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  • Writer's picturePauline Kok


Time has passed; and the presentation I gave for the Women’s Club of Ontario has also passed.

It was quite an experience. It started funny; and just wrong.

We left Cambridge without delay with the books in the trunk and the laptop on the back seat. We went east to pick up our granddaughter Savannah in Kitchener, and then on westward to Innerkip to pick up my daughter Stella and my grandson Hunter. Whether it was to help me with the powerpoint presentation or sell a book or two, each had an important role to play, for we were pre-warned the Club had 800 members.

We transferred the books from one trunk to another and all piled into one vehicle. The drive would be approximately one hour. We were very much in time and the mood in the car was perky and cheerful, till my daughter, the power point organizer (and driver), turned around and casually asked if we were sure we had moved everything successfully over from one car to the other.

Already half way there, my memory flew over the past events seeing in my mind the grandkids unloading and loading the boxes filled with “Remains Of War” copies. A feeling of dread rose slowly inside me as I turned to my granddaughter and asked: “Savannah, did we transfer the laptop that sat next to you on the way to Innerkip?” Instantly we all realized that we had left the most important item back in the first car. O Boy!

The car stopped, we checked just to make certain and sure enough the laptop was missing and we turned around. What a pain!

The drive back was twice as fast as the initial one, but luckily we had planned to arrive early. The rest went easily enough despite a slightly faster speed, and we arrived in London just in time.

There, traffic was horrendous. The intersections were numerous with a red light at almost every one. The GPS ended up having two of the same addresses – one north and one south. We were in the north end so we followed the directions to that one first and eventually found Centennial Hall in, yes, you guessed it, the south end. O Boy!-O Boy!

Despite this, we managed to arrive 15 minutes before our expected time of arrival. Only problem was none of the employees knew what we were there for or where we should go!

I thought to myself “so much has gone wrong so far, the rest should be a cake walk”.

And that it was.

Elaine, the lady we were to meet came at noon and helped us unload the books and showed us where we could set everything up. In the process I was late to meet members of the Ontario Women’s Club for a lunch in my honour and after Stella whisked Jake and I away for a scrumptious meal, the kids took care of the rest. Everything fell into place after that.

I returned to find Stella had prepared the powerpoint now set up and ready to go; the two grandkids had organized my books and already sold a few of my signed copies; and members of the Club streaming into the hall awaiting my presentation.

On stage singing O Canada with the chair of the Club I saw that very few seats were vacant. I am still in awe that despite the number of people in the audience, Jake told me later that not a sound was made – you could have heard a pin drop – while I told my story. The power points was impressive and showed the pictures in perfect clarity and I sold more than sixty books that day.

As always those days are exhausting and difficult as once again I walk through the doorway to relive the childhood war had stripped away from me.

But I left triumphant – the struggles of the morning were well worth the success of the day.

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