Photo taken on Mother’s Day by CALL member and enthusiastic birder Marje Wing.
Check the CALL website for details of the following events. Registration is required for all these online events. You must be a member to register.
Avoid disappointment: the gerbils in the intertubes need a little time to deliver emails. They recommend registering at least a couple of hours before an event to ensure the registration confirmation email with the event link arrives in your inbox in time.
May 17, 1:00 - 3:00pm. Not So Common Law
Why do we use Jury Trials?
Trial by jury is fundamental to our criminal justice system and is a constitutionally protected right. We expect 12 ordinary citizens, untrained in the law, to come into a courtroom and listen to the recounting of events about which they know nothing, involving people with whom they have no familiarity, and then impartially make a decision about whether someone has committed a crime.
For more information and to register go to the Not So Common Law page.
May 19, 7:30 - 9:00pm. Treks and Travels
Come join us as we continue sailing with Jeff Zambory on his G Adventures expedition cruise from Svalbard to Eastern Greenland via the Fram Strait. Jeff will continue sharing his photos and stories of Eastern Greenland.
For more information and to register go to the Treks and Travels page.
May 27, 7:00 – 9:00pm. Climate Change and Calgary's Future
Let’s discuss Calgary’s Changing Future—Climate Change and City Hall
Panel discussion, followed by Q&A, on the City of Calgary’s role in addressing climate change, with
For more information and to register go to the Climate Change and Calgary's Future page.
By Gail Kingwell
CALL is a hub of creative people who share their imagination and skills with us. Look at the Written Word Interest Group Area and note the number of writing groups – four Our Lives, Our Stories and two poetry groups. These groups continue to discuss and share their writing even though they have been unable to meet in person. Writing is a solitary and risky process. A writer turns snippets of thoughts, emotions, memories and ideas into words and stories. Inevitably, these words reveal something about the writer - which is the risky bit. CALL is fortunate to have writers who are willing to share their stories and themselves with us. In this newsletter you are invited to enjoy two stories and some poems by CALL members.
The current CALL writing groups are not open for new members, but if you would like to be part of a new group or have an idea for a new Interest Group, contact the Program Committee.
By Zina Rosso
I was part of the CALL writing poetry group. My haiku were accepted this May by the BULLA book publishing project. These three haiku are on the theme of hope and resilience during COVID using puns and play on words and the traditional haiku format. The first haiku shows waving more to others on Zoom, or outside when social distancing as part of our need to connect with others. The second haiku is our adaptation to the second wave of COVID with its stricter measures. The third haiku is the resilient response to the current third COVID wave and its variants. Here's waving at you!
The COVID Wave
Waves first, but, others wave back.
Than, no … nobody.
The first one, surprise!
Whoa! Here’s the second coming.
Learning to surf well.
Variants on a Theme
Worst may yet be, as
new enemies hunt for hosts.
Ride another swell.
By Terry Moschopedis, a member of Our Lives, Our Stories Interest Group
“Sandra, what should I write about? We’re supposed to write something in five hundred words,” I moaned, “I’m already starting to think that my writing is pretty basic and I need to find an online course on creative writing so I can improve. Joanna said my last piece read like a report, there was so little description and it wasn’t like a story at all.”
“Well, maybe you can write about how to write a story in five hundred words,” said Sandra.
“Not exactly a great piece of writing but maybe it could work,” I thought. “What harm would it to be to write something tongue in cheek about writing? So, I’ll give it a shot, but really, would anyone in the group actually like to read something as trite as a piece on five hundred words? How would something this banal actually measure up to Mary’s stories of fighting for independence in Zimbabwe or Donald’s opera career, touring the great capitals of Europe? What about Fern’s adventures on the ranch and her life growing up in the bush? How would something this lame actually measure up to the wild west life she had? What about Susan’s heartfelt story about Rick? Won’t this now sound feeble next to her story of a dear departed friend? And she’s written a book! This won’t ever do! Oh yeah and Pnina’s story, writing letters to the editor on the unfairness of apartheid in South Africa and she was only fifteen years old too. I’ve never done anything that brave.”
“See even now this piece has become nothing more than a list of stories and people’s names and I have already used up more than half of my allotted words.”
“Oh no why won’t my file save! I messed up. Somehow Word is trying to save over my last story on my trip to PEI. I think I lost my document! Crap on a toast. Don’t panic! Open up the folder and see what’s happened. Ok so in my folder for the 500 word challenge pieces I see a file called Opportunity. Open the file and see what it is. Oh jeez, it’s my story on the PEI trip.”
“All those words I just wrote, all those feelings of doubt and self-deprecation lost forever! Ok don’t panic yet. Let’s see what’s in the folder with the opportunity stories. Ok there’s a file. Now double click. Oh wow! What a relief. There’s my story. Man, I’m sweating. Is it hot in here? Why’s the heat going, it’s plus seven out there. Oh, that’s Jessica making tea and the sound of the kettle boiling. Nope that’s the fan on my computer going. Hearing aids sure suck”
“Ok focus now, at least try to make some sense and stop with the nonsense and procrastination. What are you trying to say in this story?”
Writing is not easy. It takes time to write something worthwhile. It takes patience. I hope one day I’ll get better at it.
By Alana Gowdy, a member of Our Lives, Our Stories Interest Group
It may perhaps be somewhat self-congratulatory to claim that once I saved a person’s life. However, it may also be correct so I am providing this story.
