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Gayle Nichol's picture

The ups and downs of the long goodbye

Fri, 09/28/2018 - 16:01 -- Gayle Nichol

My dad has Alzheimer’s. I have contemplated sharing his story for a long time. The words have just never come. Even now, it is a slippery foe that is often vague and confusing, cloaked in denial until it can be denied no more. I’m not sure how to tell his story yet.

He hates the disease that has addled his sense of reason and recognition. We can’t even say Alzheimer’s disease in his presence. We call it his brain disease in order to avoid a boisterous outburst of denial. Brain disease he can accept. Alzheimer’s? Never!

Gayle Nichol's picture

Talking the talk

Thu, 08/30/2018 - 10:13 -- Gayle Nichol

“It’s not fashionable to be kind,” the man tells me. He states it like he’s spouting a statistic gathered at the hands of professionals

Huh?

“It’s not,” he confirms for me. “It’s fashionable to mean. To be rude.”

I disagree, I say.

I don’t think kindness is a trend. It’s just one aspect of being human, and not required in every setting. But I reject the notion that it is cool to be mean and hip to be kind. These flaky generalities are accelerating the swirl of our downward slide.

Gayle Nichol's picture

We are not the enemy

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 09:20 -- Gayle Nichol

There is a frightening trend taking hold in North America – a “with us” or “against us” mentality that refuses to validate the existence of an opposing opinion, even while disagreeing with it.

It casts shades of an ugly and deadly European past. If you are not “one of us” than you are the enemy. It is a lunacy that is taking us to the edge of civility.

Ironic that in the age of global communications that we choose – even refuse – to hear each other anymore.

Gayle Nichol's picture

I’m having one of those birthdays

Fri, 06/29/2018 - 15:55 -- Gayle Nichol

I’m having one of those birthdays.

A big one.

The kind that makes a cluster of tiny little candles on a cake impractical, and two large candles – one of them a zero – a more fire-safe choice.

The kind of birthday where people buy you joke canes with horns attached and t-shirts emblazoned with “Over The Hill”.

Yeesh. I am officially looking middle age in the rear-view mirror.

Gayle Nichol's picture

London is calling

Fri, 06/01/2018 - 08:14 -- Gayle Nichol

Memory is a funny thing.

What we retain.

What we reach for, but can no longer find.

I remember curling up on my dad’s lap, cradled in his right arm when I was almost too big to fit, while he recited my favourite nursery rhyme:

Pussy cat, pussy cat,
Where have you been?
I’ve been to London to visit the Queen…

Sometimes he would sing it. Sometimes the heel of his foot would tap out the cadence of his words as I begged for him to repeat it again and again.

Gayle Nichol's picture

Where will the center go?

Tue, 05/01/2018 - 12:48 -- Gayle Nichol

It’s a veritable giveaway in an attempt to win victory in the provincial election next month. Premier Kathleen Wynne is passing out promises and cash commitments like there is a trough of cash at Queen’s Park to pull from. It’s unnerving.

Free child care.

Free prescription drugs for young adults.

Dialed back hydro rates that will be back to bite us in the years to come with rates projected to rise more than 50 per cent. If there is anyone left in the province with the will to turn the lights on.

Gayle Nichol's picture

Google increases beef futures

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 16:22 -- Gayle Nichol

“I don’t know how to use The Googler.”

That was my 79-year-old mother’s response to why she didn’t research some question she had using the online search engine.

She didn’t miss a beat.

She does not understand that Google is a search engine. She does not understand the breadth and scope of the online universe.

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Lane changing politics

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 09:08 -- Gayle Nichol

I was heading down the 402 on one of those spring-like days we were gifted last month, when I went to make a lane change.

I was no longer comfortable in the lane I was in. I didn’t like the positions held by some of the other vehicles. I didn’t like the speed they were moving (or not moving). And I knew that traditionally, I didn’t ride very well in this lane. It felt uncomfortable.

Gayle Nichol's picture

Own your opinions

Mon, 01/29/2018 - 15:44 -- Gayle Nichol

I’ve had a rash of phone calls and meetings in the last few months with people who want to “clarify” for me.

These calls generally come after a lively debate or discussion where I dwell on one side of an issue and the other party is on… well… the wrong side.

But this rather new phenomenon of calling me, or stopping by in the days following the discussion to meekly clarify, in an almost apologetic manner, has me disturbed.

Gayle Nichol's picture

Living 2018 in the middle

Fri, 12/29/2017 - 16:15 -- Gayle Nichol

There are few feelings in life as satisfying as opening the cover of a new book; the smooth scrawl of a favourite pen on a fresh sheet of paper; or looking through the just-cleaned lenses of eye glasses that offer up the world around in crisp detail.

Oh, to start anew.

January allows us a deep sigh of relief as we seal the year past with a quick swig of spirits and move on to that which is (hopefully) better.

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