SHARING OUR STORIES – THE SNOWMOBILE TO STRASSENBAHN SAGA

SHARING OUR STORIES – THE SNOWMOBILE TO STRASSENBAHN SAGA

We send greetings to all our readers, hoping that you have had wonderful Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations and that you will have a happy and peaceful New Year 2017. This year’s celebration has been a cozy one for us, though Ian’s health is fragile, necessitating a lot of sleeping, sometimes into late afternoons. He has to be cajoled (Gayle’s task) to get dressed and participate in some of our celebrations though he didn’t get out for church services, Gayle’s choir concert or the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s glorious performance of Nutcracker. We did host his Winnipeg family of daughter, son-in-law, two grandchildren and their spouses, plus five great-grandchildren on Christmas Eve, though. Thirteen of us in our small penthouse floor apartment made the choice of the description “cozy” a true reality, but our gathering was nonetheless enjoyable. Chinese takeout and frozen pies made for a festive but easy supper. The adults and one teenager huddled in around our large dining table while the four younger kids enjoyed kneeling around their own festive coffee table. With city lights twinkling below us through our decorated windows on our 17th floor apartment, candlelight inside, festive decorations, goodie bags for all, new pjs for the kids to don, some early presents to exchange and some Christmas carol singing and dancing, we all had a great time. As a long-time percussionist, Gayle has a collection of rhythm instruments that she brought out to enhance the music from our Christmas CDs, so we could all participate in singing and making music.

 

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How enjoyable we find reading through many short stories in a favourite Christmas present: the 2016 “Chicken Soup for the Soul” anthology: The Joy of Christmas: 101 Holiday Tales of Inspiration, Love, and Wonder, compiled by Amy Newmark with a foreword by “Mrs. Nicholas Claus” and highly recommend it for your holiday enrichment. We also love to re-read and recall holiday stories of our own.

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In past years we have shared several holiday stories from Ian on this blog: (Dec. 10, 2012) “Unusual Holiday Flavoured Passages from My Memoir” (including “My Non-Event Christmases of Childhood” and the New Year’s Eve story of his youngest daughter’s premature birth and how her life was saved by a bottle of Scotch whisky) and (Dec. 31, 2012) “Happy Hogmanay! Happy New Year” an excerpt from our yet-to-be-published autobiographical book “Mexican Follies.” Below pictures Ian, Gayle and our poodle Peppy in our motorhome patio in Mexico in December 2004.

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In December 2014 we blogged a spontaneous play that Gayle and her then-4-year-old daughter had originated “The Christmas Story According to Gwynne” complete with Gwynne’s original illustrations.

manger scene for Christmas story

This year Gayle wants to share her story of a unique holiday trip she and her late husband Gus Johannesson made in December 1972 from their home in Germany to visit Gayle’s family in North Dakota. She calls it “The Snowmobile to Strassenbahn Saga.” For those who don’t know German, Strassenbahn means “streetcar” or “tram.” Those who read her story will understand why Gayle is reluctant to consider any more extensive travel during the wintertime. Pictured below are Gayle’s family at the time: back row: husband Gus, Gayle, sister Barbara, niece Danelle, mother Grandma Mil, sister Doreen, nephew Todd and brother-in-law Bill; front row: nieces Billi, Lisa and Lori. Missing is brother-in-law Danny who presumably took the photo.

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The Snowmobile to Strassenbahn Saga

Gus and I had moved to Germany in summer 1965 where he began to pursue a doctorate in systematic theology at the University of Heidelberg and work part time as a civilian chaplain with the US military and I worked as a secretary for the Judge Advocate, U. S. Army, Europe and Seventh Army. By 1972, we had already spent seven Christmas/New Year’s holiday seasons in Europe, either with Gus’ aunts, uncles and cousins in Norway or with our friends in Heidelberg and were excited to finally be flying home to the States to spend the holidays with my family members.

In many ways, 1972 had been a disastrous year for us–mostly because of Gus’ health. He had lost over 30 pounds due to an illness which was finally discovered in July and had already taken four bouts of rectal surgery for abscesses and fistulas, leaving him with a lot of pain and sapped strength, all of which grossly interred with continuing work on his doctoral dissertation. In addition, I had shattered nerves after terrorist bombs had killed three people in the barracks where I worked and our headquarters were plagued with continuing bomb scares and security precautions. Despite Gus not really feeling well, we had been able to get away to Spain in June for a few weeks’ respite touring the Moorish treasures in Grenada and then relaxing at the home of friends on the Mediterranean island of Minorca, sunning, swimming, snorkelling, exploring ocean-side caves and touring quaint fishing villages with Gus doing a lot of napping. However, returning to Germany and our daily routines led to more stress and, for Gus, the string of surgeries. We were really anxious to get away from it all and back to family and a traditional holiday at “home.”

