Another year has come and gone, and what an interesting year it has been.
I can’t believe that I am getting older. My mind says I am still 29, while my body constantly tells me my true age. I can’t get it to shut up.
Having said that, 2019 treated us quite well. In spite of failing health, broken bones and so on, we have really come to appreciate the health-care system we have in this beautiful country, and despite a failing economy, we have a tremendous province in which to live.
Every morning I sit at my desk, do some reading and reflect on the day to come.
As dawn approaches, I open the blinds and put the daily portion of seed out for the birds. This is my favourite time of day, as it is also the time I spend writing my columns.
This brings me to a point of decision.
I just checked on my computer and realized that I have written 687 columns in all the time I have been writing. I don’t know if you can understand this, but I feel humbled by the opportunity to tell these stories, even if the latter ones are more about the issues that have produced the fodder for the stories.
Partly because I am no longer involved with the street and its population, I am running out of ideas to bring awareness to this part of our community.
Having said that, I am not running out of opinions, and have come to realize that no one does. To make it printable, I will use the expression, “Opinions are like noses, every person has one.”
My original idea was to stop writing at the end of 2019, but having revealed this idea to a few friends, my mind was changed, in that I will no longer write weekly, but neither will I stop altogether. I have been so encouraged to continue, and because I really do enjoy it, I plan to still write columns periodically.
Ever since I was 13 years old, I knew that I wanted to minister to people who through whatever circumstances, ended up as less than important in life. Then when I was about 15 or 16, I developed an interest in journaling and writing.
As often happens though, life got in the way, so nothing seemed to happen until I began to volunteer at the Potters Hands Soup kitchen. I enjoyed it so much, that after about 10 years, the opportunity came to manage the kitchen. It was an opportunity I could not ignore.
I had come to love the folks who I had been serving, so I took on the work of running the kitchen, going part time at my maintenance work at The Advocate.
The newsroom, knowing what I was doing, because I used to tell them stories, suggested that I write blogs on the website, which I did. And then shortly later, I was asked if they could publish these stories. The rest is history.
The encouragements that I received pushed me to continue. Often there were periods where it was difficult to leave the house without being recognized, which at times, became embarrassing.
What I enjoyed the most was seeing the great number of Red Deerians who put their own hearts into care for the downtrodden as well. Partly because of the columns, people would stop by the kitchen for a chat or a coffee, or to make a donation, because they no longer felt fear in being downtown.
They had come to realize that these folks on the street were really not too much different than themselves and there was no need to fear them; be wary for sure, but without fear.
I would like to express my gratitude to all who followed me on this journey, most often with encouragements.
A special note of gratitude goes to the Red Deer Advocate for the opportunity, and as well, their encouragement to continue. Most of all, I want to thank God for the gifts he has given me to write, but also to love the work I did and the people I did it for.
In my favourite book, there’s a line that says, “For everything under the sun, there is a season.”
I can truly say that this season that I have enjoyed was a heartfelt, beautiful experience, and you, the readers, made it happen.
Thank you, Red Deer. I love you.
Chris Salomons is a retired Red Deer resident with a concern for the downtrodden.