By Mike Wilson
For nearly 40 years, readers of the Confederate were treated to the heart-warming, funny and touching columns by former editor Lynne Turner in her weekly column Salt And Pinnegar.
Now readers of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series of books are getting a taste of Turner’s work with her short story, The Eighty-Year-Old Volunteer, in the latest edition of the series called Volunteering and Giving Back.
According to a press release from the book’s publisher, the book “is filled with stories about passion and purpose – from people who are passionate about their volunteer work and their charitable giving, passionate about the new purpose they have found in their lives and passionate about what volunteering has done for them.”
Turner’s story is about her mother, who after working as a, healthcare aide at an “old folks home” was forced to retire at age 65 (the then-mandatory retirement age in Ontario), returned there to volunteer for the next 15 years.
In the story, Turner talks about the pride that her mother had for her volunteer work with the “dear old souls,” who were often younger than her, at the home.
“The story is similar to what my columns were about,” said Turner.
“My family and friends knew that they weren’t safe when I was writing,” she added with a smile.
After leaving The Confederate in December 2013 to pursue other interests, Turner said that she found herself missing writing. After searching online, she found that Chicken Soup for the Soul was taking submissions for their latest instalment, so she got to work writing.
She submitted a few different stories to the publisher in early 2015, and heard from them in May that one of her stories had been selected.
“I submitted a couple of different stories to them,” she said. “And Mom made it in.”
Released on Aug. 18, Volunteering and Giving Back marks the first time that Turner has been published in a book.
“I was really pleased that they chose to publish one of my stories,” she said.
The book was also released on Turner’s 60th birthday, which was “a pretty good birthday present” she said.
Turner has wasted no time working on more stories. In early August the Chicken Soup publishers contacted her to say that another one of her stories will be appearing in the upcoming Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Possible, which hits shelves on Oct. 6.
That story is about her time as a “flag girl” – the girl who holds the stop sign on a highway construction site – and how she put herself through Ryerson University with that job.
Turner is also working on some other writing projects. She feels that she has been fortunate to be able to do what she has done for 40 years.
“I always liked writing stories,” she said. “I always felt like I never had a ‘job job.’”
“And I don’t want to have to get one!” she said with a laugh.
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Volunteering and Giving Back is available now anywhere books are sold.