Letters to the Editor

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Be at peace with ourselves and others

Dear Editor:

The Christmas season is usually a joyful time, providing a sense of anticipation.

But this year life has taken a different path. To say the least. Since March, we have seen suicide rates, divorces, drug overdoses, and mental health issues surge. Many have been separated from family and friends around the world.

So do I see the human race as very happy right now? Do I sense joy and anticipation?


Instead I find people have become so fearful, miserable and anxious that it is clouding their ability to reason. And once started on a course of fear it is very hard to steer people off it. Self-preservation is human nature.

Despite the continual and controversial restrictions on us, I believe this Christmas we should focus more on learning to be at peace with ourselves and others, and finding some happiness.

It might simply be remembering the sense of accomplishment at having finished a long and difficult project,or the exhilaration felt when listening to certain pieces of music.

Studies have shown that being happy or joyful boosts our immune systems and fights stress. So, shouldn't we start learning to appreciate all the wonderful people and things in our lives instead of being self-centred and paralyzed with fear.

Shouldn't this Christmas be about grasping the moments of each day and using them to find that peace, joy and happiness? The challenge is to find ways of responding to difficulties without surrendering our peace and joy. Both these emotions make life worth living in the moment and it resonates with who we are as people and as communities.

I don't know what anyone is facing but from my perspective you cannot be any happier today than you were yesterday unless you do something different, or at least in a different manner, with a different state of mind. People want to flourish and thrive. I know I do. Life is full of possibilities.

Mary-Anne MacDonald


To attract visitors, keep parking free

Dear Editor:

We firmly disagree with parking fee increases. The merchants I feel will have a loss of revenue due to this change in parking fees, also we are supposed to be encouraging people to shop locally, this will not help at all.

Penticton relies on tourists for its bread and butter, so we should be offering free parking all over the city to encourage tourists summer and winter to stay here, not driving them to another city that encourages tourists, shame on you Penticton City Council.

Suzanne Radi


Dog, horse owners: pick up your poop

Dear Editor:

As visitors to Penticton for the winter, we have availed ourselves of the opportunity to walk your fair city and the surrounding KVR trails. The paths and scenery are wonderful, and very well maintained.

However, we have seen the following classes of users:

• people who have dogs and pick up after them and dispose of the poop

• people who have dogs and pick up and bag poop, but throw the bags in the bushes or along the trail

• people who let their dogs poop anywhere and do not pick up at all

I heard a story on CBC some time ago that maintained that there were three kinds of stupid people: idiots, morons, and imbeciles, ranked in descending order of stupidity. I cannot quite determine in which category the latter two groups of people fall?

Perhaps if the fines for poor behaviour were higher, people might think twice about using the trails as toilets?

It’s also a giant slalom course around the horse poop in many parts of the KVR.

R. Hawkins


When he talks, other people yawn

Dear Editor:

A few months back I was talking to my first wife.

We had been having a nice conversation and I suddenly remembered something that I had been meaning to ask her for a while.

So before I forgot what it was, I said, “Wife have you noticed that something always happens when I am talking to people?”

She thought for a moment then she said, “No not really... what is it?”

I said, “I have noticed that when I am

talking to people they all seem to do the same thing.”

She said, “So… what is it?” I said, “they all start yawning.”

She said, “Oh you are being daft,” as she stifled a yawn, I was not amused.

A few weeks later with this peroneal dilemma showing no signs of abating, I had an “annual’ doctor’s appointment, one that cannot be done over the phone no matter how smart my physician is.

The appointment necessitated me removing my pants and my underpants and “bending right over.” I am in my very late seventies, and bending “right over” has its challenges.

My doctor is the same age as my highly- opinionated daughter, and she too is female and in her fifties, and she too is not behind the door when offering an unsolicited opinion be it medical or otherwise.

After the “bend-over” procedure was finished, my nice doctor then tossed her gloves into the “hazard” container and washed her hands.

I had pulled up my pants and was fastening my suspenders plus making sure that my fly was also zipped up and in good presentation be-fronting a lady. I was expecting a medical lecture on losing weight or exercising as per...

She said to me, “So … Don … you said a minute ago that you had a question for me. what is it?”

I was just about to humbly seek her advice on why people yawn when I am talking to them when she — my personal young medical advisor — stifled a massive yawn. She apologized of course saying it had been a long day.

I faked a memory loss telling her that whatever my question was it couldn’t have been important because I had forgotten it.

So now people, I have but one question. If you managed to hang in there and read all of this diatribe how many of you had to yawn?

Don Smithyman


Confused by the 12 Days of Christmas

Dear Editor:

I was born and raised in the U.K. and there is a tradition there in respect of Christmas decorations which seems to be unheard of by most people born in Canada.

The tradition is that Christmas decorations should be put up during the weekend which was at least seven days before Christmas Day and taken down on the Twelfth Day of Christmas.

Christmas trees are often purchased earlier but remained outdoors until the decorations were put up.

My father had a fir tree, around four-feet tall which stood in our back garden just outside the french windows leading to our dining room. He may possibly have trimmed the top during the summer to make sure it remained at four feet although, I cannot recall ever seeing him do that.

Every year on the weekend, the Christmas decorations were to be put up, he would carefully transplant this tree into a large earthenware pot and bring it into our living room. My mother would water it daily and, when the decorations were taken down, my father would carefully transplant it back into its spot in our back garden.

Sadly, this wouldn't be possible in most of Canada because the ground would be frozen.

However, I have always been puzzled by the determination of the date of the Twelfth Day of Christmas. Most U.K. newspapers will publish a reminder on January 6th that all decorations should be taken down before midnight.

However, if one understands January 6th to be the Twelfth Day of Christmas, by counting back, this means that the first day of Christmas is December 26th.

