"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Fire In The Hearth

So, on Christmas Eve I turned out the light, put my feet up, watched the fire burning and listened to the endless rendition of Christmas songs. The wood burned fast, flames licked high up the chimney and every now and then a two pointed poker appeared and re-arranged half burned logs or a hand put another in place.

Flames licked high and burning wood wood sparked loudly.It was very realistic except the pale bricks at the back of the hearth bore no trace of smoke.

I almost imagined my cheeks were hot. Except,I could not of course smell burning wood. Sparks have a way of shooting out from a fire and need to be snatched up fast and bounced in one's hand until thrown back.

It wasn't real of course. My television created the illusion.

It reminded me of a lifelong yearning. A fire had been the heart of every home in my life.

If weather became warm enough to do without ,the empty grate seemed dead and lifeless.The house is not the same without a fire or a mother.

Coal was the fuel. The hearth quite small. Furniture would be  arranged around the fire.

Before television, lights would be put out as we listened to the radio and conjured scenes from the words in our minds that television could never produce.

Before radio, older children told ghost stories and sang camp songs and we played guessing games like "My Grannie had a sweetie shop and in it she sold" Sweetie shops in Scotland were places of wonder. I think sweets were craved to make up for lack of sunshine.

I taught my children and grandchildren Grannie's sweetie shop game for long car rides and the dark and  spooky shapes of the forest around the camp fire.

Coal burns longer than wood. Flames are smaller with more colours. Coal produces gas and a ripping sound as it escapes.

Embers form and hold shapes and pictures, revealed only to the individual seen from a particular angle. Like clouds.

The fire was used  for cooking.The baby's bath would be set up in front of the fire, with blankets hung around to keep out the draft.

A coal mining breadwinner would stand in front of the fire to thaw out the clothes
frozen solid on the three mile walk home from the pit. A tin bath on the floor filled with kettles from the fire, waited to scrub his skin clean of the penetrating coal dust.

A muffler tied around the neck and cord around the trousers under the knee were attempts to keep coal dust out of every pore in their bodies. It didn't.

Brass and copper were arranged around the mantlepiece to augment the light from a gas mantle or an oil lamp and generate the feeling of warmth. Most of the heat went up the chimney.

The fire range would be polished every morning with black lead and the brass and copper kept to an equally high shine.

Houses were cold and damp.The wind off the sea whistled and howled and rain would be driven against the windows. The familiar intermittent sound of the fog horn was part of the element when a dense white mist rolled in and obscured everything.

A heavy curtain would hang inside the door to keep the cold out. When it had to be opened a long sausage pad at the bottom had to be shifted back and forth with the door

When we wrote notes to Santa in the days before Christmas, we threw them upwards. The heat would carry them all the way up the chimney.

It only made sense that Santa would get them.

Monday, December 20, 2010

My House

Is filled this morning with the aroma of crunchy morsels of a bllend of beef,veal and pork seasoned with onions, Worcester sauce, nutmeg,freshly ground pepper,sea salt and blended with soft breadcrumbs, moistened with eggs and milk.

With one pan,the frying continued for hours. The sauce was made the night before. The flavours of savoury,like a soup or stew,meld better from simmering,cooling overnight and simmering again. Ingredients were onions softened in oil and butter,ketchup,lemon juice, vinegar,yellow mustard,Worcester sauce,salt,pepper, brown sugar,chopped celery and green peppers.

I didn't count them but they filled the crock pot and still filled another dish.

Meatballs made with 6 eggs and 3 cups of milk milk are tiny souffles. They're not the same if allowed to cool and be reheated. They must be kept warm until served and a crock-pot is perfect for that happen.

Everything was transported to Heather's house where the Christmas gathering was held. We do it the week-end before. Then everyone is free to decide where to be on Christmas Day.

Great grandchildren twins, Reid and Claire were here from Tacoma, Washington.Their grandfather, my eldest son Stephen was absent for the first time in his life. He had stomach flu which hit him that morning.

Great grand-daughters Cheyanne and Abigail , were with us to contribute to the excitement.

My youngest son Andrew ,seventy miles apart from Stephen , was also laid low with the same complaint so was also absent.

His daughter Hayley was the guest of the parents of her best friend, who hosted an expedition to the Elgin Theatre for Beauty and the Beast. But Megan and Rhonda were there.

