Last week I met Dave while purchasing a gift certificate online from the Blunt Bartender. When I asked Dave if he would be interested in chatting with me for a story he replied, “Well, my wife, Marie is the beauty and the brains behind the Blunt Bartender and the owner,” he said proudly. “So, are you a ‘behind the scenes’ supporter?” I asked. He giggled, “Yes, I’m the fantastic husband who supports her fully behind the scenes. She makes me incredibly proud of what she does, how she juggles so much on her plate but always maintains her incredibly beautiful personality with the patrons and staff. We both really love spending time at the bar and we miss it a lot right now.”
Outside of the bar, I wondered what else they normally like to do for fun so I asked to which he replied, “We have an amazing group of friends who we love spending time with. We like to go out to eat, go on trips, and just have fun together." I followed up with, "what is your best trip memory?" He fondly recalled, “Best trip so far has been to Nashville. We went to a Titans NFL game and a Nashville NHL game.” He continued, “Marie and I had tickets to go to this year’s Country Music Festival in Nashville. We were so excited about it but as you would guess, it’s cancelled..but, that's ok.”
I wanted to ask this fun, caring and dependable fellow a fun question, so I asked, "Are you a cat or dog person?" He laughed, “I was neither until I met Marie." He continued, “I’m allergic to cats. But, when we bought our house, Marie moved in with TWO CATS! My daughter was volunteering at the local SPCA and she and Marie fell in love with another cat. And, guess what? We now have 3 cats!” he laughed even harder, “I’m now a cat person. Each of them has their own personality and they’re awesome – Aaaachooo!” Here is to great friends, great food, and great memories…and maybe cat number 4 in the future! LOL
In chatting with Cheryl last week, one of the things that struck me the most about her is how dedicated, talented, and caring she is. In addition to being involved with the 100 Kids Who Care Truro, she also impacts our community as a local high school math teacher at the Cobequid Educational Centre (CEC).
I asked this mom of three with two dogs, what she enjoys the most about being a teacher. “I love the relationships I have with my students, and I love when I see them grasp a new concept. When the light bulb comes on,” she beamed. “What is the most challenging?” I asked. “I’d say that continually having to stay current in my teaching practices and not being afraid of trying new ways to teach students.” I wondered how the current school closure affects her daily routine so I asked, “What does a typical day look like for you?" She replied, “A typical day usually consists of feeding everyone….I didn’t realize how much time that takes when you limit getting take out,” she laughed. “I make sure my kids are doing their online learning while I am busy finding new innovative ways to teach my students online.”
I switched gears and asked, “What do you like to do to relax?” She calmly answered, “I like to knit, crochet, paint, craft…make pretty things. I also like to hike in Victoria Park, play the piano, and listen to podcasts. It is nice to have something that completely distracts you.” Now it was time for an interesting question, “Is there one thing about you that most people would be surprised to learn?” She thought for a moment, “I think most people know I have lots of tattoos and I really love mini eggs! They may not know that I am fascinated with behavioral analysis though.”
I will leave you with one of the last comments Cheryl said during our conversation, “I have a special appreciation for art and the connection between art and math. I guess you could say it’s the beautiful things in life that keep me motivated and inspired…I’m lucky I get to do that every day in one way or another.” Thank you Cheryl for reminding us to always take time to appreciate the beautiful things.
While purchasing a gift certificate from Wink Day Spa a couple of weeks ago for our Giveaway, I met a bubbly person named Renee. Her energy was very upbeat and positive. I wanted to learn more about her so we enjoyed a more in-depth conversation last week.
“You work at Wink Day Spa. What do you do there?” I asked. “I actually own Wink Day Spa. However, I have been working the reception desk full time the last year or so,” she replied. “Oh, I didn’t realize you are the owner,” I replied surprised. “What is the one thing you miss most about the Spa being closed?” I inquired. “My Team, hands down….Although I miss our clients too. It’s so hard!” One of the reasons why it is so hard is because Renee is a big hugger! “One of the first things I plan on doing when the social distancing ban is lifted is hugging my family, friends, team and maybe some clients too! “she giggled.
I wondered what Renee likes to do in her leisure time so I asked, “Do you have any hobbies?” She paused for a moment, “I like to go fishing, 4 wheeling and spending time on my deck.” She continued, “I like to read…Oh, and I recently bought a ‘Learn Calligraphy Kit’. Not that many people write things anymore. I think it is so beautiful though.” She continued, “I also like to cook and try new recipes which I have been doing a lot lately.”
Before we ended our conversation, I asked Renee one more question, “If you had to describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be?” She laughed, “Oh, come on. That’s a hard one.” I decided to take a try at and replied, “I would say you are outdoorsy, compassionate, and have a great sense of humour. Am I close?” She smiled, “Yes, you are! You have a real talent for pegging people. I love it!” Well Renee, I loved chatting with you. Your energy is contagious and when the social distancing ban is lifted, I am looking forward to meeting you in person….and sharing a big hug!