Surely Christmas Day is the first day of Christmas? If not, why not?

Brian Butler


Bishop backs control on church services

Dear Editor:

We believe it is a small sacrifice on our part to care for our health care system at this time.

Many of us know people waiting longer for medical treatments and surgery because hospitals are being stretched at this time. Foregoing gathering for worship for now is a sacrifice we are willing to make to ensure that people receive necessary medical care. It is irresponsible to overwhelm already exhausted front-line health-care workers. We do not think that the provincial health protocols are a violation of our individual rights.

We have become creative in offering on-line worship and in reaching out by phone and safely distanced visits to those of our members who live alone and may feel isolated. Yes, we agree our faith communities are essential to our mental health, but for now we choose to stay home and connect in other ways. God is not confined to our buildings. We pray mornings and evenings at home, study our Bibles at home, we worship and sing online or over the phone, we have coffee hour gatherings on Zoom. If by doing so we save even one life, we are content.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, Premier John Horgan, and Health Minister Adrian Dix have been very respectful and affirming of the role faith communities are playing at this time in keeping people safe, calm, and connected with community. We respect the health guidelines in order to bless our society. This is not forever; it is for now.

The Rt. Rev. Lynne E. McNaughton

Bishop, Diocese of Kootenay

Anglican Church of Canada

Ottawa golf club bailout is scandalous

Dear Editor:

According to the CBC, our taxpayer money was doled out to the Royal Ottawa Golf Club as part of our government’s program to provide help to the employees of needy companies.

It was such a success that this ultra exclusive club ended up with a $1 million surplus. This club is home to government dignitaries, ambassadors and assorted hangers-on who hardly need financial assistance.

It is highly likely that similar private clubs around the country benefited at taxpayers’ expense.

This is a monumental scandal which needs to be addressed along with many other instances of largess that was bestowed upon long-term care corporations and casinos.

Barry D Cochrane


An ode to joy, yes we can find one today

Dear Editor:

Tis Christmas time, so please be jolly,

With twinkle bells and hanging holly.

Where we’d like to kiss each one of you,

But we’re hunkered down inside our shoe.

We’ve shut the gates and locked the doors,

Hold off the covid, avoid the horrors.

No fancy travel, just boring stuff,

The social distance is rather tough.

We’ll make it through, for that we pray,

We’ll meet again on that sunny day.

We won’t need holly to give us urge;

To give you the hugs that you deserve.

So hunker down and hold on tight,

We closing down on all the fright.

Just think how great next year will be,

When we hug our friends beneath the Christmas tree.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Murray and Nicole Allen


ONA showing us path to better earth

Dear Editor:

It was very good to read the news about the return of the sockeye salmon to Lake Okanagan (“Salmon make splashy return,” Herald, Dec. 12).

The sockeye salmon were reported as far as Mission Creek in Kelowna and even Six Mile Creek in the Okanagan Indian Band lands. I think we should all be grateful and thank the Okanagan Nation Alliance for spearheading and persisting in this restoration of a salmon run that was extinct.

This extinction was caused by the building by dams and channeling of natural waterways along the nearly one thousand kilometre salmon migration route to the Pacific Ocean.

Jim Taylor, in his insightful Saturday column points out that the salmon have right to exist. I am grateful that our Indigenous neighbours recognized this and did something about it.

Perhaps we should stop thinking of the salmon as a natural resource and instead think of them as an earthly treasure and fellow creature.

Taylor referenced the verses in Genesis — 1:26-30 — where humans are given dominion over the earth. This is a dreadful power. But as Stan Lee once said: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Yes, we can exploit the salmon to extinction, but the Okanagan Nation Alliance have shown that we can bring them back and restore them.

That is being responsible. I thank the Okanagan Nation Alliance for acting responsibly and giving us some good news in what has been a dreadful year.

May we have more good news like this in the New Year.

Howard Hisdal


Punished because others were reckless

Dear Editor:

As a young industrial manager, one of the first lessons I learned was not to punish the innocent for the sins of the guilty.

Apparently it is not something the NDP government has learned.

My wife and I have been diligent in our COVID-19 protocols since last March, as have many of our friends.

Now we are forbidden to even have one couple over socially at Christmas.

We are being punished because of the irresponsibility of others who insisted on having large gatherings.

It is too much. We should be able to have one or two careful couples in our social life. It is not as if the Island is in crisis.

Bill Gibson


Merry Christmas from the Slumps

Dear Editor:

“I’m alright, Jack,” is a British expression used to describe those who act only in their own best interests even if assistance to others would necessitate minimal effort on their behalf.

The Christmas season has centuries of old traditions of caring and sharing with and for others beyond our immediate families. It’s the time of year when we dig in purses and wallets or write cheques to charities and do our best to aid others less fortunate.

This is the time of year to thank many who donate to charities and organizations we trust.

Too often they are forgotten.

It is time to remember many people with disabilities and those newly unemployed that are filling the ranks of the food banks for the first time. We have a larger segment of people, perhaps best described as the working poor. Usually hourly paid and with only minimal benefits, they form the backbone of service industries, including those deemed essential workers.

They are indispensable and mostly invisible let’s not take them for granted.

Many are engaged in essential services and exempt from quarantine regulations — truck drivers, health care workers and retail staff. They are not exempt from the virus and deserve our thanks for their service.

Whether it is students unable to find jobs used to offset tuition costs or seniors facing isolation and loneliness. Now is the time to give of ourselves to ensure they are not forgotten at Christmas.

Add an extra gift to your shopping list this year. There are many local charities that could use a helping hand. Two examples among many are: SOWINS and the Salvation Army Food Bank.

Keep well, be thankful and make this a Christmas of giving to the unfortunate in our midst.

Ernie & Elvena Slump