Vanilla Creamer in My Coffee
Coffee with Cream
There’s no getting around it. Coffee is bitter. It wakes me up and gets my day started, but on its own it is hard to drink. That’s why I like vanilla creamer. It’s the sweet in bittersweet. Every once in a while, I come across someone who has that effect on my life, too.

Yesterday I attended a memorial for a woman whom I knew only briefly. I met her when we both participated in a drama class for people over sixty. When I knew her she was over ninety, witty, friendly, smart, and not at all confined by her wheelchair. I looked forward to seeing her arrive at our classes. She brought warmth and humour to our stumbling efforts. Unlike many of us, she never seemed self-conscious about playing drama games and participating in readers’ theatre. I wondered where she got that confidence. At the memorial celebration of her life, I found out.

She had spent a lifetime taking on challenges, finding creative solutions to practical problems, tackling political issues, caring about the welfare of others, and practising artistic talents. I learned about her family background, her formal education, her professional career, her faith, her life-long learning, and her creativity. I was both impressed and inspired.

At the same time that I was intrigued and amazed by her full, active, life I couldn’t help reflecting on my own. I wondered if she ever spent hours watching movies on television or surfing the internet as I do. Probably not. Am I wasting a lot of time when I could be doing something creative, productive, or helpful? Certainly.

As I left the memorial service I felt surprisingly buoyant and determined to accomplish more. She had impressed me once again, but this time she had also given me a kind, polite, and cheerful kick in the pants. Thanks, Marguerite. That was bittersweet.


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  1. I truly believe words and communication are important. By sharing your words here you have influenced many with your reflections of Margurite’s Life and accomplishments. Thank you for the post. I for one am glad that you took the time to share your words.
    With respect, hope, joy and love, Carmela

  2. Thank you carmela and Malcolm. Marguerite was a most remarkable woman. When she had to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair, she said “This would be excellent for playing the cello.” And then she went about acquiring a cello and learning to play it in her 80s!

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