Braggin’ time

It’s braggin’ time again, and I can’t quite believe it, but 52 more weeks have passed and 52 more deadlines have been met.

This article that you are reading now is the beginning of my 28th year of jotting my thoughts for the Wellington Advertiser. And yet it seems like only yesteryear that I first walked into Bill Adsett’s busy little office in a storybook brick house with a couple of roughed-out copies as my proposal. He glanced quickly, shuffled through them, and said show them to Alice. Alice said yes.

The most frequently asked question that comes from those I meet is “how do you come up with so many different titles?” The fact is, in most cases, I simply write about what I have personally experienced. I am not a reporter, nor have I suffered the training of a journalist. And I often thank God that I am not a fiction writer. The quackery of fiction just doesn’t quite turn my crank. I find the truth in daily life, often stranger than fiction, with its kinks, quirks and ups and downs more than interesting. Imagination is not something that I have found necessary to stir my thoughts.

If one were to delve deeply into the truth, I suppose you could blame it on my father. He, though lacking education beyond the grade 3 level, is guilty of teaching me the alphabet backwards when I was 3. I can still repeat them from Z, Y, X to C, B, A with no trouble at all, yet it took several years of frustrating teachers to get me to learn the ABCs. I often wonder if my father’s foresight, intuition or deep-down wish in his heart would be that I would someday find the juggling of the 26 letters a fascinating feature in my life.

Growing up through the foot-dragging years of what entered the history books as The Great Depression is not a privilege that has done me wrong. I know I, like all those who equalled the times, were by far the better because of it.

It cast a fretwork of appreciation far beyond the scope of money. Food was often put on the table by barter, rather than cash, with the backyard kitchen garden playing an important part. Country kitchens, in the summertime, always had a pleasant aroma to them. If it wasn’t that of pickle spices, it was apple pies, cinnamon and homemade bread.

If help was needed, equal hours were exchanged with a neighbour. Hand-me-downs were the “in thing” long before the word recycle became popular. Being the second youngest to a family of nine, I was in my early teens before I received my first store-bought clothing. Mother simply made clothing from bleached sugar bags or from material purchased by trading butter and eggs at the local general store.

That method simply brought family and friends together.

The fact is, I have lived an interesting life, learned a little, and nurture the idea that I don’t want my thoughts to die with me.

Take care, ’cause we care.




Barrie Hopkins