In December, after several days with friends and attending to business in Chicago and Minneapolis, we flew on to North Dakota, spent some time with each of my two sisters and their families and then finally took a bus from Fargo to my mother’s home in New Rockford (middle of the state). We had a few relaxing days alone with Mom before the rest of the family arrived for Christmas. Here’s Mom (Grandma Mil) and Gus on one of our walks.

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It was wonderful for me to bask in the smells and flavours of the traditional Swedish-American Christmas of my childhood. Picking out and decorating the live Christmas tree, stringing coloured lights, putting up the manger scene we had sent Mom from Germany,

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singing melodious carols in English, Swedish and Norwegian, helping Mom to bake spritz cookies, sandbakelse, krumkake, Julekake, pepparkakor, and Swedish almond bars (from my grandmother’s recipe brought from Sweden), buying and wrapping gifts, preparing turkey, ham, Swedish meatballs and even Lutefisk (though I still didn’t like it, but good-old-Gus sure did!).

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Gus and I got away a few times for walks alone. The photo above shows us posing on the frozen James River, not far from Mom’s two-bedroom apartment in a four-plex right across from the church where I had spent so much of my childhood. (I had been shocked when we first moved to Heidelberg to find out that the Neckar River there usually stayed open all winter long, only having frozen up once during the Twentieth Century, right after World War II.)

Once my sisters and their husbands and children had arrived, we were a family of 12. One sister had married a local boy so those five could overnight at his parents’ house just a few blocks away. However, my other sister’s family of four stayed at Mom’s, as did we. She and her husband slept in the living room on the couch bed but their two little ones got to sleep with Grandma Mil. Gus and I, as the “honoured guests from across the Atlantic,” got the guest room. This was fortunate as I had to be the nurse who cleaned his open (rectal) wound several times a day. (Surgery in that area has to heal from the inside out without any stitching.) It was a bit difficult to maintain much privacy, however, especially with five little ones underfoot. We got the biggest laugh of the holiday one evening when our two-year-old niece came out of the bathroom wearing two long “q-tips” (that I’d previously used to probe the wound and thought I had disposed of discreetly), one in each ear!!! (Even now in her late forties, she doesn’t appreciate the humour when reminded of the situation.)

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Other laughter was more pleasant, while unwrapping gifts, joyously sharing the Christmas story, telling the little ones of Jesus’ birth, singing, eating, going to church, playing games, taking walks in the snow, shopping and loving being together. Billi, Lori and Todd even got in some ice skating time. billi-lori-todd-skating-1972How wonderful for me to be at worship services in our home church again, sitting with my sisters and singing all those beautiful carols in three-part harmony as we had always done in the past. We revelled in a sunny, snowy North Dakota winter (coming back to a gray, rainy Heidelberg winter seemed a bit of a drag). With five small grandchildren, three daughters and three sons-in-law under foot for a week, Mom (“Grandma Mil” was then in her late 60s) stood up surprisingly well. Here’s Uncle Gus taking nieces Lisa and Lori for a walk. Our church, First Lutheran Church of New Rockford, is in the background at the left and part of the school I attended through Grade 12 is in the background at right centre.

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After our week together my sisters and their families drove back to their homes further east and we had another couple of days resting at Mom’s. Then came the start of our return trip, which I’ve named the “Snowmobile to Strassenbahn Saga.” The trip started with a wild bus ride in a near-blizzard to Fargo. This is usually a three-hour drive and took about twice that long. We were met by my sister Doreen and driven to her house in Fargo’s twin city of Moorhead, Minnesota.

Instead of flying out the next day we had a day’s delay caused by full-blown blizzard conditions which closed down the airport, plus everything else in the twin towns. We were to have flown from Fargo to Minneapolis and then on to Chicago where we were catching our international flight (a military charter airline from Chicago via New York to Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany). Listening to the radio, we learned that there was still a possibility of our getting out of town to meet our plane. The Great Northern railroad had a train plowing its way from Montana and across North Dakota, due in at 1 a.m. The only problem was that we couldn’t get to the depot (in Fargo, about five miles away from my sister’s house in Moorhead). My sister’s car was buried under layers of snow and, anyway, the roads were not passable. Fooling around in the snow in front of their house was about all we could do.

