Monday, December 11, 2017

Cut short

Do what good thou canst unknown,
and be not vain of what ought rather to be felt than seen.
                                                                William Penn

Well, according to weather forecasters in our area, we are going to get a “big dump” of snow. An “Alberta Clipper” will be sweeping across our province and finally, a sign of winter will be upon us. It sounded wonderful. I was in the city, far from the farm when this announcement came about.

Yes, this meant my week away had to be cut short, for no other reason than to head home and to help My Hero with the cows. It is true that he can handle anything but with a full-time off-farm job and the extra feeding and short days he could certainly use the help. The cows would appreciate the extra attention.

This sudden change of plans had me hop off a bus in the city of Toronto on a very cold blustery day. I was hoping that the snow storm predicted would have dumped snow on Toronto before I had made it there on the bus. It did not. I had imagined the lights and decorations of the season would be so beautiful covered in snow. I will have to wait till my next visit.

So, I planned to make the best of my three hours in Toronto. There would be no shopping. There would be just time with a daughter who I do not see often enough and to catch up. When I made it to Union Station, it was decorated so beautifully with a big tree and nutcrackers standing guard on either side. There was a large screen set up. This stirred my imagination but that would have to wait.

Out of the depths of the subway stairs emerged my beautiful daughter with a smile on her face. Hugs and my “Let’s eat” comment had us head into the street and to take in the festive vibe that had gripped this beautiful city.

There were sparkly colourful bags that hung on the arms of many walkers. There were people who pulled suitcases on wheels which I imagined, maybe others who wanted to get back home from the city before our “Alberta Clipper. There were homeless men (no women on this trip) huddled under blankets perched on subway vents on the sidewalk. A small bag of oranges sat on a pile of blankets where no one sat. I imagined this person was holding their spot. Were those oranges going to freeze? Where did this person go? How did they trust that all their possessions were safe?

To me, this city has always pointed out the differences in circumstances. It is a place where the haves and have-nots of this world all blend together.

Change sat in Tim Horton cups, on the cold cement sidewalk. I wanted to just go out and hand out hot soup and blankets. To live in the countryside you do indeed see the needs of people but it tends to be hidden. This city has it right in your face. The Toronto newspapers tell us that the homeless shelters are at 95% capacity now. This new storm had not even come and those brutal cold temperatures are almost settled in for the season. There seem to be no quick solutions coming. I cannot imagine the helplessness felt by those who are so vulnerable.

I asked my daughter why the homeless are not sharing the warm Union Station. Her response was that they should be. She also said the armories (I am not sure where that is) was empty and would hold so many of the homeless. This is such a difficult thing for me, from the farm, to understand. It bothers my daughter who in her line of work actually can see the need and knows that there are solutions.

We made our way down the street and went into a place that had a “cheap” breakfast and a cozy spot where we could catch up on our busy lives. Our waitress, as it turned out, was from a huge farm in Saskatchewan. She was young and did not want to be a farmer, much to the disappointment of her family. My daughter and she had a lot in common as far as that story went. The waitress asked me if it bothered me that neither one of our children wanted to live on the farm and work it. My response was an absolute NO. Our goal has always been to have our children make their own path in life no matter where that took them. They are kind, compassionate and passionate as well as hardworking in what they do. They are happy. Why would we want anything else for them? We carved out our own lives long ago and they needed to carve out theirs. I loved meeting this girl and wished her all the best.

Back at Union Station, we saw why that big screen was set up. The young and old enjoyed the Nut Cracker and free popcorn. I thought of the homeless and wondered if they could come inside. There were no homeless in there, well, as far as I could see, but I may be wrong.

Just before boarding my train and the trip back to the farm, we picked up a little treat for My Hero from a Danish Bakery down below. I am sure he is going to love it. It is now tucked into his lunch pail as he heads off to work this morning.

I will be heading out to feed the cows and make sure they are ready for that “Alberta Clipper” and what it brings to the table. “Cut short because of weather.” I do hope that forecast has merit, at least here on the farm. Snow just before Christmas would be nice.



  1. We got a little snow here last night and more to come IS beginning to look a lot like Christmas. The homeless situation is a sad one indeed and I'm sure they would prefer NOT to have the snow.

  2. Hi Grace.. I loved reading your story today.. I spent many hours in Union Station waiting for the train during my 25 years of working downtown Toronto. On a day like today with that forecast of big snow I would have sent my team home early. Now I just watch from afar as my friends that are not in Florida are awaiting the big snow so they can shovel it away or just play in it or enjoy watching the snow fall from the comfort of their abodes.. have a wonderful day.

  3. Sadly the homeless are often 'moved on' here, which severely limits the places they can be comfortable.
    I hope you do get snow for Christmas -just not too much.

  4. It is sad to see the homeless when in a big city. In my small town we have different ways of helping people. In the city, so much seems to go undone. Glad at least you had some time to visit.

  5. So many homeless in Los Angeles. You are so right, I had quite forgotten about them and their plight. I hope you will get a white Christmas on the farm. I doubt we will get one here, but we have had a few Christmas surprises of the white variety.

  6. I can't bear to see people suffer cold and hunger. Last year I gave my only pair of thermal gloves to a homeless man on the street on a cold morning in winter. He was bare hands sitting on a piece of cardboard. I slipped some change into his cup. It's not to me to judge what he will do with the change but he was very thankful and polite. It made me feel good.

    Hugs, Julia

  7. I do hope you get your cows and everything else safe and snug before the Alberta Clipper comes in.
    I see more homeless in our city as Christmas draws near, but we're in summer now, so they won't be shivering with cold at least.

  8. Glad you had a nice visit with your daughter. Hope your Alberta Clipper isn't too bad for you and your cows.

    We have homeless down here in s.e. FL also. They sleep in parks, under bridges, etc. For the past few nights it has been in the 40's. Our church is involved in feeding and handing out blankets, toiletries and clothing. But for the grace of God go we. I can't imagine the homeless in your area dealing with the snow and frigid temps that you have.

    Happy Christmas holidays to you and your dear husband ~ FlowerLady

  9. I hope you get some snow on the farm for Christmas, Grace. We have so little snowpack in Breckenridge. I don’t see any big storms in the forecast for us before Christmas. It’s hard to even imagine being homeless. In the city, groups of them hang out under the bridges and against buildings, even in frigid weather. It’s a problem that keeps growing. I’m so aware of them when I go to Denver, but I think city dwellers don’t even notice them anymore. They are part of the urban landscape.

  10. Here in my part of the world it is going to be 40°c in Toronto so stinking bloody hot, so hot snow would melt before it hit the ground, not that we get snow but just saying anyway.


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