems to be a bit of confusion as to the age of the old house that our family has occupied since 1993. Pioneers and Progress, the History of Kipling and District (1882-1998), state that Dr. Sylvere and Maria Falardeau built this house in 1920. The Town of Kipling’s assessment says that it was built in 1919. Chances are that the house was started in 1919 and completed in 1920 but, regardless, this place is old.
I believe that we are the fifth family to occupy this residence over the past 92 years. Throughout that time every previous owner of the house had added their own adjustments and renovations and by the time we were ready to buy it the realtor’s favourite adjectives, and the prospective buyer’s red flag words-“character home” and “potential” were being used for the property.
However, we loved the old place and we moved in while we were doing the first and, until now, the biggest renovation job of the past eighteen years. I can recall stripping away the years and years of decades-old fashion from the living room walls as layer after layer of gaudy wall paper and interesting paint colours came off revealing each era’s taste in home decorating. Stripping the old “battleship linoleum” off of the kitchen floor was a chore that would more closely resemble a form of punishment than a handyman’s task but, in the end, the finished product was worth the effort.
There were many modern conveniences added to the house over the years but there are still some of the original fixtures in use, too, like some of the upstairs light fixtures, the second floor bedroom doors with their original locks, the banisters and of course the maple hardwood flooring. The old place creaks and groans and sometimes the cross breezes make the old doors rattle in the too-loose locksets giving more “character” to this old “character home”.
This year, in an effort to offset our carbon imprint and to lessen our huge monthly contributions to SaskEnergy and SaskPower’s profit margins, we decided that we would install new windows, siding and upgrade the insulation. Well, upgrade is a bit of a misnomer as there would have had to have been some insulation in the walls to make it an upgrade. I don’t think you can “upgrade” from nothing or the .00001 R value of the scant wood chips and horsehair that was supposedly passing for insulation in our exterior walls. Until now, a wintertime infra-red picture of this old house would have revealed a great big red glowing ball.
During the most recent visit from my Mom she reminded me of the coincidental fact that back in 1970 it was in this very house that she and Dad were invited to dine with then owners D. A. (Alex) and May Cunningham. That spring Mom and Dad had come to Kipling for Dad’s interview with Kipling United Church’s Official Board, of which D.A. was the Chair, for the minister’s position at the Kipling-Windthorst Pastoral Charge. In spite of D.A. and Dad’s politically opposed viewpoints their theological opinions meshed and D.A. greatly influenced Dad in accepting the position and they remained good friends from that day on. Obviously Dad took the position and he, Mom and the last three of their brood of nine moved to Kipling and the rest, as they say, is history.

“Old houses mended,
Cost little less than new before they ’re ended.”- Colley Cibber, The Double Gallant, Prologue; English actor & dramatist (1671 – 1757).

I CAN HANDLE THE HEAT


“Wasn’t that a corker!” my late Mother-in-law used to say when an unusual event occurred. I was thinking that exact thing on Tuesday the 19th of July when the temperature here hit 35+ degrees Celsius and the humidex went over 42 degrees or something. Even for a heat lover like me it seemed a bit excessive. That particular day we were in Regina, at yet one more health-related appointment, and it was so hot that we chose to keep the top up on the convertible and crank up the air conditioner instead to get some relief. It has got to be really, really hot for me to seek out an air conditioner for relief.
The excessive heat triggered memories of my “Alberta experiment” of the late 1970’s. You see, waaaayyy back when, I was a scrawny directionless twenty-one year old living in Kipling with my Mom and Dad and floating from job to job, enjoying my life of leisure, mind you, when my Dad and my oldest brother, who lived in Redcliff Alberta at the time, thought it would be a good idea for me to head out to Alberta with him and get my collective “act” together, so to speak. The prospects for employment were greater and more varied than in Saskatchewan and my job-hopping rut needed to be broken. So I was told.
To that end, in July of 1978, off I went with him and within a week of my arrival I had landed a job at the Domglas Inc. glass factory. Well, talk about heat!! Yikes! But, first of all, I will familiarize you with the summer weather conditions of southeastern Alberta, and more specifically, the Medicine Hat-Redcliff locations. It requires only one word…HOT. Okay, maybe two words…EXTEMELY HOT. But as long as there was a swimming pool nearby or a garden hose, even, for some respite, I didn’t mind the heat all that much. But standing in front of the bottle and jar-making machines at the glass factory was another story.
Domglas Inc. were the manufacturers of many varied glass products in clear, brown and green glass. They made the stubby little beer bottles that were the norm back then, (120 per minute, in fact), and they made whiskey bottles, pop bottles, wine jugs and Cheeze Whiz jars, oh how I hated making those Cheeze Whiz jars, they were so damn persnickety, along with various other glass vessels.
My job, as an Operator’s Helper, was to assist the Operator in producing the glass products that were being made in one of six huge machines used for that purpose. Without bogging you down with the finer details, it would stand to reason that the temperature of the glass had to be high enough to form the molten glass into the shape of the destined vessel in, first a blank stage (rough shape) and then the finished state of the bottle or jar in the mold stage. The Operator and his assistant would apply “dope” (lubricant) to the blanks and molds to make sure the molten glass didn’t stick to the forms. Of course, the more square inches of glass exposure the hotter it was for the Operator and his helper. Thus, making beer bottles was a lot cooler, (if I even dare to use that term) than making double 40 ounce whiskey bottles. Make sense?
Anyway, the air temperature in the general area of the manufacturing machines was in excess of 40-45C (or 104-115F to the “old school” folks) all of the time and in front of the machines it was a lot…and I mean a LOT higher. Management gave workers salt pills on a regular basis in an effort to show some sort of compassion to the wilting sweating masses. In fact, every bottle we made was a potential cigarette lighter. All you had to do was pick up a bottle coming out of the machine with your asbestos wrapped tongs and slip the tip of your smoke into the neck of the bottle and…voila…instant combustion! So I know heat! I am very familiar with heat.
I stuck it out at the old glass factory until I was too homesick for Saskatchewan and moved back to my favourite province a year later. By the way, the “Alberta Experiment” worked, apparently, as I came back a more mature person, a more dedicated worker and someone with a keen appreciation for safe working conditions and a too-keen knowledge of what HOT really is.
“Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.”-Russel Baker (1925- ).

