September 30, 2014 - Alexander McDonald

Who’d a Thought?

Who’d a Thought? Who’d a Thunk? Who Would Have Thought?

Well, this sure is a funny way to start a sentence,” At least that’s what my “semi-retired twenty-nine year-old and holding” mom would say. After all, “moms know everything – don’t they? At least my mom thinks so. I’m told that as a brand new “Indie-writer” I need to write a BLOG. I don’t even know what a blog is, but it doesn’t sound very appetizing, I mean blog sounds like bog, and a bog is a smelly marsh, or worse, in the U.K. it’s slang for the toilet, but I’m blogging none the less and I hope you will like it.
As I was saying, “Who Would Have Thought,” that after travelling to over twenty some countries, perhaps that is more than some, and I’m sure less than most, that I would have an epiphany, in Red-Deer, Alberta, Canada of all places. Just in case you don’t know, Red-Deer, or Dead Rear as I regrettably use to call it, is not a hick town by any means, in fact, it is a hustling bustling mini metropolis smack dab right between Calgary and Edmonton Alberta, Canada.
Well it was in Red-Deer that I had my epiphany, and actually it was more than one, it was two, and one of them happened to me in the local Wal-Mart of all places, not in Holt Renfrew in Toronto, or in Saks in New-York, which is a place I use to shop in, and gladly over pay with my Visa card for items I never really needed, and hoped a friend would see my receipts, just to feed my ever so humble ego.

Well, it was just before the first long weekend in August of 2014, and it was stifling hot. My mom and dad decided to take my ten-year-old son shopping for some back to school deals and new jeans were in order. As any parent would know, “kids just love changing into several different pairs of jeans in the tiny grey little change rooms on a hot summer’s day- yeah sure!”
Well, as you would expect, my frustrated ten-year-old son was not having the best of time doing exactly just that, changing into three different pairs of jeans, when he’d rather have been at the Red deer D.A.W.E. community Centre swimming with hundreds of other happy kids. This is where my magic moment happened, at the Wal-Mart – at Parkland Mall, in lovely Red-Deer Alberta.
I was talking to this ever so friendly bubbly Wal-Mart attendant, and to be honest it was a little difficult. You see, this girl was “retarded” at least that’s what I heard, from a couple of nasty comments from an un-mentionable couple of people passing by. I think I hate the “R” word more than the “N” word, or God forbid my mom’s most hated words, the “F” word or even worse the unforgivable “C” word.

My mom grew up with the “R” word regretfully most of her life, as she grew up with her younger brother, my dear uncle Alec, who was “mentally challenged” as people would say, as he had Down Syndrome. I don’t even like that politically correct statement either, because I think we are all mentally challenged in some sort of form or another. I know I certainly am with my hidden sins, anyway save that for another day.
However, I grew up in Scotland with “specially gifted” people, as I prefer to “label them,” and it held some of the most precious memories of my childhood in Ayrshire, Scotland.  Listening to this young lady at Wal-Mart was challenging, as she had a very challenging disability, but she certainly wasn’t aware of it, unless she overheard the nasty “R” word that I did, and I’m sure she had – more than once.
However, due to my deep love and respect of my long since passed Uncle Alec, I endeavored to indulge myself and engage in conversation with this lovely girl. Now you may not be aware of this, but sorting out the heaps and heaps of assorted clothes in the kids change room section of Wal-Mart, was not an easy task, even if it did pay a six-figure income, which, we all know it does not.
This young lady was sharing with me, in a speech impediment that to be honest, was most difficult for me to follow, however her eyes lit up as she was telling me about her summer, and all the places she used to live in, and all the places she planned to live in. She spoke with such honesty, passion, and jubilant joy, as she sorted and organized and folded the Mount-Everest of denim wear that the most experienced of clothing handlers would have ran away from – at the greatest of speed.
She laughed and joked with me, and truly believed that her summer adventures was absolute breaking news, that the most experienced news reporter would have love to have covered. Her summer was not that interesting to be honest, but what was most refreshing for me, was her genuine nature, her love of life, and her facial expressions that would light up a very dark night.
I think in life I have heard the saying, “talk is cheap,” and it can be, but like many things, talk can be very expensive, and very damaging, talk as in, gossip, lies, assumptions, presumptions, and so on.
We never spoke for long, and I’m sure she may or may not travel to far off distant lands, as I have done, but where ever she goes, if one stops and takes a moment to listen to her or anyone else like her, or my uncle Alec, whether it be in Wisconsin, Whistler B.C., or the local Wal-Mart, you too just might have an epiphany, and for me it was, and is a gentle reminder, to “love your neighbor, and judge yourself,” as that is a life-long adventure – it has and continues to be for me, and I have a long way to go….


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