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Absolutely nothing was moving … but snowmobiles. Gus had heard on the radio that emergency snowmobiles were evacuating people. He figured that we qualified for an emergency since we had to meet a “military flight” in Chicago the next day. He called, explained our situation and we were granted clearance from the city police. To my two little nieces’ delight and my terror, we were picked up by two snowmobilers at midnight. Gus and I rode behind one snowmobiler; the other one carried all our luggage. There we went, over the (Red) river, through the woods and over 18 inches of snow, not to mention four to five feet of snowdrifts to Fargo’s train station. I hung on for dear life and had visions of falling off all the way; but we made it, only to have a long delay. The train arrived three hours late, struggling across North Dakota with a snowplow on the engine. I was too flustered by the whole situation to get any photos at the time.

So at 4:00 a.m. we boarded the train. Delay continued to be the motto of the trip, however. We missed our first plane connection from Minneapolis to Chicago and barely squeezed onto the last possible one, making connections at the Chicago Airport five minutes before we were to report in for our charter flight. Luckily, we had friends in Chicago that met us at the airport and got us from the domestic to the international departure area in record time. Had we been on our own, we never would have made it in time. We were delayed an hour getting out of Chicago, had to circle New York for two hours because of fog, were delayed in New York because of waiting for other passengers who were late in coming in from connecting flights, made an unscheduled landing in Shannon, Ireland (we never did hear why) and finally landed in Frankfurt six hours later than scheduled.

Once at the Frankfurt airport, we had to take the subway into the city’s train station, then take the train from Frankfurt to Heidelberg (an hour away) and then the Strassenbahn (streetcar) to our stop on Rohrbacherstrasse and walk a block to our apartment on Turnerstrasse. So – bus to car to snowmobile to train to airplane to another airplane to subway to train to streetcar to foot – and we were finally home. (I think we had just about every mode of transportation but ship and dog sled.) It was time for a long winter’s nap – well, at least two day’s worth – before I had to get back to work and Gus to start cracking the books again … then surgery again. He had 16 surgeries in all over a five-year period before the problem finally resolved itself. I ended my Christmas/New Year’s letter that year with the following: “Neither of us has ever had a great deal of patience, but we’ve had to develop it lately. Once one gets through the inevitable periods of despair and self-pity and gets back to the basic trust in God’s presence and strength, things look better. So, we’re hoping for a year of fulfillment and health – and wish you all the blessings of our Lord for the New Year.”

A Scorpio Versus Scorpions

The following story was written by Gayle about an unfortunate incident she experienced during her and Ian’s time living at their house in Chapala, Mexico in 2006.

A Scorpio Versus Scorpions          ScorpionVectorImageVP

Scorpio may be my sign of the Zodiac, but that’s really all I ever wanted to have to do with the creatures!

One March evening during our sojourn in Mexico we had just enjoyed a long moonlit soak in the hot tub when about 10 p.m. Ian went inside to refresh our drinks. I took advantage of his absence to get out my foam exercise “noodle” and do my daily aqua sit-ups.

(Little known to me, there must have been a “wee creepy” sleeping in the hollow inside of the noodle, which decided to join me for his or her water exercises!) I had just put the noodle aside when I noticed what I thought was a floating begonia flower that had likely dropped from a planter hanging over the pool. Instead of picking it up with our pool sieve, I stupidly went to scoop it out with my hand and it stung me on the middle finger! Practically blinded by the pain, I slapped my hand down on my thigh and got two more stings before flinging it over the edge of the tub. Then, with terrible burning sensations in both finger and thigh, I (in Ian’s words) “came out of the pool like a tsunami and screaming like a banshee!”

There was no question in our minds that I had encountered a very startled scorpion – and we weren’t about to look for it to verify our suspicions. We quickly dried off, got dressed and within a few minutes were off to the 24-hour Red Cross clinic at the other end of Chapala.

By the time we got there (about 15 minutes later) it felt as if my entire arm and upper leg were on fire, my tongue was feeling “funny” and my lips were numbing, but luckily I had no swelling. I was rushed into a ward, put onto a bed and hooked up to an IV within a few minutes. Then came two huge syringes about 5 inches long and one inch in diameter. The combination of antihistamine and steroids gradually rid me of the mouth-numbing sensations but the excruciating stinging just kept up.

About an hour and a half later I was released and we motored off to the nearby town of Ajijic, which has the only nearby 24-hour pharmacy, to fill a prescription for pain pills (which, incidentally, didn’t seem to me to help much).

