Wednesday, 7 December 2016

More on Pauline and Johan

Rereading my previous post, I realized I had forgotten about some important bits, especially as relates to biking. I hadn't been particularly close to Pauline, more or less because their kids weren't my age. So it was a revelation when Johan gave a very good eulogy at her memorial service in the Unitarian Church in North Hatley. (The last time I had been in that room was for Olivier's baptism!)  He told the story of how they had met, something I had never heard before.

Fate evidently intended them to be together as you could not write this as fiction. Pauline had gone on a bike trip in Scotland with a friend of hers. Johan had been hitchhiking around Britain with a friend of his. Johan and his friend needed to split up for a while but made arrangements to meet up in Killin in Scotland on such and such a day. The choice of Killin was determined by throwing a dart at a map of the UK(!) and then checking to see if there was a youth hostel nearby. There was and that was were Pauline and Johan met, Johan's friend having failed to get there. It may not have been love at first sight (though it could have been) but at the very least, Johan was attracted to Pauline sufficiently to pursue a relationship which led to what seems to me as a successful marriage, though one cut too short.

One of the things that struck me was that I more or less knew where Killin was having biked near it on not one but two bike trips in Scotland.  I have since looked it up and it lies roughly midway between Crianlarirch and Kenmore. On my first bike trip in Scotland, I rode within 5 kms of it!

Another thing that struck me was just how positive a person Johan* is and has always been in my view. It is too easy to be negative or to fall into the trap of negative statements. Lately at work, I have been often asked if such and such a minor schedule change would be acceptable. I have striven to avoid responding with "No problem" and instead have written "Fine by me". I would like to hold up Johan as an example of positivity.

So, hear's to Pauline and Johan!

* Addendum, dated 2017-10-03. In considering Johan's optimism, it must be pointed that he is old enough to have suffered through and remembers the Hunger Winter.

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