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Reflections from the SwampThink Globally, Act Locally

Think Globally, Act Locally

Reflections from the Swamp
Richard van Duyvendyk

Dear Reader

We’ve just had another Thanksgiving with our family and grandchildren. Tradition starts the meal with everyone stating something they’re thankful for. The most common thing the children are grateful for is love from their families. One kid said bananas. The little things that we are thankful for are the most important.

My bride and I have a tactical agreement, a division of responsibilities, to ensure our talents are utilized. As the man of the house, I make the big important decisions, while my bride decides how we will handle the small things. For example, I decided that China should be admitted to the United Nations Security Council in 1971, that Canada should stay out of the Vietnam and Iraq wars, and that the Montreal Canadians are the best hockey team ever. My bride agreed with my decisions without any argument. My bride decided where the kids would go to school, where to buy our house, which car to buy, and where I could keep my redneck piles of stuff. I may have thought differently, yet I knew she must be right. These were little things and were not part of my job description.

I don’t come up with my brilliant ideas alone. It took many meetings at local coffee shops with other senior males to refine our ideas and add gravitas to our conclusions. Imagine how great this world would be if the boys at the coffee shop ran the planet! Imagine a network of guys in coffee shops solving world problems. Some believe the movement has already begun. Hope springs eternal.

We’ve had to alter our budget to accommodate the high price of coffee. During long meetings, I sometimes sneak in a thermos and a sandwich.

At our coffee shop meetings, we are working on the final details of how to solve climate change, end the war in Ukraine, and fix the Ottawa RedBlacks so they can start winning football games. At present, there are no brides in our group. Maybe they can’t handle such complex topics. My bride says she trusts that we will figure it out, and while I think of it, could you please stack the wood in the woodshed before winter sets? There’s going to be a frost tonight. Please cover the peppers and tomatoes. She has such a practical disposition.

You can see election signs all over the place in Almonte and Corkery. There must be an election coming up. What do you think? I tend to think more globally than locally. I’m not very good at politics. Much better at philosophy. I’m more concerned about black holes in space than potholes on our streets. Do you realize that our whole planet could be sucked into a  black hole?  Would you be complaining about potholes if the earth was about to disappear? Yet I’m challenged by the expression, “Think globally, act locally.”

I’m glad that there are people interested in running for local politics. We’ve had many great local politicians. These people want to act locally. My bride tells me that most of the things that affect our daily lives are at the local level. She doesn’t worry too much about black holes. We are responsible for voting for those we think are best able to reflect our views and have the skillsets to build our local communities. They will require support after they are elected as well. With so many politicians attacked by awful letters and even death threats, it’s time to show that we appreciate their efforts.

Don’t worry; We’ll still be solving world problems at the local coffee shops. I’ll discuss the topic of “thinking globally, acting locally” at our next meeting. We’ll start our discussion with the serenity prayer.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”




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