Salt of the Earth

Salt of the EarthIt might sound like a cliche that some people in our lives are the salt of the earth, and some may never have heard of this expression. There are some people I’ve met in Pasadena and in my travels who are definitely the salt of the earth, wonderfully sincere and kind people.

At the end of my first semester in university I needed a place to stay, as I didn’t want to live on Gower Street another term. I met a woman in my English class and when she heard that I needed a boarding house, she offered me a room in her house. To make a long story short, I lived with her family for two years, and I was treated like one of her own children or one of her best friends.  When I was going to Harlow to teach and did not have much money, she made a cake and sold tickets on it to help raise some money for me.  She allowed me to stay rent free for one semester in exchange for babysitting while she worked nights. She attended our marriage ceremony at the Basilica and even today keeps feeding me and keeping me when I visit. I call Joan and Wince my second mother and father!

When I left university in 1976 I was heading out for British Columbia, without knowing a soul there. I started out with a friend from England and intended to hike together to Vancouver. Best laid plans usually go awry!  Another cliche! We discovered, after Dad offered him a piece of land if he wanted to marry me, that we could not get along for even a week, so I flew part of the way and got a bus to Vancouver. Luck would have it that Doug had given me the name of one of his best friends and his family, and when I looked them up, they took me under their wings! I had homemade coffee and muffins for breakfast most days, clothes from the wife to wear to job interviews and friends for life. To think that these people did not have to be this kind to a complete stranger and they went above and beyond the call of duty in all aspects of life!

Mr. and Mrs. Pat Whelan of Pasadena are two people who have been good friends over the years. Whenever you meet them they are always the same interested, kind people who everyone is glad to know. They were very close to my father over the years, especially after my mother died. Dad enjoyed many conversations with Pat and respected him, calling him a “Good Man” often. When they got on the phone you knew they were going to have a good yarn!  Marguerite is always pleasant, always positive in her conversation. At Dad’s wake Pat told a funny joke which my father had told often about himself going to confession, and saying he was sorry for stealing so many logs. The worst thing, he told the priest, after the holy man gave him his penace, was that he had to go back and steal a dozen more!

In Chilliwack in 1976 I met a woman named Marg, who befriended my sister Carolann and me. She invited us to barbecues, took us camping and went beyond the requirements of being a good friend. She helped me find my first car, which happened to be her brother’s old Toyota Corolla, for which I paid $400.When I went to Takla to teach, she drove Carolann to college in my old car and kept an eye on her that whole year.  She proved to be a wonderful friend to the two of us.

During my teaching career I met a considerate principal named Ron Kielly who took me under his mentorship, inspiring me on a daily basis. He appreciated the times I drove my children home to St. Shotts, and returned to supervise a dance at the school. He complimented me on the way I handled the students in my classes, writing little notes to say so. He once wrote me a letter to tell me that I didn’t need an invitation to his house, that I could come any time I was in town. There are not many people who give you such a warm invitation to their homes! He even typed it on a typewriter and mailed it to me.

These are but a handful of people who have crossed my path, over the past fifty years. What would life be like without them? It certainly would not be as sweet as it is!

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About Newfoundland Traveller

I'm a Newfoundlander with a love of reading, writing and travelling. I've travelled around our province and lived in four provinces of Canada. I love a good book and a good blog. My family means the world to me, and some day I hope to travel to many countries of the world with my husband and sons' families.
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