It was then midnight. I attempted to sleep but was so miserable and restless I knew Ian would get no sleep if I stayed in bed, so I went upstairs to our den with a window wall overlooking the lake and distant mountains and read through the night as best I could. The pain finally left my thigh (which sported two ugly red welts) by the following evening. The pain in the arm started to abate that first night but the finger itself just kept up that fiery stinging sensation for about 36 hours, although only a slight prick marked the spot. For the next couple of weeks my finger was totally numb; then, very slowly the feeling started coming back.

Two months later, I just had a very slight numbness at the tip of the finger. A doctor friend of ours prescribed a “second generation antihistamine” tablet to keep on hand at all times. He says any subsequent scorpion sting would probably result in an even worse and quicker reaction so it’s important to be prepared and, before heading for a clinic, to take the medication.

We’ve read that the scorpions in our area are only “semi-deadly”, that on a scale of one to four they are only a “two.” Imagine what a number “four” could do! (We’ve also heard of a local woman who died from a scorpion sting because she didn’t get medical help!)

Need I say that, ever since, I’m very careful to check my noodle before doing any exercises? And I steer clear of any scorpion I see, letting Ian zap them on sight. We continue to find the occasional dead one in the house, but Ian’s monthly spraying seems to get the critters before they get very far. Considering this encounter and others we’ve had with “wee critters” in Mexico, we don’t think we were cut out to be “southerners!”

Exercising with my noodle on a non-scorpion evening.

Exercising with my noodle on a non-scorpion evening.

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Our hot tub, garden and surroundings in Chapala, Mexico

 

Celebrating Mothering and Grandparenting

As Mother’s Day approaches I’m enjoying so many uplifting and poignant messages on Facebook regarding motherhood, as well as savouring the sight and smell of flowers that were just delivered to me from my daughter who lives with her husband and children in Norway. I’m also anxiously awaiting a call from my son who lives in California and hearing from my step-daughters in Manitoba. Yes, they are all too far away from our British Columbia home, but I guess that is a common situation in present-day life. Thank God for the modern convenience of Facetime so that we can regularly communicate and even see each other on my ipad and their iphones. (My son and I regularly go for a “walk” in the garden he maintains for the house he lives in and down to the nearby beach to check out the sand and surf.) Since Ian and I live in a popular retirement spot, many of our friends here also have children and grandchildren who are residing in other corners of the earth. Through Skype, Facetime and the like, they also manage to communicate and keep up with distant family members with the occasional long-distance flight to touch base in person.

I’m sharing a Pic Collage photo I compiled on my ipad to commemorate our great-grandchildren and two youngest grandchildren – the youngsters (or “wee’uns,” as Ian would call them in his Scottish vernacular) – the children in our lives who live far away from us (in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Norway) for whom we are Grandpa and Grandma and to whom we will be dedicating our children’s chapter book, “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie,” for which I am presently doing the layout. Here they are: going around clockwise from the top center: Leland, 13 (our age-appropriate consultant for the book); Hannah, 8 (who did the drawings for the book); then Logan, 4; Brayden, 2; Lexi,2; Eva, 9 months; Gustav, 3; Caleigh, 6; and Madison, 4.  (We also are expecting two more great-grandchildren later this summer. The two photos  in the center show Grandpa Ian at his 80th birthday party in Winnipeg with six of the great-grandchildren and one grandson (Calan) whose daughter wouldn’t pose without him; plus the bottom photo of Ian and me on our 7th wedding anniversary at home in Vernon, September 7, 2010 (on the day he had his heart attack, mind you!)

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My husband Ian (the author) just turned 82 last week and is presently in a local care home for a 2-6 week “short stay convalescent care program” to help him regain some strength, balance and walking ability after over five years of serious illness and lots of medications which have saved or bettered his life but also are essentially poisonous and have lots of nasty side-effects, the worst of which has been neuropathy in the feet. I’m happy to say that a set of new orthotics plus the exercises, physio- and occupational therapy he is receiving daily is helping. I’ve seen a lot of progress in just a few days that he has been there.

