Three days ago, I would have considered Manitoba to be one of the top ten Canadian provinces. But after watching this week’s short, sweet, and dignified Steinbach city council meeting, I think Manitoba is now firmly in the top nine.
“Recently, I had the privilege of turning 60 years of age,” Councilor Jac Siemens announced at the top of the evening. “I feel a great divide between where I have been and where I’m going. The older I get, the more I look back and I see many years of laughing, hurting, crying, working way too much, playing too little–and not stopping enough to celebrate.”
Wow, this sounds more like an “I’m a-leavin'” speech than a “welcome to the meeting” message. As long as he doesn’t pull out a guitar and sing “Cats in the Cradle,” I can hold it together.
“As I celebrate my first 60 years on this earth, I brace myself for the remaining years. When I turned 50, I wrote a list representing 50 things I learned so far in my life. So now, I’ve added ten more to that list.” He flipped the page and unloaded his wisdom on the unsuspecting masses.
“In no particular order, here they are.”
- We can’t always tell the truth but we must try very hard never to tell a lie.
- Dress properly.
- Life’s biggest joys are spouse, family, friends, parents, children, and grandchildren.
- Worrying is a waste of time.
- Age should make us better, not bitter about who we are.
- If I can’t change my situation, I can always change my perspective.
Inspiring stuff. I encourage everyone to print out this review and tape it to your cubicle. Instead of a cat telling you to “hang in there,” it’s a kindly Canadian man saying to “dress properly.”
You had one more thing, councilor?
“I have learned to ride a bike, with all the joy that it gives me. When I am on a bike, all I can do is crank on those pedals,” Siemens boasted as he wrapped his valedictory speech.
Mayor Chris Goertzen had a musing of his own. “Council, I have a question. And there will be a statement before that question,” he politely alerted them.
“Council, we saw that the Penfeld and Number 12 intersection has been virtually complete now. It’s functioning well, but one of the things we do need to recognize is there are quite a number of businesses that have really had a lot of patience along the Number 12 highway.”
The mayor glanced from side to side. “I think we need to publicly acknowledge many of those businesses along there that have suffered through this a little bit–and we wanna say thank you. So my question to you is: do you agree?”
The councilors stared blankly. Suddenly, one courageous soul–no doubt reflecting on Jac Siemens’s 60 Life Lessons–mumbled, “yes.”
And THAT, my friends, is lesson #61: always say thank you.