If you’ve ever visited my website (peterjennings.me), you’ll know I’ve taken up supporting discovery of a cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, better known as ALS, or colloquially as Lou Gehrig's Disease.
I do think it’s reasonable for those of us with any kind of web presence to show support for causes. And I’ve chosen ALS because this deadly ailment has no known cause and no cure. Yet it’s impact is huge!
May is ALS Awareness month.
So I’m using that marker to ask that you consider donating to discovering the cure. For the first time ever, there’s hope that real advances are just up ahead on the research horizon. That’s why they say, “ALS is not an incurable disease: it is an underfunded one”.
I donate to the Canadian and U.S teams who are in this fight, and I sure hope you will too:
In Canada: https://als.ca/tag/donate-to-als/In.
In the U.S. : https://www.als.net/donate/?soc=blog509
I have just learned of the passing of Bert Mann, and I am so very sad. Bert was one of those rare individuals who you just thought would always be there. Still, he made it to age 97 when he really had no right to do so.
I had the honour of writing about Bert‘s life with his daughter, my friend, Frankie Picasso. The book, “For Want Of 40 Pounds” covers the astonishing story of a young Austrian lad, Berthold Skurmann (who would eventually become Bert Mann). In 1938 he enlisted his best friend Erich to join him with a plan to walk across Europe. His vision was of making it to England, where surely the two young Jewish lads would find someone to help them avoid Hitler’s henchmen. Between them, the boys had no money, no food, no English language skills and only the clothes on their backs. But they eventually set off, possessing a sense of adventure and extraordinary courage in the face of danger. Young Berthold’s fortitude drove them to complete and accomplish their mission. Over several months, they literally walked all the way through Austria, all the way through Germany (mostly at night to avoid detection) and all the way through Holland to Amsterdam, where on the waterfront, they managed to hide as stowaways on a ship making its way to England.
"It was stupidity," Bert said as he described this astonishing adventure to me while we sat at the wonderful home he shared with his wife Irma in Mexico. "If I were older or smarter, I never would have attempted it. It was really just a kid’s imagination. And as I look at it today, yes, we were crazy.”
Bert went on to recall, “We were young and ambitious and very naive. Little did we know what we were going to encounter on our journey. But we were determined to get to England and hopefully save our respective families.”
That was only after they’d packed their rucksacks with all of their worldly belongings. And that wasn’t much.
“We started walking towards Holland,” Bert said. “We knew enough geography to recognize we had to cross a body of water in order to get to England, but no idea how we were going to do that. I believe it was a mixture of fear and naivety that motivated us to escape from Vienna, notwithstanding the fact that the Nazi’s were really scary. If you can imagine being of Jewish decent, that was negative to start with. Then, it didn’t help being a fighter. I had no opportunity to attend school or earn any money, and I mean even small change.”
But get to England they did, alright, in May of 1939.
“I remembered hearing that the world belongs to the courageous,” Bert told me, “and I believed it, because I had the courage to look for a new life. So off we went, full of valour, ready to take the world by storm!”
And take the world by storm Bert Mann did!
But, sadly, Bert’s raging storm has ceased.
Farewell noble soldier: it was an honour and pleasure to know you.
There's so much more I could tell you about Bert’s astonishing life. I encourage you to read about him here:
Whoever thought this day would come? Not me, I gotta tell ya that.
I’m known for keeping a cool head when it comes to meeting challenges. I also make it a practice to avoid talking about health issues. But in shades of school kids being taught to hide under their desks whenever a plane went overhead during the 1950s cold war, I took delivery this week of Radlock K1 pills. They’re intended for use in nuclear emergencies involving the release of radioiodine and they're supposed to keep your immune system safe from radiation. Their purpose is to protect the thyroid gland from radioactive iodine that may be released into the air in the event of a radiological emergency. In very small quantities, it is an essential nutrient for your thyroid gland to function properly. In the event of a nuclear emergency, KI is effective in reducing the threat of thyroid cancer to residents at risk of inhaling or ingesting radioactive iodine.
