Montreal's senior monthly since 1986

Feb '10


April's definitely not the cruelest month

April, 2009

Ice thaws on the river, ice melts on the streams, They are freed again as the spring sun gleams Old winter is beaten – see how it withdrew

—Goethe, Faust

Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain! April is here! No more crampons on boots, no more scarves, hats, gloves and iced up windshields. The cane with no more spikes can rest in a corner until November. No deadly snow plows to be afraid of or waiting at windy corners for crowded buses and trying to get in and out without sinking into a dirty snow bank at the curb.

Just thinking of soft April showers and a few daffodils and crocuses showing their heads lifts the spirit. What a relief to watch the filthy heaps of snow melting in the rain!

All the same, be prepared for the battle of the potholes. I have already stumbled over some, watched cars attempting to dodge them and pedestrians, their eyes glued to the sidewalks, trying to avoid a broken ankle. There are bound to be blocked-off roads at construction time during the heat of summer – but anything is better than snowstorms.

I love April. It’s not the cruel month T.S. Eliot would have us believe. It promises spring and fun and sitting at a table outside a patisserie sipping a cappuccino. When I was young I’d sit in the April sun with a hand-made reflector to get a tan. I didn’t know about skin cancer. There are so many things we didn’t know, we could just enjoy ourselves unencumbered. Wasn’t it wonderful to lie on a beach towel by a lake or ocean and let the sun shine on us instead of having to cover up? Who can remember all those dire warnings and predictions about food, medication – not worth the strain anyhow because they tend to change from day to day.

I’m going to let the April showers wash winter right out of my hair – breathe in and out in the knowledge that the days are longer, the grass is green, and the sun will be warm again. There’ll be children’s laughter in the streets playing hockey and riding their bikes. I won’t have to take my garbage out at dawn with my winter coat over my nightie – wearing boots.

I can’t wait to have my windows cleaned and keep them wide open. I can’t wait for the birds to come back and build another nest in my tree near the kitchen window. I shall take my umbrella and go for a long walk on the mountain and, if the sun shines, sit on a bench at Beaver Lake with a book, or just watch people go by.


Etiquette equals respect

March 2009

"I believe a most serious problem for the American people to consider is the cultivation of better manners. It is the most noticeable, the most painful defect in American civilization." – Oscar Wilde

The world has changed since Oscar Wilde and Jane Austen. Etiquette is dependent on culture. What is good manners in one country may be unacceptable in another.

Talking with one’s mouth full is one example of obvious bad manners in western countries. In some countries you can eat with your hands out of a communal bowl, and it is expected that you belch if you liked the food.

In England in a posh house it is rude to strip your bed – it means that you do not want to return.

The format of handshaking, kissing cheeks or hands differs from country to country.

Flowers taken to a German hostess must be handed over unwrapped, the stem covered by a strip of paper.

The politesse du grande monde at the time of Louis XIV is dead. Blushing women no longer curtsy before men.

All the same, a certain decorum is required. Respect for others is imperative.

At a gathering, forget your personal problems and keep hot subjects like war, politics, religion and personal finances to yourself.

Organ recitals listing your medical problems make unappetizing conversation at a tea party.

In the meantime the words “please,” “thank you” and “I’m sorry” go a long way and make life a lot more pleasant.


Go stuff your new model

It’s hard to go through a long Montreal winter without a break. The short days, lack of sunlight, traffic congestion, and alternating snow storms and ice storms have turned me into a bad-tempered monster.

The never-ending news of a devastated economy, steadily rising unemployment and scary wars hasn’t helped. To keep this winter of discontent from getting the better of me I treated myself to a new turntable and immersed myself in my beautiful collection of LPs, CDs and hardcover books.

What a difference there is between a CD and an LP! A CD, sophisticated and perfect as it may be, is a cold and impersonal object. An LP on the other hand emanates warmth – just taking it out of its jacket, placing it and watching the needle move to the first track is more pleasing than shoving a CD into its slot. It’s fun to catch what’s written on the label while it turns. The imperfections on my LPs do not bother me because I remember where to expect them.

An early recording of Pavarotti and Freni performing in La Bohème conducted by Herbert von Karajan is a gem. Pavarotti had just sprung onto the scene with that magic voice. Among my opera LPs are many that include beautifully illustrated libretti by famous artists.

