I nearly drove off the road when I heard it. And I was ticked.
First of all, I was trying to get a mental image of the person who had written the post. I couldn’t imagine that they had ever even been to this ‘bone-chilling’ country. I wasn’t amused they were so quick to judge a place they didn’t know.
Then of course I realized, last week was bone-chilling. In Calgary, we set several temperature records for cold. We hunkered down and avoided going out as much as possible. And that simply added to my insult from our American cousins. I had to concede that the ‘bone-chilling’ part had some merit. But no razzle dazzle? I could not agree with this.
So, I’ve spent my week trying to find some razzle dazzle. Real razzle dazzle.
Canadians have continued to mourn the loss of 57 of our citizens in the horrific plane crash that occurred the week before last. The outpouring of support to the victims and their families was exactly what we have come to know in this country. Our Prime Minister brought forth a motion to give $25 000 to each family affected to help them with immediate expenses they might incur as they navigate their overwhelming sorrow. It wasn’t flashy, but it felt like the right thing to do.
On our west coast this week, Meghan arrived with their infant son, Archie, to start what will be the new ‘normal’ life of Harry and Meghan. Harry joined her later in the week. I noticed it didn’t take long for the paparazzi to arrive and attempt to provide exactly the atmosphere they’ve been trying escape. One operator of a water taxi, a middle-aged man who looked like he had spent years on the water, said he was offered one hundred and fifty dollars to transport a photographer closer to their rental home so he could snap a picture. He refused. He said, ‘It’s not that I don’t need the money. I do. But I have to live with my decisions’.
That’s Canadian razzle dazzle.
While our west coast was pummeled with paparazzi, our most easterly province, Newfoundland, was also getting pummelled in her own way. A blizzard, the likes of which none of us has ever seen, slammed into the province on Friday. By early this week, residents were trying to peer out over literal mountains of snow. The military was brought in to help shovel and clear roads. Businesses were closed and residents only allowed to venture into stores for essentials; prescription drugs and the like. Airports were closed. By Tuesday, grocery stores were allowed to open and lineups snaked around parking lots and up sidewalks. No one seemed upset. Hundreds and hundreds of stories emerged about people checking in on one another and helping each other out. People shared food and took care of each other as essential workers often worked for 50 hours in a row. One little seven-year old boy, Matthew, wanted desperately to go outside and help the military men and women shovel snow. But with Matthew’s cerebral palsy limiting his mobility, he was only able to watch. The military heard about his wish, and decided if Matthew couldn’t come to help them, they could go to him. The tears in the eyes of the soldier who was interviewed about the meeting told the whole tale.
Not only was the snow dazzling in Newfoundland this week, on every street in every little town, the people showed up with their own form of razzle dazzle too.
In my own little world, I’ve not had a fancy week, but it has certainly been full. The weather cleared and we managed to get out for a walk, where Jim taught Ben to feed the birds. Both were dazzled. Our dance troupe performed at a senior’s centre on Monday. We were celebrating Robbie Burns day a bit early. We wore our kilts and danced to Scottish music. Part way through our show, one of the residents of the centre, Kathleen, came to the front, flanked on one side by a health care worker, and on the other by one of the dancers. Kathleen was originally from Scotland and she had been asked to read a poem, ‘To the Haggis’. Kathleen had clearly prepared for the occasion. She was dressed beautifully; she had clearly taken extra time with her hair and outfit. Prior to the performance she had shown me her typed copy of the poem and had mentioned how frightened she was. When she came to the front, leaving her walker behind, she started by saying, “I am both honoured and terrified.” Kathleen did a magnificent job. There wasn’t anyone in the room who wasn’t dazzled by her. I don’t know why all the paparazzi were on the west coast. They missed out on some real razzle dazzle.
In the 1970’s, a gadget, the BeDazzler, came on the market. It was used to add rhinestones and studs to clothing and accessories. It was a hit. We BeDazzled everything. All the ‘gems’ and glitter were fake of course. No one ever pretended they were real. We all seemed to understand that this little gadget could add some sparkle to the outside, but never change the inside of any item it ‘spruced up’. As I’ve travelled through my week, looking for evidence that Canada is not a ‘sprawling bone-chilling country lacking in razzle dazzle’, I’ve recognized that we have exactly the kind of razzle dazzle we want.
We have the kind that’s on the inside. The kind that doesn’t fall off. The kind that may not be flashy, but sure makes an impact. The kind that shows up in a nursing home and in a blizzard. The kind that says welcome Harry and Meghan and Archie, we hope you find peace here. The kind that reminds me of the importance of caring for each other. Our thermometer may show bone-chilling temperatures at times, but we find ways to be both warm and dazzling.
My inquiry for you this week is, ‘What’s your razzle dazzle?’
Elizabeth is a certified professional Leadership Coach, and the owner of Critchley Coaching. She is the founder and president of the Canadian charity, RDL Building Hope Society. She works with corporations, non-profits and the public sector, providing leadership coaching. She creates and facilitates custom workshops for all sizes of groups. She has particular expertise in facilitating Strategic Plans for organizations. Contact Elizabeth to learn how to develop some real razzle dazzle.