So, why did I order these pills? Well, I’m of the opinion that Vlad Putin is just crazy enough to start lobbing nukes at North America unless he gets his way in Ukraine. He’s already sent warnings that foreign intervention in his war will result in lightning fast retaliation. “We have all the instruments to respond that no one can boast of,” he stated in what has widely been seen as an allusion to Russia’s arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. “We’re going to use them if we have to,” he added.
Strictly speaking, Ukraine’s problems are not our problems. But should we get caught in the cross-fire, I don’t want to be a statistic. So, if we get attacked, I’ll take one dose as soon as possible after exposure for every 24 hours, until the risk of exposure to radiation from inhalation or ingestion no longer exists. Apparently you take these things with a full glass of liquid to help reduce stomach upset: the tablets can be crushed and mixed with water, milk, juice, broth, flat soda, low fat chocolate milk, jam, etc., just as long as the full dose is taken.
I had to go to the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station website to get info on where to get pills (had I lived within 50kms of their reactor, I could have received pills for free. Instead, it cost me $100.). Will they work? Who knows. But seems to me it’s better than sitting around doing nothing.
When I spent four days interviewing Robert Ireland at his home in Sechelt, British Columbia, I discovered a handsome, once vibrant man, well respected in his community. Bob’s a former cop and social worker, married to a lovely wife, with kids. For more than 20 years, they’ve operated an exemplary foster home guiding more than 60 high-risk youngsters to stability. But then, with absolutely no warning, one of the female children Bob’s been patiently raising antes up this accusation to the authorities: “He’s been sexually abusing me for years.”
There are no words to describe what such a fabrication can do to a man. Even though this caustic, cooked up claim was far-fetched, the allegation still penetrated Bob’s very self-image. Cursory research then revealed that this immoral child had laid the same charge on four other men, each of whom was found innocent. Her brother offered, “She’s a nut case. She has a pattern of making these claims every time she feels like she’s losing her connection with a man.”
It’s well known the girl had delusions from fetal alcohol syndrome. But amazingly, the authorities investigating the case ignored the facts and made serious mistakes. The police treated the suspect as guilty. They took the girl’s side and the children under Bob’s foster home roof were escorted away while his self-esteem and social standing were cast aside. Then he was stripped of his authority to continue running a foster home. A new, tainted police record prevented him from getting work. And he found himself swallowing his pride and mortgaging the family residence simply to put food on the table.
Bob Ireland’s freedom had died, his life destroyed. Unemployed and weary, he began to wonder about life’s value… that is, until his accuser finally admitted she’d fabricated the whole story. Meanwhile an RCMP sergeant stuck a public claim against Bob’s reputation that can last for 70 years. He tried to negotiate with Canada’s Human Rights Tribunal while watching his local Member of Parliament offer little more than lip service. And all the while, Lisa, Bob’s stalwart wife confronted the challenges of trying to operate a start-up small business while dealing with multiple sclerosis, a progressive, debilitating disease that magnifies its crippling impact when the body and mind are under stress.
I’ve tried to interest publishers with this incredible story, but with no luck. I’d already headed out to B.C. at my own expense to meet Bob and interview him, I’d spoken with people like Hans Scherrer, publisher of Justice Denied out of Seattle, Washington, about why cases of wrongful convictions occur, even talked with James Lockyer, founding director of the Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted, who revealed how he exposed several high profile unjust rulings. But publishers just don’t seem keen on bringing this amazing story to the public.
Tom Sandler and I recently published an audio book featuring Tom reading “Until I Smile At You”, the book I wrote about his famous song-writing mother Ruth Lowe.
But here’s what I learned as part of this exercise: audiobooks are the fastest-growing sector of publishing. In fact, one in five Americans have listened to an audiobook in the past year, according to the Pew Research Center. The popularity is largely due to convenience: for some, listening to a book makes their commuting times bearable. Others enjoy having free hands so they can clean or finish household chores. Others recall the joy associated of those early childhood years when a relative read to them right before bedtime.
