Friday, November 2, 2012


This past weekend I celebrated the 39th anniversary of my marriage to my best friend.  I didn't think it was possible, but over the years I have grown to love her even more than the day I proposed.  As time has gone on I have gotten to know her for the person she is.

She is a loving caring mother who is there for our girls and seems to know what they need, not so much as what they want.  Which is quite often not the same thing.  She has a relationship with them that I envy.  She loves and knows each and everyone of our grandchildren, their personalities, and their individual traits.  When they call it is usually her they ask for, but they will talk to PaPa if she isn't there.  Our sons-in-law when they first met her were fearful of her (scared spit less as one put it) until they realized that she was only looking out for our daughters' best interests and soon began to realize that she loved them just as much.

She is a good friend to those who truly know her.  She would share all she has if asked and not expect it back.  Many of our daughters' friends call her "Mom".  Many of her friends are the young girls she has worked with.  She always has an ear to bend and occasionally a shoulder to cry on.  She treats them as if they are her own children and is honestly interested in them and what they are doing.  She doesn't judge them and doesn't berate or belittle them.  She is not afraid to give them advice nor to council and console.

As one of our young friends put it she should be awarded a medal for putting up with me as long as she has.  I often make decisions without thinking them through.  I often don't think about her wants or needs.  To put it quite bluntly that I am a typical man.

She often lets me do things and get involved in things not on her list of favourite things.  When we got married, I had a moustache and I don't think she had ever know me without one.  After about 10 years, I found out she didn't like it and shaved it off.  My beard is like barbed wire and I often get reminded of it  when I don't shave for a day or two.  This month, November, I decided to get involved with the Movember movement.  Because I had a good reason and it was important to me, she agreed.  I do know that I would be strongly advised and probably prompted to remove the result of a month's growth as soon as possible.

Shortly after we were married, I wanted to join the masonic organization because of its importance to my father.  She knew that it would mean time away from home and our family.  But because of what it did mean to me there was no complaint nor has there been over the last 35 plus years.

I made a very unwise questionable decision not many years later and bought a motor bike to replace the one I had owned up until just after me got married.  I thought her comment that she missed riding was a suggestion.  I learned in no uncertain terms that it sure wasn't.  Funny thing is we still own that bike.

I have dragged her and our children over most of the province as I went from job to job.  When I had an opportunity to move back to Lethbridge, it did not take much discussion to reach the decision to move home.  Family has always been important to her and it was a decision that was easily made.  We have been here now for 25 years.  As our children have grown and left and our parents have eventually passed on has the desire to stay become less of a need.  A couple of years ago she flabbergasted me but saying out of the blue: "With the kids all gone and Chrissy and Dian living in the States, why don't we fix the house up and sell once we are ready, buy a good sized 5th wheel rig and become gypsies?  We could spend the winters down there and the summers up here."  We are actively working towards that goal.

Our faith has always been a big part of our life.  Although neither of us were active when we got married we still got married by an LDS bishop in the LDS church.  We never really kept in touch with the church but never turned away the missionaries, home teachers, or visiting teachers when they found us.  Just after we moved to the Red Deer area and Kimmie was born, we were discussing the fact that raising our children with a religious/moral foundation was very important to us.  The topic of where and when came up.  Did we go back to our church or attend one of the little community churches in Penhold where we lived.  If we did go back to the LDS church where did we go and who did we contact.  No decision was made and Sharon suggested we leave it and think about it for a while.  "The Lord will let us know."  With in minutes of that the phone rang.  It was the Elder's Quorum president from the Red Deer branch asking if this was the Hovan household and if we were members because a set records had shown up earlier that week.  I said that was us and he asked if he could come by and bring our home teacher with him to introduce us.  That was the start to friendships that exist to this day and was the first step on our road to activity and eventually being seal in the temple for all time and eternity.  I will admit that I am not the spiritually strong one in the family.  Sharon has always been the leader. 

Married life has not always been easy.  There were times of great sadness (the loss of our son, the passing of our parents, the loss of my brother).  There were times of great joy (each addition to our family starting with the arrival of our girls, the addition of our sons-in-laws and grandchildren).  There was the time we almost lost Sharon to a medical emergency.  If it had not been for the faith of our eldest two I don't think I could have made it through that crisis. 

She has taught me so much with her caring ways and her wisdom.  She has given me so much with her unconditional love.  I have someone that I can talk to.  Someone I can laugh with.  Someone who I cry with.  Someone I can do things with.  Someone I can read with or read to.  Someone I just sit with and enjoy her company knowing she is sitting on the other side of the room.

She has spent the better part of her life helping me become the man, the husband, and the father that I am.  I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams and desires that she had chosen me to be her eternal companion by marrying me for all time and eternity.

