Tuesday, October 25, 2016

the barking

My mom had dozens of cousins.
You run the risk of that sort of thing if you have a proliferation of aunts and uncles and my mom had aunts and uncles aplenty.
One uncle followed his fathers fine example and (almost) singlehandedly produced ten children. Ten cousins for my mother... and there were eight more assorted aunts and uncles all doing likewise.
When the dust settled, there were several dozen cousins wandering in and out of Great Grandma and Grandpas farmhouse.
When you have that much going on, what difference would a batch of puppies... or two make?
None at all.
Bring on the barking.

arms full

My mother's grandparents lived far away, over the Rocky Mountains.
A province away.
A long train trip away.
The year my mother turned 12, she traveled with her younger sisters by train from Blue River, B.C. to Carstairs, Alberta to visit her grandma and grandpa.
Just the three little girls.
It was the first and last time.
For that brief moment in time, my mother was both old enough to be responsible for her little sisters, yet young enough to travel free.
And what perfect timing; puppies were there to play with on the farm.
My great grandparents raised Border Collies so a fresh batch of puppies was nothing new to them.
They were new to the little girls though.

Bet it's pretty hard to feel homesick with your arms full of puppy.

Monday, October 24, 2016


Is watching hockey considered an aerobic exercise? I was just wondering because I know my heart rate goes up and stays that way....
It was my grandson's hockey tournament this weekend. I kept having to remind myself to breath.
Kept having to remind myself of the healthy benefits of team sport even whilst I winced and cringed and blinked rapidly.
My grandson loves hockey.
He scored a dizzying number of goals.
Encouraged his team mates.
Was MVP twice.
Skated forwards and backwards and sideways and up and over and around and even through, to do what had to be done.
It was all serious business.
Serious fun.
And for us watching, serious stress.
My daughter bruised both of her thumbs. From clapping she thinks.
I was preserved from shrieking myself hoarse by having a sleeping baby on my lap for the final medal game.
I tried to express my deepest emotion through facial expressions alone.
I'm sure I could go viral if someone had cared to record it.
We were all wrung out as limp as dishrags after each game whilst being keyed up at the same time. Someone needs to coin a phrase for that feeling.
I know I join a vast throng of hockey fans who are watching hockey in arenas all across Canada.
Watching children.
Watching them play and work and learn.
And our heart is truly in it.  

side by side

This is a picture of my great grandparents, Rufus and Minerva Ray. It was taken smack dab in the middle of the thirties; the dirty thirties on the bald old prairies. The dirty, dusty, desperate thirties. They were resourceful people, my ancestors. One of their many endeavors to keep bread on the table was raising working dogs; Border collies. I love this photo of them standing side by side, a puppy in each of their arms.
I can see my uncle in my great grandfather's face and my own grandmother and mother in Minerva's face.
My great grandfather's jacket looks like it has made a trip or two to the barn.
His hands are firm, hers gentle. 

that way

This picture is more than eighty years old. It was snapped in Drumheller in the mid-thirties. My Dad is third from the left in the back row.

My eyes go to his face like a moth to the light. It is the youngest picture I have of him. He is probably 14 or so. I can see in his face the man he became. His determined chin. His gentle eyes. His fabulous hair. He was a never a large man; graceful but strong, a natural athlete.
He was a huge hockey fan all of his life. He would hunker in front of the TV winter evenings and cheer and sigh and shift and shout and twitch and groan and run his hands through his hair. He always had something to say about the plays too. Hockey is a team sport that way.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Want to feel as homely as a mud fence? No? Well don't look in the mirror at the Hair Dressers then.
For goodness sake, avert your gaze. Otherwise you'll find yourself staring in disbelief, your eyes locked on your homely self.
Hair, wet and lank and limply hanging about your ears.
A mysteriously developed double chin.
A haunted look.
Mirror, mirror on the wall....
Hey, remember when the Hair Dressers used to be called the Beauty Parlor.
Well, I suppose.
Not during though.
Definitely NOT during.

Cuteness can be so elusive.
My little granddaughter has only been four a short week.
"I don't want to grow up," she lamented. "I want to stay cute and little."
"Cute and little?" I say, surprised.
"You'll always be cute," I assure her.
"You'll be cute even when you're a little old lady."
I smile confidently.
"No I won't," she says shaking her head. "You aren't, Gramma."


Sunday, October 9, 2016

fullness of life

'Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough....it can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend..'
M. Beattie

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Melody Beattie
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_thankful.html