Robbie Strikes Again

There has been a flurry of conversations, emails and phone calls about the planned Robbie Burns Supper at the famous Terminal City Club here in Vancouver.

It’s the start of a new tradition for the St. Andrew’s & Caledonian Society.

I thought the lead up to this January 25th would be easy. With no Burns Reading Marathon to organize there would be no pressure or stress before the big day.

I thought wrong.

I should have seen this coming. As president of the St. Andrew’s & Caledonian Society I have been asked to recite one of Robbie’s poems as part of the evening’s program.

My reaction: well, that would ruin the evening.

Once again, dyslexia rears its hold over me.

My learning disability comes back to claim its place. No matter how far I’ve come with my workarounds and coping skills, the act of speaking complex words escapes me. I see the word, usually understand it’s meaning, and even hear others say it, but my brain doesn’t know how to get my voice to copy it. Simple everyday English words are fine but throw in some phrases written in the style from 1750 in Scotland and you have me crippled. My brain will misfire.

I’m contemplating the scope of this while shopping at the grocery store next door to the renowned Fraser Academy School. It’s lunch time and before I know it I’m surrounded by Hornets. That’s the school mascot and the emblem is on most of the student’s sweaters as they hover in the aisles, chatting away and looking for food to buy. I know the school well, my friend’s son went there and I’ve met many graduates.

I look at these young people with admiration and empathy, and hope they know how blessed they are. They’re safe at a place where they will learn how to get past their dyslexic burden and learn to cope much better than I ever did.

For me, school was a place of fear, never knowing when I would have to get up and read out loud. The panic of knowing I would not be able to voice many of the words floating before me on the page. The classroom was a place where I learned how to cheat to stay alive. A place where I knew I was going to fail.

If these students have those same fears, they are surrounded by teachers to take their hand and show them the way.

I bet each of these students would jump at the chance to recite the poem.

The secret is that I’m not that brave.

So why ruin a perfect meal.



5 replies
  1. Lin
    Lin says:

    Aw, I didn’t know that Tricia. Very hard school years then. I’m so glad thee is more awareness and more help for kids now. I hope you are able to say No, and find a suitable replacement who would love to recite… and let YOU enjoy the dinner!

    • Tricia
      Tricia says:

      Yes Lin… it is very good we are better in dealing with these issues now, I just with more children had access to what a great School like Fraser Academy can do!! You would not believe how amazing they are there! As for my recitation, I have seen that it is only four lines… I might start to memorize it over the these next few days to see if I can get comfortable with the words…. but even as I say this my stomach clenches!! BYW, I had a great chat with Uncle Ken!! He sounds so good.

  2. Deb
    Deb says:

    You are where you are now because you always did the stomach clenchers – you are so much braver than you ever give yourself credit for. True bravery is to be so very afraid…and realize it…and know why…but still go forward.

    You are forever my hero!

  3. Brenda J. Butler
    Brenda J. Butler says:

    I can second what Deb said – going through difficult things when you have no choice isn’t bravery. Bravery is doing it when you have a choice.

    Of course, you might prefer to enjoy your meal … doesn’t mean you’re not brave. It means you’re sensible : -)


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