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.


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.

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