Some chamber music and symphony recordings contain scores and histories, comments and critiques by musicologists. Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro is another one of my cherished treasures – and my favourite opera. But there is also Edith Piaf, Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich, Glenn Miller, Louis, Ella and others to revive the “good old days” when popular music was less noisy and more romantic.

The first supposed innovation after the LP was the cassette tape, not much of an improvement, for one thing because tapes have a tendency to stretch and slacken. The CD, I was recently informed, is already outdated – downloading on iPods is the in thing now. I once held one in my hand and knew I’d never manage to handle it, nor do I want to. If I understand it correctly it means that everything now happens in cyberspace: Just plug in and that’s it! Objects plugged into my ears irritateme, even earrings. I have enough trouble with those gadgets on airplanes and get them regularly entangled in the crevices of my narrow seat.

My LPs are as precious to me as are my hardcover books. The print is better and larger than in paperbacks. I like to handle a hardcover book and feel the superior paper it’s written on, even if it takes up more space on my shelves.

My grandsons can fix my gadget problems in two minutes flat. I hate to ask them because it makes me feel foolish. Before they leave my house they ask “are there any technological problems to be solved before we leave?”

I hope to get away without having to study further technological improvements that only seem to frustrate me and waste my time and energy. I want to sit back and relax, enjoy myself, and not complicate my life with the latest models of anything, including the phone!


On panties, slips, corsets, bras, stockings and nighties

I have decided to devote this column to underwear! I discovered a beautifully illustrated and witty little book on one of my shelves entitled And all was revealed – Ladies Underwear 1907-1980, by Doreen Caldwell. This inspired me to look at the present Reveal or Conceal exhibit at the McCord Museum, a provocative exhibition that explores historical perceptions of modesty and eroticism in women’s clothing.

In 1939 my hostess in the North of England referred to undergarments as undies, a somewhat déclassé description for smalls. On washing days they were dumped into a separate vessel, boiled clean and then hung out to air on a pulley high up over the fireplace in the laundry room, but never talked about. My German mother drummed it into me that underwear – Unterwaesche – had to be kept immaculately clean because, God forbid – um Gottes Willen – I were knocked out cold crossing a street, what might strangers think who may have to undress me! I remembered mother’s dictum during my stint as a probationer nurse in the mining district of England. One of my duties included helping patients out of their clothes.

When I lived in England, panties were either called “drawers” or “knickers,” slips were referred to as “petticoats,” and dresses as “frocks.” Drawers were held together with string in the 1800s, and a girl’s trousseau included at least a dozen pair of knickers in various colors. It must have been torture wearing corsets. My mother owned three different models and often called me to tighten the strings. With my knee hard against her back, I pulled so hard that both of us almost ran out of breath, but she never complained. Now corsets are prescribed for bad backs. The fashion industry tends to change the material of upscale brassieres now and then. An advertisement in my little book advocates: “As necessary as lipstick, as important as perfume: A good bra is a beauty must,” and Brigitte Bardot adds: “I want to be simple, wild and sexy.” In the hippie period of the 1960s many women threw their bras out or burnt them in a heap. It spelled not only freedom for breasts, but was in keeping with feminist ideology.

In 1943 there was clothes rationing in England. One needed clothes coupons and we didn’t get many. Rayon stockings could not be had and pantyhose (“tights” in England) had not yet been invented. Women wore pants (“slacks”), not much encouraged by stuffy employers, but there was a war on!

I remember the New Look of 1949 as rather unbecoming. Lingerie was anything but sexy. Nylon stockings were hard to come by unless one had an American boyfriend or enough cash to acquire some on the Black Market. Panty-girdles were the order of the day, extending from waist to thigh with attachments to fasten stockings.

How liberated we are now! During the summer, our legs are bare and tiny bikinis in every colour of the rainbow follow the trend that less is more. It’s suggested in one of the books that shopping for underwear is an erotic experience. I’m no longer as concerned about that as finding a comfortable and good-feel garment I enjoy wearing, even if it isn’t alluring. I prefer large T-shirts for sleepwear to those soft silky nightgowns that need special care.

We are in December and 2008 has flown by. Here’s wishing you a happy, healthy and peaceful 2009 in whatever you may find yourself wearing.


