Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

To make Comments write directly to Jim at jimt@quixotic.ca

 

22

Dec

2021

When Christmas is a difficult time

Author: Jim Taylor

Sunday December 19, 2021

 

I had trouble doing my Christmas decorating this year. 

            Last year, I found the bins of Christmas decorations Joan had put away in our basement the Christmas before.  I set them up as I remembered what she had done.

           This year, though, I couldn’t remember all the details anymore.

            This Christmas, I realize, I’m not decorating for her. I can now only decorate for me.


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22

Dec

2021

Christmas dinner reveals hidden prejudices

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday December 16, 2021

 

A few years ago, my daughter invited three temporary Jamaican workers for Christmas dinner. 

            As the oldest male in the family, I got to carve the Christmas turkey. Of course, I served the guests first. “White meat or dark meat?” I asked.

            The three women looked at each other. Then one of them ventured, “Dark.”

            The other two agreed. 

             When plates were emptying, I offered seconds. This time, all three of the Jamaican women asked for white meat.

            It turned out that they had made an assumption. They thought that references to white and dark related to their skin colour, not the meat. 


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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: racism, Prejudice

22

Dec

2021

This IS the new normal

Author: Jim Taylor

Sunday December 12, 2021

 

Things were just starting to get back to normal. Restaurants and drive-ins were open again. Sports events could have fans in the stands. People trapped in Canada for the last 18 months were booking flights to exotic locations. 

            And then the Omigod variant appeared. (Sorry, the OmiCRON variant). Some old rules were re-instated. Some new rules were imposed. 

            Suddenly, a return to  “normal” -- whatever that is – looked a lot farther away. 

            I suggest that we’re kidding ourselves if we expect that the world is ever going to go back to whatever we once considered normal.

            On a personal note, I know that, since my wife’s death last year, going back to any former “normal” is impossible. 


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22

Dec

2021

We are more than our masks

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday December 9, 2021

 

The woman standing in line looked vaguely familiar. But because she was wearing a Covid mask, I could see only her eyes and forehead. 

            “Holly?” I asked, tentatively. 

            Her eyebrows shot up. Her eyes crinkled. “Jim!” she exclaimed, flinging her arms around me. (Take that, Covid!)

            I find it hard to recognize people with half their face hidden. 

            In the old days, people used masks to cover other parts of their faces. The Lone Ranger and Batman wore masks over the upper half. 

            Now it’s the opposite. 

 

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22

Dec

2021

Never take water for granted

Author: Jim Taylor

Sunday December 5, 2021

 

After two weeks of reporting on B.C.’s floods, evacuations, washouts, and landslides, the CBC’s David Common was asked for his personal reaction to what he had seen.

            He paused to think. I could see him collecting his thoughts, to avoid rambling or repeating what he had already said. 

            Water, he said. The sheer power of something that most of us take for granted. 

            Indeed, most of us do take water for granted. We think of water as benign. Friendly. Necessary.

             This last few weeks, water has gone out of control. 


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Categories: Sharp Edges

Tags: water, BC, McLuhan, floods

22

Dec

2021

The hummingbird who shouldn’t be here

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday December 2, 2021

 

I had a hummingbird around my house, last week. I shouldn’t have had a hummingbird at all – they migrated south more than a month ago. 

            But yes, a hummingbird was back. 

            One of my hummingbird feeders still had some sugar syrup in it that I, out of sheer laziness, had not emptied out. I didn’t believe my eyes when I saw this little hummingbird, wings beating invisibly, poke its beak into a fake plastic flower to sip some of the remaining nectar. 

            Then he/she/it flew over to my kitchen window. Looked in at me. Nodded acknowledgement. And flashed off to the mountain ash tree where it hunkered down, no bigger than the twig it perched on. 

            She was back again, the next day. So she wasn’t just an accidental, passing through. 


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Categories: Soft Edges

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12

Dec

2021

This IS the new normal

Author: Jim Taylor

Sunday December 12, 2021

 

Things were just starting to get back to normal. Restaurants and drive-ins were open again. Sports events could have fans in the stands. People trapped in Canada for the last 18 months were booking flights to exotic locations. 

            And then the Omigod variant appeared. (Sorry, the OmiCRON variant). Some old rules were re-instated. Some new rules were imposed. 

            Suddenly, a return to  “normal” -- whatever that is – looked a lot farther away. 

            I suggest that we’re kidding ourselves if we expect that the world is ever going to go back to whatever we once considered normal.


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12

Dec

2021

We are more than our masks

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday December 9, 2021

 

The woman standing in line looked vaguely familiar. But because she was wearing a Covid mask, I could see only her eyes and forehead. 

            “Holly?” I asked, tentatively. 

            Her eyebrows shot up. Her eyes crinkled. “Jim!” she exclaimed, flinging her arms around me. (Take that, Covid!)

            I find it hard to recognize people with half their face hidden. 

            In the old days, people used masks to cover other parts of their faces. The Lone Ranger and Batman wore masks over the upper half. Presumably, if people couldn’t see your eyes, they couldn’t recognize you. 

            Now it’s the opposite. 

 

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Categories: Soft Edges

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28

Nov

2021

That breathless hush

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday November 25, 2021

 

Happy New Year!!! No, I haven’t been transported to some distant science-fiction planet – this Sunday is the beginning of the liturgical year for the Christian church in the western world. 

            To be more specific, it’s the first Sunday of Advent, the period preceding Christmas. Advent always starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas.  

           So why would the Christian year not simply match a calendar year?

            Because religions honour their tradition more than secular standards. So the Christian liturgical year doesn’t match the school year starting in September, the Gregorian year, or even the solar year, which would probably start on a solstice.

            A related question, then – why start the year with Advent?


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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: New Year, Advent, baton

19

Nov

2021

Take a chance; make a new friend!

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday November 18, 2021

 

As I grow older, I realize how much friends matter. 

            I didn’t always feel that way. Friends came into my life; friends passed out of my life. I moved on and left the old friends behind. 

            There always seemed to be enough friends around. 

            Not any more. Far too many friends have died. Others still live, but too little contact and too many years mean the only thing we have in common now is youthful memories. 

            Author Frederik Buechner understood the importance of friends better than I did. In his book Whistling the Dark, he wrote: “Your friends are not your friends for any particular reason. They are your friends for no particular reason. The job you do, the family you have, the way you vote, the major achievements and blunders of your life, your religious convictions or lack of them, are all somehow set off to one side when the two of you get together." 


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