I often felt like an outsider growing up. I never seemed to quite fit in. I always had one or two friends with whom I spent much of my playtime. I never made a big thing of it – I just knew I was a bit different.
I didn’t go out on a date until my late teens – and she asked me.
I still laugh when I see pictures of my childhood bedroom come up on my digital picture frame show. Don’t bother guessing! Nicely arranged were charcoal prints of all the prime ministers of Canada. How sad.
In my 20s, I liked to hang out with the gals. I had little in common with the guys. Sports, muscles and measuring things didn’t catch my fancy. I found the young members of the opposite gender more interesting, and they readily accepted me.
Over time, I grew to appreciate and accept who I was. I concluded it was better to fit in where I wanted to be rather than change myself to fit in where others thought I should be.
With a single recipe to make pancakes and waffles but two different cooking pans, I was a pancake in a sea of waffles. I was ok with being that pancake.
I try to be tolerant of others, and their differences within this group; religion, culture, experience with alcohol, family violence, and poverty are just some of these differences.
I try to behave in a way consistent with my belief that everyone has a place on our planet. If there doesn’t seem to be a place for someone, we need to wiggle a bit and create that space for them.
Joey Moss is an example of this. Joey has since passed, but he was acquainted with Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers in his younger days. Wayne approached the Oiler’s management to ask if they could find a place for Joey to work. They said yes, and he worked for many years behind the scenes and touched the lives of all the players and staff. He helped with the team room and preparing for games and practices; towels needed to be washed, folded and distributed are just examples. He interacted with all the players; they had so many tales to tell of Joey’s impact over the years.
The Edmonton Elks made the same arrangements for Joey for the summer season.
Did I mention he had Downs Syndrome?
Joey was an exception and exceptional. The Oilers and Elks wiggled and made room for him to everyone’s benefit.
Please give this a bit of a think. Have there been situations in which you wiggled to make a place for someone who came into your life? Have you made eye contact and given a cheery ‘Hi’ to someone you knew had benefited from someone else giving them some wiggle room?
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And my thanks to St. Albert Seniors Association for making this Blog possible.