My son was clearing out some things in his apartment and brought in an envelope filled with memories of my father. Some newspaper clippings of postal events and a brochure and certificate for the Christopher Leadership course we signed up for and attended together. Dad felt he needed a bit of confidence dealing with the public in his position as assistant post master, and well, back in the day, I needed a bushel full of backbone. I used to be a shy little thing that kept my head down and blushed at the drop of a hat.....hard to believe eh?
For those of you who have never heard of The Christopher Leadership Course, it is a watered down version of the Dale Carnegie Leadership training famous for teaching professional to sharpen skills and improve performance. The Christopher course has religious roots, helping people develop speaking skills, positive attitudes and confidence-building that foster God-given abilities. Over the years the Course has been enriched by the experiences of thousands of people who have taken the program worldwide. It teaches and explores these concepts through the framework of the Gospel message.
We joined the 10 week class and met a lot of nice people and dad was in his glory being only one of two males to sign up. My pop was a bit of a charmer, not a lady killer by any means, just a sweet man who felt comfortable with and preferred the company of the female gender.
The class pulsed with eager enthusiasm and we all learned to stand in front of one another telling tales with confidence. They say you should imagine the audience staring back at you wearing their underwear, or is that naked? I can't remember if that was suggested or if I practiced it but I learned to look into the listener's eye and speak without wavering. It wasn't a cake walk but at least there wasn't any throwing up in the corner as nerves hit like a tsunami. By the end of the class we were standing up delivering lengthy speeches and relaying stories with an air of new found confidence.....although our hands remained sweaty and our mouths were dry as dust, or was that just me? I equate this experience to the comfort I feel standing in front of a classroom full of beginning rug hookers; falling back on this valuable life lesson that shaped me into a stronger person that will remain throughout my lifetime.
My dad, the consummate leg puller had a lot of fun with the class and his introduction at speech night read as follows. Our next speaker can really "colour your world". As a young fellow he let the air out of tires, scared the chickens and hung out of school windows. He knows a lot about cars, and doesn't need a dipstick to check the oil. Please welcome Earle Veinotte!"
Yup, that was my pop...a bit of a devil in his youth and a leg puller all his life. I inherited his sense of humour and it has served me well over the years. I'm not much of a leg puller myself, I lack the poker face to pull it off, but I sure love to laugh and tell the odd tale or two.
My chosen topic for our speech had to do with Last Will & Testaments, reinforcing the necessity to plan for the inevitable. I'd recently been an Administratrix to an estate of my dearly departed uncle who passed away without a legal will and I had to deal with all the problems that ensued. Fresh from the experience, I wanted to impress on the captive audience the need for proper preparation to spare their loved ones added grief. We were told to chose a topic that was familiar so you don't have to rely on memorization to get through it. Know your topic thoroughly and draw on the knowledge to form the words with ease.
A former school chum Debra also took the class and her talents for graphic art provided us with a sweet brochure for graduation night. "If it is courage you lack....do what you fear and your fear will disappear" with an illustration of a cowardly lion. My friend Deb is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside and she is providing an amazing service in Greeley, Colorado with her company called "Horsebuds Therapeutic Riding Center" which is helping autistic children. Here is a link for her Facebook....maybe you could help spread awareness for this worthy cause by giving her a "like". https://www.facebook.com/HorsebudsTherapeuticRidingCenter
and I thought it might be fun to pass along.
As we gather tonight for the very last time
I gleefully seize my last chance for a rhyme
The evenings we've gathered make pictures so clear
You'll stay in my mind for many a year
As if in a dream they pass through my mind
With the laughter and stories and greetings in kind
Ella, the cleaning lady with goods essential
And June who is always harping potential
And Janet with books and her love of the same
While Earle's at his cars, rebuilding again
A giggle from Christine is to be expected
While Sheila remains cool, calm and collected
And Marie, our butterfly, flitting about
And Gina, the lady, just slightly remote
We're redeemed by Ethel who's always so good
and Clare who can make things sound as they should
Our nurse, Kay, keeps us well in the know
As Janice, our singer, goes on with the show
Bertie's potatoes we'll always recall
Like Debra, our artist, so stately and tall
A kitchen witch Brenda, we'll keep on the sill
Yes, Christine, we promise we'll all make a will
Nancy who tells us all to be kind
Vivian, with patience, clears up our mind
Michael's dry humour at which we all roared
And Juan would love us all to buy Ford
Donna and horses will always be together
And Jessie will bike no matter the weather
Barbara's sweet smile is right on the mark
But becomes much more dangerous as it gets dark
So now I must stop to wish you good days
But I won't ever put my memories away.
By Mary Hughes, Fellow Christopher.