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Not taken for granted

by lulujane on January 30, 2013

10abcToday my sister had a prescription for a knee brace, hopefully to remedy the ongoing pain caused by osteo arthritis.  As I sat in the store watching, waiting for her to be fitted, I listened to other customers whose first questions were `how much is it` and `am I covered`. (Punctuation here is an ongoing problem for me as there is a glitch in the program, so forgive lack of question marks or correct punctuation.)

I live in a city in which  many individuals and families, sometimes generations of families, have been employed and supported by the auto industry, in some instances from cradle to grave.  Unions have fought strongly for benefit packages for their members.  Even although I was always a salaried employee, working for an employer not connected with the auto industry, my wages and benefits were influenced by comparison with what was earned in the auto sector.  Because of that I have retired with a generous benefit package; a comfortable pension, prescription drugs for a thirty-five cent co-pay, ongoing dental coverage, etc.  Even although my employer is paying for it, I have no hesitation in acknowledging that were it not for the union demands and sacrifices over the years I would not have this.

Back to the fitting shop experience today, within the period of a couple of hours my sister had a prescription from her doctor (thanks to free medical care), was fitted for an appliance, and walked out the door pain free, at no financial cost to her for the $790 brace that she wore out the door.

I often wonder how many of us really appreciate this.  A few years ago when I was in Florida I overheard someone say `they must be Canadian….  they want everything for free`.  Is that what we have become…. a nation of  people whose expectation is one of entitlement that they shouldn`t have to pay for anything.  I hope not!

My belief is that a business similar to the one we visited today wouldn`t function or be as  profitable in another community away from the production lines that nudge the cars and vans out in rapid succession. My sense is that the great majority of people in our province, in our country must go without because they don`t have have the good fortune that we have.

On occasion I have written letters to my former employer expressing gratitude for the benefits I enjoy, which serve to provide me with financial peace of mind in my day-to-day life.  That might sound goofy to some people but to me, it is important that I not take gifts, blessings or benefits for granted.  It is important for me to not only feel grateful, but to express it.

In good conscience, how could I not


I learned two new things today

by lulujane on August 1, 2008

A beautiful day for a bike ride, leaving early before the heat of the day makes me doubt if this is a wise thing to do. I tucked some cash into my back pack just in case I might hit a good yard sale or need to make a phone call.

Four or five miles into my ride as I approached an area near the Windsor Yacht Club I was surprised when the chain fell off my relatively new bike. My first thought was a lazy one – to give up and call Joyce & Len (sister and brother-in-law) to come and get me. Second thought was to walk the bike back to Lauzon Road, a distance of about a mile, where there is a bicycle shop.

Nice summer day. Warm. Who wants to wear socks and running shoes? Not me. Flip flop sandals are much more easy breezy, cool. Unless you have to walk a good distance in them. Notice I said “have to”as opposed to “want to”. On this lovely first day of August day, I had no choice.

I observed as the bike man quickly put the chain back on track. Your fee? “Nothing”. He accepted my $5.00 handoff and gratitude. I had a fleeting thought that I should drive straight home and quickly rebounded to my original plan of taking a fairly good distance ride to visit my friend Gail in Tecumseh. Never give up.

As I recounted my tale to Gail she offered a pair of latex gloves to protect my hands from grease, just in case it happened again. And almost like the glove theory was being tested, on my way home I lost it again – the grip of the chain on the sprocket that is. I propped up the bike stand and went to work. I was tentative, not confident that I could pull this off, but gratefully it went on with relative ease. As I knelt at the bike under a shady tree along busy Lauzon Parkway I noticed a vehicle pass me, pull over to the curb lane and pause. As the repair had been completed, I slowly approached the vehicle to give my thanks and received some advice. Next time use a stick to put the chain back on so I don’t get my hands dirty – and have someone adjust the wheel to a more efficient position.

My adventure today taught me two things – how to fix a slipped chain on a bike, and when cycling always wear sensible shoes… just in case.

Some of the blessings of my day were the almost free bike repair guy, a considerate driver who stopped to help me, the gift of some latex gloves from a friend, and a Granny Smith apple in the middle of the road around the corner from Gail’s house, just when I needed a bit of shoring up. All it needed was a bit of shining up on the pantleg of my new Bermuda shorts.

I am posting a photo with this post – no comments please about headgear and bare feet. This was taken 5 minutes after I received the bike as a gift, touring around my driveway/parking lot.

Linda Iler