I never want to make a big deal about birthdays. So just the facts.

 

I never want to make a big deal about birthdays. So just the facts.

I was born in a Budapest hospital on this day in 1954. It was a happy day for a beautiful young woman who was barely out of her teens. Rose Adler, a dept store clerk, was only 20. My dad Mike worked in a factory as a shipping clerk. He was 32. Two years later they made the fateful decision of leaving for the promised land-Canada. Thank you Canada for giving them their freedom to raise me without fear that their son’s big mouth would land him in prison, as it surely would have in the dictatorship they had been living.

Thank you Canada for fulfilling my dream to be behind a microphone for 41 years now. I was only 19 and living in Montreal when over the Christmas holiday of 1973, I got a call from Keith James the program director of CKXL Calgary, one of Western Canada’s great radio stations, owned by Moffatt Communications, the broadcast empire started by Lloyd Moffatt right here in Winnipeg. Keith was offering me the opportunity to do an evening show while attending the University of Calgary during the day. He even offered to ship my motorcycle out to Calgary. Few things gave me more pleasure back then than those drives from Calgary to Banff and Lake Louise and into BC.

Radio gave me a new life complete with something no kid from Montreal even dreamed of, a Western Canadian heart. The West to me was as different from the East as night was from day. Much more casual, much more free, and much more wide open for ordinary folks like me with no connections to the rich and the powerful. Radio gave me the chance to meet some of the finest people from everywhere in the world, the kind of education that no university I know of can possibly offer. And I have been to lots of them. So I have no trouble saying that with deep conviction. You, my listeners, have been my greatest teachers and I hope you appreciate how much your lessons have meant to me. Hope I’ve done a good job passing your wisdom on to others.

I hope all your birthdays are meaningful to you. I love you for the support over the many years and for being where you are right now, reading a heartfelt Thank You Canada for my privileged role in greeting you in each every morning on the Radio and here on Facebook and on Twitter. I only wish I could be at a big table somewhere with all of you to hoist a mug and say Thank You for the past, the present, and most importantly, the future. Thanks for the great ride.
Now let’s keep riding for as long as the imagination highway will take us.

Charles

Please read Lindor Reynold’s letter to her readers, and share with all those who wish to offer thoughts and prayers.

On a personal note, Lindor, nobody connected as effectively as you.  During these important days, the whole world is getting to know your beautiful heart – Charles Adler

Winnipeg Free Press – PRINT EDITION

Thanks for letting me into your lives

By: Lindor Reynolds

Longtime Winnipeg Free Press columnist Lindor Reynolds prepares to leave Riverview Health Centre to attend her daughter's wedding earlier this month.

Photo by RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS (Longtime Winnipeg Free Press columnist Lindor Reynolds prepares to leave Riverview Health Centre to attend her daughter’s wedding earlier this month.)

It would be an understatement to say that a year ago, I got a kick in the teeth when I was diagnosed with brain cancer.

Now, I can no longer brush my own teeth.

My new mailing address is Riverview Health Centre, where I have come to die, although you’re not supposed to say that here.

When they brought me here, they promised I would never feel pain again, and they have been pretty true to that. When there is pain, there is a kind nurse with a needle and a machine to lift my sore, useless body into a wheelchair.

I can no longer walk independently. I hate the loss of independence, of needing someone to wash me and help with basic bodily functions. When you need someone to wash your face for you, it’s a new low. I feel I’ve ceased to be me, and it’s hard not to spend every day crying.

There have been some celebrations this year. My daughter got married last week, and I was able to attend. After days of practice sitting up in a wheelchair, the staff deemed me ready to go. Another decision was made for me.

But what has the past year meant? Have I had insights available only to those who have the curtain lifted back to reveal some deep meaning? I’m reminded of the observation Randy Pausch made when he wrote The Last Lecture; simply that time is all you’ve got until you realize you have a finite amount.

My Christian faith has carried me through. It’s stronger than it ever was. My church family has been there for me. All around my room are things from them, both from the church I attend now — Holy Trinity — and the one I used to attend, St. Vital’s St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church.

The thing I struggle to get across is how useless I feel physically… and intellectually.

I suppose I’m not entirely useless. I’ve been able to find meaning in fundraising. I started a campaign to build a school in Kenya through a program of Free the Children run by Craig and Marc Kielburger. A garden party to raise money pushed the campaign over the top. Enough was raised for three schools.

But truthfully? It was an act of selfishness that allowed me to give back. I say an act of selfishness because I did it for me. I didn’t do it for Kenya. Is that insightful? Maybe, but I don’t think I’m capable of being insightful right now.

Insight? I wish I hadn’t smoked as a teenager, but I don’t think I gave myself cancer.

I do know this: Choose your friends carefully. They’re the ones who’ll be wiping drool off your chin.

Something you should know: People have to laugh at your jokes when you have cancer.

I’ve discovered how insanely insecure I am, how much affirmation I need.

I have been unable to do any writing. I miss that like crazy, of course. But what it has made me realize is how very much I miss you, the readers.

A year ago, I wrote a column telling you about this diagnosis and that I would be out of touch for a while as I fought the monsters. Please know you have been the greatest gift to me.

You have allowed me into your homes, your lives as I have done this most marvellous of jobs. We have laughed, cried, been angry, and in the end, been a little bit better from our connections. I know I have.

I was thrilled to be offered the chance to write this. It was the best gift Free Press editor Paul Samyn could have given me, other than the chocolate.