Price of politics pales beside price of freedom

No part of the education of a politician is more indispensable than the fighting of elections.
– Winston Churchill

I have been glued to my TV set for weeks. First there were the Olympics, which I enjoyed except for that story of the little girl with the crooked teeth and the lovely voice who wasn’t allowed to sing because she wasn’t attractive enough! Then coverage turned mostly to the drawn-out and nasty US election campaign. Ours seemed almost benign in comparison, but certainly less time-consuming – each candidate promising a cleaner, safer and more peaceful world!

By now someone will have been elected to occupy that chair in the Oval Office – with his own dream realized, but the great American Dream put on the back burner. There is a mess to be cleaned up first. Those who have lost their jobs and savings and can’t afford to retire, or lost their houses, or lost members of their families to the killing fields, have had a shocking awakening.

I can’t imagine why anyone would want to go into politics these days. Who wants to be made mincemeat of in public, have skeletons dug out of the closet, be mindful of every word and move, and always worry about the next morning’s headlines? Politicians lose all privacy and they – and their families – need to develop the skin of a rhinoceros. Instant news didn’t exist years ago, and history was “cleaned up” by whoever authored it. Now, events captured by accidental onlookers with digital cameras blur the line between reporting and surveillance.

Anyone who has ever experienced a malignant dictatorship knows how politics can change one’s life and how vital it is to be informed and vote for the right individual. I lived in Berlin during the Hitler years and know what I am talking about. It has affected my entire life and that feeling of insecurity has not left me. It is incom­prehensible that such government sponsored crimes were at all possible, let alone watched and ignored. To be indifferent invites disaster. We are very fortunate to live in a democracy where governments can change without a drop of blood being spilled, and where freedom of speech and the obligation to count every vote are respected.

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month this year, as candles are lit and bare-headed solemn-looking politicians lay wreaths at monuments, I’ll be reflecting on what we’ve made of the freedom for which our soldiers sacrificed everything.

Then I’ll shut off the TV, have a cup of tea and go for a walk – I’ll need some fresh air!


Cookbook evokes lost traditions

Let’s talk about food. One of my favorite cookbooks is “Gourmet’s Old Vienna Cookbook” published in 1959. It was a present from my husband and his dedication gave me a message: “This document of European civilization from the one most likely to benefit its study. December 1960.” It makes me want to get into my kitchen, put on an apron and get the saucepans out, but I know that in today’s diet conscious world nobody would dare to prepare veal chops with walnuts that need 6 tablespoons of butter, 5 tablespoons of liver pate, ½ cup of heavy cream and more cream if necessary! Or veal kidneys in truffle sauce requiring 6 tablespoons finely chopped truffles, 3 egg yolks, 1¼ cups of heavy cream and served in puff pastry. There is a section on dumplings, noodles, different ways for serving potatoes and rice – every dish full of calories.The cake and dessert section have to be hidden from anyone with a sweet tooth, or reluctant weight watchers.

The famous Viennese “Sachertorte” needs a cup of butter, cup of sugar, 10 egg yolks, 8oz of chocolate, 12 beaten egg whites, 2 cups flour, apricot glaze and chocolate fondant icing served with sweetened whipping cream. Franz Sacher invented it in 1832 but the recipe got into the hands of Demel through inter-marriage. The fight was over whether the jam should be spread in the middle of the Torte or right underneath the chocolate glaze. A famous court case ensued and the judge ruled that Sacher call theirs “the original Sachertorte” and Demel theirs “original Demel’s Sachertorte”. There still is some bitterness about this decision. When we were in Vienna we tried them both – though not on the same day - and preferred the Demel one!

The section on sauces is mouth-watering especially the Hollandaise with the ingredients of butter, 4 egg yolks – all carefully prepared in a double boiler that needs the kind of time to cook that most people do not have. Vegetables, according to today’s dietary rules were routinely overcooked, usually prepared in a mixture of cream, flour and butter; nouvelle cuisine had not been invented yet.

