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By Chance Alone, The World Around Us, Give'r all ya got!

Good Morning from Prince Edward Island,

Thank you for inviting me in for a cup of tea, put the kettle on and let's chat.

Don't wish to start off with sad news, but we lost someone dear to us late last week. 

Windsor MacDougall, my wife's brother was an incredible force of nature; we lost him to a heart attack last week. He was a wonderful family man leaving his best friend and wife Linda to shepherd their four adult children through the phases of their lives. He was a strong man of faith. He had a great sense of humour with the ability to make a pile of rocks laugh. I loved Windsor for his willingness to help anyone who needed it without considering his sacrifice financial or otherwise. He will be missed. He was so loved by all who knew him.

Heart disease is the number one killer of life in the world, and I found watching this video is a fantastic testament to our human desire to improve itself continually.


Many of us wish that extraordinary things will happen to us, but we have all the potential to make extraordinary things happen for good as well.

The flip side of doing things for good is the story of what happened to Max Eisan.

Tibor “Max” Eisen was born in Moldava, Czechoslovakia into an Orthodox Jewish family. He had an extended family of sixty members, and he lived in a family compound with his parents, his two younger brothers, his baby sister, his paternal grandparents and his uncle and aunt. In the spring of1944--five and a half years after his region had been annexed to Hungary and the morning after the family’s yearly Passover Seder--gendarmes forcibly removed Eisen and his family from their home. They were brought to a brickyard and eventually loaded onto crowded cattle cars bound for Auschwitz-Birkenau. At fifteen years of age, Eisen survived the selection process, and he was inducted into the camp as a slave labourer.

Just days after his 90th birthday, Max Eisen has been named the winner of CBC’s annual Canada Reads competition for his Holocaust memoir his 2016 book, By Chance Alone tells his story of being taken to Auschwitz at the age of 15 to work as a slave labourer. He came to Canada in 1949.

"I am inspired by the need to document my story so others may learn from the past. On a personal level, I have a highly developed sense of observation of the world around me, which constantly inspires and motivates me to take action." Max Eisen

Here he speaks to why he wrote it.

I have ordered two books, one for me and one for you. Anyone who comments on today's blog will have their name put into a hat, and a draw will be done, and one winner will be announced in next weeks blog. As soon as the name is chosen, the book will be wrapped up with some treats and sent to its new home.

Today's blog is not about dying; it is about living. Our legacy of being a friend to someone still has time to be learned and nurtured. If already a good friend to others, encourage others to be good friends as well.

"The hunger to belong is at the heart of our nature. Cut off from others; we atrophy and turn in on ourselves. The sense of belonging is the natural balance of our lives." John O'Donohue, Eternal Echoes

Just to put a million and a billion in perspective, did you know that a million seconds represents 11 days, and a billion seconds represents 33 years?

On that note, I have to run, good friend coming for tea to discuss David Benner's The Gift of Being Yourself. It is a compassionate and accessible, witty and fun book. A gift to the dedicated seeker of knowledge.

While writing this morning, I have been listening to a new Shubert recording by Khatia Buniatishvili while writing this morning. It is so kind to the psyche. Listen here. The passion with which she interprets and plays is another example of humanity's heart displaying the beauty of our design. Each of us is unique and special, symbolically shared through her expression of each musical note.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend, you have 86,400 seconds today. Don't be anxious, have fun and use them wisely. 

With love from Prince Edward Island, 



Three seniors are out for a stroll. 

One of them remarks, “It’s windy.” 

Other replies, “No way. It’s Thursday.” 

The last one says, “Me too. Let’s have a soda.”

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Cindy Hughes - March 30, 2019

Bruce, I would first like to express my condolences on the loss of your brother-in-law, Windsor MacDougall.
Max’s book will be interesting to read. I can’t imagine what it was like for Max at 15 going through that and losing his family. I am glad he survived and is telling his story. My parents both came to Canada after the war with their families. They came from different parts of the Netherlands and have told us some of their stories from war time but kept a lot to themselves.
I have visited the Preserve Company having a delicious meal and sampling and buying preserves for our stay in PEI. Looking forward to going again some day.

