49 Forever

?April showers bring May flowers?. How true if you are talking about dandelions! Actually, I like dandelions–but they don?t have a very good reputation.

Fortunately, Ray has joined us in our yard lately. We just say what we want done and he does it. If he keeps this up our yard will look so nice that people will think that we have moved!

Actually we were away a couple weeks ago as I had to go to Edmonton for an eye operation. I found this out when we were in Ft. St. John having a cataract removed and complications occurred. We went straight to Edmonton just as we were so the clothes we were wearing had a good workout. Both our daughters came to visit while I was in hospital and did a bit of necessary shopping for me. I had another eye operation as soon as we arrived and I?m still wearing a patch when I go out because it looks so awful but I feel fine.

Necessary trips like that happen every once in awhile. We were lucky. We had had to stay the previous night in Fort St. John so had our pyjamas with us. Our car is nearly new and we had the money for gas, hotels etc but I got to thinking–what if we didn?t. What if we were waiting for a pension cheque?? Or we didn?t have a car or were not able to drive that far? What if we had children left with a sitter? What if we had jobs and had to be at work?

I thought–if we still had the Medical Assistance Society and I needed financial help I could get it from there. For newcomers to town I?ll explain. George was instrumental in its founding and its operation so I know how it worked. At the time there were many families here with small children and we realized that our doctors would send a patient to Vancouver or Edmonton and, if it was an emergency, they might not have the cash on hand to get there or to stay in the city while a child or spouse was hospitalized. So we set up a fund to help out. We raised money in various ways but our main steady source of income was the Steel Workers union at Quintette mine. It agreed to have $2.00 deducted from each paycheque of a union member. The town also agreed to take deductions from employees who were willing to participate. With this steady income we helped many people. All you needed was to live in Tumbler Ridge and get a local doctor?s recommendation and we got a cut rate flight for you and, in many cases, arranged a stay at Ronald McDonald House. The money was given–it was not a debt to be repaid. We found out that if the money was a loan it could not be used as a charitable donation. This system really worked well until the mine closed and we lost our regular financial support. I?m sure there is still a need for this type of help but how could we fund it?

The sun is trying to come out and I want to fill my rockery with calendula and nasturtiums–they brightened up the yard last year so I will plant them again. First I have to go down town and buy some seeds so ——- Happy Gardening to you all.