Gratitude – Florence Melia, The Board Game Cafe, Enough Work

I am grateful for Florence Melia. Born in Sweden in 1920 her family moved to Smithers, BC. She became a teacher, my guess is that happened as soon as she could after high school. After attending college in Victoria, she moved back, and taught in a one room school. Her first class had her youngest of 4 sisters in it, Betty. A couple years went by, and by the time she was at 24 she’d fallen in love with a man that worked for the CPR named Wilfred. They bought a farm together in Dawson Creek, way up north. The town in Sweden she grew up in when she was barely a toddler was just shy of the arctic circle; perhaps that made her nostalgic for colder weather. They had a son, Wayne, in 1946. I bet she had some fine years, starting and raising a family, after that.

But then her husband died in 1962, too early, due to illness. He was in his early 50s. She was determined that Wayne should get the farm, and continued teaching first grade. Her son and my father became friends; he was in Dawson Creek when he was a kid, too. She eventually did give the farm to Wayne. He worked that land for 17 years. I’m not sure when she moved to Victoria, but she did. She must have liked it here when she went to College, long before.

I I knew her because she was the mother of a friend of my dad’s. That’s a tangental, dismissible relationship if ever there was one, but when she heard I was moving to Victoria for University, she made sure to get my number. She called me, and invited me over for dinner.

I was a guest at her table not once, but several times over the next few years. I remember her fondly. She was a sweet old lady, I was 18 when we met, and I had just moved away from home, to a different city, in a different province, from the only address I’d ever lived at before. My first year of university was exciting and new in many ways, but I remember being homesick, feeling lonely, and overwhelmed. Her hospitality came to me as a relief. It was more nourishing for me than she could have known. She’d remark on how I looked like my dad when she knew him. Sometimes she’d confuse me for him, and call me by his name, which I found endearing. I remember her chocolate cake, and I learned today that many others did too. She earned a reputation for it with Wayne, my Dad, and his friends when they were younger.

I learned that at her funeral today, which I am grateful I was able to attend. She passed on January 5th. You can read her obituary here. I am grateful for Florence Melia, and I was reminded today of her hospitality and caring nature when I was barely an adult, and I am inspired to follow her example today.

I am grateful for the Board Game Cafe, where we went for family fun night tonight (we try to do something all together on Friday nights, even if it’s just a rented movie). It was awesome. We ordered milkshakes, and played a game that was recommended to us by the staff. The grandparents came, too. It was a great, great night and I think we’ll be back there frequently

I am grateful for lots of work right now. I don’t always have lots of work, and sometimes it’s nice not to be busy, but right now, it’s about the right amount, and so much better than not enough work.

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