Our club meets

Every Wednesday evening except holidays and summer.

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Kings Way Care Centre, 8 Squire Drive in Quispamsis, NB (it's the seniors home on the Gondola Point Arterial) - in the Boardroom.

We'd love to meet you.

There are no meetings on storm days.

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My Buzzards, Bats and Bumblebees

The Entertaining Speaker, Speaking After Dinner Speech
by Gerry Higgins
presented January 23, 2007


Prepare an entertaining after-dinner talk on a specific theme. Deliver the talk extemporaneously, using the skills developed in the preceding entertainment projects.


I almost missed out on one of the greatest adventures of my life with my best friend. My best friend and I have had some rough patches over the years but nothing that would destroy our friendship.

Mother Nature has a very cruel way of letting us mortals know exactly where we stand. That life for us animal species is primeval and we pass these signals for survival from generation to generation in our DNA. It is a matter of habit, at least in the male of the species, for which is all I can really speak. These habits are what have kept our species and that of the animal kingdom from extinction. Our very survival has been based on the noble instinct to survive. Mating, hunting and socializing are all habits of our genome.

But where does nail-biting, smoking, work-a-holism and shyness fit in the “Survival of the Fittest.”

Fellow Toastmasters, we are bound, restrained and destroyed by our ancestors.


Did you know?

If you put a buzzard in a pen that is 6 feet by 8 feet and is entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of its ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of 10 to 12 feet. Without space to run, as is its habit, it will not even attempt to fly but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.

For many years I have been berated by parents, grand-parents, teachers and, yes, my best friend over my chronic nail biting. But can I do anything about it? It’s in my nature and it is all their fault! It is instinct. It’s a habit. A 60 year old habit that I have tried to quit so many times that you would need a colony of centipedes to have legs enough to do the count.

Like my buzzard friend, I have given myself lots of room to get a running start on each successive attempt to quit. And each time I run smack into the wall. Sometimes I think I have made this result a habit and that is why I can’t break it. It’s like the guy who keeps hitting himself in the head with a hammer because it feels so good when he stops. Am I that guy?

Unlike my buzzard friend, I keep looking up for the exit but the doorman keeps saying “You bite them, you grow them.”


Did you know?

The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkably nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.

For many years now I have been an ex-smoker and proud of it. This has greatly complicated my life. Think about it, I had the will power to go cold turkey at a time in my life when I was smoking two and three packages a day. My ancestors would have been proud; there was hardly a minute in the day that their habit didn’t put a cigarette in my mouth.

It was at this point that my best friend and I had one of those rough patches I spoke about earlier. Boy, was I irritable - and I let everyone know just how I felt! I think at that point I just wanted to choke each of my ancestors. They survived and so did I. Here I am 20 years later smoke-free and the provincial government will let me go anywhere.

Like my friend, the bat, most of us need a big push to get things done. How much more successful we are when, like my friend the bat, you just throw yourself at something, see what happens and watch yourself take off like a flash.


Did you know?

A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.

For many years I considered the relationship between employer and employee much like that of the worker bees (cousins of the cuddly bumblebees): keep your head down, work hard, stay in the background and you will be rewarded.

Like the bumblebee with your head down, all you are going to see is just what is in front of your nose. My best friend kept telling me to look up but I was way too busy for that. I had to get this project, the next one and the next done. There was no escape - before each project finished the next one was put in the pile on my desk.

Work-a-holism is perhaps the most devastating habit because it is more psychological. It makes you a prisoner in your own mind. Toastmasters widened my vision and I saw the escape my best friend had told me was there.

Getting out front was no easy task for me. I am not a naturally outgoing personality. I have had to work hard to achieve where I am. My best friend continues to remind me that I am not there yet.

Habits, mostly bad ones, cause you to withdraw inwardly from society.

Except for public speakers who use ahs and ums like they are going out of business, but I digress.

You lose your confidence; you continually berate yourself and your self esteem takes a real beating. And you choose to back away from doing things that you know you should.

That was my life as I came like a moth to the flame to my first Toastmasters meeting. It was my best friend who told me to go. On so many other occasions it has been my best friend who has helped me to escape the pen, the tumbler and has been there to throw me into the lion's den.

It was her pushing when I was flat and wouldn’t attempt to fly that caused me to soar straight into my dream of being District Governor. We shared the adventure at every turn - Toronto, New York and Washington - and she was by my side throughout. Our friendship grew and we learned that we could be together 24/7 and enjoy it (looking ahead to retirement).

This year will be a great year of celebration for us as best friends. We will each turn 60 (she is the elder but don’t tell her I said so) and August will be our 35th Wedding Anniversary.

All habits are not bad. Thanks to all my ancestors.

I will continue to work on “My Buzzards, Bats and Bumblebees”.

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