My grandma cheated at cards.
She didn’t cheat little. She cheated in a big, big way, like an extroverted Bergson would.
I thought of it on a recent evening when I had my hind end strapped to the couch, with my laptop in its familiar and appropriate place. Sitting there, playing cards, some distant warm memory conjured up a picture of my grandma at her kitchen table, out at the farm.
A bunch of the grandkids would be seated around the table, loudly complaining that she was cheating. We would all be laughing at the same time.
The woodstove in the kitchen heated the house in the winter so it was warm. When we were done with rummy, she would throw some dough in a pan, fry it up, toss in brown sugar and honey, and wrap them tightly. She called them horse blankets.
My mouth waters thinking about something it hasn’t tasted in decades.
Many years later, when she had moved away from the farm to a home in another community, I was a young reporter in Dauphin. My rural beat covered the area she lived in so I made a point of dropping in to see her every time I was through town.
She always had some kind of dainties for us to share with a cup of coffee as she told me about the neat things my many cousins were up to. I always got a big hug and a kiss on my arrival and on my way out the door.
She would tell me she was proud of me as I left, and I would finish the rest of my day 10 feet tall and bulletproof.
It was one of things I missed most when I left Dauphin for Brandon.
These aren’t the memories that you’ll find in history books. There is nothing consequential about any of them except for their importance to me and the way they link me to her years after she left us.
I would trade a lot to watch her deal another hand of rummy, carefully stacking and dropping cards to the delight of a table surrounded by the grandchildren who loved her.
• • •
I don’t have children of my own but nevertheless I have a room full of young people that I’m very proud of every day.
I like to brag every chance I get about the terrific young team we have in our newsroom. (Dave Leaderhouse is the exception. He’s great but I think he’s old enough to be my father. Right Dave?)
Andrew Schopp joined us last week from Toronto and he’s already proven to be a terrific addition to our team. I wasn’t quite feeling my oats on Tuesday evening, so I left the Raiders game in his hands. I’ll admit to some concerns when the game went extra late into overtime and then a shootout, but he emailed me an excellent story within half an hour.
He’ll also be covering some news for us -- like he did earlier that day when he wrote about Moker and Thompson’s charity field -- but he should become a familiar sight at sports events in the city.
I’ve already bragged up Eric Bell, our intern out of the University of Regina, but he’s a terrific young talent as well. If you read the story about the Ugandan pastor last week, that was his handiwork. I sat in on the interview at the Bison Cafe last week so I knew what had been said in the hour-long interview; I worried that it was a lot to condense into a good story.
He did better than that; he wrote a terrific piece.
That same day, Jodi Schellenberg did a two-hour interview on the new history book about the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary. Her story was long but it needed to be to do it justice.
If you’ve read the paper in the last year, you’re well acquainted with the sensational work that Matt Gardner and Tyler Clarke do day in and day out.
All of them love getting out into the community and meeting people. No assignment is ever sneered at or undervalued; they understand how every job tells a little story about the things that make Prince Albert our home.
I guess that’s what us newspaper dinosaurs do.
• • •
I sometimes wonder if we’ve made the complaints of a small minority of people weigh a little too much.
The thought crossed my mind when the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission chose not to hear the complaint of a Saskatoon man.
He had filed the complaint because he was offended and angered by city transit buses in Saskatoon that said “Merry Christmas.”
He has filed a separate complaint about a prayer held at a volunteer appreciation.
He suggests that both things violate the separation of church and state.
Maybe he’s right, maybe he’s not.
I don’t know the man so I can’t offer any insight into what he does or why.
I can say that my past experience with people who stand on principle with an unwavering devotion is that they are a royal pain in the couch warmer.
They can’t see that the burr in their saddle isn’t a burr in everyone else’s. Since they are annoyed, all right-thinking people should be.
I struggle with that mindset. They would dismiss me as someone who doesn’t believe strongly in anything, and they might be right.
But I do have one philosophy that overrides everything else. If what you are doing has no effect on me or the greater society, you have my blessings.
I don’t care if you’re religious or aren’t. I don’t care if you’re gay or straight, right wing or left wing, a cat lover or dog lover or even a Wiccan high priestess.
If you aren’t bugging the folks around you, you have my approval. If you are finding your own way to make the world around you a better place, you have my outright blessing.
Making the world a smaller, less happy place is just sad.
Perry Bergson is the Daily Herald’s managing editor. You can reach him at 765-1302 or by email at email@example.com