Monday, September 19, 2011

This is NOT a post about politics, BUT...

This is not a political piece, but it does involve politics - mostly the small-town life, friendship kind. 

James Terry has been in my sphere for 20 years or more, as we attended the same high school and were - and still are - pretty friendly people. We've bumped into each other here and there over the years and I have always enjoyed our chats,had while chasing kids or loading groceries, or both.

Thankfully, with the advent of Facebook, Jamie and I have managed to chat quite often, albeit virtually. We don't always agree, but there is a genuine fondness, I think, between us. So, when Jamie decided to run as Durham Region's NDP candidate for the upcoming October election, no one was prouder than me.

(Well, maybe his mum and wife and kids, but other than that...)

I do not live in Durham anymore, and have already cast my mental vote for a candidate here in Quinte, but I am nonetheless awed and impressed that Jamie has taken this huge leap, politically-speaking.

True to form, my stand-up friend has put his money where his mouth is and instead of merely whinging about politicians and policies, like the rest of us, he got informed and then got involved. Regardless of your personal political beliefs, I think it goes without saying that if more people could find the courage to do the same, this would be a different sort of world.

Certainly, a better one.

In any case, I asked Jamie a bunch of questions recently (pepper 'em with random questions, is my motto) and he responded. And so, to honour our friendship and his foray into the political arena, I am very happy to introduce Jamie Terry: father, husband, brother, friend:

Belly: We met in high school, though I don't specifically remember how. Did we take classes together, drink together...was it YOU that I kissed that at Jackma....wait, never mind. This is a family blog.
OK. The REAL question: If you could choose, would you opt again for life in small-town Ontario or did the BIG City call to you, in your youth? What do you want for your children?

Jamie: I much prefer the old days of when I grew up in Bowmanville. I always tell people it was like Mayberry. You could walk downtown and know almost every person you passed on the street as well as the people that owned the shops.
What I want for my children is to be able to grow up in a safe happy environment. My youngest is always asking if he can go bike riding by himself and I hate having to tell him no. The fact is, the world is not the world I grew up in. But I hope that we can change that and make an even better place for my grandchildren to live.

Belly: What's the last book you read for pleasure? It's perfectly OK to admit to loving and reading the Harry Potter series. If your answer is indeed one of those books, can I please borrow Book 2? I've lost mine somewhere...

Jamie: I am currently reading "Game of Thrones" by George Martin. It is a series of four books and although I am busy with the election now, I still find some time to sneak in a chapter or two. I would like to read the Potter series myself. I loved the movies as much as the kids. So when you find your copy Liz, let me know.

Belly: Your daughter has autism. I am studying Developmental Service Work and will be learning how to support kids with autism (or other challenges) and their families. What advice do you have for me and for anyone else who might find themselves working with or for a child/person with disabilities?

Jamie: Patience and lots of it. You have to learn as much as the child does. Once we started to learn about Aspergers and Autism it really opened our eyes as to why she did the things she did. I would also tell parents that you will find that although autistic children may be "deficient" in some areas, they excel in others. In my daughter's case, she has an incredible memory and an obsession with maps and writing and drawing. She is exceptionally creative and she plays piano.

Belly: If you were to create a musical soundtrack to represent your life, what would it include? *Bonus points for anything by Journey.*

Jamie: Don't Stop Believin'! That was easy!

Belly: Since declaring your intention to run as Durham Region's NDP candidate in the upcoming election (October 6th, readers! Got that? October 6th...get out and VOTE!) how has your view of politics changed, if at all? What made you toss your name into the hat?

Jamie: My views have not changed. I took a long time to come to this point. I was not a life long NDP. But the more I looked at what their values were I found myself being drawn in. Our party's line on this election is "Change that puts people first". And to me, that makes great sense. We "the people" need change. This province went from a crown jewel to a have-not province. This is unacceptable and the NDP want to right the ship and get this province and it's people back where we belong.
My decision to run was sparked during the Federal Election in May.

(Belly: Dear Readers, I would like to think that my little piece about "How To Win My Vote" had a huge some influence here, but I digress...)

I have always been interested in politics and after helping on the campaign in May, I decided that this was it, this was my time. I truly believe that if elected I can help Durham and Ontario. Our party has put forth a platform that is aimed at those that need the help the most. This is not a shoot the lights out promise the world type platform. These are all attainable, affordable changes that have the people in mind first and foremost.

Belly: Who was your favourite teacher and why? If you could tell him/her how you feel in one sentence, what would you say? 

Jamie: This is an easy one. Mr. Bill Brunt. One of the nicest and dedicated teachers ever. He taught my mother, uncles, aunt and finally myself and my brother. He was an old school "Let boys be boys!" type by allowing rough stuff in gym. But at the same time he was dedicated to instilling academics in his students. He tutored me in math in grade 9 when I had difficulty and he sat there with me until I got it. He is the best. Every teacher should learn how to teach from Bill Brunt.I feel like a better person having been taught by Bill Brunt.

Belly: What's the hardest thing you've ever done?

Jamie: Watch my son shortly after he was born be hustled away to Sick Kids after complications. I did not know if I would ever see him alive. I still have bad dreams once in awhile about that day. That by far was the hardest thing I had ever had to do.

Belly: What do you want voters to know about you and your party's platform?

Jamie: I guess I would want them to know that our platform is geared towards the everyday working man or woman and their families. For far too long they have been ignored and now we want to help. Help by taking HST off home heat,hydro and gasoline. Put money back into the pockets of the people of Ontario. We are putting people first. That's the catch line and everything in our platform is aimed at just that. Jobs,health care, HST, you name it, it is all to put people first , and their challenges first.
As far as me? Well I am just one of you. Your normal everyday Ontarian. And I think I can bring some perspective to Queens Park, Many politicians "listen" to their constituents , but they fail to understand what Ontario families have and are going through. I think my experiences would be a great contribution in aiming the government in the right direction in getting Ontario back on it's feet.

Belly: Did you ever imagine that 20 years beyond high school, we'd be "virtually" hanging out? Seriously. Think about that for a moment - I was just a small-town girl, living in my lonely wor....wait, wait, that's not right... I guess the question is, of the teenagers we were and the people we've become, who do you like best? Why?

Jamie: Well people were different back in the old days - ha, ha! But then again I have run into some who still act the same way. I would have to say the people we are now would be who I like best. I think people like you and I have gone through many things and they have rounded us into pretty good people. Both of us have families and our kids drive us nuts and it all makes us who we are. And I think that's OK. We were pedal-to-the-metal teenagers and now we are shopping for walkers. But you have to slow down at some point and enjoy life. I for one am glad that I can stay in touch with old friends such as you, Liz.

20 years ago we would have been writing letters to one another probably, now we can chat in real time (When you figure out Facebook chat, that is) and I love reading your blogs.

 Belly: Top three things on your bucket list:

1. Red Sox game at Fenway Park
2. Visit St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh Scotland (My mother's family have a pane of stained glass in the cathedral)
3. Learn to surf.

He forgot to say, "Hang with Liz at the Cobourg Beach and buy her tea and candy," but that's OK. He's a busy dude. I am so proud of this man -a small-town boy with big dreams.
"The thing is, the decision to put your name on a ballot and go out there and be judged by the electorate is a noble act no matter what party you serve." L.R.

And you?
What are your dreams for the  future? Our country?
Any questions for Jamie?
What's on YOUR bucket list?

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