Grand-daughter Lizzie didn't make it . Lizzie lives in Oshawa. She has two degrees, a dog, a cat and an apartment. She works as a sales clerk in a health food store and does not own a vehicle.

Oshawa is not far away. But too far to scoop Lizzie, carry her here and transport her home again later. Parents, Martin and Marnie did that regularly when she was a student in Peterborough. They live in Barrie.

So Lizzie was missing and missed. We were together recently for Melissa's memorial service. Grand-daughter Stephanie proferred to collect Lizzie for the get-together. Stephanie lives in Sudbury. She had to get back there for work to-day and could not cram any more into her schedule.

It was a merry throng nevertheless. Heather's house is not large.Except for the little ones, there are no short people in my family. There are more males than females. Men love the kitchen.

Heather cooked turkey the day before.It was sliced and resting in an enormous warming pan purchased for the purpose.

The oven with a big red bow tied to the handle, was filled with vegetable dishes brought to the feast from various kitchens.Rhonda brought a dish of golden buttery scalloped potatoes.

Turkey broth,a new addition and very popular, and turkey gravy were simmering on the stove. A dish of milk with onions and cloves rested by the oven vent absorbing flavours and awaiting the addition of breadcrumbs, butter and cream at almost the last moment before serving.It's an English medieval sauce for turkey which combines well with cranberry.

Heather's freshly baked buns wrapped in napkins filled two enormous baskets.

Our hostess moved congenially between the giants who shifted slightly here and there to allow her to check that all was well. Robyn brought out the gigantic salad bowl on its own stand and tossed the Caesar salad.

Storm brought two rounds of brie wrapped in pastry to pop into the oven for the cheese to melt hot and creamy and be served with red pepper jelly.

Frank and Lorna brought crackers, an enormous variety of cheese and a new buttery crunch confection, freshly baked from a simple but incredibly delicious recipe.

It's been years since I allowed myself to be persuaded against the possibility of setting a nicely appointed table with matching china, fine flatware, crystal and plates warmed before serving

We eat from throw-away plates, plastic cutlery. Wine is served in glasses.

If there's a place at a table,fine,otherwise everyone seems to enjoy the feast and the company notwithstanding.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Sad Christmas Story

I remember Ian Agnew at Christmas. Every time I pass his house on Murray Drive I am reminded of unbearable sadness.

Ian and Rena had to wait a long time before they were blessed with a child. One Saturday night, at family skate a the community centre, I saw them skating around and around leisurely and happily. Each holding the hand of the little six year old girl between them. She was dressed like the beloved little doll she obviously was. Her rosy-cheeked little face encircled in white fluffy fur.

At around ten years old, weeks before Christmas, she became ill with a virulent form of measles. They took her down to Sick Kids. Within days she was gone. They came home with empty arms to a dark house, an unlit Christmas tree with presents gathered underneath for a child who would never come home again.

I saw them now and again out walking swinging hands together, engrossed in each other,oblivious to the world.

At the Community Centre one night in the back row,I was watching my son Andrew's hockey game. Ian was there hanging over the railing. He saw me and came over.

For more than an hour he talked to me about the trip he took to Scotland with his wee lassie, the summer before. She was introduced to all her Scottish relatives. He rented a car and together they went to all the places he always wanted to see but never had.

He was so grateful for that time they had, just the two of them.

I heard later he and Rena adopted an older child. I don't know how that worked out.

Ian retired and I saw him going up and down Murray Drive between his house and the house of a couple of elderly neighbour ladies. He cut the grass in the summer and shovelled the driveway in the winter.

Rena died of cancer. Ian eventually took another wife. Then he died too.

Now every time I drive past the house I think of them, especially at Christmas.

A couple of weeks ago I saw a story in the Star with a headline about lifestyle and twins.

A professional couple waited until they were established in their careers before
starting a family. When their first child was a suitable age, they decided it was time for a second.

They learned to their dismay, the second pregnancy was twins.They took the action available to them and had one of the twins destroyed.

I started reading the story because I have twin great-grandchildren and know something of what it's like having twins and remembering our surprise and delight when we learned they were on the way.It was the headline that attracted me

As the Star feature unfolded I realized it was a horror story.