In the meantime I’m enjoying some time alone at home with only the dog to take me away  from gardening and layout duties. Misty supervises me as I plant flowers in boxes and pots on our front porch, prune the shrubs in our front and back xeroscaped gardens, get the gazebo canopy and curtains set up and hire a worker to come in and clean out our pond and waterfall. I did the latter for the first time last year and could hardly stand the sight and stench of an about-two-inch layer of rain worms that had crawled into and died in the pond at the end of last autumn, during part of our mild winter and then so far this spring. I realize they are also God’s creatures, but they are ones I’d just as soon not encounter. I’ve also included some photos of our back yard from last year to share some of the beauty of our surroundings. The first photo is of my “Benjamin memorial” to remember my infant grandson who died in 2011 in Norway at 13 days old, the day after I had arrived there. The other photos show our xeroscaping, gazebo, pond and waterfall. Hopefully, Ian will be home soon to enjoy it all as well.

Benjamin memorial 1 in my garden

Backyard-Another view Patio-pond and Waterfall

We also wish to remember and honour our own mothers who passed away in 1995 at the ages of 86 (Ian’s) and 96 (mine) in 2001. Their birthdates were within a day of each other but a few years apart: Chrissie’s on June 15 (1909) and Mil’s on June 16 (1905).

Chrissie Morrans Moorhead

Ian’s mother, Christina Morrans Moorhead, known  as “Wee Chrissie” and to her grand- daughters as “Campbeltown Gran.”

                   OUR MOTHERS

Mildred Nelson Moore at 20 and 90

Gayle’s mother, Mildred Nelson Moore at ages 20 and 90, known as “Mil” and to her grandchildren as “Grandma Mil.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers on your special day on Sunday, May 11th. After church, my friend Jean (whose children are also far away) and I plan to drive up to our neighbouring Davison’s Orchard Farm, have Mother’s Day luncheon at Auntie May’s Cafe and enjoy a walk through the blossoming apple, pear and peach trees before our dog, Misty, and I go to visit Ian. Sounds like a fun day!

Gayle Moore-Morrans

Installment 5 of “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie,” a Children’s Chapter Book

We apologize for the long delay in posting the next installment of Ian’s children’s chapter book, “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie.” Our excuse is that we have been otherwise occupied for most of January and the first days of February because Gayle finally had a surgery date of February 7th for a total hip replacement on the left side. She has had both her right knee and right hip replaced in the past – the knee in 2000 and the hip in 2011. Now she is truly a bionic woman on both sides!

Ian is still trying to adjust to a number of changes in his medications and couldn’t be left completely alone while Gayle was in hospital, so we had to arrange for some home care and a LifeLine installation for him. That is going well and we’ve been able to count on the home care attendant to help both of us for a short time after Gayle was discharged on February 9th. Thank goodness for our Canadian health system. So far we have had little additional expenses other than the low LifeLine costs, our pharmacy expenses until the yearly supplement kicks in and our regular monthly BC health payments.

Ian and Jimmy, the cockatiel, circa 1999.

Ian and Jimmy, the cockatiel, circa 1999.

Today we are sharing a photo taken about 1999 of Ian schmoozing with his cockatiel Jimmy, who was the inspiration for this present story about a budgie named Jimmy. We hope you’ll enjoy it and the next chapter of “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie.” If you remember the last chapter, Jimmy had been lost and just as the chapter ends Jake had received the good news that Jimmy had been found and would be returned by the police.

“JAKE, LITTLE JIMMY AND BIG LOUIE”

by Ian Moore-Morrans

edited by Gayle Moore-Morrans

Copyright © 2012

CHAPTER FIVE

Jimmy Returns and “Thing” Arrives

The following day, the police were at Jake’s house with Jimmy safely in his cage. Jake was in orbit over the news that Jimmy had been found, for he had hardly slept that whole week while Jimmy was missing. Lying awake in his bed at night, he had prayed that Jimmy would be kept safe, wherever he was, and that Jimmy would come home soon. He promised to love Jimmy and always try to take very good care of him. This promise had kept him certain that Jimmy would be found, so when Jake’s father told him the good news, he sort of expected it.  ‘Well’ he thought, ‘it got Jimmy back to me.’

(The rest of the chapter’s content has been deleted prior to publication.)

Picture suggestions:

Jake smiling and holding little Jimmy, just as Ian is holding Jimmy the cockatiel in the photo at the beginning of this posting

Jimmy sitting on Jake’s shoulder.

Installment 2 of “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie,” a Children’s Chapter Book

Wouldn’t my fictional character Jake be a bit jealous of me today? Gayle and I drove about 40 minutes north to the town of Salmon Arm, British Columbia, checked in at the SPCA and adopted a dog whom we’ve named Misty. Misty is a very lovely senior lady – a Shih Tzu cross with soft black and gray fur highlighted by a white chest and front paws and, of course, the distinctive Shih Tzu fanned tail. We fell in love with her immediately and she seems to be enamored with us as well. I’ll add a photo of Misty and me here as we got acquainted at home in Vernon this evening. Misty and Ian-first day

This shouldn’t take anything away from the story of Jake and Little Jimmy, though, as I think Jake was just as smitten with Jimmy as we are with Misty. So — here is the second chapter of my children’s chapter book “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie.” I hope readers of this blog will like the story well enough that you will check “follow” and begin to get updates to the story as we post it. Enjoy!