JULY'S ODD NEWS STORIES


In an effort to prove to myself that I’m still mostly sane I like to look at how screwed up the rest of the world is. To that end the World Wide Web is an amazing source of information to use as a tool to prove my point.
Take this following story for example: Three girls from Midway, GA., were trying to raise money to go to a waterpark and they thought that a lemonade stand would do the trick. But then they met the long arm of the law — their local police chief.
The Police Chief told the girls to “shut it down” citing the city requires business and food permits ($50 per day), even though the stand was at the home of one of the girls. The Police Chief said, “We understand you guys are young, but still, you’re breaking the law.” He also cited HEALTH issues because, “We (THE AUTHORITIES) were not aware of how the lemonade was made, who made the lemonade, of what the lemonade was made with, so we acted accordingly by city ordinance.”
Seriously!? Tsk, tsk, tsk. Slow crime day boys, or what? Did your own kids have a stand set up down the block or something? Some people should not be put in a position of authority I guess.
Then in the category of “Huh?” there’s the story of New York scent artist Christopher Brosius who has made his name with fragrances recalling childhood (such as Clean Baby Butt??, Green Bean and Baseball Glove-{now that one I can understand}), but felt it was time to approach the next frontier -- to make a perfume so exclusive that no one could smell it. By Brosius' reasoning, the scent's chemicals would provoke whatever reactions scents provoke in those exposed to it, but the actual scent would be undetectable to the nose; hence, no one would know why they were reacting as they were. By trial and error, he combined jasmine, sandalwood and natural amber, and scaled them down in power, yielding what he calls “Where We Are There Is No Here”. Perfume with no scent? Hmmm. I could sell you a truckload of that stuff, I’ll tell ya, and I think I’ll call it…”Water”.
This next story reminded me of a scene from the movie “Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail” when some characters were pulling a cart through the medieval town yelling, “Bring out your dead!”, and one old guy kept protesting that he wasn’t dead but they threw him on the cart anyway.
There’s a Florida woman who says she’s having numerous financial troubles because a bank error declared her dead last November. The woman and her husband built their home in 2007 and the couple took out two mortgages through the Chase Bank USA but the bank notified credit-reporting agencies that the woman had died. The bank even sent a letter of condolence to the family, saying someone from the bank would be in touch about the mortgage. The woman says she notified the bank officials that she was alive and also went to a local branch to correct the mistake. A month later, a lawsuit she filed against the bank alleges, credit agencies were still reporting her dead.
You know what? The really, really scary thing is that a new report states that by 2050 we’ll have 9.3 billion residents on this planet which, by virtue of basic math, will increase the number of stupid people and crazy events. Yikes! “Be afwaid, be vewy, vewy afwaid.”
“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”-Mark Twain (1835-1910).

