By Wendy Elliott
Over the Christmas holiday I tried to “friend” my brother on Facebook, but I couldn’t find him. There were more than 100 Malcolm Elliott’s on the social networking service, but none of them was my sibling. Eventually I was able, as my kids say, to “creep him out” and we connected.
I mostly like belonging to a network with more than one billion users, but I’m not looking to collect pseudo relationships. Who needs more than 259 friends? Since registering in 2007, it’s been fun to connect with a handful of students I taught 30 years ago and know they turned out OK. Catching up with folks I don’t see in the flesh can be fun, too. Facebook can be huge time sink, but weighing the pros and cons I think Mark Zuckerberg’s invention is positive.
LinkedIn is the web site I cannot fathom. This site, which was actually created before Facebook, is intended for professional networking and, I suspect, for job searching. There are seven million members in Canada who must make more sense of it than I can.
Hardly a day goes by without someone popping up who wants to endorse me for copyediting or blogging. Neither is a skill I can boast of, but people on LinkedIn I can only assume like to hand out endorsements like pats on the back. Beats me.
In the sad legal drama of Nicole Doucet Ryan versus the Crown, it is Aimee who is hardly mentioned. She is the girl whose childhood was marked by battles between her 230-pound father and a mother desperate enough to try to hire a hit man.
That mother lost her child in 2008. Last week when the Supreme Court of Canada ended the protracted five-year case, Ryan had no idea of her daughter’s whereabouts.
The 42-year-old schoolteacher from Digby County told reporters she hopes to reconnect with her daughter, whom she has not seen since the first of her two trials in 2009. The Elizabeth Fry Society, who spoke on Doucet’s behalf, might act as a go-between. Aimee, who lives with her father in Ontario, will turn 13 in March.
The Supreme Court did not accept the lower court’s acquittal based on duress, but decided not to send Doucet back to trial. Five years of proceedings was deemed sufficient, but it is also five years of separation between mother and child.
Just a cup of coffee
There’s a story, no doubt apocryphal, I can’t resist sharing about someone stopping at a popular coffee shop with a friend. While enjoying their coffee, a man entered and sat at an empty table. He ordered two cups of coffee with one of them “for the wall.”
This fellow received a steaming cup and drank it, but paid for two. When he left, the waiter pasted a piece of paper on the café wall that said “a cup of coffee.” Then it happened again.
The mystery was solved when a downtrodden man came in and requested a cup of coffee “from the wall.” He was served with dignity, drank his coffee and left without paying. The waiter took a slip of paper off the wall and threw it in the garbage.
Coffee is not a necessity of life for us, but what a blessing a free cup is to those who cannot afford it. The donor, the waiter and the needy man were linked by compassion and caring. Isn’t that the kind of community we all wish we lived in?