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We Are Who We Become... Rolly A. Chabot
Welcome to a very cool blustery day outside. Certainly a good day to snuggle in close to the person beside you and share in a nice steaming cup of hot chocolate. So get settle in, be sure and say hello and I welcome you as always to the Fireside. Beside look out as Quigley is in a rather amorous mood today, she truly mood today and will gladly accept any rubs you may offer.
A well respected writer whom I had known for years, he became a close friend via phone and Skype. We never met in person face to face but Dave Price asked me once to write a hub of my life. He said tell them about the people who shaped you. Dave was one who shared life through his encouragement and love of life. Thank you my friend for all the encouragement and being there when you were needed.
In the title I am not talking of your physical appearance, we can all change that in a heartbeat... so lets take a honest look at what makes us tick. I will use myself and a few other people to illustrate there can be hope for anyone, yes we can change. Please do not take this the wrong way, I am not looking for a pity party, praise or would never judge another. This is only intended to share some experience... above all else know that you are loved... Hugs
I was born in the late 40's a few years after the war which Dad served his country in. Part of the baby boom as the boys came home babies were being born rather quickly. The first three months of my life I was a very sick child.I had contracted Gastroenteritis shortly after I was born. I have been told it was because of poor infection control by a nurse who was caring for me. For the next 3 months my parents were given the news I was very ill. From what I understand there were very few known cures or controls at the time. Near the last of the illness my parents were told I would not make it through the night. They came and prayed over me, their words were simple. "Let Thy will be done." The following morning they were told it was as though a miracle had taken place. They believe as I do their faith was the intervention.
I am sorry for the quality of this picture. I laugh now when I see this image of myself as a child. It is obvious I recovered rather well.That was when kids played in the dirt, we rolled in the stuff and at times ate the stuff. What would a freshly pulled carrot from the garden taste like without a little dirt on it... right?
I was a very independent child. My Dad taught me at an early age the use of a small caliber rifle. By the time I was 8 I was allowed to take the gun out on my own. I hunted gophers, rabbits and small birds. Gophers had a bounty on them at the time. One penny for each tail you turned into the county. Bullets came in packs of 50 for 50 cents. I had the town paper route, did chores for several people and most times gave my earnings to my parents to help out. I did lose my privileges for a summer as I had a hunting accident. The safety was off, I tripped and managed to shoot myself in my left ring finger. Thankfully they were able to put me together again,
Innocence comes to mind when I look at this picture. Well before I stepped out into the world at 14 to make my mark in society. Filled with great wisdom of course and what took place over the next several years near devastated me as a young man, let alone what it did to my parents. I got involved first with alcohol, then street drugs and eventually prescription drug abuse. Each being piled on top of the other until it near killed me, let alone all the vehicle accidents of which a few I should not have made it out of. Aside from the several broken bones I faired fairly well. The daily aches and pains remind me of my stupidity.
Dad and I
Dad owned and operated a barbershop and a pool hall which I worked in each Saturday. At the time you had to be 18 to enter such a place but I had pull. I recall playing pool with the adults when I was old enough to carry a wooden soda pop case to stand on and a cue around the table. This picture was taken 15 years ago with Dad and I playing pool again. Sadly he passed away in 2005 after living a wonderful life, having 30 years of retirement. My father was my greatest mentor and I do miss him each day.
After leaving home I worked in many different fields, within the first few years I learned the value of an education. I started to attending night school and taking correspondence while I worked. It was a tough grind but I managed an above average diploma. At the time a grade 12 was all I would need to land most jobs.
After the hard years of addictions at the age of 31 I was forced to quit all the addictions. The first year was a living hell of withdrawal not only from the addictions but from people. I lived in shame, doubt and fear. I applaud anyone who takes the incentive to become a better person by breaking the habit that bind you. There is truly a better life after you take back control of all aspects of your life. Physical, mental and emotional. I found my greatest peace in nature, far away from man and temptation. Nature has so much to teach and she will preserve you if you take the time to allow her to do so.
At the age of 42 I had the opportunity to re-enter furthering my education. I attended College at received several degrees in all aspects of the Golf Course Industry. It was a joke with my Dad who reminded me I was playing in the dirt again. Even more funny was one of the first jobs I had was as a Hard Rock Miner working thousands of feet below the dirt. Coming full circle ending up taking land and designing it in such a fashion it became a preservation of the landscape for future generations to enjoy.