Sheila Smith - March 30, 2019

I have very pleasant memories of times spent in your area and your fabulous food offerings at your restaurant. Now I get the same pleasure by faithfully reading your blog every weekend and checking out your suggestions on new literary and musical items. Sorry to hear about your brother-in-law’s passing; a shock to you all I am sure. Thinking of you and yours.

Bob Griffin - March 30, 2019

Share our prayers with your brother-in-law’s family at their loss. Life is fragile, without guarantees sans one – we all will someday stand facing our Creator.

Thank you for relating the story of Max. In this day of revisionist history, many ignore the real-life horrors of the world. Making it real – with a name and face – will keep alive both the facts and the lessons of man’s inhumanity to man.

Hilary Clare - March 30, 2019

My condolences to both you and Shirley and your family. Sometimes lure is hard for no reason at all.
I do not need you to put my name in the draw for the book. I hope someone else will get it, read it and absorb Max’s courage and honour. These are words we don’t often hear anymore. I read his book and was thrilled it won Canada Reads! His story is overwhelming and heartbreaking by turns but so worth reading so that we understand and remember where hate can take us but also where love will eventually heal us. Thanks for writing your blog I look forward to my Saturday morning tea and read-riches indeed.

Joan Juskiw - March 30, 2019

My prayers are with you and your family Bruce. So sad about your dear brother – in – law. So sad to read
another story about what happened during Hitlers time…We should all remember that this could happen
again and everyone is the same . Just love, Live and be happy. Life is short. Be gentle, be kind . Be aware
The Sun will always shine….

Allison LeBlanc - March 30, 2019

Hi Bruce,
Watching the snow turn to freezing rain here in Ottawa my husband and I are reviewing the packet of info from our friends at Tourism PEI and enjoying the photos.Proof that the world turns and the seasons do change. Sadly, as you know, the seasons change bringing happiness ( hurray, it’s June, back to the Island!)
but they can bring sadness too. Loss of those we love is inevitable if we are allowed the privilege of growing older. I lost my beloved older brother to brain cancer two years ago this June. That season I will never forget but subsequent seasons have brought the birth of a grandson for me and one for him too. Too little boys who have brought great joy to more than a few aching hearts. We occasionally see my brother’s face flash by on the faces of those little guys and we know he is with us.
My deepest condolences on the loss of your brother in law, I hope you too see his face in his children and future generations and know he is still there with his family.
Musings on friendship: my 94yr old father would often say “You need to be a friend to have a friend” his friends are fewer these days but he still takes the time to keep in touch with those that remain.
Here’s to an inspiring week ahead, the seasons are changing and April is here!

Meaghan - March 30, 2019

So sorry for the loss of your brother-in-law. I’m currently reading The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion… it’s about how the author dealt with the sudden death of her husband and it is quite good, should you or anyone in your family want to check it out.

Julie Joly - March 30, 2019
Good morning – sorry 😐 it must be afternoon on the island so I’ll say good afternoon as well. I enjoy your blog each Saturday morning and your humour always gives me a smile to start my day. Sad to hear of your family’s loss, my sincere condolences and sympathies. This will be only the second time in 18 years that I will not to be visiting my favourite holiday place in Canada – Prince Edward Island. I don’t know how I’ll make it through the summer without walking the shores of beautiful Brackley beach or spending time in North Rustico, New Glasgow and my many favourite places of the island my husband and I love so much. Thank you and take care. Julie
Elizabeth Tilley - March 30, 2019

Max Eisan is an inspiration to us all- still going to the gym at 90. His story became so alive to all of us thanks to the wonderful Canada Reads presenters this year.
And sympathy in the death of your family member.
Until next week’s wisdom- Elizabeth

Joan Cummins - March 30, 2019

Enjoy reading your blog on Saturdays with a cuppa.
Sorry for the loss of Winston.
Take care.

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