On Trend: Kindness

When Tammy and I were 15, we thought we were just it. And who could blame us. It was 1991. I had giant hair spun into generous twirls of spiral curls. Tammy had a mint green Brooks wet coat embellished with candy pink stripes. And we both had combat boots that loudly alluded to our love of heavy metal. We were just it. In our minds, anyway. The “just-itness” of the pre-internet, pre- social media 90s was not marked by meanness or arrogance. Instead, our little band of non-conformists embodied a sense of uniqueness coloured with a dash of Branch boldness. I can still see the look on Mr. Hubert McGrath’s face when we showed up at a school dance once wearing jeans emblazoned with handwritten manifestos like “Be Yourself” and “We love The Doors”. At that same dance, Chris wore suspenders, one fitted over his shoulder and one casually slung over his hip. Looking back, seeing our little group standing by the heater next to the staff room, I am glad we celebrated each other’s sense of self. Why this walk down memory lane on a cool evening in early Spring? We are a few days into our journey to the old sod and beyond and that journey has taken us to six airports, three train stations and a bus terminal. At each, we’ve sat with tea and coffee and watched the world go by. Newsy? Inquisitive? Interested. And the world has gone by, individuals, families, groups, hopping from plane to train, country to country. Surprisingly , many of them are time travelers, somehow transplanted into 2019 from 1991. Their clothing choices gave them away. When I put away my slouch socks 25 years ago, I thought the days of seeing pants tightly tucked into oversized socks were over. They’re not. A young girl walked past us in Halifax, the hem of her pants covered by big, cotton socks. What about scrunchies? Do you remember those snazzy, fabric covered elastics that could hold two heads of hair? They’re back and also seemingly adorning the arm of every young person needing a bracelet at Toronto airport. And genie pants. Who could forget the comfy casualness of jogging pants purposely embedded with pleats at the waist? Cool cats from all cultures sauntered around London in these 80s classics accompanied by stilettos and blazers (possibly with shoulder pads). I can see a shoulder pad comeback on the horizon. So yes, the fashion sense of years past is returning. What will come next? How about the banana clip? Or the double loop belt? Or hats as daily attire? John and AnneMarie often rocked hats when they sang in the concerts. Style (or our perceptions of it) changes dramatically. We wear rubbers now when it’s not raining and farm work boots (including me) while walking around the mall. While styles change, the one thing that doesn’t become obsolete is kindness. And kindness was as much on display as any trendy clothing. As hurried travelers rushed by, anxious about catching a flight, many paused to smile as they buzzed past a relaxed Priscilla, just breezing along, looking at the sausage rolls in the window. Then there was the young fella who caught a glimpse of a snoozing Chris (during a long flight delay) and nodded as if to say “Good plan”. The most joyful of all, though, was a young fella who we met on the way to Ireland. He was from central Ohio, he proudly exclaimed, and while his family told him he was one hundred percent Polish, he believed himself to to be Irish. He laughed, he talked, he shared his story with the Irish woman living in England who happened to be sitting next to him. He was full of life. The world is here with us and in all it’s scrunchy splendour, it’s still a beautiful and kind place. Today we find ourselves in spiritual, quiet, holy Lourdes. More stories to come....

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