I first became aware of audiobooks many years ago when they dawned as a source of reading pleasure for the blind. But now, audiobooks are for everyone and they are seen as an alternative to TV. The booming popularity of audiobooks coincides with the rise of podcasts, showing an increasing thirst for audio content. Covid has helped as well: people dealing with symptoms often draw the blinds and put on an audiobook to while away the time. As one expert said, “Being read to is a intimate and comforting thing, a human connection at a time when a lot of people are feeling isolated from one another.”
Interested in hearing “Until I Smile At You”? Just go here: https://www.audiobooks.com/audiobook/until-i-smile-at-you-how-one-girls-heartbreak-electrified-frank-sinatras-fame/535181
And to learn more about “Until I Smile At You”, go here: https://www.untilismileatyou.com
Where I live out here in the boonies, spring was indeed welcome after a long, cold, snowy season that tormented the hemisphere. But today, Ole Man Winter has demonstrated he ain’t through yet: there’s snow back on the ground, it’s 12 below and the winds are a blowin’.
Seems a fitting time to be thinking about a lady I wrote about in my newest book, “Pushing The Boundaries”. As we near the end of Women’s History Month, let me tell you about Steph Jagger.
Originally from Western Canada, she now lives with her new husband in sunny San Diego, California. Steff’s a deep lady with heartfelt, profound views on life and living. When I chatted with her, it became clear she could teach us lots about losing our fears, accepting risk, and pushing back boundaries.
Although Steff calls it her “ski trip”, 4.1 million vertical feet of skiing around the world in one year is, to me anyway, a little more than a ski trip. And as for why she did it, how’s this for a provocateur of Women’s History Month: dissatisfied with the limited roles she saw for women, Steff elected to pursue skiing for a year in a dramatic journey across five continents. It was a physical and spiritual excursion that tested her body and soul. “Peter, I really do believe it was a calling to do it,” she told me. “It was an idea that kept popping up in my head that was relentless and would not go away. So finally, I said, ‘OK, I surrender. I have no idea how to do this but let’s give it a go!’”
Steff wrote a book about her trek called “Unbound”.
“Steff, you’re obviously a risk taker,” I said to her. “But as you describe your parents in your book, they sound pretty normal. Where did this firebrand attitude of yours come from?”
She laughs, then says, “Peter, that’s a great question. My mom has never been a risk taker... there were situations in her life that made her that way. But my dad: I would define him as a risk taker. He’s an entrepreneur, he runs his own business – and I think there’s something inherently risky about that – and he’s always ready to push the boundaries in life. But his risk-taking is based on rational thought, logic, calculated risks. Mine, especially in recent years, has been based on faith-based risk. By that I mean, I don’t just throw everything up in the air and head off, come what may. The ski trip is a good example: it wasn’t as though I had the idea one day and the next day I left. I spent a year and a half figuring out the logistics, considering finances, savings, all that kind of stuff. If it’s a calling, then I have the faith I’ll be carried through the adventure, maybe with some ups and downs, but I do have faith things will work out.”
It’s that confidence thing that seems to be a quality of so many of the boundary pushers I’ve met.
Steph tells me her mother was pretty uncomfortable about the trek when she first told her parents what she had planned. “‘Couldn’t you just ski in a different country each year for ten years?’ Mom asked. And I’m like, that’s not the point. That’s not the challenge. She was not keen that I was about to give up my job, risk my mortgage... My dad, on the other hand, when I told him, you could almost see the jealousy. You could see him thinking, ‘How can I do this?’ But they eventually got on board with my dream. And they’re both proud of me, and of the book.”
“You’ve said that ‘Life is about waking up and asking questions. Big ones, little ones, and the in-between ones.’ Steff, what were the questions you asked yourself before you had that epiphany about wanting to do your round-the-world escapade?”