It brings back delicious memories: mother sitting in her kitchen on her low stool holding a big bowl close to her body stirring the dough with a large wooden spoon. No cuisinarts, osterizers or mix-masters around to make life easier! After her death I found the mixmaster I had given her the way I had wrapped it.When she baked she tried to get me out of the kitchen but would keep the bowl for me to lick clean. I can still taste that dough and smell it. She lived until her 89th year on this kind of diet. One of my uncles got to be 103 and I remember my lovely maternal grandmother in her long white apron making fabulous dishes on an old-fashioned stove. I have a faded hand-written notebook with recipes my mother prepared before her marriage. Girls had to know how to cook before tying the knot in those days. “Love goes through the stomach” (Liebe geht durch den Magen) was what they were taught.

Going through my fridge now and deciding on fat-free cottage cheese and a lettuce leaf I feel virtuous but emotionally challenged.


Picking the right trip for a single senior

Ever since I lost my husband I've traveled alone and thoroughly enjoyed my trips. Sadly, my recent riverboat cruise on the Danube did not match my expectations.

At the Captain's 'Welcome Cocktail Party' I knew I had chosen the wrong cruise. I was the only elderly female and nobody came to the rescue as I stood in a corner with a glass in my hand. This would never have happened to a man! I felt like an immigrant: sink or swim! The Danube isn't exactly swimmer-friendly! Nor is it blue. This most serenaded and venerated river, considered by some as a metaphor for life, is smelly, has a sickly greenish colour, and drags pounds of algae. Pollution has caught up with it.

The dining room tables were elegantly set for 2, 4, 6 or 8 but the maitre d' was nowhere to be seen. I fled to my cabin and opened the windows wide. ­ The splashing sounds of the river lolled me to sleep.

The riverboat was brand new but its architect had not discovered a sensible location for the only fuse box on my deck. It was housed in my closet. I was disturbed several times by a hunk of an electrician trying to fix somebody else's blown fuse just as I'd emerged from the bathtub wrapped in my towel. He told me arrogantly that he had not designed the ship. It occurred to me later that he could have been Jack the Ripper and nobody would have missed me!

The 20-day trip started in my favorite place, Prague. It was so crowded that I could barely maneuver my way across the famous Charles Bridge. Massive crowds blocked the view to the Moldova River and the hurdy-gurdy blaring 'New York, New York' was irritating. I spent hours in Prague's famous Jewish quarter. The ancient Jewish cemetery with about 12,000 tombstones, clustered into a small space, is so unique, moving and peaceful. In Salzburg 'The Sound of Music' had taken over from Mozart!

The second half of the cruise took us through the Balkans and the Iron Gate to the Black Sea, which was blue! This is rough territory of awe-inspiring beauty. Its complicated history is soaked in blood and full of rage, superstition, corruption and war. Some actually believe that Dracula, cruelest ruler of the 15th century, is still haunting the area. At his tomb on the Romanian island Monastery at Snagov I wondered whether it was empty. Did Dracula ever exist or is he just a frightening figment of the imagination, good for Hollywood?

By that time two couples had invited me to dine with them. We didn't share a lot in common but had some good laughs and this, together with a visit to a trendy beauty parlour in Vienna, helped my state of mind.

I blame myself for not doing enough research before signing on. My recommendation to anyone who travels alone is to find out beforehand what to expect, especially if you're a senior and single.

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Air travel - even less convenience and no corner left uncut

I heard a rumour that a bill may be tabled before the House of Commons proposing that airlines be “nicer” to passengers. Perhaps this may encourage my country’s airline to stop serving those awful five-dollar sandwiches straight from the freezer that could demolish anyone’s teeth, for starters.

I recently completed a transatlantic flight and do not recommend it to anyone, let alone a senior person. It is a living nightmare. You and your luggage cart – if you can find one – must squeeze through massive crowds, dodging inconsiderately strewn backpacks, parcels, baby strollers, teddy bears and balloons. You may fall flat on your face trying to avoid trash on the slippery floors, or keep from colli­ding with someone stubbornly hanging on to a mop. It’s hard to get into any washroom anywhere – you could easily have an embarrassing accident waiting, hopping up and down and praying with lineups all around – the result of poor airport design and management.

Passengers are helpless these days, and it isn’t going to improve any time soon. Flights are going to be much more expensive, many are being cut, and we are warned to book our holiday travel earlier and earlier.

My country’s airline tells us to book our tickets online, pick our seats, label our baggage, then check ourselves in at the airport. The “à la carte” pricing strategyallows picking a better seat for a fee of $10. However, in the roomier emergency-aisle row, it costs $15. In that spot, your help will be required in case of an emergency.

