Myopic and Astigmatic Observations: political & social commentary

The following Letter to the Editor was in today’s [Sept.23,2016] Prince George Citizen. It has been a mystery for 25 years about what happened to the Jack family.

Prince George Citizen
September 22, 2016 10:04 PM

How can an entire family go missing? On Aug. 1, 1989, the Jack family, Ronald and Doreen, along with their two children, Ryan and Russell, went missing from Prince George.
The Jacks were a young aboriginal family struggling to get ahead and provide for their two young sons. When a gentlemen in a local bar promised both Ronald and Doreen work in a logging camp and assured them there would be daycare to provide for their two young sons, the Jacks understandably jumped at the opportunity. Ron excitedly phoned his mother to tell her the good news. They were leaving that night.
Sadly that is the last time that she ever talked to her son.
Where are the Jacks? Questions have abounded! Who was this man and what logging camp was this? Where was this camp situated? Why did they have to leave that very night? And how can an entire family go missing for 25 years and no one have any information on what happened to them?
Interestingly, on Jan. 28, 1996, a phone call came in to the local police detachment, stating that the Jack family were buried on a ranch.
The voice was extremely muffled, so much so, that the name of the ranch was not apparent. Specialists were called in to try and clean up the phone message, with the hopes that the name would be revealed. This was not to be.
They were unable to discern the name of the ranch mentioned. Again, the story faded from the news.
Many theories have been discussed.
Was the man who promised a logging camp, instead taking them to a drug operation? Did something go so wrong that these people believed their only option was to murder this family? What happened to the Jack family’s vehicle?
This happened in 1989, long before the missing and murdered aboriginal women, long before the Truth and Reconciliation Movement and long before the most recent movement for aboriginal entitlement. How important was a young, impoverished aboriginal family in 1989? Did the police really do everything they could to find this family?
I wonder how differently this investigation would be carried out today.
We cannot forget the Jack family – Ronald, his wife, Doreen, and their two young sons, Ryan and Russell.
Someone, somewhere knows something. Someone cared enough to make that phone call in 1996.
Hopefully one day, the full story will be revealed and the Jack family will be able to rest in peace.
Hopefully justice will be served.
Darleen O’Neill
Prince George

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

[Written after reading an interview in Prince George Citizen. P. 8. April 28th, 2014]

Post traumatic stress disorder,
A highly-stigmatized condition,
Suicides involving soldiers,
On the Afghanistan mission.

We were taught to hide our pain,
Told to soldier on,
Back home I was too wired,
To let it go…. to stay calm.

I tried to deal with it myself,
Those most rattling memories,
Now I understand the symptoms,
From what happened overseas.

My wife – May God love her,
“You need help,” she said to me,
“You want to go back to being normal,
But you’ve changed to some degree.”

I’ve learned to know the triggers,
To avoid what’s bad for me
But I can’t undo the trauma,
From the invisible injury.

CROWS BY Sandy Shreve

I’ve had a newspaper clipping stuck to my fridge for several years. The yellowing scrap of paper features a poem by Sandy Shreve, entitled “Crows.” I love the poem’s clever wording and the rhythm of its imaging – a fitting tribute for one of our most prolific and intelligent flying creatures.

Sandy Shreve was on CBC radio this morning, talking about a project she helped initiate 20 years ago called “Poetry in Transit.” I wonder if “Crows” was ever posted on a Vancouver bus?

CROWS by Sandy Shreve:
Romans regarded the crow as a symbol of a the future because it cries Cras, cras(Tomorrow, tomorrow) – Barbara G. Walker

Out of all four corners of the world,
these ancients with tomorrow on their tongues
gather one by one,

cackle from whatever throne
they find to occupy –
at the edges of our eyes. the crows’

feet etch our every smile,
as if the only thing that matters
is our laughter.

