I’m often outside my element

I’m often outside my element

If my memory serves me well (which it seldom does, lately), I have mentioned before how that before retirement, wood and I were mortal enemies.

Metals were my preference, but then a person’s interests change over time, as did mine. I always liked working with wood, but I was just no good at it.

Then when I retired, I noticed on a website I was visiting that there were plans available for a lighthouse.

As I’ve always liked lighthouses, I bought a set of plans for three different ones.

When the plans came, I realized I was totally out of my element, but I felt that if I had spent money on the plans, I might as well try. So I did, and slowly built all three. I was hooked.

Today, about 10 years later, I have a collection of about 12 lighthouses, plus a lot of other items, all made out of wood. I am really enjoying it, but now, what to do with all this stuff?

I have given some away, and sold some just to cover the cost of materials, but now my sheds are full.

Suggestions of how to dispose of them, and at least recover my costs, came from people suggesting I sell them online. But my cousin was the most persistent about renting a table at a craft venue, which subsequently, I did.

So now, every Saturday until Christmas, I have a new game to play, and I find that once again, I am out of my element.

Being out of my element, in my books, is doing something that I am unfamiliar with or uncomfortable with, and I began to realize that I had a habit of doing things out of my element.

One particular action was definitely in that category.

While working at the kitchen and approaching the Christmas season, I observed that all these folks I was serving had no place to go for Christmas.

Like many others, we always had a family Christmas Day, so to invite a street person into our home was not on the radar at that time.

But the feeling persisted, so then a few weeks later, we invited one of the girls and her friend for Sunday lunch.

We had a great time and made lasting friendships. I still see her now and then, but she has been back into the street scene, despite many attempts to put it behind her.

One of the results of having stepped out of my comfort zone is that relationships formed. With someone from the street, you tend to feel a sense of loss when they fall off the wagon. It’s almost like losing a friend; it can easily prevent you from befriending someone again.

Then, all of a sudden, they call for another visit, which just means you made some kind of impact.

Over the years, we have had many people come to our home, sometimes filling it with music, other times with tears, but we were enriched by all of them. We found many of them had different gifts that they were often eager to share with us.

Because of the nature of the different jobs I have held, I was used to working alone, so for me, being alone is not difficult.

What I find a little more difficult is interacting with people, because I often seem to get tongue tied not knowing what to say. I don’t think fast on my feet. I need to ponder things.

As a matter of fact, it often takes me out of my element.

Chris Salomons is a retired Red Deer resident with a concern for the downtrodden.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Paul Harris, owner of Tribe restaurant downtown, said a lot of the blame for the latest restrictions that will close outdoor patios on Sunday can be blamed on those not obeying health regulations and the government for failing to enforce the rules.
Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff
Restaurant owners frustrated by patio shutdowns

Outdoor patios must stop serving by midnight Sunday to stem rising COVID infections

The City of Red Deer said Wednesday that some outdoor activity rentals will be available starting Monday for households only. (Advocate File Photo)
City of Red Deer outlines activities available as new provincial COVID-19 restrictions set in

There will be limited recreation activities available across the City of Red… Continue reading

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta reports 2,271 new COVID-19 cases, Red Deer cases rise slightly

Across Alberta, there are 666 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 146 in the ICU

‘Love, Oran’ is a documentary feature made by Red Deer-raised filmmaker Colin Scheyen. It’s about hidden letters, found in a Woodlea home after 70 years, revealing a family secret. (Screenshot by Advocate staff).
Hidden letters reveal secrets of Red Deer family in a new documentary film

‘Love, Oran,’ by filmmaker Colin Scheyen is showing at Edmonton’s NorthwestFest

Red Deer Rebels’ three graduating players, Josh Tarzwell (left), Chris Douglas (middle) and Ethan Anders (right) will all move on to new opportunities next season. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
‘It was a rollercoaster’: Rebels’ graduating players look back on wild season

The nerves. Even three-and-a-half-years later, Josh Tarzwell still remembers the nervousness he… Continue reading

FILE - Broadway posters hang outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre during Covid-19 lockdown in New York on May 13, 2020. Many Broadway productions are scrambling to resume ticket sales to welcome theater-goers this fall after city and state leaders have green-lit a reopening of the Great White Way at full capacity. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Broadway theaters can reopen Sept. 14 and will be allowed to decide their own entry requirements. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
Broadway readies imminent ticket sales for a fall reopening

Broadway readies imminent ticket sales for a fall reopening

This photo shows a love letter that John F. Kennedy wrote to a Swedish paramour a few years after he married Jacqueline Bouvier, according to Boston-based RR Auction. The auction house says Kennedy wrote letters to aristocrat Gunilla von Post in 1955 and 1956, and announced, Wednesday, May 5, 2021, that they will be going up for auction. (Nikki Brickett/ RR Auction via AP)
‘Anxious to see you:’ JFK letters to Swedish lover auctioned

‘Anxious to see you:’ JFK letters to Swedish lover auctioned

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on during a press conference in the rotunda at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday May 6, 2020. British Columbia is offering tangible recognition of the historical wrongs caused by the province when it interned thousands of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. gives $2M to Japanese Canadian seniors as step toward righting internment wrongs

B.C. gives $2M to Japanese Canadian seniors as step toward righting internment wrongs

Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force Al Meinzinger is seen during an interview with The Canadian Press in his office at National Defence headquarters in Ottawa, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. Canada is inching closer to the purchase of armed drones for its military even as details around how the controversial weapons will be used are starting to come together. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canadian military laying groundwork for arrival of armed drones

Canadian military laying groundwork for arrival of armed drones

DND, Veterans Affairs workers say harassment complaints not taken seriously: unions

DND, Veterans Affairs workers say harassment complaints not taken seriously: unions

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speaks during his weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill, Thursday, April 22, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Liz Cheney clings to GOP post as Trump endorses replacement

Liz Cheney clings to GOP post as Trump endorses replacement

Gabriel Natale-Hjorth, right, talks to his co-defendant Finnegan Lee Elder, before a jury began deliberating their fate as they are on trial for the slaying of an Italian plainclothes police officer on a street near the hotel where they were staying while on vacation in Rome in summer 2019, in Rome, Wednesday, May 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Rome jury convicts 2 US friends in slaying of police officer

Rome jury convicts 2 US friends in slaying of police officer

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland joins Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as they participate in a virtual discussion from Ottawa on Monday, May 3, 2021, with seniors from Residence Memphremagog in Magog, Quebec. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Federal budget ‘overstates’ economic impact of stimulus spending, budget officer says

Federal budget ‘overstates’ economic impact of stimulus spending, budget officer says

Most Read