In retrospect, I don't think I knew what love was when I proposed all those many years ago.  Thank you for showing me the true meaning of the word. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Time for reflection

It has been over a year since last post.  And it has been a busy one.  Another grand daughter has arrived.  Sharon "retired" and has discovered that that is boring and since gone back to work.  Family invaded Lethbridge for 6 weeks.

In January, Kimmy and Scott had a little girl, Keltye Margel, their third.  And like all of our grand children she is a cutie and has Gama and Papa firmly under her control.  Not so much Mom and Dad but Gama and PaPa definitely.

At the end of January, Sharon was told that her employer had had a couple of complaints about her being rude to the customers and after 7 1/2 years 5 of which were as the asst. front end manager, her position was no longer available.  She enjoyed her time off and got a lot of things done that were being neglected.  With the girls and their families coming up for a family reunion this summer, she took full advantage of it.  About 4 or 5 weeks ago, I could tell she was getting kind of restless.  3 weeks ago we were driving down 13 Street by London Road Market.  She noticed that there was a "We are looking for..." on their main reader board and said I think I should apply.  The next day she did and started last week.

In June, Chrissy and her 4 and Dian and her little guy arrived for a summer with Gama and PaPa.  Jacob is in the "Sand Box" for his third tour and couldn't be with us and David was unable to get time off until late July.  We saw and did a whole lot of the sights in Southern Alberta.  We took the grand kids to Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump, Frank Slide, Fort Whoop Up, and Remington Carriage Centre.  While in the Crowsnest Pass at the Slide we also did a cemetery tour and did a few head stone rubbings.  Most of my family is buried in the Pass.

It was an interesting time.  For the better part of 2 months we had 8 grand children running around the house from 6 months to 10 years old.  5 of them were staying with us and the other 3 were there from the time they could get their mother to drop them off until she took them home kicking and screaming in the evening.  My youngest daughter also informed us, or rather her 18 month old son, informed us that there is a little brother on the way, on or near his birthday.

Last week one of my dear friends passed away.  He was a mentor and my master.  He literally saved my life 15 years ago.  For most of those 15 years I have spent 3  hours a day, 6 days a week with him.  At the time I started training martial arts with him I was over weight (much more so than I am now), with extremely high blood pressure, a boarder line type 2 diabetic, and had a temper that flared at little or no provocation.  I lost over 30 pounds, have my blood pressure under control, and have mellowed out to where my temper is of little or no consequence.  It goes to show that a fat, old man can take on a "extreme" sport and survive.  I now hold a black belt in karate, a black belt in self defense weapons, and a brown belt in ninjutsu and am a practitioner of iaido and ianuki (2 styles of sword).  I have studied in Germany and Columbia, and I have hosted and trained with people from all over Canada, the US, Europe, Central America, Columbia, Brazil, and Argentina.  He was a father figure after the loss of my father.  His family became a part of my extended family and I grew to love them as my brothers and sisters.

This week we had another major grass fire west of town.  Unlike the one in November, there were several large areas that were evacuated.  The town of Coalhurst just north of Lethbridge, Mountain Meadows and Sunset Acres west of town, a large part of the reserve and the county.  In the city the west side trailer court and River View Campground were evacuated and a big portion of the west side was put on notice.

I saw the smoke early in the afternoon and had just come in from taking pictures of the smoke as it was drifting over the west side when the phone rang. It was my boss  telling me he was about to ruin a day off.  I was to "Grab a uniform. Get down to the office and grab a traffic vest.  Get your backside to the Fritz Sick centre and report to Phil from the city.  You are now on duty as security at the evac centre.  I should have a replacement for you at 8pm.  Maybe."

I spent the next 5 hours telling people, and the press, where to go and how to get there.  At times the smoke in the downtown area was so thick visibility was less than 3 blocks.  Today going into the station for work, you could still smell the smoke in the air outside and in the building.  The fire burned over 4800 hectares or about 18.5 square miles.  Several houses and a lot of crops were destroyed.  There was also a large fire south of town around Milk River that resulted in the town being evacuated and with similar results.

I promised Sharon I would have her book shelves finished by the end of September and this set of days off got a good chunk done.  Basically it is final assembly and finishing that is left.  Pocket hole joinery has become my new favorite method of assembly.  I also am starting my Christmas projects.  I have one done and 3 more to do for non-family.  The next installment in construction toys are set for building for the grand kids.  RB (Roast Beef) the bearded dragon has put in a request for a larger terrarium.  I still have some room on the planner for other requests if any one is interested.  Hint.  Hint.

Enough of the ramble.  Till next time.