Pat Katz Pat Katz




Take A Walk With Gratitude

Thanksgiving has come and gone and as I took my morning walk today, I remained thankful for all kinds of things. In particular, I noted how grateful I am to have my mind and my memories.

What prompted this line of thought was the news that beloved children’s author, Robert Munsch (I’ll Love You Forever, Mortimer, Thomas’ Snowsuit, The Paperbag Princess, and so many more modern classics) has been diagnosed with dementia.  This means that eventually his many memories and the stories he has created over the years will be gone to him.

This made me sad, and it made me appreciate my own memories even more. Many of my earliest recollections involve my Dad whom I loved and love dearly. He’s been gone for several years now and I still miss him every single day.

I remember, as a young farm girl not yet in school, being Dad’s sidekick. I rode shotgun in the truck as he hauled cattle to the auction mart or the community pasture. I pumped the handle on the big grease gun as he readied the combine at harvest time. It felt like a beautiful partnership.

Every morning of every day, Dad would pull on his work clothes – usually his overalls, sometimes his parka, depending on the season and the tasks ahead. Then he’d head outside to take care of the chores.

Even when Dad no longer actively farmed and no longer had livestock or fields to tend, he’d still don his work clothes and take on the tasks of the day. In his later years on the farm doing the chores meant feeding the barn cats, defending the farmyard against the attack of skunks and badgers, weeding the garden, or tinkering around the shop. No matter what was on the list, Dad could be found outdoors doing the chores.

I think of him most every morning when I pull my clothes on to head outside for a walk. Getting some physical exercise is part of my daily ‘chores’. But, more than that, it’s a way of being present to the changing seasons of the world and to remember with appreciation my Dad and his ever faithful way of showing up.

May all of you continue to be blessed with clear minds and treasured memories of your own – and find yourselves thankful for them all.

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Appreciation, Life Balance, Life in General, Wellness

14 Responses to “Take A Walk With Gratitude”

  1. Gwenna Moss

    The stories of your Dad remind me of my cousin, a retired dairy farmer, who still gets up real early, puts on his work clothes and heads out to the farm. The dairy cows are mostly gone now, but once in a while there is a visiting cow needing to be milked. Other odd jobs are always waiting until it’s time to head back to town for breakfast. Your Dad and my cousin are examples of good lives, well lived.

  2. Pat Katz

    ‘Good lives, well lived’ is the perfect description, Gwenna. So much to be said for the faithfulness of showing up to make that contribution day after day. Warmly, Pat

  3. Linda Epstein

    Thank you, Pat, for your very thoughtful email.

    I, too, think of my parents every day and miss them so much.

    Recently, I began a personal “book” (not sure how to describe it yet) called “Reflections” (working title) about my experiences growing up. I didn’t think I remembered much of the early years, but am remembering more and more as I write. The work was spurred by a poetry book I have been reading from people who attended the writing workshops at St. Peter’s Abbey near Muenster, but is ultimately meant to be left as a legacy for my children and grandchildren. I doubt that I will publish it.

    Our memories are important. So sad re Robert Munsch. But I guess we can be grateful that he left us with so much good children’s literature.

    Your article has put me in the mood to add more to my “Reflections”.

    Be well,

  4. Pat Katz

    Linda – I’m sure your reflections and remembrances will be a real treasure for your kids and grandkids. Write on, my friend, Pat

  5. Maureen Haddock

    Awe, Patricia, this piece brought many memories flooding back and I am grateful for them. I hadn’t heard about the passing of Robert Munsch and it made me sad too! Thank you for your thoughts.
    With blessings and appreciation,

  6. Pat Katz

    Yes, so many memories created by Muncsch and his stories. He IS still very much alive, but has been diagnosed with dementia. Here is a link to a CBC Radio interview he did earlier this month with Shelagh Rogers on CBC Radio:

  7. Maureen Haddock

    Thank you, Pat, for the link to this broadcast.

  8. Pat Katz

    You are most welcome, Maureen.

  9. Sheila

    Both my parents have been in my thoughts so much lately. It seems that the longer they have both been gone, the more I miss them. Remembering how well they both cared for my two sisters and I always brings me great comfort though. My dear dad was a WWII veteran and worked hard to support his family while mom was a stay at home mom who picked up odd jobs here and there to help out all while running an extremely well oiled household. My parents didn’t have the luxury of owning a vehicle until us children were much older. As such, mom often talked about how dad would walk to his place of work unless a fellow co-worker or relative drove by and offered him a lift. The winters were especially hard for him bc mom said they seldom could afford to buy bus tickets or even warmer more expensive winter clothing for him to wear. I treasure so many special memories of my parents and after reading your post this morning Pat, they all came flooding back to me.

  10. Pat Katz

    Sheila, I can hear your heartfelt love and appreciation in the words you have shared. What wonderful examples of care your parents were in your life. I appreciate your sharing your recollections with us. Pat

  11. Carleen Bartel

    Thanks for this Aunt Pat. I think of Grandpa every morning that I don my ‘barn coat’ to take Duke out and feed the cats. I tell them they’re nice ole kitties just like he did. I wish I had an old Fleischmann’s margarine margarine dish like grandma would send with him, full of scraps for the cats. 🙂

  12. Pat Katz

    Ah, sweet memories, Carleen. I can hear his voice saying ‘nice ole kitties’! Love, P

  13. Robert Nordness

    My father was a Saskatchewan farmer too. He did daily “chores” until he passed away at 91 years of age. At one point, we offered to bring someone in, to help with housekeeping. He declined because chores gave him focus and purpose to the day. Plus he kept a fine home.

    I adopted his approach and use the word “chores” instead of “to-do” list. I have daily chores and completing them is rewarding. I am grateful that my father did his chores because, it is one of the reasons I am where I am today.

  14. Pat Katz

    Thanks for sharing your memories of your Dad, Robert. And yes, I think you’re right – chores do give us a focus and purpose no matter what our stage in life. Such great examples of faithful contributions they were for us. P

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