To get advice at the airport, they’re now planning to provide a professional helper for $35. A charge of $25 applies for one checked bag. The bottom line is that there are three types of classes from now on: business class, economy class with help and/or better seats, and third-class citizens in basic economy having to fend for themselves and show up prepared for no food, no film, and no space. Are you ready for air rage? Better smile or security may spend extra time on you, and they aren’t all that friendly at the best of times.

I heard on TV that some airlines arereducing their arrival fuel “cushion” – the extra 60 to 100 minutes worth added for safety’s sake – to cut costs, over the objections of pilots and dispatchers. Gives one a real sense of security! What if a plane has to turn back or emergency land? Just let it dive? I trust pilots won’t give in to something so dangerous – they want to live too.

Frank Sinatra’s “Come fly with me, we’ll fly, we’ll fly away” is no longer romantic – not nearly as cozy as it was once upon a time, but nostalgia will get me nowhere… Nobody really wants to fly these days, but we have little other choice unless we learn to walk on water or grow wings.

As a postscript, just a warning: landing at PET airport I observed that many taxis refuse passengers with luggage. It took me over half an hour to find one, whose driver then resented me all the way home!


A gift horse should not be looked in the mouth

June is bursting out all over… How clever of my parents to have let me enter this world in June, the month of roses, strawberries and romance.

As a little girl I loved my birthdays, couldn’t wait for them, and counted the days. My unwrapped gifts, carefully displayed on a white damask tablecloth, with a big bunch of sweet-smelling garden roses in the middle – the special gift from my father – are an unforgettable memory. I would have birthday parties for my friends in the afternoon with hot chocolate and fancy little cakes, and quite often my father would come home from work early to celebrate. After everybody had left I’d preserve some of the soft cool rose petals in one of the books I had received. It was all about fun and gifts then. Now I know I am celebrating the gift of another year of life.

It’s gifts I want to talk about. So often it’s hard to find the right one, even for one’s best friends. My mother habitually exchanged every gift she ever received – it was a family joke. Her presents were handed over with a grin and the comment, “You can exchange it.”

I have given the wrong gifts from time to time and one instance stands out with some discomfort. I thought that a friend who collects shells and loves them would enjoy Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s book Gift from the Sea. I was wrong. She obviously didn’t like it. “That’s not my kind of book at all,” she commented. It upset me because it happens to be one of my favorite books. I had ordered it well in advance and it took weeks to come. She couldn’t know that, of course, but the experience taught me to give book gift certificates instead. One Christmas, I put a selection of fancy teas together for someone else. It didn’t hit the spot either. “You should know we do not drink tea” – I probably should have. In England hostesses are supposed to know who among their friends take milk and even remember how many teaspoons of sugar are required, if any.

Chocolates are a reasonable choice but the recipient had better not be on Weight Watchers. It’s tricky to give Eau de Toilette to anyone – too personal. Scarves and belts are neutral – that is, if you know the belt size. Gift certificates for movies or a spa may be a good choice but could cost you more than you planned to spend. A new gadget perhaps? I hate gadgets I have to study unintelligible manuals for. A colourful umbrella makes a nice present but not for a superstitious recipient, as they might with opal stones if not presented in October. What about vases, cushions, or photo frames? Perhaps boring but fairly safe. Of course there are always flowers or lunch or dinner out, or an invitation to a concert or a well-reviewed play.

The nicest present I ever received was from my children for my retirement: a shiny tiny Scottish terrier wrapped in a Scottish blanket with a large silk bow on top, resting in a cardboard box. I loved that dog on sight but he was a biter. He followed me around wherever I went and at news time we watched together. Sadly one day he bit a child… I still miss him! Hopefully, when I can no longer travel, I’ll make myself a present of another dog for unconditional and reciprocal love. In the meantime, I enjoy other people’s dogs.

From all the staff at The Senior Times, Happy Birthday to our dear Ursula.


Ageism makes bad situation worse

Flipping through channels one evening to find something pleasant to look at, I caught a panel discussion on a German channel on the subject of smoking. A new law in Germany had been tabled to forbid smoking in public places, and was causing considerable controversy.

One panelist mentioned an 88-year-old woman dying of heart disease as a result of smoking, prompting another to remark, “Well, how long should she have li—” before cutting herself off on account of some raised eyebrows.