When living on Vancouver Island, it was usually a pleasure to drive on the main road referred as the Island Highway. It had an official number, but, as there was no other highway requiring identification, that was rarely used. The road was wide, well surfaced and bright, at times opening to wonderful views of the distant ocean. Apart from a dangerous tendency to cause hydroplaning in heavy rainfall, travelling on this highway was usually a pleasure.
One sunny May afternoon I was driving south to Nanaimo. The local theatre festival was underway and that evening I was performing in a period drama. The final rehearsal had been scheduled for that afternoon and I was looking forward to the company of talented colleagues. My passenger was also a member of the cast, a young woman with energy and humour – a pleasant travelling companion.
At this point the mid-line of the highway was divided by a low grassy meridian fronted by a stone wall. On the passenger side, beyond the wide stony verge, a steep bank fell away through bushes and trees. Following a short pause at a set of traffic lights, I moved forward in the quiet sunshine. There was very little traffic. Increasing speed, I noticed in the rear view mirror that one other vehicle had now come though the lights. It was a red SUV at some distance behind me.
As I watched, the car suddenly swung towards the side of the highway, heading straight for the unseen slope. Just before meeting the edge, it pulled sharply back towards the centre of the road. With a curving turn, just avoiding the wall, it raced back towards the stony verge. Another sharp swerve brought it directly towards the wall. With a final wrench, the car left the wall and continuing its speed, it aimed directly across the highway heading inevitably for the steep, bush covered slope.
Then, without stopping, almost gently, the SUV began to turn over on to its side. Horribly, without any hesitation, this incredible rotation continued. Completely overturned, the car maintained its relentless thrust towards the bank. Its metal roof scraping across the wide gravel edge. Then silently, with no hesitation, the car plummeted down into the trees, a flash of red disappearing from my view.
There had been no other cars on the road. No one else had seen this happen. Only me. I pulled my car to the side of the road, put on the emergency flashers, and ran. My friend called 911, requesting ambulance and police assistance.
As the traffic lights had now changed, several cars were heading towards me. I raced towards the place where the SUV had gone over. Waving my hands in front of me, I called out, “Stop! Stop!” Several vehicles did stop. One young man pulled his truck to the side and with no hesitation joined me as I ran down through the trees. He called out “We’re coming”, steadily repeating, "We’re coming”.
A few people waited at the top of the slope, not leaving, helping by their willing presence. From the top of the bank they could see the underside of the car, wheels up, deep in the bushy greenness. It was clear that unless they moved forward and stood right at the top edge of the bank, there was nothing to see. No passing driver would notice anything unusual at the side of the highway. There were no dark, curving skid marks, no flattened bushes. Nothing to suggest a car, a car with a person trapped inside it, was lying upside down on the bush-filled slope.
The young man and I reached the overturned vehicle. The driver, seat belt fastened, was suspended upside down. The seat belt both supported and imprisoned her. Moving from her position would have been almost impossible. She was quite conscious and able to tell us who she was and where she had been going. The young man cut the belt strap and gently slid the driver down the angled seats. I eased her out of the passenger side. She stood for a moment then took a few unsteady steps. Helping her on each side we brought her up towards the people watching and waiting. I called out, “We’ll need a blanket here!” Immediately a voice replied, “I’ve got one”. By the time we reached the top he was waiting to place the driver, well wrapped in a somewhat elegant check blanket, into his highly polished car.
My theatre friend was all this time on line to the 911 operator. Instructions came – give her nothing to eat or drink, the ambulance is on its way. Before it arrived one observer identified herself as a nurse and provided the necessary care. At the request of the driver, the young man went back to her vehicle, returning with an official looking leather brief case. Then, with a brief word of good bye to me, he left. No longer part of the scene.
We waited. The sun still shone. With noticeably little fuss, the arriving paramedics performed their tasks and drove away. The driver and her brief case were clearly in good hands. She still seemed more shocked than physically injured.
After local police had made a few inquiries, my friend and I continued to Nanaimo. Although late for rehearsal, our explanation was immediately accepted with concern and support.
Travelling that highway very soon after, I saw nothing to indicate where a vehicle had crashed over the edge. Nothing to say that below these trees is an overturned car with a person trapped inside, a person who can be neither seen nor heard, a person hanging upside down, a person alone.
Calculating the time it had taken for the SUV to cross and recross the highway, it seemed to take about fourteen seconds. Fourteen seconds during which I had chanced to look in my rear view mirror and watch the horror behind me. Checking the rear view mirror is a standard part of careful driving, but it is an occasional action. My casual glance had captured a moment of potential death.
It is this death, this possible saving of a woman from a future so dreadful to contemplate, that enables me to claim that once I may have saved a person’s life.
The CALL Newsletter is our way to communicate what is going on in our community. Usually we communicate to members about upcoming events, however, since all CALL gatherings are postponed for an undetermined period of time, we decided to use the newsletters as a way to ‘peek behind the curtain of CALL’, to give some general information about CALL groups and members.
You are invited to send your ideas and suggestions for future issues to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know what your Interest Groups are doing and your strategies for coping with this situation in which the whole world finds itself. We reserve the right to edit for length and clarity; not every submission will necessarily be published.
Meanwhile, be well, stay well in every sense of the word.
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