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Rebecca Todd

Gin and Topics: Inspiration Edition

By: Rebecca Todd | April 19, 2013 | 
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Gin and TopicsI awoke to my sister shaking my shoulders, holding me at the top of the stairs saying “Becki! Run! RUN!”

I ran down the stairs with her hot at my heels.

I had just turned 9 at the time, and while my memories of this fateful night are disjointed, they are also crystal clear.

My big sister Heidi running outside to take the car and get help.

My two big brothers running down the stairs, Cam managing his guitar, his skis, and an oil painting of him on his motorbike all under his arm, rushing out to dump his goods then right back in to be by my father’s side.

My mum yells “someone grab the leash I’m going up for the dog!” and disappears back up in to the thick cloud of smoke that has engulfed the upper story of our old farm house. She returns with the dog, Stew grabs me and the dog and pulls us out to the other car.

Mum slips on the ice, twisting her wrist. The ceiling collapses as Cam and Dad struggle vainly to rescue the hand written report cards, but end up with the national geographic maps; and dad deflects a piece of lumber, burning his fingertips.

The large picture window explodes, glass and flames erupting out in to the cold Canadian Winter. We ended up gathering in the homes of our neighbours, watching as the volunteer firefighters from the next town over bravely fought to contain the flames as our house disappeared in to ash.

The next day, two men walked down the street, still in bathrobes and slippers. One we knew well, but one was new to our sleepy little hamlet of Goodwood, Ontario. The man we had never met handed us the keys to his house. His family was leaving that day for two weeks in Florida, and he wanted to allow my now-homeless family free run of his home while they were gone. Even though we had never ever met.

I use this memory to remind me that there is so much GOOD in humanity. When tragedies strike, I do find it comforting to remember this. With that in mind, with this Gin and Topics I would like to share some videos to remind us how fantastic people (and animals!) really are.

1. I am a dork. A big nerdalinger. My friend tried to convince me to go out on a Saturday night recently, and I replied “Yes, sure, maybe…but Doctor Who is on…” Why I love this show so very much- it is the triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism.

2. When I face a daunting task, I watch this. Listen to this girl prep herself for her first ski jump. I love her analysis post jump. Amazing!

3. It’s a Great Dane and a Mini Pig caught snuggling! Your arguments are invalid!

4. Best Goal Ever- Kitchener, Ontario hosted the Special Hockey International tournament 2013 this year, and this clip sums up why this is such a powerful opportunity for people of all abilities. Watch both the diligence of this little player, and also the players around him that work patiently to support his success. And I dare you not to cry!

5. And, still on the hockey theme, I leave you with this little bit of inspiration. The recent events at the Boston marathon were beyond tragic. But in true American style the people of Boston picked themselves up and dusted themselves off. And they sang. They sang their hearts out. This might be the most moving rendition of The Star Spangled Banner ever.

 

About Rebecca Todd


Graduating with her bachelor's of education degree, Rebecca Todd knew the classroom wasn’t for her. Her passion for adventure carried her to educational publishing, and now she travels the globe and savors life on the road as a representative for Ivey Publishing. But she’ll always be an academic at heart, as evidenced by the meticulous annotations in the science fiction novels she loves to find in second-hand bookstores. When she’s not working on her list of the world’s best vegan restaurants, she enjoys hot yoga, hangs with her dogs, and sometimes thinks about working on her Victorian home.

72 comments
creativeoncall
creativeoncall

Rebecca,  

Thanks for sharing a very personal, powerful story... and also demonstrating how to use a personal narrative and yet have it ultimately not be just about you. Nicely done.

As to the videos, I particularly like the young skier's post analysis, which applies nicely to much of life... I won't quote it to avoid spoiling the payoff.  

Word Ninja
Word Ninja

Good of you to share your story, Rebecca. The hockey videos...awesome, thanks.

jdrobertson
jdrobertson

... the triumph of intellect and romance... Hah! Age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill!!

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

I saw that ski jump awhile back it is amazing! GoPro is the only true brand to harness social edia into a billion dollar business. Or should I say Social enabled this. Very rare success story of that magnitude.


So sorry to hear about your house @RebeccaAmyTodd 8( I know what it is like to lose everything I owned. But it happened much later in life at age 43. The difference was after the shock lasting about a month I felt free. 

I disowned my recently deceased evil grandmother about 14 years ago. She knitted me a blanket. It was a nice blanket. It was a burden. I kept it locked away. The one night I used it in college was after a night of magic mushrooming with friends. I could feel her evil energy in that thing. How many hours did she spend knitting. And now I felt it wrapped around me. Horrible end to my incredible night. I threw it off me and vowed never to use it again. BUT I couldn't throw it away. I couldn't sell it. That was her guilt. That was her evil plot. But then I lost everything. LIBERATION! Yes eventually I felt like France in WW2 as the allies ended the occupation. I still miss some things like my art collection and old photos. Things that would be meaningless to others after I pass on. 

I think at age 9 having less accumulation of stuff would actually of been more traumatic vs less. Thank you for sharing!

Cheri Disse Cimmarrusti
Cheri Disse Cimmarrusti

the little kid hockey player did make me cry - and the big kid hockey game already made me cry earlier this week! good ones!

