The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon

The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon
Shortlisted for The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

March is Literacy Month...if you're a Rotarian

I had an opportunity yesterday to speak at our local Rotary Club luncheon.  Before yesterday I knew very little about the Rotary Club.  I figured, like similar organizations, they would be a little stuffy, a little preachy and a little culty.  They weren't stuffy at all and other than a little grace before lunch there was nothing of the preachy.  Culty?  A little maybe, but not as much as you'd think.

I imagine the Lions, The Optimists and the Masons are kind of the same. They are clubs, afterall.All of them do work in the community and until you make a personal connection you probably have no inkling what these well-to-do (usually) folks are doing in their Masonic Halls, Their Lodges and their Curling Club lunches.  I certainly didn't.

For example, I had no idea that March is Literacy Month for the Rotarians and that their goal this month is to supply every Grade 3 public school child in their region with a dictionary.  They also called upon each of the people present at the luncheon yesterday to volunteer at least once this month at one of the Early Years Centres in town to read to a group of pre-schoolers.

They we're a very gracious crowd.  They welcomed me warmly before the lunch.  They fed me a decent meal.  They listened attentively to what I had to say.  They laughed at all the right spots and gave me a round of applause at the end.  Very satisfying.

What was even more satisfying was the certificate they gave me at the end of my talk.  To show their appreciation to me for coming to speak to them they made a donation in my name to Rotary International's Polio Plus Campaign.  Forty children will be vaccinated against polio as a result of my coming to speak to them yesterday.  That's a pretty cool parting gift.

I didn't know this before yesterday but the Polio program is one of the main goals of the Rotary Club.  Their efforts have contributed to a 99 percent decrease in the number of polio cases world-wide and their goal is to celebrate the global eradication of polio.  There are worse mission statements to be sure.

Monday, 2 March 2009

From there to here...from here to there...funny things are everywhere!

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss.  

What do you know? 
What do you say?  
You'd be a hundred and five today!

I was a latecomer to the written works of Mr Theodore Geisel.  As a wee kid I don't recall ever having been read any of the classics but from an early age I knew The Grinch.  As the November winds and snows whistled around the house, my dad would settle himself into his comfy chair and thumb through the latest edition of the TV guide.  He was not a big TV watcher, however there was one show and one show only that would make him put whatever was doing on hold and it happened each year around the begining of December.  My father loved The Grinch.  He could have recited the whole thing front to back and yet he never did.  He prefered the intonations of the legendary Boris Karloff to the echo of his own voice.  It is with fondness that I remember the childlike twinkle in his eyes as those stylistic snowflake credits rolled.

I only ever read Seuss when I started highschool and even then not a lot of his stuff.  It was only after we had kids that I really discovered how much he had written and how really good it is.  I think all parents and educators everywhere owe Dr Seuss an enduring debt of gratitude for making reading fun and for making it allowishable to slip in the odd made-up word, now and again.

Happy Birthday, Dr Seuss.