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May 29

An Odd Choir

“Yesterday at Boundary Trails Health Center I had an exceptional time singing with 3 people of varying seniority. One was a woman in her late eighties, one in her mid seventies and one was a gentleman who’s age I couldn’t tell in the thin yellow pj’s provided. We sat around in a hall that joins the palliative and medical wards. Mrs. 80’s told us a story of the soldiers from one of the world wars – how they used the Eatons building for all their essential activities; dancing, sleeping, eating, inviting women to New Zealand. “It’s a good thing she didn’t go, it would have been maybe two days and then she’d have been left high and dried.” She told this story about 8 times. Mrs. mid seventies requested “Pack up your troubles in your old suit bag” and sang it in a high quaver after tearing up and telling us of the love story that was hers and her husbands. The gentleman sang ‘Leaning on the everlasting arms” with gusto and informed me of the death of a man we’d visited and sang with a few weeks back. This was real life. Life at the end of life. Life with flourescent lights, tubes, walkers, running shoe squeaks and smells of sickness where people spend slow min, hours, weeks and more. We were a queer choir. I love my job!”

Juice Reimer