How would you give away a million dollars? I would divide it by five and put it into trust funds for my five grandchildren for when they turn – I don’t know – twenty five? By that age they should all have some idea of where their lives are headed and there would be no other stipulations except for that magic birthday. As if I’d ever have that much money to give away – but it’s a lovely dream.
When was the last time you asked yourself “What was I thinking?” Let’s see, when was the last time I talked to W? After all these years and years and years you’d think there’d be no surprises, but there are still surprises. I thought I’d understand him eventually. What WAS I thinking? Good question. My head was empty and in the clouds. He made me laugh. I still think he’s quite funny, but in a markedly different way.
Are there any news stories you’re sick of hearing about? Nope. Because I don’t listen to the news. It’s always bad. And half of it probably isn’t even true. If anyone tries to discuss what’s going on in the world with me, they’ll find out fairly quickly that I have very little to contribute to the conversation. I’m not saying I’m proud of that or that I don’t care. But in lots of cases, ignorance IS bliss.
What type of music do you listen to most? I like jazz, and the blues, and easy listening. And silence. Silence is my all time favourite.
Share a memory about the house in which you grew up. It was a yellow brick farmhouse, a hundred years old. There were five bedrooms upstairs and two staircases, one front and one back. The main floor had a small extra room we called the den. It had two verandas, a bath and a half, an attached garage and a built on “back kitchen”, plus a big cellar area and a furnace room. We had a laundry room, a big kitchen, a living room and a huge dining room that eventually got divided in half to make another bedroom and a sewing room. I was six when we moved there and to me it felt as big as a castle. It shrunk as I got older. Our laneway had stone gate posts and was lined with maple trees and there was a circular driveway between the house and the barn. We also had a two story shed with a chicken house on one side. The lawns were huge. We had a lily pond and a cold spring pond, lots of wide open fields and a woodlot big enough to get lost in. Every summer, all summer long, we had aunts and uncles and cousins who came to stay. I had no idea while I lived there that it was just about the best place on earth for a child to grow up.
Can you cook? Not like my mother could, but sometimes I come close. I’m certainly good at huge quantities. When I first started cooking for two I made enough mashed potatoes to feed a small army and then discovered that W didn’t like leftovers. It didn’t take long for him to learn to love them, once he found out he might otherwise starve to death during that long period of time between gargantuan feasts.
Name one thing, big or small, that you could change about your life to be happier. I’m trying to imagine why I would want to be any happier. If you’re too damned happy people think there’s something wrong with you. I’m content. Most of the time I feel peaceful and serene and blessed and loved. Of course there are minor annoyances, but they simply serve to keep things real. I can’t think of anything, big or small, that I would change. Such a lack of ambition and aspirations is truly mind boggling, isn’t it? But I like my boggled mind.
How often do you get the chance to leave town for a trip? This is not the Hotel California. I can leave anytime I want. If I run out of holidays I take time off without pay. Unless of course everyone else at work is doing the same thing, in which case I’m actually of some use to have around, holding down the fort, or whatever my job description is. Blowing up the fort. No, I’m pretty sure that’s not it. I’m going to go east in a couple of months to see my siblings and their families. I am now the relative from afar who comes to stay.
I overheard a bit of a conversation once, between one of my grandaughters and her little friend.
GD: Is your grandma rich?
F: No, she’s not. Is your grandma rich?
GD: Nope, but it doesn’t matter, she gets me whatever I want anyway.
So if I had that million dollars to give away all at once, would it make that much of a difference to our happiness or to how rich our lives already are? Maybe not. (But if anyone wants me to actually put that theory to the test, I wouldn’t say no. Just because I’m happy doesn’t mean I’m also stupid.)
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! And Happy Eleventh Birthday to Kenzie, our beautiful million dollar valentine girl.
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