“The question I was asking myself prior to the trip was, ‘Is my life good enough for me to continue down this path?’ I could see the milestones, ten, fifteen years out, and I began asking, ‘Is that really the life I want?’ And ‘Is that really my life?’ There’s a great quote from Joseph Campbell, the American mythologist, writer, and lecturer: ‘If you can see your pathway out in front of you, step by step, you know it’s not your path.’ And I was really questioning that and wondering what else is out there. I feel we do need to have this curiosity in our lives.”
As a guy who’s inherently curious about virtually everything that crosses my path, I must say she’s preaching to the converted with that one.
“Unbound” begins with describing an epic ski trip, but then concludes with a richer, deeper revelation as Steph shares her experiences, her frustrations, and her triumphs.
I ask how much ego was involved in writing her story: “I mean, did you wonder if people would even want to read about you?”
“You know, that’s such a brilliant question,” she tells me. “I’ve come to believe that this is about a journey that I took and has everything to do with me and could be interpreted as quite egotistical, self-aggrandizing. You know, ‘Here’s my very important life. Everyone pay attention!’ kind of thing. But it also has nothing to do with me. I worked hard through the writing process to put my ego aside and say, ‘I’m not going to be in control of what the reader thinks. I had this amazing experience and I’m going to give it over to the world and let other people make what they want of it.’ I really don’t have a need to have everyone listen to my story and pay attention to me.”
“Do you think writing a book was part of pushing your own boundaries?” I asked her.
Oh, for sure!” she said. “I mean, I’ve always been a decent writer... but this was an amazing gift to be able to become the author of a published book. That was part of pushing my own boundaries, as well as developing the skills to do it. And the other part that’s a gift is that I feel there is so much more there to learn about the craft of writing and the process. What I’ve been called to do has been outside my comfort zone, outside of my boundaries. And so, I have to muster my willingness or courage to move forward with those callings, and that’s certainly something that pushes the boundaries for me, physically. Emotionally, mentally, and spiritually too.”
Did I mention that Steph was deep?
“So, does this mean you actually think of yourself as someone who colors outside the lines?” I ask.
“Yes, yes, I do,” she says emphatically. “In fact, that goes into what I term a ‘calling.’ But it becomes a ‘purpose.’ I believe, on an archetypal level, I’m a provocateur, I’m a truth teller, I’m a bit of a jester, a clown... and I think, if you go back in history and look at the jester, it was someone who pushed the boundaries and pointed things out in society that needed to be pointed out but did so in a jovial way. And I do think that’s part of the reason I’m here on the planet now.”
There’s plenty more to learn about Steff Jagger, especially as a great examplar of Women’s History Month. But I’ll leave that to you to discover – along with 14 other dynamic ladies whom I profile – in “Pushing The Boundaries”. I hear it’s a good read.
As we continue with March – Women’s History Month – let me tell you that back in the day when I ran my marketing agency, RBC was a client. Working for the biggest of the five Canadian chartered banks was a great experience and because we produced videos for them, I got to work closely with their Board Chairs, all of whom were men. Very few corporate CEOs consider themselves to be good on camera and so, I helped these titans to overcome their angst about appearing credible. Now, I’m not one to boast, but I was very good at this and executives came to trust me because of the credible way I made them appear on camera.
Fast forward to recent times: I’m interviewing Anne Larcade for my recently published book, “Pushing The Boundaries! How To Get More Out Of Life.” As we conclude our time together, Anne says to me, “You know Peter, you’d be wise to consider Katie Taylor as a candidate for your book. Being the first female to become Chair of a Canadian bank, she’s really pushed some boundaries.” Turns out, Anne and Katie are friends so with Anne setting up the intro, I was able to connect with Katie and two weeks later, there I was in Toronto meeting with her for an interview.
