We laughed about how it sounded like the beginning of a bad joke. A psychologist, therapist and suicide prevention educator headed to Nanaimo for a mental health break. But it was true! Two of my friends and I decided that a week on Vancouver Island would be fun. We didn’t realize that this would involve us in lots of adventures.

The first was when our airplane got halfway to Calgary and then had to turn back to Medicine Hat. It wasn’t necessarily the wisest thing for the pilot to announce that we had lost one engine and all of the fluid out of the brakes! After a successful landing, we were told that the airlines would pay for a van but one of the passengers had to offer to drive it to Calgary. And so, eight people were loaded into it for the three-hour drive to the Calgary airport. That was interesting!

We had to spend the night in Calgary and flew out the next morning.

Once we arrived in Victoria, things settled down and we all enjoyed our time there before heading north. We laughed together, shared stories and really started to get into the holiday spirit.

Nanaimo is good medicine for tired caregivers. A boat trip culminated in an island picnic. We shopped in second-hand stores in the downtown area and walked along the wharf. It was all so refreshing!

Now I love music and couldn’t help but notice a little jazz club on the same block as our hotel. On our last night there, everyone else was tired but I thought it would be fun to walk over and see who was performing. I slipped a ten dollar bill into my pocket and headed for Katz.

The small martini bar was very full but the server seated me at the only empty table and explained that this was a night when local talent could “jam”. She pointed to a man named Michael who was in charge of the evening and asked me about my background. I explained that I was from Alberta and liked to sing a little jazz.

The next thing I knew, Michael came over to my table and asked if he could join me. We had a wonderful couple of hours of visiting about a wide range of topics. At one point a young man came over to us and got down on his knees while begging Michael to let him sing just one song but Michael told him that it would have to be another night because the program was full. It was obvious that Michael was respected and in charge!

After a couple of hours of conversation, Michael asked if I would come the following Monday and sing with him. I told him that I wasn’t able to because I had another gig booked. (I didn’t mention that my “gig” was that I was scheduled to work the evening shift at the Mental Health Clinic in Medicine Hat). When I said that I was sorry I wouldn’t have a chance to hear him sing he said “Stay after everyone leaves. We’ll lock up and I will sing for you”. I agreed.

Everyone left but the server, Michael and me. As the introductory music began he said “This one’s for you, Linda” and then began singing “Unforgettable”. Wow!

When he ended the song I shook his hand, thanked him and floated down the street back to the hotel.

The next day I told my friends about the wonderful time that they had missed. Without any obligation, Michael had shared his evening and talent with me. He topped it off by singing a song that really made me feel special.

When was the last time someone said or sang something that made you feel special? When have you done this for another person?

Words are so powerful when they are invested in the lives of others. Every day we have opportunities to share our time and say encouraging things. Even just one word can make a big difference and a wonderful memory.


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