Thursday, July 30, 2009

Has Any Body Rained On Your Parade Lately? - MANN

I think I will rewrite the quote "the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray" (Robert Burns) to read something like, “the best laid plans of skunk and Mann went astray.” My mother always told me that I could prepare for anything except the unexpected—for that, I needed to learn how to make the best of it. Those of you who read my last blog will know that I’ve retired for the third time and that I’ve laid out perfect plans to do certain things: set priorities for writing deadlines, rewrite my website, get Hi Speed internet, arrange for a new email address and make myself more accountable to my writing space. Valerie Sherrard told us at Write! Canada that we write better in a tidy space with order. I have since found this to be true so I’ve added it to my list.

All of the above are goal orientated and measureable, so with good management I can make them happen according to plan, without the unexpected. This doesn’t always happen with plans and that’s where the rewritten quote applies.

Doug and I are good at spending quality time with our family, but this summer, we thought we’d add something new to our usual events. Doug thought he'd bring his cousins and sons together for a Mann's Day at The Meadows, and then some other relatives a few days later to complete the circle. If you’ve ever prepared picnic meals, you’ll know how important refrigerated food, location of table, chairs, BBQ and sound system is to conversation and eating space. We did our part well and prepared ourselves to finish our work, sit back, relax and let it all happen.

This is where the plans ‘went astray’. We didn’t have a skunk on our invitation list, nor did we ask one of the cats to be the welcoming committee. Added to that, we didn’t need added aroma to our already fresh smelling rural environment. Thankful that the strong breeze blew from the West, we gave a sigh of relief that we could have this picnic outdoors, after all. As if the previous unexpected plans were not enough, I confused the oven temperature gauge twice when I set and reset the timer, ending up cooking my rhubarb and apple pies three times over, while the BBQ was running out of gas before the burgers were finished. And yes, it rained on our parade, so we ate in the Shed, which ended up working well in spite of everything.

The Grace in the unexpected turn of events was in the mix of the emails we received following the picnic: the guests wrote about the things they’d enjoyed, very different than we planned—again, the unexpected. The skunk, well, we didn’t hear from him, again.

New web site coming soon. In the meantime, keep in touch through, OR

Watch for:
Aggie's Storms: The childhood story of the first woman elected to Canadian Parliament.
WinterGrief: A Personal Response to Grief
WorkShop Resources for "Telling a Story on me or Someone Else"

1 comment:

Peter Black said...

Good humour that paints the picture and draws us into the events of the day, Donna.
This is a "Life's like that" sort of piece. Thank you.

Popular Posts