I must tell you, Katie Taylor’s one impressive lady. To start with, listen to this: “Winning has always been a big part of how I feel about life.” Ms. Taylor told me that early in in our time together when we chatted in a relaxed meeting room in the Sick Children’s Hospital Foundation building (where Katie is also Chair) Talking that way about winning can be seen as easy to say, but not nearly as straightforward to achieve, yet I quickly discovered that when Katie Taylor makes a decision, it’s press on, full speed ahead, without looking back.
In our discussion, I told her that I think of Katie Taylor as someone who pushes boundaries. “But how about you: do you see yourself that way?” I asked.
“Indeed!” she jumped in. “Lots of people do. The question is why. It’s interesting: I remember speaking with an important business leader shortly after I became RBC Board Chair and he said, ‘I’ve been really interested to meet you to see if you are a trailblazer like everyone says.’ I was surprised. Everyone says that?”
Still, she does acknowledge the claim has depth.
“It is something people say about me all the time: breaking the glass ceiling... first at this and that... But, you know, if I were to ask myself if I ever wanted to be a trailblazer or set out to be a boundary pusher, I’ve never articulated that thought in my mind as a goal. So, when people say, ‘How?’ and ‘Why?’ I have to stop and think.”
I should tell you that prior to becoming RBC's Chair, Katie worked in the hospitality industry. She spent 24 years building Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the world’s leading luxury hospitality company, alongside the founder Isadore (Issy) Sharp. She was named CEO in 2010. "Did I have the greatest job at the greatest company with the greatest colleagues running one of the greatest global brands, one of Canada's most famous global brands? For sure! Oh, I had a great career!”
But then, in a very public pronouncement, she was let go by the company's new owners. Frankly, I was a bit skittish about bringing this up because it's clearly opposed to the winning culture this dynamic lady espouses. But I’m not shy, so I asked her about it. She was not at all reluctant to discuss this defining point in her life.
"Did I feel like I had unfinished business at the company?” she told me. “Absolutely. But we'd sold in 2007 to a private equity group, and they wanted to spend more time being involved in managing the business. They now owned the company. So that's fine. That's their right. But it's never pleasant when you go through it."
Before I can ask, Katie anticipates my question: “Do I view my dismissal as a failure? No, I don't actually. If I'd gone into a puddle, or if I had made a different decision... you know, I look back at it and I'm not at all fussed about the decision. And in some weird way, things happen for a reason. As I look at my new life – or my Chapter Two, if I may call it that – there's absolutely no question with the benefit of hindsight that I was totally ready for something new and different. I'd been there for 24 years, I'd been CEO and COO for 7 years. It's a gruelling business because of the travel and time zones management: I had operations across the world with senior leaders, from Singapore to Geneva to Dallas, so everybody in a different time zone. Every Sunday night, I'm on the phone at 9pm with the Asia group, and every Monday morning, the Europe group, and then travelling so much and... yes, I was ready for something new."
"Did you see it coming?" I asked. "Was it a big shock?"
"Sure, shock in the moment,” she says. “But not if you think about it logically. What it did was give me an opportunity to have a long talk with myself about what should happen next. And the threshold question was, long before the Royal Bank decision ever entered into it: was I going to go back to work full-time? My husband had stepped down as a partner at a law firm. And he was absolutely thrilled when I left Four Seasons: dancing the happy dance. Because I'd been away travelling all the time, working all the time... he was at a different tempo in his practice, and it was kind of great that we suddenly had all this time together. So we started to talk about the next phase of our marriage together."
But it wasn't quite that simple. Nothing in life ever is. Especially for someone like Katie Taylor, used to pushing life’s boundaries.
"Having had the best job at the best company in the best industry with the best people in the world, I listened when a colleague suggested that trying to replicate that would be a mistake. So why not do something completely different, if you have the freedom, the opportunity and the financial ability? I knew I had to do something different. Question was: what did that look like?"
Katie then reveals a theme that's run through her life: "Lifelong learning. So the most important element of what came next is how much would I be able to learn."
"Did you ever think you'd become chair of Canada's largest bank?"
