Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Old Fashioned Stories-by Heidi McLaughlin

Lately I thrive on the simple things in life, after dinner walks, finding a plaid shirt in a Thrift Shop or stopping for an ice cream cone. I also love being huddled down with a great book and a bag of black liquorice. As my late husband Jack would have said, “This and Heaven too!” Well, he finally got Heaven and I’m beginning to cherish simple gifts all around me here on earth.

“This and Heaven too.”

For instance, last week’s big snowstorm in Southern Alberta. For three days, while I was visiting at my daughter’s family home, we were stuck in the house with no electricity and no school. The first evening of darkness we sat huddled around candles and a puzzle we couldn't see, and stared at each other. So, what do we do now? So I pulled out my Grandma gumption and asked my grandchildren, “Would you like Nana to tell you stories about my growing up years?” I was shocked when they shouted, “Yes, Nana!”  They dragged out their favourite blankets, snuggled on the couch and waited with eyes wide open.

They were mesmerized as I unfolded my growing up years of living in a log cabin for two years, of waiting for the two black bears to leave the outside pump so that I could fetch mother’s water. Of root cellars, snakes, getting the strap in school, and hunting for chicken eggs in the woods. With bedtime looming, ten year old Austin let it be known that we should go back to living in those simpler times, sitting by candlelight as a family and telling stories.  It made me think.  Are we so caught up in the latest and greatest, the flavour of the week, who is the latest rock star that we’re leaving behind a rich legacy of simple stories?

Are we too caught up in the latest and greatest?

My sisters and I begged our mother to tell us stories of her growing up years.  Between the war torn years there was too much destruction, hunger and fear to relive the memories. Yet, now that it’s too late, I long to hear the details of those years. How did they overcome struggles?  How do you become resilient? Where/how did you find joy? What is the most important thing you learned?

Even photo albums are becoming old fashioned as we fully embrace our digital world. “Well, we can put them on memory sticks or DVD’s people say. “ But with technology changing every six months how will the next generation access these “old fashioned” devices? How will we preserve our stories for our next generations?

I hope my grandchildren will remember the week of the big snowstorm where the lights went out. The time when I invited them into the twists and turns of my growing up years, and gave them a glimpse into the past.

Do you have children or grandchildren that need to hear how you handled that bully, helped with the chores, made Christmas presents or helped mom and dad plant the yearly garden? The simplicity of these narratives will enrich their lives and leave your God given legacy.

Heidi McLaughlin lives in the beautiful vineyards of the Okanagan Valley in Kelowna, British Columbia. Heidi has been widowed twice. She is a mom and step mom of a wonderful, eclectic blended family of 5 children and 12 grandchildren. When Heidi is not working, she loves to curl up with a great book, or golf and laugh with her family and special friends.
Her latest book RESTLESS FOR MORE: Fulfillment in Unexpected Places (Including a FREE downloadable Study Guide) is now available at;, or her website:


Peter Black said...

Thanks Heidi, this episode with your grandkids evokes the old saying about when life throws you lemons, make lemonade. Your story evoked warm fuzzies of former times for me, and of enjoying the simple pleasures in family togetherness and story telling. The comfy couch snapshot is the perfect accompaniment. ~~+~~

Glynis said...

This is a treasure of a post, Heidi. What a wonderful way to make the best out of something. Originally, I imagine it wasn't fun, but what beauty and fun emerged and you are so right about how we are sometimes so caught up in the latest and greatest that we forget the joy of the simplest. Your grandchildren will remember that precious time spent snuggling and sharing. And I almost see this as a challenge to preserve our stories for the next generation - oral, photos, whatever. Lovely.

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