“JAKE, LITTLE JIMMY AND BIG LOUIE”

by Ian Moore-Morrans

edited by Gayle Moore-Morrans

Copyright © 2012

CHAPTER TWO – Jake Meets Jimmy

A few minutes later as Jake and his dad were in the car and heading for Bill’s Budgie Barn, Jake was surprised to realize he could not wait to get there, impatient to see “hundreds, maybe thousands” of little birds all in one place. Soon they turned into the driveway of Bill’s place, parking the car behind an old red half-ton truck.

(The rest of the chapter’s content has been deleted prior to publication.)

 

* ~ * ~ *

Picture suggestions: Lots of birds perched and flying around in cages.

Jake kneeling down to view Jimmy.

Bill talking with Jake who is holding Jimmy.

Some of the bird care items Bill gives Jake.

Why I’m Participating in MOVEMBER

Movember is a movement I’ve joined to grow a moustache (and beard) and to raise funds for men’s health issues. To prove that I really have started on this project I’m inserting a couple of photos my wife just took – she’s named them “Fuzzy napping” and “Fuzzy awake.”

The two main men’s health issues for Movember are awareness and research regarding prostate cancer and men’s mental health. Other issues of men’s health are also covered, including non-malignant skin cancer – and that’s mainly what caused me to want to participate. I have been undergoing treatment for numerous breakouts of non-malignant skin cancer growths on my head, face, ear, nose, etc. The reason for all these cancers goes all the way back to my time as a young airman serving in the Royal Air Force in Egypt during the pre-Suez crisis time (1951-53). I’ll quote from my autobiography “From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada” to show you the connection.

“Our camp had a very high water tower, about a 120-foot climb, ‘Yours Truly’ decided to scale it one nice sunny day with a blanket over my shoulder. I laid the blanket on the roof of the tank, stripped absolutely bare and laid down on my back to get ‘nicely tanned all over,’ or so I thought. I was young and dumb enough at that time to ignore the fact that I’m a typical ‘Celt’ with a very ruddy complexion (described as ‘fresh’ on my military papers) and so, a tan for me was next to impossible. Anyway, I laid myself down and almost immediately fell asleep. I awakened approximately two hours later, burnt to a crisp! Ah, that bloody hot Egyptian sun!!!

“Unfortunately, I couldn’t report sick to get any treatment because all military personnel were classified as ‘government property.’ As I had damaged myself in my effort to get a sun tan, I could have been put on a charge and court-martialled for damaging government property! For days I walked about with my hands holding my pants legs out from my tortured thighs– even my ‘willie’ was sun burnt! It was terrible–even going for a pee was very painful.

“(I’ll never forget that episode in my life; doubly so because it left me with a condition called ‘Solar Keritosis’ in my later years–a pre-cancerous skin condition for which I now have to have regular sessions where my doctor freezes off the lesions, mostly on my head, with liquid nitrogen. Lately, I’ve had three surgeries to remove basal cell carcinomas from my scalp, on the tip of my nose and near my eye. Ever since, I always cover myself with long sleeves and a hat when in the sun. Just a wee bit too late!)”

I’ve just made a donation towards Movember health funds and invite you to do so as well. If you wish, you can join the initiative yourself as a Mo-bro or Mo-Sista or you can donate via my Movember site. The size of your donation depends on what you can afford, every little bit helps Movember to continue funding its world class programs.  If you want to know more about what you’ll be helping to fund, you can visit http://ca.movember.com/about/funding-overview/.

Take a look at these statistics:
•    1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime
•    This year 26,500 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed
•    1 in 5 men will experience a mental illness this year

  •  I will also add a statistic: There are about 230 non-melanoma skin cancers per 100,000 population in light colored skin as opposed to approximately 3.5 per 100,000 in darkly pigmented individuals. There are approximately four basal cell carcinomas to every one squamous cell carcinoma. The incidence has more than doubled in the last 20 years.

If you’d like to help make a change to these statistics, please donate. If you wish, go to my Movember site: http://ca.movember.com/mospace/5695601.