It all started with a story I posted on April 13th – Meet George – where a fellow named Marc commented, “I remember George”. I reached out to Marc to find out more. He not only answered my question, but we also had a fantastic conversation.
“So, how do you know George?” I asked. He quickly replied, “George and I were in elementary school and up together at CEC.” He continued, “I was brought to Truro from Tatamagouche at age two by my adoptive parents. I have two friends that are like brothers to me that I’ve known for 63 years. Both of them were adopted too which is something we didn’t discover until later in life. We all went to school together with George.” Marc went on to tell me that he left Truro at age 17 when he joined the Navy. “I joined right out of high school. I was in for 26 years. The first 6 years, I was in BC and then the last 20 years in Halifax. I've seen a lot of places. Also, for 18 of the 26 years, I was on the submarines before retiring in 1998.” I was fascinated and curious, “What is your best and worst memory of being on the submarines?” He paused, “The best was the fellowship of the crew. As for the worst, bad memories fade.” We share a moment and I thanked him for his years of services to which he graciously accepted.
After retiring, in addition to working many jobs in Truro, Marc married his sweetheart, Rhonda who also enjoyed his passion for motorcycles. “Is there one memorable ride you took together?” He fondly recalled, “One of our most memorable rides was the Thunder in the Highlands in Cape Breton. The views were amazing and it was nice to just be together.“ He then sent me a photo of him and Rhonda for the story. “Awe, you guys look so happy,” I remarked. “If you could describe Rhonda is 3 words, what would they be?” Without hesitation he replied, “I will give you 5 words: A light next to me” my heart warmed.
I realized that he may have seen a lot places during his navy career, but Truro holds a very special place in his heart. Oliver Wendell Holmes said it best, “Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”
During my two hour chat with Cheryl, a few of her personality traits quickly began to shine through. It was easy to feel that she is very kind, compassionate and loves to empower people. One of her biggest loves, besides her family, is volunteering in her community.
In addition to being the Chairwoman of the Board of Directors at the Lotus Centre, Cheryl also runs the 100 Kids Who Care project. “What inspired you to get involved with the 100 Kids Who Care project?” I asked. She smiled, “My son, Steven and his wife, Vanessa have given me two beautiful grandchildren. Kaiden is 12 and Zoey is 9 and they both love being part of this organization with me. They are the reason why I took over the project.” She continued, “I want kids to know they have power in their community. They have the power to change it, power to support it, power to make it what they want for their futures.”
I then asked Cheryl about her family life. “I’ll be celebrating my 20th wedding anniversary on April 22nd. We were supposed to go to Las Vegas to renew our vows, but Covid-19 put that on hold,” she said with a hint of disappointment. She is just grateful to have 20 years and counting with her husband, Eric. One of their biggest adventures was a mission trip to Guatemala in 2018. “It was surreal and amazing. We installed wood burning cook stoves in small, impoverished villages over 10 days,” she said with a grateful heart. She continued, “It was an experience that I will never forget.”
At the end of our conversation, I was left with a sense of living life to the fullest, joys of family, and making a difference where you can. It reminded me of a quote by Adrian Grenier, “What is important is family, friends, giving back to your community and finding meaning in life.” Well Cheryl , I think you’ve accomplished this and hopefully, inspired others to do the same. Thank you
It all started with a thank you email we received from a fellow letting us know how much he enjoys our stories about people and places in and around Truro. He lived in Truro from 1963 until 1998, went to school there, was a volunteer firefighter for 18 years and shared that he has only seen one person he knew in our stories so far.
With a warm heart, I quickly replied to George’s email thanking him for reaching out and asked him if he would be willing to chat to be featured as one of our Stories to which he quickly agreed. One of the first things I just had to ask was, “You mentioned that you have only seen one person that you knew in our feature stories. I’m curious…who do you know?” He giggled, “You did a story on a lady named Irma, and while it took a minute, I realized that I had worked with her at Burger King in the mid-eighties.” Amazed I replied, “Wow that was a surprise!” to which he agreed.
George shared that he is presently living and working in Yellowknife, NT as a Kitchen Manager at a medical travel boarding home in Yellowknife. However, he grew up in Truro as a teenager so I asked, “What is your favourite memory of growing up in Truro?” He fondly recalled, “I do have some good memories of being a teenager in Truro during the early seventies. Mostly, I remember hanging out at the square and being in the first class at CEC when it had carpet.” I could tell as our conversation continued that George enjoyed reminiscing about Truro. I asked, “Is there one thing that you miss about living in Truro?” Without hesitation he said, “I miss the community spirit of Truro, walking down the street, and knowing people at almost any time of day.”
I thank you George for taking some time to chat with me. You may be living and working on the opposite end of the country, but you can still feel connected to your Truro home. What a wonderful thing! Jean Houston said, “Human connections are deeply nurtured in the field of shared story.” We couldn’t agree more. Human connection – one story at a time