Monday, November 13, 2017

just as surprised

My grandson has a giant black hockey bag; an entire dressing room on wheels that goes to and from arenas with him. Hockey players don't travel light. They sure don't travel light.
No surprise there.
But this morning my grandson did get a surprise.
A stow away.
In his bag.
My daughter told us he appeared suddenly in the doorway to the dressing room with a big grin on his face, and his little sister's doll in his hand. The doll was especially girly, clad all in fluffy pink, and with a hood too, so that she seems to have planned ahead. Arenas are cold places.
Her owner was just as surprised to see her.
Hockey isn't just a team sport.
It's a family snapshot.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

lining up

This photo was taken in 1917 and is not a group of women lining up to audition for Mary Poppins. They are actually lining up to vote, and my great gramma is there on the left, her hat tipping just enough to keep the light out of her eyes.
By the time this picture was taken in Westcott, Alberta, she had been an immigrant, a pioneer, a farmers wife and mother to ten children, her eldest a soldier.
One hundred years ago the law of the land said my gramma was a person.



Tuesday, November 7, 2017

time perhaps

The soldier boy is my father.
He was still a teenager.
A boy on the brink.

World War II is history now.
Decades have swept along.
A life time.
I remember when I realized for the first time that I was born only a dozen years after World War II ended. Twelve years isn't long at all. You can almost reach back and touch something that recent.
My parents didn't talk about those years when I was young.
It took the balm of passing time perhaps.

Decades later, he spoke of his comrades.
He remembered his years away.
It was something he never forgot.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


 "Could we have a tornado here?' he asks soberly.
"Mmmm, probably not. Tornado's prefer wide open spaces and we have mountains all round us..."
"Could we have a hurricane?" he asks again, just as soberly.
"Hurricanes need warmer seas than we have here," I say. "They need warm water to meet up with cold air. We don't really have that this far north.
"What about a Typhoon," he asks.
"It's the same," I say.
"What about an earthquake," he asks, already knowing. "Could we have an earthquake here."
"Well, yes, that could happen. We do live near a fault line."
"Oh, that makes me remember something," he says, his face brightening.
"Gramma, what did one earthquake say to the other."
"Ummm, You crack me up?" I say hopefully. "Give me a break?" I try and try but in the end he has to help me out.
"It's not my fault," he declares.

"...humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tight-rope of life."
William Arthur Ward

Monday, October 16, 2017

can you

This close-up is from a family photo taken in the 1890's.
It's my great grandmother's littlest brother.
His name was Jesse.
Doesn't he look wise and wonderful?
Can you love someone you never knew?


Always watch out for jay walkers.
Especially small ones.
Especially four legged pedestrians.

Winding up the hill from River Road, the woods press in.
Trees lean.
Undergrowth is dark and deep.

He didn't even pause.
Just dove onward.
Little rippling weasel.
He seemed to glide onto the road like a ribbon pulled by some invisible hand.

I tried not to brake too hard or swerve.
Safety first, right?
I squinted and held onto the steering wheel, my eyes unable to avoid the rear view mirror.

Oh, there he was.
Safe and sound.
He'd run in a circle like a wind up toy and was heading for the far side of the road now.
Rippling over the grassy verge.
Gone from sight into the tangle of blackberry.