For the next 22 years I worked the industry as Superintendent at several courses here in Canada, eventually becoming a consultant in the industry. I owned and operated a very successful Landscape Design company. The last 5 years I worked I ended as a Managing Director of Operations at a college until I retired in 2011
Me at 33 or so
As you can see I chose the easy life after I became clean. This was but one of the scenes you would find me in during that period of time. A close friend who owned a helicopter business asked if I could help him out on occasion. The payment after we were done was he would fly me, my gear and my dog into any location, most often 250 miles from from any man.
I spent 7 summers doing just this, this is where a man learns a great deal of who he is. This is where I found the greatest peace. Wes would come back and pick me up a few weeks later and we would go out do the work he had to do, checking on microwave towers in remote mountain locations. He would drop me back into another location, restock my larder and I would again be alone, man, nature and his faithful dog. It was a great time of my life as it taught me so much of what I was capable of in comparison to what had left behind.
Man of Influence
This kindly old man would come and help Dad in the pool hall on the days I was away or in school. He became almost another grandparent to me. A true English gentleman who knew exactly who he was. He had a soft kind gentle spirit about him. Being a bachelor all his life he followed his faith to the letter and would often share a meal with us as a family.
Mom and Dad finally sold the Pool Hall with little to show after all the years of working at it. It was this kind gent who gave them the greatest gift of all. He had a house in a neighbouring city and sold the house to them for only a small portion of it true value. At the age of 50 Dad took his Alberta Nursing Orderly course and was hired to work in the same city. Mom took up the position of Occupation Therapy until they both retired. A few years later the sold the home with a tidy profit. They spent the next several years traveling.
Mr Jains was born in 1875 and passed away quietly in his sleep in 1971 at the age of 96. He was certainly another mentor for me.
Reverend Father Francis Elken
Fond memories of our family Priest and friend come to mind when I recall taking this picture of him in his element. I loved him like a 2nd Dad as he would always spend his Sundays with us. He was a Parish Priest for three towns and I was one of his Alter Boys who would often do the three services with him.The best part was he would let me drive his new Corvair Monza GT way before I had a licence.
What made him so different, well he was not your typical Priest. You see he smoked, would have the odd bottle of beer and treasured life to the fullest. When my family could not pay for us children to go to summer camp at the lake he would cover the costs. I recall him trading my parents and old Reel to Reel player for a small pool table Dad had in his hall. The recorder which today I still have, along with some 40 odd reels of him speaking and his music he loved to play. Included in the collection are some of the first tracks of the Beatles, Presley and many of the greats at the time.
He passed away shortly after he retired from the Priesthood. He was not a well man, he had been granted a 2nd chance at life in the mid 50's after surgery to remove a portion of his stomach due to cancer. He lived his life to the fullest and so loved fishing, hiking and spending time with our family. He served well for so many years.
Years have passed
As many of you know I became a Christian in 2000 and from there I was ordained in 2007 as a Pastor where I served for a few years before retiring completely. I still remain involved in the church serving but now in different ways. I as well have been appointed to the Canadian Chaplains Association where I am in the process of doing Chaplains work in the community.
After retirement I began writing of my travels and journey. My hope and desire is what I write may help shape another. Someone talked me into attempting to write a book of my experiences, the same book spurred me into writing another 6 books of the people and places which helped shape me. Since then I jumped into what I would call Christian/Fiction genre with 26 titles so far and another 5 in the isle awaiting my editor to do her magic. It is not my intent to be preachy but most of the characters are people who I have come to love and respect over the years.
Back to the original question in the title. "We are who we become." Can I say I have. I suppose as the roads I have travelled good and or bad have all ended where I find myself today. Do I have peace? Yes I would say I do, have I found joy in life? Certainly, would I change anything today?
Truthfully no as no matter what, where or how I am who I have become. Those basic teaching as a child and young adult I set aside I quickly became someone I disliked all played a role in what I see looking back in the mirror today. One of the greatest things I was ever taught by my Dad was to seek forgiveness of others whom you have wronged. Forgive those who have wronged you. The hardest is learning to forgive yourself for you past mistakes. It has been an amazing journey. I am so grateful for those who have been a part of what I have experienced...
Hugs and Blessings to all who read this...
© Rolly A. Chabot... All Rights Reserved