I Like That

I Like That
See, hear, taste, touch and inhale the wonders of the world.

Monday, December 27, 2010


I LIKE THAT my second oldest sister, Colette, called on Christmas Eve. We hadn’t spoken to each other in three years.
            Her voice ignited starbursts of memories in me. I imagined her animated hand movements as a display of her joie de vivre (joy of life). In my mind’s eye, I could see her short curly hair, big brown eyes, round nose, and her thin laughing lips. I listened to her enthusiastic voice describe how she and her husband, Hans, needed to take a break from their North Bay home on Lake Nipissing in Ontario. I thought it interesting that she wanted to be apart from what I considered to be a Canadian ‘Shangri-La’.
            “My God, Colette, how fantastic to hear your voice,” I said.
            “It’s been far too long,” she said.
            I heard Hans’s gentle voice in the background say a cheery ‘hello’. Another wave of comfort feelings surged through me.
            Thirty-eight years before, my newly-wed sister and her handsome, university-educated husband, had taken me into their small apartment so that I could attend college. They generously provided a clean, safe place for me to live for a year.
            Now, we are four thousand, two hundred and fifteen kilometers, including a ferry ride away from each other. My husband, Frank, and I live on the Vancouver Island.
            My mind focused on Colette’s cheerful voice as she asked that we consider a family gathering during the upcoming summer months somewhere on the Island. Our four voices tossed meeting location ideas back and forth but in the end we agreed to talk about it another time.
            The idea of another conversation with my long-lost sister warmed my heart. I like that sister bonds are flexible.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I Like That I Won A Prize

Here's my second prize entry at the Powell River Writer's Conference 2010


by Susan Black

The lung punching minus forty degrees temperature and frozen tundra of Thompson, Manitoba was a playground for our family. Nothing could prevent Cookie from hauling Marc, Andy and me, into the frosty air.
At five years old, I was deliriously nearsighted and saw the mining town through the eyes of my siblings. One day we played at a construction site. Cookie hollered to me from across a narrow board.
          “Come on, Sam!” she shouted. “Don’t look down. Just step on and go!”
          Suddenly, Andy ran across the slippery plank. Marc shoved me and I wobbled across the narrow drawbridge into the arms of my older sister. Marc hopped on one foot across the board toward us. When he stood close, Cookie plucked the feather hat from his head and pushed him away.
          “Let’s play cowboys and Indians,” she said. “I’m the Chief!”
“Sam, Andy, you’re the warriors. Marc, you’re the cowboy,” she said.
          Marc spun around and ran. We lost sight of him. When Cookie spotted the cowboy she shouted a command.
“Stop! I shot you with an arrow and you can’t move,” she said.
The cowboy stood motionless. When we caught up to him, Cookie pulled a pair of scissors from her pocket, pushed Marc against a tree and scalped him. She squeezed the clump of curly hair in her mitten and let out a yelp. Marc screamed and cried. Andy and I gasped in horror. Cookie had taken the game to a whole new level.
Later, in our warm house, our mother trimmed Marc’s hair, sent Andy and me to bed and gave Cookie a licking saying, “You took the game too far and you took my scissors!”

Monday, November 15, 2010

Teaching ESL in China: The Consequence

While teaching English as a second language in China for four years, I decided to write a book and titled it "The Little Red Book: Teaching ESL in China". My husband, Frank, contributed the sketches for each chapter and we were happy with the results. The consequence came about when we tried to promote the book at the next ESL teacher gathering. The truthful stories revealed to us by other ESL teachers and our Chinese English teacher colleagues all appeared in the book along with our discovery of how the Communist system of government in China could be acted out in the classroom, much to the benefit of the teacher.
We were denied the privilege of promoting the book to our peers and left the conference feeling rejected and humiliated. My husband and I talked for long hours about our expectation that the book would be welcomed as a learning tool for new teachers and experienced instructors alike. We decided in the end that we would be wise not to have any expectations at all. What a relief! Reducing our expectations since then has opened our hearts and minds to what would naturally unfold.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I Like That

I like that the Calgary bus driver offered me a free ride today. Bus 76 stopped beside me and I was welcomed aboard. I told him my destination and he said that he knew exactly where I wanted to go. I asked him the fare and he said it was $2.75. I was shocked!

I shook my head and said it seemed more like cab fare than bus fare. He said that it was the adult price no matter how short or long your trip with Calgary Transit. I told him I was disappointed with the cost. He said I could ride for free today.

I like that the bus driver was so generous. I dropped some change into the coin deposit and took my seat.

He delivered me to my destination and wished me a good day.