John_Trader1
John_Trader1

Wait. Not one but two hockey videos make it to this week's G&T? Oh boy. 

Not only was the Boston fan anthem singing inspiring and a show of solidarity against terrorism and hatred, it was a symbol of pride for the community that can go unmatched. Being an avid hockey fan, I know full well that in Canada before hockey games Canadian fans sing their national anthem as loudly as we heard the Boston fans sing the U.S. national anthem, except Canadians do it every single game. We could learn a thing or two from them.

Thanks @RebeccaTodd for choosing these videos and injecting a little humor and fun in a week where we could all use the smiles. You rock.

Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes
Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes

Wow, I had no idea about your family and the fire. I agree that there is more good than bad in the world. Not so sure that hockey a sport, to paraphrase George Carlin the only place outside of a hockey rink that you ever see a puck is at the bottom of a urinal.

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd

@rdopping Thank Ralph! It was amazing, actually. That was just one act of kindness that day. From Ms. Thornhill thoughtfully arriving with toothbrushes and deodorant at 6 am, to Ms. Bell bringing me a brand new cabbage patch kids at 7 am (how did she manage that?), to the whole Bunker clan who opened their house to us and the community in the middle of the night, made some coffee, and settled in for a night of laughter and tears with us while we watched it burn, Goodwood showed us what small towns are all about. People tell me I am a Pollyanna or idealistic or naive, but I find if you believe the best of people and give them a chance, they will often exceed your expectations. 


And I NEED a mini-pig. 

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd

@ExtremelyAvg Thank you very much Brian! The first draft seemed rather...trite after the events of the week. I hope this was suitable. 

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd

@creativeoncall Thank you very much Chuck! Yes- the clip of the little skier is just so amazing. And I agree- it is the post jump analysis that really make it all worth it! 

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd

@Word Ninja Thanks for stopping by! I just can't get enough of peer-to-peer mentoring... the teacher in me I guess. So great to see these two buds working hard for that goal! 

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd

@jdrobertson Hah!!! Now I do believe that the older you get, the righter you are. Even when you are wrong, you are wrong based on more information. Of course, The Doctor is over 900 years old...

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd

@Howie Goldfarb Wow Howie! No matter when we learned it, we both now that the stuff you own can end up owning you. It really shaped who I am, that's for sure. I really do not get hung up on "things"- if they get broken or lost- I don't stress it. I also see objects as separate from memories. It was actually only a couple weeks after my birthday, so yes, I missed my Voltron, but mum just calmly looked at me and said "Becki, we can always buy more things. What we can't buy are new people." The very next day, I had two friends of the family drop by with a brand new cabbage patch kid and a brand new Optimus Prime, so I was sorted quickly. It is actually very sweet- all the kids from neighbouring towns (as we grew up country) all donated toys and such. I still meet people when I visit home that remember the fire happening, and remember what toy or item they shared. It has become this really amazing connection that I have with so many people- their thoughtful generosity. It's a really nice thing to carry in my mind. 

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd

@John_Trader1 Thanks, John! The post I had originally drafted seemed a little trite in the light of all that has occurred this week. You can tell a Canadian is at the helm with two hockey vids and no football, though, eh? 

Word Ninja
Word Ninja

@RebeccaTodd Yes! Love to see that, too. I've taught college, and I volunteer (creative writing workshops) at the local teen center; it's great to witness those moments.

jdrobertson
jdrobertson

@RebeccaTodd @jdrobertson Hah!!!! You are absolutely right in your observation once again offering proof-positive that blondes are getting a bad rap! However, may I point out: Those of us of the octogenarian persuasion (four score and seven) are protected by divine rite from ever being wrong about anything. We are protected from contradiction by church, clergy and congregation. And above all you young whippersnappers. Aside from that Ms. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd

@jdrobertson @RebeccaTodd In this case, not so, more of a general warning than a purchase specific one. I like the words Caveat in general, and use it to form all sorts of faux-Latinisms like "Caveat Fragro!" but both of my parents speak Latin, so in my household growing up, we gleaned a few random words. 

jdrobertson
jdrobertson

@RebeccaTodd @jdrobertson Surely the joy of learning is truly a wondrous thing! Your line ... based on more information.... has already been plagiarized in my computer for use in my next paper. Yesterday, I thought I'd show off for a group of kids who were playing with a yo-yo. I ended up spending the next hour with them teaching me a couple of tricks I'd never seen before. I can fly a kite too. Better than those smart-aleck yo-yo sharks. So there!

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd

@jdrobertson @RebeccaTodd I once had a discussion with my now-deceased next door neighbour. Cocky young me asked her what the greatest technological advancement in her time was, believing I knew the answer-certainly it would be tv or computers. When she replied "well, I guess it would be electricity in our home", it humbled me beyond belief. While I did not always agree with her conclusions, that woman, even when incorrect, knew a hell of a lot more about EVERYTHING than I did. She passed finally at 99, and I only wish I had spent more time cataloging more of what she KNEW, right or wrong. 

JohnMTrader
JohnMTrader

@RebeccaAmyTodd It was my fav - reminded me of teaching pee wee lacrosse and watching them score their first goal. Unforgettable.