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Newsletter ~ October 2020

The theme for me this month is Gratitude...  

On October 12, Canadians will celebrate Thanksgiving.  2020 kicked us hard and for many it will be harder than usual to give thanks and show gratitude.  Not me...I am feeling more gratitude these days than I have felt for years.  I am grateful to governments and public servants who looked to science and knowledge and made hard leadership decisions.  I am grateful to business leaders who put people ahead of profits and I am grateful to social enterprise groups who continued to support the vulnerable even with diminishing resources.


Note from Calgary Arts Development ...


One of the organizations that stepped up for the musicians in our town was Calgary Arts Development. During these hard times this organization under the leadership of Patti Pon has really been there for the arts in Calgary.  As a salute to the thousands of Calgarians who are living creative lives, Calgary Arts Development launched a web series to celebrate creative living in our city.

The Living a Creative Life web series, hosted by local activist and comedian Adora Nwofor and produced by Bamboo Shoots, will release a new episode twice a month, featuring stories of Calgarians living creatively.

So, a big gift for me when I came to Calgary  was the amazing music camp FAMI, where in my sixties, I found my voice.  

So I was grateful when approached to tell my story in an episode of Living A Creative Life.


The Smile behind the Mile ... Music Mile that is!


Notes from a Practice ...

As this brave new world continues to unfold and our workplace, organization and civic cultures continue to evolve, we may do well to explore the leadership and engagement practice side of our thinking and learning.  If you would like to learn more about these practical tools and practices in the book, drop me a line ...

My colleagues at Roy Group are continuing to open up their great work virtually in coaching and conflict resolution ... .


Here is an updated version of a piece I wrote some time ago...

As always, find your own leadership practice! and then find your community of practice!

Seed Potatoes ... lessons in gratitude
They would spend the winter in my grandparent’s root cellar and in my parent’s dirt floor basement.  They were the fall harvest of potatoes.
You could always find two distinct piles of potatoes.  The larger pile was for the winter’s eating.  The smaller pile would be the seed potatoes, held in trust down there until the warm breeze of spring and the new planting.
Generally it was a fine workable, closed loop process but one factor could throw it off and create big problems.

Hard Times ...
Read More of this Essay


Notes from a Poet ...

I am grateful for friends.  Doc Mehl is a good friend, a retired pediatrician, a songwriter and a cowboy poet who has written a new book called Good Medicine ... Read Two Poems and call me in the Morning.  

Just today, as I was reading my two poems, this one grabbed me by the heart and with his permission I will share it with you ...

you can find Doc at

The Great Depression
In junior high, while trying to complete a history lesson
At home, I asked my dad if he recalled the Great depression
Now Dad was usually helpful, but he answered, “Mostly no,
For I was awfully young back then.  I have one memory though.
I was just a little boy, ‘bout five years old-no maybe four-
When a family with three children showed up knocking at our door
Now our home was in the country.  We were far from any town
And weekday visitors, they almost never came around
But here stood five thin people.  They all looked like skin and bones.
And in one carpetbag, the dad had everything they owned.
With outstretched arms, the mother held the children by her side.
The father stood behind them.  I could sense his fading pride
The word “depression” paints the era, but it also paints the mood
See, a man feels pretty low, with first no job and then no food.
“Their clothes were worn and threadbare.  Their shoes? Some holes were showing.
No idea where they travelled from, nor where they might be going
“Pardon Ma’am” the father said, then slipped his hat down off his head

“It ain’t right for me to ask, but could these children have some bread?”
Asking for our food?  It seemed to me this man was crazy.
Just an unemployed freeloader, simply out of luck and lazy.
Heck, we were struggling too.  I guess ‘poor’ is what I mean.
Or you might say we were “dirt poor,” But that’s not bad as it seems
By ‘dirt poor’ what I mean is that we owned a piece of land.
And on that patch of dirt, we made a living with our hands.
Through the bounty of a harvest, we’d put food upon the table,
And Mom was going to show me that we’d share when we were able.
“Yes,’ my mama said, Yes of course please do come in.’
The she served each child a bread slice from the battered tin.
But then, to my surprise, those children tried to fill their bellies
With slices of dry bread, without some butter or some jelly!
Bread without some jam? I couldn’t fathom such a thing!
So, I whispered to my mama, and I asked if I could bring
A jar of jelly to the children.  Then her smile got big and bright, 
And she spoke to all the guests, “My friends, what say we do this right?”
So, I was sent to set the table with three different kinds of jam!
Mama carved a couple cucumbers and sliced some salted ham

I quick picked a bag of snap peas, and we scrubbed a dozen carrots
The children washed their hands, and then we all sat down to share it.
Then the family bowed their heads.  The mama cried into her sleeve.
The daddy prayed, “Dear God, please bless this food we now receive.’
Then we had ourselves a feast!  That memory’s clear through years gone by.
I think I learned about the spirit of Thanksgiving that July
Those are my only memories about the Great Depression,”
Said my dad, and then he added, “But it sure taught me one lesson
Were we poor? Or were we rich?  Well there’s a fine distinction there.
I’d define it not by what you have-instead by what you share.”



Duly Noted ...

Remember to check out ... Once again, If you are a musician looking for info & assistance check out ... Please keep me informed of anything I may have missed ... 
Please note … you have received this newsletter simply because at some point our paths crossed.  It might have been through my engagement practice, my pottery practice, my song writing practice or maybe I just met you on the street in my capacity as the Street Corner Mayor of the Music Mile here in Calgary. 

Please enjoy and give me feedback on how I can do better.  You can email me directly at  If this sort of thing just annoys you, please hit the unsubscribe button!

Please have a safe, home based fall everyone!  Happy Thanksgiving.

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” – Anonymous


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Thank you for your support and taking time to read this newsletter!
~ Bob Chartier


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