Handed

It’s time for standardized Grade 3 and 6 testing in Ontario.  EQAO stands for “Education Quality and Accountability Office”.  The kids are far more creative that that, however.  How about “Evil Questions Attacking Ontario”?  I like that better.

Today I was assisting a young man who needed the Math questions read to him.  “Jeremy” tried so hard on every single page.  Often the student needs to show his work and I watched Jeremy sort out his thinking on the page.  While he was writing, there wasn’t anything to do.  So I decided to watch his hand.

He holds a pencil pretty much like I do and was quite deft in his strokes.  But I was fascinated … he was lefthanded.  I had never before watched a lefty do his or her thing.

I thought of my left hand and how its fine motor ability is not much at all.  Any previous attempts to use the beast merely produced a series of illegible scrawls.  So here was a kid who needed some help, easily doing something that I didn’t have a hope of matching.  Hmm …

I consider myself a smart person, sensitive to other people’s needs, funny in my better moments.  But look at Jeremy go.  He’s no better or worse than me.  We both have strengths and weaknesses.  And actually the whole comparing thing is a waste of time.

Jeremy is thoroughly Jeremy
Bruce is thoroughly Bruce
And Planet Earth is delighted to have us both

Two Women

In the early 70’s, London had a coffee house downtown called Smale’s Pace.  Last night was the fifth Smale’s Pace Reunion, with nine folk musicians appearing in front of us at Aeolian Hall.  Such talent and passion for songs that tell a story.

Seven of the performers were men.  I was transfixed by the other two, especially when they were listening to other folks sing and play.  Laura Smith swayed to the music and joined in the choruses.  Then it was her turn:

I built a boat
I built her for one
I didn’t find any flaws
Until long after I was done
Everything was fine
Until I lost sight of shore
Then I knew
I didn’t want to be
In a boat for one anymore
You should see me working
I’m tearing her apart
Working night and day
Rebuilding with my heart
It’s there in all the pieces
I see it in every curve
The flawed design
I built a boat with fear
And shattered nerve
I’m building a boat
I’m building her for two
The hardest part was starting
I don’t know when I’ll be through
You should see me working
I’m tearing her apart
Working night and day
Rebuilding with my heart
I’m taking all the time I want to
All the time I need
I’m building her for comfort
I’m not interested in speed
I’m building a boat
I’m building her for two
She’s going to catch the wind
The way that lovers do

I’m so glad we built a boat for two, Jodiette.

My gate’s wide open and the world is coming in

 ***
My gate’s wide open and my dreams are getting out

What a lovely life to lead

***

And then there was Sue Lothrop.  She smiled and smiled as others played.  Actually, at first I couldn’t guarantee she was smiling.  A neighbour’s music stand covered the bottom half of her face.  But you can tell from the top half, can’t you?  All the muscles were up and the eyes were shining.

As one fellow played virtuoso ukulele, Sue’s whole being widened in astonishment.  Her hands were curled together on her lap, the left over the right.  Then she opened her left hand, fingertips stretching upwards, only to move in applause at the end of the piece.

I was there.  Oh, what a lucky boy am I.