Creatures of both earth and sky, they do not
care if we believe them evil,
dread them as death’s messengers

or simply scorn them for the mess they make
scavenging through garbage in the park.
Always dressed for funerals,

crows know they are the pallbearers for our souls,
their gift, to find the glitter in what we leave behind.

I just finished reading a wonderful book titled “Ice Bound” by Dr. Jerri Nielsen. The book details Dr Nielsen’s everyday experiences while wintering-over at an American research station at the South Pole. Dr.Nielsen has been hired as the resident doctor. She describes how a group of 41 people develop a special bond in the impossibly cold and totally isolated environment. It has been a warm and joyous experience until she realises she has symptoms of what may be a particularly virulent form of breast cancer. At one point, an oncologist, whom she has consulted on the Internet and who becomes a close friend,  forwards the words to a beautiful and inspiring poem titled “After A While.”

After awhile you learn

the subtle difference between

holding a hand and chaining a soul

and you learn

that love doesn’t mean leaning

and company doesn’t always mean security

And you begin to learn

that kisses aren’t contracts

and presents aren’t promises

and you begin to accept defeats

with your head up and your eyes ahead

with the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child

and you learn

to build all your roads on today

because tomorrow’s ground is

too uncertain for plans

and futures have a way of falling down

in mid-flight

After awhile you learn

that even sunshine burns

if you get too much

so you plant your own garden

and decorate your own soul

instead of waiting for someone

to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure,

you really are strong

and you really do have worth

and you learn

and you learn

with every goodbye, you learn…


Friday August 12: Coffeehouse @ Fraser Lake Legion Hall- 165 Chowsunket St. from 6pm – 10pm.

Saturday August 13: The Second Annual Fraser Lake Festival of the Arts will be at the arena /soccer field site alongside Hwy. 16. Opening Ceremonies are at 10am. Displays and workshops featuring artistic creations in oil, acrylic, fiber, quilting, glass, mixed media, literary works, pottery, etc., as well as international culinary cuisine will be inside the arena. Onstage performances by musicians/poets and performing artists will be on the adjacent soccer field. Vendors of handmade products, naturally grown food products etc. will be nearby. Evening festivities will feature musical entertainment by “Deuces Wild” and “The Johnny Walkers” on the bandstand at White Swan Park from 8pm to 10pm.

Schedule of Onstage Activities

10:00AM Opening Ceremonies

Greetings-Richard Cannon
O Canada- Angela Heron
Mayor’s Address-Dwayne Lindstrom
Regional Dist. Rep.- Mark Parker
Arts Council Rep.- Eileen Hutson

10:20 AM *Literary Arts
10:30 AM Jamie Neilson
11:00 AM *Literary Arts

11:10 AM Tamara Ketlo
11-:40 AM *Literary Arts

11:50 AM Ken Maddox
12:20 PM *Literary Arts

12:30 PM Tom Forrest/ Oscar Lewis
1:00 PM *Literary Arts

1:10 PM Mike Ketlo
1:40 PM lntermission

1:50 PM Jerusha White
2:20 PM lntermission

2:30 PM Wendal Unger Family

3:00 PM Lake Babine Drummers/ Dancers

3:30 PM Bob Thon

4::00 PM Doug, Marnie Phair

4:30 PM Peter Ouellette

5:00 PM Sindee Serle

MC: Jamie Neilson. Sound by: Sound Party. Concession: Autumn Services
*Literary Arts includes poetry/short prose readings

For country music lovers and classic car lovers! I enjoy good country music and this annual event is too often overlooked! See you in the park!

10th Annual
White Swan Music Festival
July 16th – 17 (both days)
White Swan Park
Fraser Lake, BC
Free Admission & Camping

Saturday, July 16th::
Opening Ceremonies 11:30am

Sunday July 17th
For more info. call
Richard @ 699-8697

My World

My world is a good world.
It is a world filled with joy
and renewed confidence.
In my hands I hold a book of
memories. Not ready to close
it. Not for awhile.

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