Monday, February 15, 2016

Discovering the meaning behind the 'good stick'

Perhaps  the man I met on the bush road at Chapleau some 30 years ago who told me "Maybe some day you will find a good stick too", meant much more than I thought he did.

As I walked along the road, coming towards me was a man who I had often seen go by my house, but I did not know him. As he approached, he said, "Where is your good stick?", stopping to explain that he always carried a "good stick" with him. He moved it from hand to hand, he told me and it served to strengthen his arms and upper body.

"Maybe some day you will find a good stick too," he said.

As I walked along the road, coming towards me was a man who I had often seen go by my house, but I did not know him. As he approached, he said, "Wher smiling, and off he went, adding, "Maybe you will also see the wolf. It's auburn. Don't be afraid. He won't hurt you." I never saw the man again, or the wolf.... (or so I thought)

I had written a story about finding the good stick some years ago, and even spoke about it at the 90th anniversary reunion of Chapleau High School in 2012. I hadn't thought about it much recently, until I received huge box from my lifelong friend Harry 'Butch' Pellow. Upon opening it. Butch had sent me a walking stick.
Butch and MJM circa 1947

But, it was the enclosed letter that made me fully realize the metaphor of the "good stick". He wrote that it was sent with best wishes "as you carry it". 

He added: "As our frailties become more evident, we need to be mindful of every step going forward -- be reminded of your friend many years ago who explained the "good stick theory."  I get the message my friend.
Butch and Brigitte Pellow 2015
By the way, the bush road was actually a logging road built originally by Edgar Pellow, Butch's uncle circa 1930.


Let me go back to my story about the good stick, and I hope I don't mangle metaphors too badly in so doing. "Shortly thereafter I came across a stick and picked it up. It wasn't as sturdy or straight as the one the man was carrying, but crooked as it was I had found my good stick. My good stick became my travelling companion helping me cross a beaver dam and walk along the edge of a pond. When I became tired I leaned on it and took a rest, and when I stumbled it helped me keep my balance, and aided me as I climbed a hill.

"My good stick was very powerful indeed, and long after I lost it I thought that if that old piece of wood from a dead tree could have been so much help to me as I wandered along, giving me confidence to surmount minor obstacles, maybe the man I met on the road meant much more with his comments than maybe I would find a good stick and even see the wolf that would not harm me some day."

For a guy like me who loves metaphor, it took me about 30 years to grasp the implied comparison between a piece of wood that was very helpful and powerful in helping me as I walked along life's road and my friends who have also been there with me and for me -- most particularly Harry 'Butch' Pellow. I have been most blessed.

Thanks Butch for being the "good stick" so often over the past 70 years or so.

I was so excited with my discovery that I was going to use it as a framework for a review of 2015 which was a truly amazing one for me, as my friends, aka "good sticks" made possible. 
Back David, Jim, MJ, Ed, Brian, Joel, Antoine Seated, Dennis, Mark. Ron

However, the Friday Morning Coffee Club, aka FMCC, was meeting and of course, I had to bring my good stick to our weekly session. It is just on three years now since FMCC was launched quite unintentionally.. 

I started having coffee at Starbucks in the newly opened, now closed Target store, was joined by Joel Vinge, then Jim Roberts, and the rest is history.If everyone shows, we now have 20 members. There is no agenda. We meet for fellowship, many laughs for an hour with all the "good sticks" who have become good friends.

We celebrate birthdays and other special occasions, and have played golf and had breakfasts at Rocky View Ranch.

Without mixing metaphors any further, let me leave you with a quote from Stephen Grellet as I head out carrying my good stick:  “I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

PS  I am not even going to try and deal with the wolf metaphor now!!!

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