Tag Archives: Poem



Before I retire for the night, I take for granted that I’ll wake up in the morning and go about my ordinary life—my sleeping, eating, working, and walking-around-life.

But today, I’m reminded of my mortality.

The First Reason

A neighbor and friend, Orville Hughes, passed away on Sunday morning (God granted him 95 years on this earth).

Seven years ago, he was the first neighbor to rap his knuckles on our farmhouse screen door.

After gingerly opening the door, I thought, I’m definitely in farm country.

The elderly farmer pressed his thumbs into the back of his denim overalls. “Welcome to the neighborhood,” he said.

My hubby and I will always remember Orville as the neighbor, farmer, and the friend who showed love with his simple act of kindness.

The Second Reason

Shortly after 8:00 a.m., on a frigid February 2nd morning in 1945, sixteen miners stepped into a lift cage.

With helmet beams lit, they began their descent into the pit of darkness—just another ordinary day to dig for gold in muck and clay.

My grandfather, Eero Kohtala, is in the middle.

My grandfather, Eero Kohtala, is in the middle.

The cage was outfitted with an emergency stop system called “dogs”. The “dogs” job was to grip the timbers on the sides of the shaft should the cables ever break.


The “dogs” malfunctioned, sending the cage to plummet 1,500 feet. My grandfather and fifteen other miners lost their lives that day.

An earlier photo of The Paymaster Mine Site taken in 1938. My grandfather is in the second row, fourth from the right.

An earlier photo of The Paymaster Mine Site taken in 1938. My grandfather is in the second row, fourth from the right.

The Paymaster Mine Tragedy was reported to be the greatest mining disaster in Northern Ontario, Canada.

Today is the 71st anniversary of my maternal grandfather’s death—a grandfather I never got to hug. And my mom was only seven-years-old when he died.

All that remains are newspaper clippings, family stories, and the book I compiled and wrote for my mom for Mother’s Day, May 11th, 2014—The Kohtala & Hakala Legacy.

Here’s one of those entries. (Sorry, this WordPress site wouldn’t allow me to insert lines between each stanza).


Tracy Campbell

Down, down, down,

Men toil all day,

Dig for gold

In muck and clay.

Down, down, down,

No time for play,

Miners sweat

For meager pay.

Down, down, down,

Write on this page—

Sixteen miners

Step in a cage.

Down, down, down,

Men, weary worn,

Cage door creaks

One frigid morn.

Down, down, down,

Torn cables snap,

Gloomy thoughts,

We’re in a trap! 

Down, down, down,

Lift cage drops,

Plummets fast,

Blasting stops.

Down, down, down,

Shriek, old and young,

“Help us!” heard

In mother tongue.

Down, down, down,

Torches lit,

Crowbars bend,

Friends don’t quit.

Down, down, down,

No helmet beams,

Loss of breath,

Ends miners’ dreams.

Up, up, up,

Prayers of strife,

Mother, child,

Plead for life.

Up, up, up,

Sirens blare,

Bodies rise to

Greet despair.

Up, up, up,

God knew why,

Eased each painful,

Desperate cry.

Up, up, up,

Cast in bronze,

Miners’ shrine

Gleams like dawn.

Down, down, down,

Tears freely flow,

Lives endure,

As memories glow.

Porcupine Miners Memorial

Porcupine Miners Memorial

The ten-foot bronze statue was erected in 2008 in remembrance of miners who lost their lives over the past 100 years.

The inscription reads:

A…memorial to those who died

A…monument to the families who survived

A…tribute to those who continue.

Before typing this post, I read the following verse in my trusty guidebook—a reminder for me to thank God for each new day.

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.” Romans 12:1, MSG

Do you embrace each day like there’s no tomorrow?




P.S. Send a card or give a gift to those you love. Visit My Whimsical Shop for ideas.

DO YOU TAKE YOUR LIFE FOR GRANTED? first appeared on Tracy Campbell’s blog.



Dear God,

It’s me, Indy.


Patches, my furry best friend, died Tuesday while my parents and I were at Aunt Barb’s cottage. But you know that already.



Even though me, Mum and Pop are sad and blue, thank you for answering Mum’s prayers—the three, I overheard her ask you a few weeks ago.

  1. Mum wouldn’t have to make the decision to put Patches to sleep,
  2. Patches wouldn’t feel any pain when his time on earth was up, and
  3. She wouldn’t be alone when it happened.

And, thank you for giving Patches a burst of energy that morning even though he did steal my dog treat.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

P.S. Will you please you read Patches my poem?


My Dear Harley Dude

I come to the back door alone,
While my tail drags on the deck board,
And your bark I miss, and that whisker kiss,
And Mum and Pop are floored.

And they cry with me, and they sigh with me,
And they tell me you’re not alone,
For the toy I chewed, my dear Harley dude,
Is buried with your bone.

The Dog Daze of Summer - Indy and Patches - July 20, 2014

O Patches, we miss you so.

”Always be full of joy.  Never stop praying.  

Whatever happens, always be thankful.

This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus.”

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Week 3 – Summer Short & Sweets – Are You Up For The Challenge?

Week 3 – Summer Short & Sweets – Are You Up For The Challenge?

The 3rd installment of Summer Short & Sweets was tougher. At least for me.

Did I harbor thoughts of backing out?

No way. But I admit it’s taken me longer to come up with something half decent. I’m blaming it on my wacky, whirlwind weekend. Read the rest of this entry

Why Celebrate Mother’s Day?

Why Celebrate Mother’s Day?

Courtesy of www.bing.com


M…Mothers are the best

O…Older, smarter, and wiser

T…Tough love they dish out

H…Hearts brimming with love

E…Earnestly wanting what’s best

R…Ready to listen, day or night

Read the rest of this entry

Do You Make Time For Family & Friends?

Do You Make Time For Family & Friends?

On April 1st, I received a text from my neighbour and friend. Her healthy, two-year-old, house bunny died from a massive heart attack.

I never understood why pet lovers made such a fuss over their animals. Now that I own two dogs—Indygo, a Chinese Crested Powder Puff (no, that’s not a delectable dish), and Patches, a Shih Tzu, I get it.

I wrote this tribute to Olivia, her bunny, hoping my friend finds comfort. Read the rest of this entry