Hodge Podge by Charlie Hodge – Nov 3, 2016

It is easy sometimes to forget how fortunate our lives are. Sadly, it often takes another’s tragedy to shake us into a harsh wake up call of just how lucky we are.Tez and I were profoundly reminded of our good fortune Tuesday when learning that our dear friend Irene Barszczewski-Shindelka lost her home in a fire on Halloween. Barszczewski-Shindelka (for real) fortunately managed to escape out her window (with assistance from neighbours) when her mobile home in West Kelowna caught fire.  Twenty-seven year old David Hillary along with Lucas Truman risked their lives in helping Irene escape. True heroes.Irene’s cat also escaped while her beloved dog did not survive. The horrendous blaze was the subject of much media coverage earlier this week.Irene has lost everything.Words cannot express our empathy and shock for Irene, however we are confident that her absolutely amazing positive attitude will help her through this devastating time period.Anyone who has experienced a fire is more than aware of the mind-boggling destruction of such an event – and the energy needed to start over again.Just more than a year ago Tez and I came within mere minutes of losing our home when an arsonist lit a car on fire in front of our home. The explosion and fire ball destroyed a second car as well and caught our hedge on fire. We helplessly watched the inferno plunge towards our home, certain that our house was doomed. If not for the amazingly quick response of our Kelowna fire department we could have easily experienced the same catastrophe as Irene. We remain truly thankful for our good fortune, but certainly comprehend the state of terror and panic that Irene must have gone through.As of yet we are not aware of an assistance fund for Irene, however anyone wishing to assist this marvelous woman may do so by contacting me via email at charliehodge333@gmail.com


Speaking of being thankful, a reminder to readers to take time next Friday to honour those men and woman who gave up everything for us. The freedom and joy we share as Canadians living in this wonderful, democratic, and healthy nation would not be ours to celebrate without the millions of lives sacrificed in the two world wars.Like many others my family tree was chopped apart from death and injuries suffered during both wars. My mother never really got over the loss of her brother and both my father and grandfather carried physical and mental wounds to their graves because of their experiences.Barring any unforeseen circumstances I will be honoured to attend the service at the Kelowna Cenotaph on Remembrance Day as Deputy Mayor, laying a wreath on the City’s behalf. I cannot think of a greater honour.Hope to see you there.


Speaking of celebrations the city of Chicago is a happy hopping hub today following Wednesday’s dramatic seventh game win of the World Series.While not a huge baseball fan, even I tuned into the winner-take-all final game with enthusiasm. By the 10th inning I was totally captivated.For Chicago Cub fans suffice to say it has been an absurdly long time since the last time they celebrated winning the title. Their last victory parade was back in 1908. Heck, that’s even longer than the last time the Leafs or Canucks won the Stanley Cup.As happy as I am for Chicago, I admit sharing some sadness for Cleveland Indian fans who came so close. The Indians have not won the world series title since 1948.***By the time this rag arrives on your doorstep the lengthy circus known as the U.S. election will be over, though certainly not the rhetoric. I, like thousands of other Canadians await the outcome with trepidation.I seriously believe that there is great reason for consternation on the outcome. While I agree that the choice for President is literally between two snakes, the key is to pick the one with the least toxic venom.Make no mistake that both have dubious track records, come from silver-spoon backgrounds, and have little reason to be trusted. However I shudder at the thought of the ignorant, insulting, red-neck Trump taking power.The world is watching with interest and concern. I go as far as to suggest that world peace may hang in the balance with this election and certainly future trade and economic impacts on North America.If one needs any more evidence of how potentially dangerous the man with the dyed comb-over is consider this. This week white supremacy KKK leader David Duke entered the US Senate race in Louisiana, claiming the support of Trump. Donald made no effort to deny it.Scary stuff.Hopefully some common sense and logic will prevail south of the border later this week.

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.


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