As time went by, my projects advanced from simple radio and amplifier circuits to a transmitter, which I successfully wired to my record player. Soon rock n’ roll music of the late fifties was broadcast on the AM band. The radio waves easily penetrated the walls of our apartment building. Fortunately, the transmitter signal provided radio reception only up to a hundred meters or so. Otherwise, sooner or later, I would have been caught for operating a radio station without a license. The fun lasted until my friends were getting tired of listening to the same old records. Most of the used records were coming in as presents, but occasionally I bought one myself from my pocket-money. For my 16th birthday, my friends Hans, Rainer and others gave me the latest single hits in the very popular 45-rpm format of those days. Throwing the records including the old ones onto one pile, we selected randomly one and played it. Each of us was to give a score on a scale from one to ten according to our likes and dislikes. When all the records were played and evaluated, we averaged out the scores and thus determined the five top songs. To finish off the party, we listened one more time to the five winning hits. I must not forget that by now we boys were considered ‘semi-adults’ (Halbstarke – meaning literally half strong). To ease us gently into the domain of responsible drinking, Mother in her wisdom served us each one glass of white wine and thus enhanced the merry atmosphere we created with our pop music.
The Allure of Gambling – Photo Credit: basicblackjack.org
Just as there are many good qualities in the human character that wait to be fostered and developed, there are just as many vices lurking deep inside us. They may never surface and may go unnoticed for an entire lifetime. But when the right occasion arises, they pounce on you with sudden force and threaten to enslave you. One of these vices that I had to deal with was gambling. Some of my classmates – not my friends who generally had little money to spare – invited me to join them in one of their favorite restaurants to play ‘Seventeen plus Four’, a variation of the American casino card game ‘Black Jack’. Whether it was good luck that enticed me to keep playing or the crafty design on the part of my classmates, I cannot ascertain. But the fact was that I won most of my early games with relatively low bets on the table. Suddenly the intoxicating feeling that all compulsive gamblers know so well rushed through my veins prompting me to put my entire monthly allowance on the table. I felt quite smug about the two tens on my hand and enjoyed for a brief moment the admiring glances and remarks of the other players who had wisely dropped out of the game. The dealer’s hand was a ten and a seven. He pulled another card from the stack. It was a four and I lost. I tried to keep a straight face; yet I smarted from the painful loss of five marks. One classmate offered me a lit cigarette, which I accepted in the hope that it would calm me down. I took one puff. That was enough to make me instantly sick. Body and soul were violently rebelling against the noxious fumes. My face turned pallid green. I got up and on wobbly legs walked out of the restaurant in search of fresh air and recovery from the double whammy on my health and wallet. In hindsight this was a good experience for me, because I never smoked nor did I gamble for money again.
Today was a rainy day and was ideal to do some indoor activities. I was very eager to make a video recording of Azure practicing her violin. Also, I always wanted to read to Azure from the French children’s book ‘Le Petit Nicolas’. We were fortunate this morning that we found Azure completely cooperative. I admit though that I made use of a little bribery by offering a piece of chocolate as a reward. When she was done with the performance she was so proud of her success that she almost forgot to collect her prize. In the afternoon there was a little break in the weather and we went down to the beach to give the kids a chance to catch some fresh air and play in the sand.
The time went so fast. Tomorrow morning Richard and his sweet little daughters are heading back to Kelowna to catch the plane back to Montreal. We are a little sad, but there will always be a next, God willing.
In spite of threatening rain clouds, we journeyed to Taite Creek Camp Site to spend the afternoon at the beautiful Arrow Lake. Richard and Azure went swimming in the ice-cold waters and received a lot of cheers for their daring plunge. Later we warmed up at the campfire and the children had fun singing, dancing and listening to Opa’s melodies he played on the harmonica. It is all recorded on the one-minute video below.
Today Richard was very tired. Last night after he had settled down Azure and Emeline and got them to sleep, he sat down at his laptop to do some important work for his college in Montreal. This morning he went down to the lake to provide some strenuous exercise for his kids. As it turned, when they came back, he was very tired and his daughters were not. He had hoped that the little ones would have a long afternoon nap to give him a chance to recover.
Richard, Azure and Emeline ready to go to the Fauquier Boat Dock
While I was napping in the front room, I heard some noises coming from the living room, which were getting louder by the minute. I concluded that Papa had fallen asleep and the girls had slipped out and were beginning to make their presence known by playing the toy piano. So I decided to interrupt my precious nap time and supervise the little ones, while Richard was sleeping. I turned out to be quite a bit of fun watching them dance and pose for me for quite a few nice pictures. Besides I learned quite a few new French words that Azure taught me while we were playing.
Whatever else of importance is going to happen today, I will publish it in tomorrow’s post.
Today our youngest son Stefan took Richard, Azure and Emeline to the Nakusp Hot Springs. When they came back, they had some practice on Stefan’s Slackline. There is a video that will show how they were handling the challenge each in his or her own way.
Peter and his two Granddaughters
Richard and Emeline Relaxing in the Pool
Azure Diving in the Pool
Relaxing after the Swim
Biene, Richard, Azure and Emeline on our Deck
Click on the link below.
Practice for Richard, Azure and Emeline on the Slackline.
The day started out with a bacon and eggs breakfast that my granddaughters had specifically requested that I would prepare for them. Biene had to go off to work at eight, while we continued eating our breakfast in stages. Then I had an excellent learning session with Azure, who became my student and teacher in French. While Richard took Azure and Emeline to the lake, I cleaned up. Biene had prepared a large pot of vegetable soup, which I heated up for lunch. When Biene returned from work at three o’clock, I had a big pot of coffee ready, while Biene served her home-made chocolate ice cream. Emeline enjoyed hers very much, as it is clearly written all over her face on some of the pictures below.
Breakfast with Bacon and Eggs
Azure getting a Lesson from Opa
Azure skipping Rope while Richard looks on
Stefan and Azure blowing Soap Bubbles
Richard explaining the Bubble Blower to Emeline
Emeline fascinated by the Wind Chime
Helping Opa Cleaning the House
Young Gardener Azure
Emeline and Azure trying out the Chairs Biene bought for them
Emeline and Azure enjoying Biene’s Ice Cream
Emeline ready to touch the Solar Bird
Biene and Emeline
Azure playing with her Kidpad, while Stefan is having a Conversation