Saturday, 5 December 2015

Eulogy / Valerie's Gallery

Valerie's Gallery is a collection of thoughts, poems, stories and other writings. Some are observations of the different ways people communicate and are all based on actual encounters. They were all written by my Mother as part of her Major Work for her Degree in Communication.


Life is fragile and you never know when your time is up. This Friday I attended the funeral of a dear old gentleman from our church who finally succumbed to his ailments leaving behind his devoted wife who had spent the last many years caring for his every need. 

Their marriage was one of beauty to behold. Such devotion, care, love and attention was showered on him by her and the look of pure, unadulterated love that shone from his eyes when he looked at her took your breath away. There was such love and respect and admiration for each other. 
Her loss is enormous.

 My husband and I were asked to sing a song at the service to honour her husband, something special just for him, which we were glad to do and her appreciation was profound.


To me it seemed such a small thing to grab my guitar and stand up the front to sing a song that we'd sung many times before, but to her, it was everything and her gratitude was immense. 

A funeral is such an important time for those who have lost a loved one. A time to grieve openly. A time to share the wonderfully unique and special qualities that made up their loved one. A time to establish the significance of their loss and have the pain of loss acknowledged. A time to receive comfort. A time to say goodbye.



As we walked away from the graveside after the committal, I slowly made my way along the rows reading the plaques that covered the ground for as far as the eye could see, and wondered about the people who were buried there and the loved ones who had faced the pain and sorrow of having to say goodbye. I wondered about their life and what it had meant to someone else and hoped that they too had been loved and adored by someone. I wondered about their death and hoped that their funeral had also been attended by many who had loved them and wanted to honour them.

As I pondered these things, it brought to mind something my mother wrote years ago and so I thought I would post it. She too is sadly gone and greatly missed.



They died today these folk I never knew.
Names in silent columns on the printed page.
A name, a date, an age
What agony behind these words concealed.
So little of themselves revealed.
Yet, they were there, in every corner of my world.
They lived.
And laughed.
And dreamed.
And cried.
I knew them not.
But still I feel the ache of sudden loss
And sadness too.
They died today, these folk I never knew.


Written by Valerie Hazel Torning

Cheers,

Mare


Sunday, 25 October 2015

'Baby Shoes' / Valerie's Gallery

Valerie's Gallery is a collection of thoughts, poems, stories and other writings. Some are observations of the different ways people communicate and are all based on actual encounters. They were all written by my Mother as part of her Major Work for her Degree in Communication.


Keeping with the family theme, here is another one of Mum's poems. This time it is about one of her Granddaughters who I must say has grown into a beautiful young woman who has no trouble putting on her shoes now!


BABY SHOES
When Shannon got her baby shoes,
Her feet were very fat.
So instead of walking in them
She sat down, and ate the strap.

She threw them at her Grandpa
Tried to put them on the cat:
But she simply wouldn’t wear them
And that, of course, was that!

When her mother tried to put them on
She scrunched her toes up small
and quickly rolled upon her back
her feet up on the wall.

But Shannon’s Mum is bigger
And at last the shoes were on,
Now Shannon looks and wonders
Where her little feet have gone

Written by Valerie Hazel Torning

Cheers

Mare


Sunday, 11 October 2015

The Way I See Him {A Poem} Valerie's Gallery


Valerie's Gallery is a collection of thoughts, poems, stories and other writings. Some are observations of the different ways people communicate and are all based on actual encounters. They were all written by my Mother as part of her Major Work for her Degree in Communication.

Mum and Dad were an interesting couple. In many ways they were chalk and cheese but they had a love and a respect for each other that was solid and lasted for 58 years. 

Mum was the outgoing, talkative one, always involved in something and always the centre of attention. She had a great sense of humour and would put on plays and skits, dress up for no reason, always entertaining and always found something to laugh about.



Dad was quieter and easy going, solid as a rock, dependable, a real handy man and without the slightest need to be in the lime light.  He was content to be in Mum's shadow. He had a cheeky sense of humour and was known for a practical joke or two. He loved kids and could always be found surrounded by his grandchildren and any other kids around. They were drawn to him like a magnet and loved him. He had so much time for them. 


Dad adored Mum and was her greatest fan and support. And I think you'll glean from the poem below that she though he was pretty alright as well.

Enjoy!

The Way I See Him
He doesn’t need to climb the distant mountain
He is happy with the little hills near home.
The challenge of white water doesn’t lure him,
He can paddle up the little creeks alone.

He believes that life is given us for living,
That real caring is a part of being free.
And it saddens him to see a world so driven,
That it just can’t see the forest,
just the tree.

He knows where you were born is not important
You see the same brown earth, the same blue sky
And having lived the time you were allotted
Will come at last, unwillingly, to die.

He doesn’t waste his time in useless dreaming
He wakes each morning, glad to greet the day.
He’s made his choice, and isn’t one to grumble
When occasionally, things do not go his way.

He has time to spare for those who are in trouble
He has love to share for those who are his own.
And he loves to wade and fish the quiet waters
But the centre of his life is Home, Sweet Home.

He finds his joy in all the simple pleasures.
He knows a man can love, and still be free
He believes man’s right to search 
for his own treasure
But I’m glad he finds his ‘Pot o’ gold’ in me.

Written by Valerie Hazel Torning 
of her husband Stanley Herbert Torning

Cheers

Mare


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

'Stephen's Hat' / Valerie's Gallery

Valerie's Gallery is a collection of thoughts, poems, stories and other writings. Some are observations of the different ways people communicate and are all based on actual encounters. They were all written by my Mother as part of her Major Work for her Degree in Communication.

I was sharing with one of my daughters recently about my older brother Stephen and his obsession with a character named Davy Crockett.

David 'Davy' Stern Crockett (August 17, 1786 - March 6, 1836) was a  19th century American folk hero, Frontiersman, Soldier and Politician. He was famous in his own lifetime for his exploits in the wild, among other things, and he wore a hat made out of Raccoon fur with the tail hanging off the back.
 Gross I know, but it was the wild west after all!

In the 20th century, Walt Disney made him a hero all over again when he made a movie about him and in 1954/1955, there was a TV show starring Fess Parker as 'Davy'. It was a hit with young boys like my brother, who wanted to be just like him.


Coon Skin Hat
Of course, like every other young boy at that time, my brother had one of these hats and my mother simply couldn't get it off him. He would wear it all day long and refuse to take it off even at bed time. He also loved the Davy Crockett Theme song which was quite a catchy little tune with the tag line 'Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier' and would sing it to himself constantly.

The following poem, written by Valerie, is a true story about Stephen and his hat and I hope it gives you a little chuckle.


STEPHEN’S HAT
When Stephen was a little lad
He wasn’t even nine
He had a very favourite game
He played it all the time.

He wore a Davy Crockett hat.
He had a wooden gun.
He stalked around the garden
Catching butterflies for fun.

He’d sing a happy little song
About the famous Davy
And sneak among the bushes
With his possum tail all wavy.

One day the family dressed up fine
A wedding to attend
But we couldn’t coax our Stephen
to desert his furry friend.

We were trooping quietly into church
The hat stuffed in his pocket
When his voice besought the organist
‘Lady, please play Davy Crockett.

Written by Valerie Hazel Torning

Cheers

Mare