I was incensed and unashamedly wished that she would find herself in an unwelcome position one day. She must have been about fifty and her green Dirndl dress certainly did not distract from her wrinkles in spite of heavy make-up.

It brought home to me the reality of being a senior once more: the impatience, disrespect and tactlessness too often thrust upon this segment of the population. Not so long ago, some youngster actually asked me whether I had thought about my own death!

This attitude was reflected in a recent accident I experienced: a young woman in a Cadillac Escalade rammed into the driver’s side of my brand new Honda Civic while turning a corner.

The damage to my car was significant, but the state I was in was worse. I had watched in horror as my windshield crunched and crumbled, and it hit me that I had just been about five inches away from being severely hurt or killed. My anger and fright showed — I reacted furiously.

A cheerful young man came running out of the house opposite and, pointing at me, said, “I saw it, I was on my roof, she ran a red light.”

The young woman asked him to be a witness and he enthusiastically complied. That settled it. The police were called, and upon arrival ignored me and the horrendous damage to my vehicle.

When they finally addressed me they were arrogant and condescending. I was old and in shock, and when you are old you are guilty! You shouldn’t be driving! Nobody asked me whether I needed anything or whether I was alright until my son arrived.

To add insult to injury I was handed a $150 ticket for running a red light, based on nothing but the word of the witness on the roof and the young woman. I have never had an accident in my driving life of over 50 years and no one even checked the view from the roof to confirm what the young man could have actually witnessed.

When the young constable who handed me the ticket finally looked at the damage that the elegant truck had inflicted, he commented, “She must have hit you hard” — a diagnosis confirmed by what it cost to repair.

I often think of that moment, and still have that uncomfortable feeling in my stomach — of having been treated like someone who doesn’t matter.

If you have been treated unfairly because of your age, we would like to know. Please send your story to


Winter past and winter present

It's April and by now spring should have sprung. Even devoted snow lovers must feel enough is enough! I believe that Mother Nature keeps sending the world strong messages to stop destroying our planet. It's hard to blame the government for the winter wonderland that outstayed its welcome this year. We can't even let off too much steam at the city administration for the slow snow removal. However, their outrageous idea to impose an additional tax for this essential service is unacceptable. Last year we had practically no snow and it should all balance out!

Returning from my winter break I could hardly find my front door.

Mountains of snow had hidden it from view. I quickly recognized that I must plan my agenda according to the weather report and prepare myself to be a prisoner in my house once again. This will cause me cabin fever and severe snow rage!

I kept thinking about Hans Christian Andersen's sad fairy tale about the poor little matchgirl trying to sell matches in the bitter cold, dressed in rags, with no shoes, no gloves, hungry, frightened and watching a fat family behind a lit window, carving a roasted goose stuffed with prunes and apples. The next morning she was found frozen to death, but with a smile on her face. I did not have a smile on my face listening to the howling winds around my house. It sounded like the orgasmic outbursts of a bunch of unruly cats and I quickly put on Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream to drown it out.

When we came to Canada from England in 1951 the winters here were more severe than they have been over the last few years. I remember watching our little boy playing in deep snow, and pulling him on a sled on Mount Royal. A rich relative pointed out that I did not have a proper winter coat and presented me with her old skunk fur. It weighed a ton but kept me warm. However, whenever it got wet it stank and this has taught me to identify an uninvited skunk hiding underneath my porch. On a walk with my little dog during "skunk time" I carried a tin of tomato juice just in case we should get caught in the spray!

There was a heavy storm in 1971 when we couldn't get home from work but managed to find a room in the lovely old Windsor Hotel. We had a lot of fun together with other good-natured storm victims. The same happened during the ice storm of 1998. Why does it all seem so much worse now and no fun at all?

For the elderly the winter months present serious problems. Inadequate public transportation, long line-ups in the ERs, and the frustration, isolation, and general lack of courtesy and respect doesn't contribute to a feeling of well-being.

I fervently hope that by the end of May the snow will have melted, that there will be no floods, that we shall see a green blade of grass and perhaps a confused snowdrop or crocus showing its face.

I can't wait for some soft, short and sweet April showers to get caught in. I shall enjoy every raindrop with a smile and sing.