Hodge: Plenty of motivation to keep on keeping on

Charlie Hodge says overall 2016 was an interesting and wonderful year

Charlie Hodge

It’s been a particularly interesting, enjoyable year for me, and one I am proud to have ventured through.

Without question, there were numerous trials and tribulations, yet I emerge with even more curiosity, questions, and new quests ahead in 2017 than when 2016 began.

I’ve plenty of motivation to keep on keeping up.

Certainly there is something to be said for adapting to circumstances.

Lessons to learn if one desires.

Adapting to limited lung capacity the past few years has taught me to slow down, sit often, and quietly observe and listen as life travels by.

Great advice during the best of times, however almost imperative when one has little breath to begin with.

Regardless, slowing down and taking breaks has only fed my love for people watching.

Certainly there are all kinds of ways and reasons to inspire people watching, and even more unpredictable lessons to learn or leave behind.

Regardless, Tez and I are chronic.

There are multiple prime places to people watch depending on your interests certainly high traffic areas can be effective.

Night clubs, beaches, restaurants, sporting events but probably nothing beats a shopping mall.

Especially at Christmas time.

Last week I had the honour of ringing the bell for the Salvation Army kettles at Orchard Park. (Actually we were inside the mall so not allowed to ring the bells).

I’ve manned the Sally Ann bell for many years now and the few donated hours have always been enjoyable and fun, and without question a perfect scenario in which to observe people and all their various idiosyncrasies.

Every year I make mental notes of what age and gender tend to be donating most often, and how they react when walking by.

Eye contact or a lack of speaks loudly as do people who see you from a distance then skirt to the edges hoping not to be noticed.

This year I was pleasantly surprised to see so many young men, 20-35 putting money in the jar not a trend of the past.

Most of them helped their youngsters place money in the bauble, making for a meaningful, mentoring moment.

However, I admit to chuckling for days at an incident with another message as the result. Keep your head up.

I was located about 100 feet from the mall’s main doors and made a point of trying to establish eye contact at point of entry.

I noticed the young girl, age 24 or so, busily texting while scampering along with her boyfriend.

He was attempting to safely direct her through the crowd as she paid full attention to her cell phone and none to her assistant or the crowd around her.

Text, text, text, …. she continued straight towards me and I figured she would actually stop and drop in a few coins.

As she continued to text I became concerned and with no bell to warn her I yelled out a Merry Christmas.

Text, text text.

It was at that precise moment I realized she also had on a head set and was multitasking by texting while lip-sinking.

No good could come of this and indeed none did.

Thankfully the Sally Ann signage is light despite being seven feet high, and the bauble swings on a chain because our safe shopper plowed into the bucket and stand full speed.

I grabbed the stand with the left hand and girl with the right.

Surprised and embarrassed, yet uninjured, the young lady frowned at me for grabbing her arm and briskly stomped away.

Her red faced boyfriend apologized as he escorted her.


Like many of you, I will take time to sneak off to a quiet spot for a few moments and just reflect.

I will look back on the past year and hopefully laugh, perhaps cry, and certainly contemplate.

I will be tempted to second guess a few scenarios, question a decision or three, and chuckle at some of the better moments.

Certainly I will grin and chuckle at the wonderful Christmas dinner we prepared for and shared with nine other folks.

Once the food was on the table I got to sit back and watch a blend of my family and Teresa’s bond during turkey dinner, laughter and engaging conversations.

Two grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, a nephew, and a super step son helped bolster the brevity.

It truly was a magical evening for me.

Naturally Tez had creatively fine tuned the entire home so that not a stitch was left undecorated, much to the delight of all aged youngsters in the house that night.

Overall personally it has been a wonderful year for which I am truly thankful.

However it is largely through the caring, sharing, and patience of some special people led by my angels Teresa and Curtis that the year has been so good. I am truly blessed.

Happy New Years to you and yours.



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