"No, no... because you don't really think like that. By the time I left Four Seasons, I knew there was going to be a chair position change – I'd been on RBC's Board for over a decade and had served on a number of the board committees and been Chair of the Human Resources Committee. Frankly, I didn't know if you could be CEO of a global company and be a bank chair at the same time: intuitively speaking, I knew that would be hard. In some weird way you could argue that this was a favour that fate handed me, forcing me to make some very concrete decisions about my chapter two. I was so busy at Four Seasons and hadn't given one thought to what I might do if I didn't work there anymore.”
In a sentence that provokes my smile, Katie sums up this time by saying, “Going home to knit was never an option! Firstly, I don't even know how to knit! Secondly, of all the things I want to learn, knitting was not really on the list."
When I’m interviewing folks, one thing I like to do is be well prepared in advance. And so, I’d read a new book by Richard Nesbitt and Barbara Annis, "Results At The Top: Using Gender Intelligence to Create Breakthrough Growth", which explains the folly of approaching gender issues using numbers alone.
"With some exceptions, business as we know it today was structured by men, for men, in the post first war period,” Katie tells me. “And it's remained relatively unchanged. So, when people ask me why is this women on boards thing is taking so long, the reality is we only started a few years ago."
We discussed various changes that were occurring in business, promoting me to inquire, “Are these changes coming about because more women are in positions of control?"
“Peter, I think it's because more organizations are committed to increasing diversity and inclusion in their workplaces, “she says. “And because the war for top talent is so fierce that some of these flexibilities and benefits are almost the price of admission to recruiting top talent out of universities. So some of it is gender related, but some of it is just demographics in the sense that the next generation has different expectations around the structure of work and the need to be physically attached.
There is so much more I can tell you about my time spent with Katie Taylor, but this isn’t the right place for that. Please feel free to check out Katie’s profile in Chapter 19 of “Pushing The Boundaries!” (pushingtheboundaries.life).
As March – Women’s History Month – continues, let’s have a look at one of the earliest liberated females who worked in a man's world and never let her gender, nor her attractive good looks, get in the way of her outstanding talent. I’m referring to Ruth Lowe, one of the 20th century's most enduring musical talents, who wrote the song that dynamited Frank Sinatra's career into the stratosphere in 1940. That tune, “I’ll Never Smile Again”, charted on Billboard for an unheard of 12 weeks and resulted in Ruth being named “One of the Architects of the American Ballad”. She was also the recipient of a Grammy Award. More than a one-hit-wonder, she went on to write Sinatra’s theme song plus nearly 50 other tunes for Broadway and Hollywood, which saw her being inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. She’s about to be added to the Great American Songbook Foundation Hall of Fame as well.
By way of background, back in 1940, the man who fronted “the General Motors of the Big Band Business”, a certain Thomas Francis Dorsey Jr., had recognized the brilliance of Ruth’s tune and recorded it with his new singer, Frankie Sinatra. When the song took off internationally beyond even Dorsey’s wildest dreams, he saw the value of a serious public relations campaign washing over onto his band. Recognizing that people needed a break from the heavy news of war, along with the fact they’d want to know more about the young lass who had written this wonderful song, he got Ruth to leave her home town of Toronto for the Big Apple, where she stayed for the next three years, hobnobbing with celebrities, making public appearances, being interviewed by newspaper and magazine columnists, getting featured on radio shows, and quickly rising to fame in the music industry. Everyone wanted a break from war, and to be able to see the girl who’d written “the song” was magical. Ruth’s sudden fame took her on a roller coaster ride she could never have imagined, including attending the Brill Building, home of Tin Pan Alley, where she worked on her own new tunes and teamed with other songwriters. That activity, by the way, included Ruth penning Sinatra’s theme song, “Put Your Dreams Away” (the last song played at his funeral). As Nancy Sinatra writes in the Foreword to “Until I Smile At You”, the new book I’ve written about Ruth Lowe’s life, “Ruth was the only female songwriter to custom-write songs for Frank Sinatra, standing tall alongside three titans of the craft: Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne and Jimmy Van Heusen – his long-time ‘personal’ writers. That alone tells us how highly dad regarded Ruth and her talent.”
