Hodgepodge by Charlie Hodge – May 11, 2018

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During my pre-life’s theory training I had planned on being born around Christmas, however during my actual precognition, personality traits, and career-planning/preparation phases  I procrastinated and thus was not born until May. Hence I am a writer.

All of which explains why my column crafting at this time every year is a bit of a decision dilemma or brain blur. Should I write myopically about my birthday or myopically about my mother  for Mother’s Day?

It’s not easy being a wordsmith.

Constant pressure.

Trooper that I am, however, I have soldiered through the challenges year after year. So one would think by now, after 41 years of  hammering out Hodgepodge’s the process  would have become easier. Mom or Me?

But it didn’t.

Until I resolved it today.

The solution actually presented itself four years ago. On my 59th celebration of fully looping the sun I temporarily treated the pensive drama by naming 59 people of significant influence in my life – one for every year. Many of those named had been involved in my life for a long time; however in some cases the relationship was brief but profound.

Upon reviewing the list earlier today I realized it naturally consisted of several family members, all of my wives, school mates former co workers and …. duh – friends. However. right at the very top was Mom.

Which is when I realized the solution was in the synergy.

None of my friends on that list would have existed if Mom had not been first. Aside from obviously giving me life she taught me how to be a person worthy of being a friend and worthy of having friends. Foremost she taught me the value of life and of worth.

It’s been nearly two decades since mom died and I still miss her every day. She lives in my head and my heart and I am constantly reminded of her in wonderful ways. She taught me how to find beauty and joy in the world around me, and how to trundle on through life with a passion even when life’s giving you a good kick. No person ever inspired me or motivated me more.

I celebrated my birthday last Friday and, as is always the case with such dates, I found myself doing a little introspection that night. I’ve done a lot of screwy things over the years and made a ton of mistakes. I have also had a fabulous life filled with amazing friends and experiences. And I realize that so much of my good fortune and happiness was due to the wonderful kick-start I had in life because of my mother.

She really did help set my path in the world.

As I looked at the list I wandered down memory lane contemplating the many names over the years. Relatives such as Dad, siblings Vic and Sylvia, Grandpa Atkinson, Grandma Hodge… Faces of fabulous friends flashed in front of me.

That’s when I realized the answer is to simply add a new name to my list every year. Which is exactly what I will do next week. I already have the name but you will have to wait.

My birthday list of friends is not long. but it certainly is precious.

Life is a hodgepodge – for indeed one never really knows what’s next.  It can truly be a pendulum of experiences, emotions, lessons, ironies…Often it seems the only consistent theory that applies to life is ‘Constant change is here to stay.’

As a child I foolishly expected to gain an understanding about life as I grew up. I figured by the time I hit 50 I’d be able to make sense of it all. Ah, yes the naivety of youth.

While I’ve come to understand or affirm many things in my 63 year run I beg to differ that I’ve discovered a lot more mysteries or enigmas than I have resolved. Life continues to marvel and baffle.

One thing I have come to sincerely understand, though is the imperative need and the value of mothers in our world. Good, kind, caring, empowering mothers.

Having some good friends around also helps.

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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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