*** Gatherings ***


Jim Low

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web site: *NEW*

Christmas 2000


Joy is a flying subway train

Enjoying life is a good-natured and good-humoured attitude that is caring for self and others. It's the everyday events we may think are unimportant or take for granted that make life worth living. It's time to pause and look upon some simple and humorous things that make life a joy.


Just another Spring Day

It's late March as I savour the first warm day of spring working on the lawn in front of my verandah (okay, I know the lawn is hopeless!). The symphony of the street has returned as young children run about making their delightful joyous melody. A few houses down the street, the girls have established the first street business of the year: the neighbourhood lemonade stand. They sing in harmony to inform us that business is open. Of course, no one can pass up the bargain of a sweet drink for only 25¢. It's just the thing we need while working on our front yards. Keep up the good work, girls! You make a wonderful neighbourhood.


Daddy is Superman

There was a time I flew subway trains. When my children were young and we travelled the Toronto Bloor/Danforth line, they were told that I was Superman in disguise, and to prove it I would make the subway train fly. As we approached the Bloor viaduct, where the subway goes over the Don Valley and suddenly moves from underground and appears in the air, I would stand up, push hard up on the railing with all my strength, and watch the kids fascinated looks as I took the subway train from underground and made it fly.

The kids were warned the fact that I was Superman was top secret. They were not to tell a soul, as I had to change my secret identity from Clark Kent, because that secret got out.

A few days later, one mother in the neighbourhood came up to me, grinning from ear-to-ear, informing me she knew my secret. She then proved to her kids she was Wonder Woman, and that we were the best of friends. She even looked like Wonder Woman, too. Rumour circulated about the neighbourhood that I was Superman and she was Wonder Woman, and that we were really close...



Imagination and expressions of everyday life are joys to cherish.

Grandpa (Alex Low) had his favourite expressions. He was always going to do something "next week at three o'clock." If anyone ever asked him why something wasn't done when he said he'd do it, his reply was "well... it's not next week at three o'clock, yet." Can't find something? Ask Grandpa. He always knows where anything is. It's "down the cellar behind the axe." He always said that with a strange little smile on his face. One time, I really did look down the cellar behind the axe. All I found was a wee bottle with the name "Captain Morgan" on it...

Whenever I went out by myself the kids wanted to know where I was going. "Why, I'm off to meet my best friend Goopenhighmer" I would reply. They never met Goopenhymer, as I never brought him home. They always bugged me to introduce him, but this friend was very shy. "Maybe some day you will meet him" I would say. One day they asked if he was a real person. "Of course. Goupenhimer is just as real as Santa Clause." That settled the question, as everyone knows Santa Clause is real. By the way, my adult children are learning how Goopenhiemer spells his name only now, as they read this.


Checking things off my list "Things I am going to do in my life"

* Climb a mountain.

That was my 60th birthday present to myself. I decided it was now-or-never. Okay, so it wasn't Everest. It was Gros Morne Mountain in Newfoundland. 806 metres -- about 11/2 times the height of the CN Tower. How did I manage it? One -- metre -- at -- a -- time. The information on the mountain said to allow 7 or 8 hours. Took me over 11 hours, and that was rushing it.

Newfoundland? Again?

It was my third trip to "The Rock" since 1994. I camped at Gros Morne National Park for two weeks and made a day trip to L'Anse aux Meadows to see the replica Viking ships arrive. We celebrated the 1000th anniversary of the first European settlement in North America. Seems they only stayed three years: the natives kicked out those first illegal immigrants. I have to keep going back: the west coast and north peninsula is beautiful and the people are friendly.

I met Jerry's birth parents, Ken and Betty Barry, who live in Corner Brook (Jerry and Peter made the trip in 1999). I stayed with them two days, and it was a great visit where I made wonderful new friends. They also visited me at my campsite one day. I was fascinated with their ten year old daughter Stephanie, who is so much like Jerry was at the same age. Their son Kenny left for Toronto just as I was going to Newfoundland, and didn't get a chance to meet him until I returned. A great family! We keep in touch regularly.

pictureBetty and Ken Barry. Picnic lunch at my campsite


Removing Footprints from the Ceiling

When I returned home from vacation, I found my children, their significant others Brian and Jameel, and my friend Elaine Harris had my birthday present waiting for me--a much-needed redecoration of the house: new wallpaper in the kitchen, fresh painting of the hallways, new carpeting on the downstairs hallway and stairs, and refinishing of the hallway floor upstairs, along with other items. This was a job I had been putting off far too long. It inspired me to do additional work to the house, such as redecorating the living room, dining room, and bathroom. Believe me, I really appreciate what they did: besides the expense, this was a labour of love, as they spent three weeks working every day in my home, making all these improvements. How lucky I am: fantastic family and friends.

When I bought this house 26 years ago, I said "the first thing that must be done is to get rid of the terrible tiled ceiling in the living room." It was finally done this September! It wasn't without shedding a tear, however. In spite of me hating that ceiling for so long, it did contain small footprints acquired when my children were young. Goodbye footprints on the ceiling.

This will be a nice home when it's finished. Construction started in 1912


Cheryl married Jameel Khan on May 13. Cheryl worked as a social worker with autistic clients but recently resigned and is looking for other work. Jameel works as a consultant with Andersen Consulting. He's one of the few people I know who is into computers more than I am! See the wedding photo below.

Carrie and her boyfriend since they were in high school, Brian Porter, announced they will be getting married next April. Carrie works as a lawyer for the Royal Bank and Brian works for the Fire Department. I joked with her: "a lawyer, who people love to hate, working for a big bank that people love to hate."

Jerry now works full time at a nursing home, in the maintenance department. Actually, he is the maintenance department! He is travelling to Newfoundland just before Christmas, to visit his birth parents. Jerry enjoys living in his own apartment he moved to earlier this year, and is no longer sharing with roommates.

Peter works for an exclusive flower shop, delivering flowers, and helps set up for weddings, etc. One weekend was really busy with four weddings and a funeral. One wedding was setting up rose petals in his sister's wedding night bed! He has use of the company delivery van after work, and was excited when the company bought him "his" new van.


Jerry Jim Eleanor Cheryl Jameel Carrie Peter



This year I finally upgraded to a computer I wanted, without compromising as I had in the past by getting computers that would "just do." It's a PowerMac G4, with scanner and colour printer. That explains why I can include colour and pictures in my Gatherings for the first time. When I find time, I hope to scan family photographs and organise an history. This is a long term project.

My sister Penny moved to Edmonton this year, and bought a house there with her daughter Erin. My vacation in 2001 includes a camping trip west to visit them.

Life is great and continue to live it to the fullest. Again, I am thankful for the most important part of life: great family and friends. I send to you this holiday season my thanks for being part of my life, and wish you great joy.


Have a Merry Christmas and a joyful Year 2001

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