This video has received hundreds of thousands of views. You’ve probably seen it yourself on your computer or on television. It is touching and hopeful during a dark time in our world. It also reminds me of the 1960’s when “flower power” was used as a weapon by protesters against the Viet Nam War. Baby boomers, members of the most privileged generation in history, dropped out of mainstream society to live in communes, celebrate free love and wear flowers in their hair. They wanted to stop the West’s involvement in Viet Nam. They wanted to follow the Beatles to the Maharishi and “love, love, love.” They wanted to “give peace a chance.”
The war in Viet Nam did end, eventually. Most of the communes disappeared as the reality of living off the land struck home and the Beatles have disbanded. The world desperately wants to “give peace a chance” yet some extremists are determined to plunge us into anarchy instead.
Listening to this little boy and his father harkens back to those innocent days of the ’60’s, before 9/11, before Madrid, before London , before the attack on Parliament in Canada. . . and before Paris. In the face of such evil, flowers and candles seem a poor defence, and yet . . .
When free citizens refuse to live in fear, when we reject xenophobia, when we hang onto our compassion, when we place a flower, when we light a candle, we bring light to a dark world. Hate loves darkness, it lives in the shadows, it thrives behind walls. Let us light candles. Let us wear flowers in our hair. Let us unite against hate. Let us love.
This week I’m a guest at Cynthia Woolf’s blog. Why not hop over there and say hi? As part of that blog I’m giving away a new Christmas short story to anyone who signs up for my newsletter. Anyone who is already a subscriber, or subscribes from this page will also receive the story.
If you’re a fan of short stories, you can always download my book, The Man Who Loved Christmas. It’s free and has gained some nice reader reviews.
Today is Remembrance Day and I will spend it in the same way I have for many years. In the morning, my husband and I attend the service at the cenotaph. In the afternoon, I make Christmas cake.
That may seem like a strange juxtaposition, remembrance and celebration, but it is fitting. In a religious sense, Advent is a season of reflection, a quiet time, a time to prepare for the birth of Jesus and the miracle of salvation embodied in His life.
Remembrance Day is also a time for reflection, for quiet, sombre ceremony and a time to remember that “man hath no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” War brings out the worst and the best of mankind. The annals of wartime team with examples of soldiers sacrificing themselves for their comrades. They also record the thousands of stories of ordinary men and women who went to war because they believed in peace and freedom. Mixing Christmas cake in the comfort of my kitchen, the air redolent with spices and fruit, my heart free of fear, I live out the life my soldier ancestors fought for.
On November 11 I remember with gratitude my countrymen who risked all that my generation might live in peace. On November 11 I prepare for the coming of the Prince of Peace.
Sunday I began eating the Hallowe’en candy — not because I’d been out trick or treating on Saturday night, but because I always buy treats and no one comes knocking on my door. It has been this way for several years now. The neighbourhood children have grown and gone and newcomers tend to gather at the community centre or a school for a party. I see more costumes on adults in stores and restaurants than I do on children on the street.
When I was in school, Hallowe’en was a very different event. We had a party at school during the last hour of the school day. The teacher hid caramels wrapped in Hallowe’en paper all around the school yard and then we went hunting. Those were awful candies. They’d pull your fillings right out of your teeth if you weren’t careful, but we took pride in finding them. There were also some hard humbugs. Took a long time to suck one of those down to manageable size.
The really good candy came after dark. My younger brothers and I, dressed in costumes cobbled together out of the rag bag and the dress up box, would go into the village (we lived on a farm) and make the rounds of the ten or so houses there. We refused to speak, believing we could hide our identities that way, but, in such a small community, everyone knew where one girl and two small boys lived, so we weren’t as incognito as we believed. We’d have to go inside, usually into the kitchen, turn around to show off our costumes and shake our heads yes or no as our hosts asked questions. Then they’d put homemade fudge, or brown sugar candy into our small bags. We only had a small paper bag. My mother thought it disgraceful that kids in town would canvass with a pillow case! My Dad had a particular fondness for Aunt Georgina’s fudge. Luckily, she knew that so always tucked a few extra pieces into our hands “to share with your Dad.”
Once I became a teenager, the annual trek to the neighbours for candy became a thing of the past. The only time I got to wear a costume was for the Sadie Hawkins Dance at high school. Once again, the rag bag was a treasure trove, since we all wanted to look like the Yokums from Li’l Abner.
I did crash my three year old godson’s Hallowe’en party once. I dressed as Brunhilda. That’s the nose cone from an airplane on my head with tin foil horns attached. My godson was scared. His mother laughed and laughed. She still teases me about that day. My godson is now over 21.
Hope you all had a sweet Hallowe’en, however you acquired your candy.