Early in the twentieth century, newcomers from across the world arrived in Western Canada. Ollie was from Sweden as was his friend Henrick. Bill Selick hailed from the United Kingdom, sent by his family to forge a better life and get out of their hair. These new arrivals were referred to as remittance men. Eric Schumacher was a recent arrival from Germany. Gordon, a young Canadian-born school teacher, completed the roster.
On this occasion the task was to build a school. The need was clear, the construction skills not so much. Framing was progressing well enough as Ollie took to raising the ridge pole. Alas the structure began to show instability. Henrick , sensing a complete collapse, bellowed “Yump Ollie Yump”. Ollie’s loud and agonized reply was “How can I yump when I got no place to stood?”
One can relate to Ollie’s dilemma. Preparedness is fundamental. According to mothers everywhere, being prepared is the eleventh commandment, likely not included because there was no room left on the tablet. Consider the efforts made by a mother to prepare her child for life. When subtracted from everything, almost nothing is left.
Count the quotes. Be prepared to meet your maker; An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; Hope for the best, prepare for worst ; Good luck is the residue of prevention; To fell a tree in four hours spend the first two sharpening your axe.
Mistakes because of ill-preparedness abound. Most notable is the boneheads who designed and operated the nuclear plant at Chernobyl. Successes include the allied invasion of Europe in 1944. An unofficial motto was “If the enemy has one tank we must have ten”. Preparation was everything for an initiative where failure was not an option.
Preparing is a quixotic concept. For example if nothing ‘goes wrong, can this be attributed to extensive ground work ahead of time? A modern day example was the panic ahead of the digital world changing from the twentieth century to the twenty-first. Date and time systems were going to implode, resulting in massive disarray. We are left wondering if there was a problem in the first place.
Let us not lose sight of the value of blunders. Even a bad example contributes to the learning process.
Returning to Ollie; he was not prepared. If prepared he had been, then he would have had a place to stood before raising the ridge pole. The positive outcome is Ollie’s prophetic reminder to “make sure you have a place to stood before you yump.”