SQUEAKY WHEEL GETS THE GREASE


Without boring you with all of the details I can tell you that there is some question as to the success of the back surgery that was performed on me in late April. As with all surgeries you cannot rule out the possibility that the surgery may not be as successful as one would have hoped.
Since I had not had back surgery before I was not sure what to expect afterward. More pain? Less pain? Total relief? A nerve in my spine had been pinched off for nearly eight months so the possibility of immediate relief was pretty low. However, I was expecting that I would eventually have less pain and numbness in my leg and I was prepared for a long but successful recovery.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the possibility that, eight weeks after the surgery, there would be no relief at all. Neither was my surgeon, who immediately sent in a request for, yup, you guessed it, another MRI, (just as my hearing was starting to recover from the last one, no less), to see what the deuce was going on in there now.
All of that aside, it’s the timeline that is, once again, almost more irritating to me than the pain in my leg. Considering the fact that the injury happened late last August I thought that I would be fixed by now. So here we go again…another six-to-eight-to-four-to-twelve-weeks waiting for another MRI, and then depending on the results, who knows how long until we can figure out where to go from there.
I was telling an old friend, who had worked in the health care system for years, about my nearly one-year odyssey through the system and how frustrating it was and is. She gave me the name of the “Health Advocate” at Sun Country Health Region and my friend told me that I have to call and nag and nag and call the CEO of Sun Country and the Premier and my MLA and the Minister of Health and the Ombudsman and anybody else that I could think of to get quicker results. “Squeaky wheel gets the grease, you know.”
Really? That’s what it takes? I know that’s how it works, but seriously? Do we all have to lie on the floor and kick our feet and cry and whine like a spoiled child who’s been told he has to wait for his candy? That’s the key to getting looked after? Only angry people get the fast service? Unfortunately it’s the truth, but should it be?
I was in the retail lumber business for over twenty years and I can tell you that the last person I wanted to give the five star service to was the guy at the end of the counter who was demanding service over all the other people ahead of him in line. His time is just so much more valuable than anyone else’s time you know.
Ask any waitress or waiter how they felt about the customer who whistled or rattled the ice in their glass, or yelled “Hey You!” for more service? I’m sure they were just sooo eager to run right over and attend to that customers demands. Ha!
I have never wanted to be that guy so up ‘til now I’ve been the dutifully patient patient and have been standing in line calmly waiting for my time to come up but now the patience has run out of this patient, if you know what I mean? I want some service and I want it now! I guess it’s time to get the old anger on if that’s what it’s going to take to get some service around here. I’ll stamp my feet, I’ll hold my breath ‘til I turn blue, I’ll scream and scream, I’ll cry crocodile tears, too, if that’s the program that we have to adhere to. It’s not how I WANT to handle the situation but, unfortunately, it’s how I HAVE to handle the situation.
“Abused patience turns to fury,”-Thomas Fuller (1608-1661)













































TRIBUTE TO THE BEKEVAR CHURCH


“The church still stands and really is a symbol of the faith and the hope of the Bekevar community at that time, because they built a large enough church to seat somewhere in the neighborhood of between 250-300 people when there were perhaps a lot fewer families in the area. It was a great thing for the people to get together at the church. In the springtime they would speak about, discuss before and after the service, their hopes for the summer and the fall and the seeding and what they were doing and the acreages they were putting in to crop and so on…So these things had helped to keep the community together.”-The Rev. K. C. Doka--as quoted in “Peace and Strife”-by Martin L. Kovacs © 1980.
Previous to 1911 the twin spires of The Great Church of Bekevar were not visible for miles and miles around. Also, before 1911, we didn’t have zippers, or insulin, or penicillin, or life savers (the candies), or two World Wars, or talking motion pictures, or television, or radio, or rockets, or robots, or band-aids, or bubble gum. So much has changed in the world since 1911 but the main symbol of the faith and hope of our Hungarian pioneers endures still.
So many baptisms, marriages and funerals were performed in that building. How many romances and relationships were spawned at the services and the “szureti vigalom” (vintage merrymaking) Bekevar picnics that were held annually at The Great Bekevar Church? Countless descendants owe their very lives to the community of Bekevar and its heart and soul…the church.
My maternal grandparents, Joseph and Elizabeth Vedres, lived in the Bender and Inchkeith areas during the 1920’s and they and their children attended many services and community gatherings at the church while they resided in this area.
Although the building has not been used for anything more than the occasional wedding or ceremonial service, since the new Bekevar Presbyterian Church was built in Kipling in 1967, the structure remains a huge part of Kipling and District’s heritage.
Back in the 1970’s, prior to too many vandal attacks, the church remained furnished as it had been when the last regular service was held in the building. The doors were unlocked and the church was open to locals, site seeing visitors and many former area residents who would occasionally come back home and drop in for a nostalgic look at the old building.
As with any old seldom used building The Great Bekevar Church could be awe-inspiring during the day and very spooky at night. Truth be told, it could be pretty spooky during the day, too. Stories of Bekevar’s ghosts were passed from generation to generation and many a time the imaginations of the area youth would spark new stories of their sightings. Just driving by the place at night would cause the hair to rise on one’s arms and neck and make your sweetheart snuggle a little closer proving that, once again, Bekevar could always bring people together.
On July 10th of 2011 the 100th Anniversary of the building of The Great Church of Bekevar will be celebrated. What an opportunity to honour the courage, faith and foresight of our pioneers and celebrate the enduring symbol that was left as their legacy.

“It was proposed on October 15th, 1910, by Janos Szabo that for the joint celebration of the tenth anniversary of the founding of the congregation and the commemoration of the Rev. Kalman Kovacsi’s “faithful functioning also for ten years as pastor of the congregation…a church be built in masonry and worthy of the congregation by October 6th, 1911.”- Excerpted from “Peace and Strife”-by Martin L. Kovacs © 1980.