Rare are the occasions I check the ingredients of products. I don’t even look at instruction manuals for tools I buy, until after I discover they aren’t working as well as they are supposed to . . . it’s a guy thing!
The other day in the shower, my eye, for some inexplicable reason, locked onto the large list of ingredients printed on the side of the shampoo dispenser.
Until then I simply assumed shampoo bottles contained ‘soap’ along with a little bit of scent to make my hair smell like a tropical isle. But the list of stuff that until now I’ve been innocently lathering on my scalp almost defied belief.
I am compelled to detail the contents, which I must confess sound like Greek (with a smattering of Latin and French).
Aqua (marketing talk I assume for ‘water’), sodium laureth sulfate, cocamidopropyl betaine, cocamide MEA, guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, cymbopogon schoenanthus extract, salvia officinalis extract, triticum vulgare (wheat/ble), germ oil, macrocystis pyrifera extract, pollen extract, saponaria officianlis leaf/root (feuille/racine) extract, citric acid, methycellulose, tea-lauryl sulfate, propylene glycol distearate, sodium steareth-4 phosphate, polysorbate 20, propylene glycol, tetrasodium EDTA, parfum, sodium chloride, methychloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, methylparaben, propylparaben, guanine and (finally) acid yellow 23!
Now if you gave up on that list after the third incomprehensible word, I don’t blame you. But doesn’t it give you the willies about what we put on our bodies, and conceivably what may be contained in the stuff we put in our mouths?
No wonder the label also notes: Keep out of reach of children!
So while an astounding combination of things go into creating the products we consume, it is as equally amazing to discover the ingredients that go into making a community.
This weekend I attended three events that highlighted just how important are the parts that make us, as a community and a society, whole.
Friday night a ‘retirement roast’ for my friend and philanthropist Dave Holmberg: the impact he has had was exemplified by the more than 200 people who attended, heaping praise and offering up a little humorous ‘scorn’ on a man who, aside from his business, has given so much to the community he loves.
Holmberg’s generosity truly knows no bounds, and he has contributed, often very quietly, to the less fortunate, to the development of our city, to all manner of things that make where we live a better place. And he has done it with his time, his money, his equipment and with the help of his family. Friday was a time of honour to him, and a time of thanks from all of us. Additionally, the event was a significant fundraiser to help develop a much-needed end-of-life palliative care facility in our city.
On Saturday I joined the celebration of the 80th birthday of another often overlooked contributor, who gave much of his life in service to our community. Harry DeJong served us as municipal councillor, as mayor, MLA, cabinet minister and, for many years, president of Agrifair.
Harry was a humble dairy farmer when I first met him, yet he developed into a remarkable politician, never losing an election and always working in the spirit of what was best for our community and our future.
The third event of my weekend was attending birthday celebrations for two of my neighbours’ granddaughters who will one day play a role in how our future unfolds. Also at that little party was great grandma, who has lived nearly all her life here. She is 98, still mobile, still able to joke and make teenage kids laugh.
It is people like her, like Holmberg, DeJong and all the aging ex-mayors such as George Ferguson, Dave Kandal and George Peary who paid homage to the latter two at their events of recognition who have made us what we are. The kids will be the ones who will decide where we go from here.