Now, you would think that perhaps all this amazing activity might swell up the ego of a simple Toronto girl so suddenly immersed into “the big time”. But no, Ruth was truly one of North America’s earliest liberated females who never let her gender, nor the gyrating life around her, overtake her song writing talent. She had a ball, yet stayed grounded and focused.
Interested in knowing more about Ruth? Why not purchase a printed book, an e-book, audio book or kids book simply by visiting untilismileatyou.com. “Until I Smile At You” features over 50 never-been-seen-before photographs and other keepsakes from the vaults of Ruth’s son, Tom Sandler. Plus the audio book features Tom as narrator. It’s a story about which James Kaplan (author of “Frank: The Voice” and “Sinatra: The Chairman”) says, “A marvelously detailed and affectionate life of a great woman and an important artist.”
March 8 is International Women’s Day, celebrating the historical, cultural, and political achievements of women around the world. The occasion encourages us to honour the powerful women who make up our communities and help us thrive.
I’m always reminded at times like this of Nicole Moore. She’s the amazing lady I got to know and write about in my first published book, “Shark Assault” (sharkassault.com).
Nicole experienced one of the most dreadful experiences tormenting the human imagination: an unprovoked shark attack that very nearly killed her. In fact, she experienced two death-defying shark strikes! Enduring uncertainties and round after round of painful medical operations, including the amputation of her arm, left her and her family devastated. And yet, I have never met someone so positive, so incredibly resilient, who maintains an unbelievable level of hope and optimism. Nicole never thinks about herself, rather, she devotes her efforts to using her motto "Keep Moving Forward" to urge people to maintain the zest in their own lives.
I’m not alone in my enthusiasm for how she inspires. Two examples (of many):
“Nothing it seems, is going to pull you or kick you down.
Your strength and determination are the stuff that most people
only read about but you, you are our real-life living example
of strength and a modern day heroine" says one fan.
"You are an amazing woman. With everything you've
gone through, you keep such an optimistic outlook
on life. You are truly an inspiration to us all.
Keep doing what you're doing girl" adds another.
So, on this observance of International Women’s Day – part of National Women’s History Month – I say: Here’s to you Nicole Moore! You’re the best!
You know, while entertaining at the Legion recently, I overheard a couple of folks complaining about the potential for gas prices going to $2 a litre and possibly even more. I grabbed the microphone between songs and said, “Anyone here around during World War II?” Turns out no one was. Neither was I. “That’s OK,” I continued, “because being a student of history tells me that North Americans made big sacrifices to enable the Allied war effort in Europe. Rationing of meats and processed foods, vital for soldiers abroad, and supplies such as gasoline, butter, canned milk and sugar were rationed so they could be provided for the war effort. Cutting back on gasoline and other fuels kept energy-hungry tanks and battleships and planes running. Governments urged people to leave out anything that strained fuel resources — even advising taking shorter showers. Scrap drives became common, with folks contributing rags, rubber, paper or metal to help build airplanes and other equipment needed to fight the war. Governments also offered war bonds that citizens could purchase to invest in the country and help pay for military equipment.”
I then summed it up: “I’m going to bet that back then, people were not overly thrilled about having to pay more for some goods while needing to ration others. After all, we had just started emerging from the Great Depression. But North Americans sucked it up anyway, getting behind the effort to help win the war. Don’t you think we should be doing that now to support our friends in Ukraine? Sending a message to that thug Putin: ‘We’re not afraid of you and we’re not afraid to do whatever we need to do to stop you.’
And if that means $2 a litre or more for gas, so be it. Just remember this: it won’t be forever!’
That got a big round of applause and the show carried on.
I’m glad I said what I said.