Focusing on the Important Things in Life: An Encounter with the Alberta Minister of Infrastructure; News of Scotland’s Possible Cessation from the United Kingdom; Magical Defined; The Search for An Ancestor’s Imprint on the Alberta Legislative Building; Visceral Defined; Photographs of the Annual Report of the Department of Public Works and Alexis as the Scottish Flag

There is entirely too much going on in this cruel world, most of it rather nasty and unpleasant. It becomes necessary to focus one’s energies. During Ramadan 2022 one of my Intentions was to retreat from the world, to not pay attention to the news, the gloom and doom of the Ukraine and the devastating effect that Putin had wrought world wide. There is not one thing I can do about it, people post on Instagram and turn up at rallies in order to make themselves feel good but that has had no lasting affect. Another huge divesture is all from all things things from the USA – my assets and my friendships are not standing the test of time. So news of the machinations with Trump and the Republicans and the Supreme Court is utterly trivial. But this is funny and, of course the truth. I was on the elevator in the Alberta Legislative Building going to the second floor library when two men got on board.
Me: Hello! Do you work here? You must be important because you have business suits on.
He: Well he might be but I am wearing a jacket and trousers that do not match.
Me: Yes, I can see that now. So what do you do, you of the fake business suit.
He: I am the Minister of Infrastructure.
Me: Infrastructure what is that? I lived in the United States for fifty years, there is no such thing as infrastructure there.

Well, of course, there was laughter. I text a man from the UAE, told him of the conversation.
Me: Well that is one thing your country has. It is infrastructure, that is for sure. Not much heart soul or compassion but definitely infrastructure. And you even went to Mars.
He Why you jealous from my country instead of wishing bad things on my country construed on your country. That’s how a real Muslim thinks.
Me: I am a real Muslim. I am not jealous of your country – I pity it. No central planning, massive over building of ugly buildings and now devastating sand storms. And the heat. You forget I lived there for five months. I was not a silly tourist.

So from that interaction you can tell that the Middle East no longer holds any allure or attention either. Well except for the hypocrisy and total disregard that the Middle East Muslim Rulers have for the Palestinians. But that was successfully addressed in my ????? Blog.

But Scotland is another matter, the country holds great allure. It is my ancestral home and once wished I could reside in West Wyemss, that rhymes with dreams. So it was of considerable relief to read this good news from an unlikely source, The National, Abu Dhabi’s publication. It spoke of Scotland’s referendum, to be free from the United Kingdom. It would bring joy to my heart as I am of Scottish descent, love it there, once wanted to live there but immigration impossible. My Scottish grandparents would allow me entry into that bonnie land should Scotland be free. The National informed its readers:
“As the ruling British Conservative Party spends the summer deciding who should become the next prime minister, one region is preparing the ground for an even bigger choice: should Scotland be part of the country at all.
The Scottish National Party has used the political turmoil in London to push forward its attempt to split from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
A step in setting that date with destiny looms on Tuesday when the Edinburgh government must file its case for a new independence referendum.
It is part of a reborn campaign helped by national focus on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s mishaps, from partygate fines to ill-judged political appointments.
Despite a previous failed bid in 2014, where 55 per cent of Scots narrowly voted in favour of staying in the UK, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has kept her election pledge to again lobby for a referendum. “Nicola Sturgeon has turned up the volume. She had to,” Prof Matt Qvortrup, author of the coming book I Want to Break Free: A Guide to Making a New Country, and professor of political science at Coventry University, told The National.”

So it is Hip Hip Hooray! It just might happen. But in the meantime I am safe, sound and happy in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. But almost like magic thee two, my Canadian residency and my Scottish background, are coming together.

This seems to be magical as does my life these days, The most apt definition of magical is beautiful or delightful in such a way as to seem removed from everyday life. Synonyms of that definition are extraordinary, remarkable, exceptional, outstanding, incredible, phenomenal, unbelievable, inconceivable, unimaginable, amazing, astonishing, astounding, stunning, staggering, marvelous, magnificent, wonderful, sensational, breathtaking, miraculous, singular, unheard of, unique, unparalleled, unprecedented, unusually good, too good to be true, superlative, prodigious, surpassing, rare; fantastic, fabulous, stupendous, out of this world, terrific, tremendous, brilliant, mind-boggling, mind-blowing, awesome, stellar.

So all of those words, and more.  Here is the astounding, superlative, mind-blowing and awesome situation. The past, the ancestral history of my grandparents, George and Janet Dryburgh is shrouded in mystery. No convenient family trees, memorabilia, paraphernalia  or letters seem to exist. But while researching the Dryburgh family history for the biography of Uncle Dave Dryburgh I vaguely recalled that Grandfather George’s brother had come to Canada from Scotland to do plastering work on the Alberta Legislative Building, the place that is about forty giant steps and twenty baby steps from my apartment. I have become a regular at the Legislative Library, had a stroke of genius deciding to obtain the assistance of the competent, brilliant library staff. It was nothing sort of sensational, unparalleled and unprecedented. There on the shelfs were the Annual Report of the Department of Public Works for 1911 and 1912. I was able to touch those books, fueling the imagination and being able to view the detail, the organization, the meticulousness of work gone into chronicling the construction. It was visceral, meaning instinctive, innate, instinctual, gut, deep-down, deep-seated, deep-rooted, emotional. Individual names of the workers have not yet been discovered and perhaps it was not recorded but what is known is that the plaster work began in 1911 and continued through 1912. Another able librarian searched the digital files for me, found and forwarded the digital files to my email.

It is such an adventure. It may be fruitless but I will put in the effort, will try. If I recall, this man, my great uncle, did not have children. But think of how he would react, knowing his great niece Alexis, the grandchild of his brother searched for an imprint of him upon her return to her native land. I don’t think he stayed in Canada but instead returned to Scotland. I may never know.
But what is so inspiring is the enthusiasm of the staff, so eager to help me in my exploration of my roots. I feel such a connection to these Edmontonians.

I shall be diligently searching and shall check back with you, my gentle readers. In the meantime I am using the resources of the Legislative Library to explore other topics of absolute interest to me.

I once painted my face in the manner of the Scottish flag to further the referendum, which failed in its prior bid.

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