My position on abortion has been ambivalent over the years. I would never do it myself. I would not advise anyone to take that path. But I would not judge anyone for making that decision.

I've changed my mind. The professionals who decided there was no place in their lives for their own child and had it destroyed are not natural humans.

The Star writer learned from the medical professionals who provide the service, the decision to destroy a fetus because a child does not fit into the planned designer lifestyle of its parents is not unusual and is in fact common practice.

Christmas is about celebrating the Birth of a Child.It's about gathering our children around us and doing whatever it takes to show appreciation for the blessings we enjoy.

So this year, gather them closer. Make sure they know they are loved and cherished. Because unnatural forces are around us would have them believe otherwise.

Friday, December 3, 2010

I Have To Go

We are attending a memorial service In Missuassaga. A girl of twenty- seven years has died.

Only a little while ago, we attended her wedding on a beautiful summer day in Ottawa. The setting was a golf course. The reception was outside. The colour theme was soft rose petal pink.

It was the first wedding of the third generation. We are a substantial crowd to-gether.

My grandson Adam started the dancing. He is a dancing fiend when the music starts.

Pretty soon other grandsons were drawn into the competition. Then the uncles' feet started to shuffle and shift.

Melissa and Myles took their vows. They promised to love and to cherish. The wedding was beautiful,no less for its joy and happiness.

Now she's gone. She was off work for a couple of days feeling ill. Other than googling symptoms online,she did not seek medical advice. She was twenty-seven for God's Sake. She was alone when she collapsed. She died before the ambulance reached the hospital.

What is there to say? Young people die every day. Some in accidents. Some in senseless violent crime. As if life has no meaning or value.

But life does have meaning.

Joy and happiness and new life give it meaning.

The finality of death and an empty chair give it measurement.

There is no comfort when it's snatched away before it has earnestly begun.

The grief must simply be endured.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Missing Post

I was pre-occupied by the upcoming Council meeting yesterday. Decisions from the Integrity Commissioner on two complaints filed against me for more-or-less telling you things about Council you had a right to know.

But that wasn't all. Other stuff happened.

A taxi representative spoke at the public forum. I had difficulty understanding what he was saying but he appeared to have a complaint. When I heard "Especially you, Madam Evelyn Buck" I sat up and listened ..

The gist of it was ,I think, that he felt he was being harassed by town staff.

I didn't get the connection to myself. So I asked. Didn't get an answer. But in response to a question by the presiding member, it transpired the Mayor has been paying a lot of attention to his troubles. Even stops by his place of business at two in the morning, to make sure everything is alright.

My guess is the Mayor connected me to the cab driver's troubles.

A second item was a report on a new lease for the Aurora Soccer Club.

I concerned myself at different times about the club. For twenty years they have occupied a property worth between one and two million dollars. It"s a highly visible, prime industrial site of five acres close to Yonge Street.

No rent or taxes are paid to the town. They came by it years ago in a Mayoralty race. Two candidates for the office fought for the credit of providing the club with a property for their exclusive use One described it as a "useless piece of property"

They have a neat little club house. The town lent them money to build it. They repaid the debt and improved the land. They acquired a license to serve booze.They have an excellent facility which provides thousands of people with many hours of physical recreation .

But they also provided parking for a school bus operation. That was against the rules.

I drew staff attention to the fact, as I have a responsibility to do. . But it took a couple of years for those buses to be shifted. .

During the World Soccer Tournament in South Africa, a great ugly board sign appeared on the town right- of -way outside to the property, inviting the public to enjoy the club's amenities.

Town businesses have to apply for a permit for such a sign. Display time is limited.

The Town's hospitality industry, pays taxes to the town and provides employment to its residents. They are governed by sign bylaws.

I referred the matter to town staff. I was advised the solicitor would review the "current" lease. . Next thing, last night, was presentation of a new lease along with a statement by the Soccer Club referring to the school buses and signs.

They claimed the buses were allowed to park as a community service. Signs always had town permission.

A dozen soccer club members attended last night's meeting. They arranged themselves in a solid phalanx in a back row of seats opposite myself. All that was missing were striped jerseys, bare knees, boots with cleats and arms folded in a determined fashion.

Aha... I thought so the boyos are here to show me what's what. My question about the sign had clearly been spread about. My persistent inquiries question about buses had obviously been passed on as well.

The Mayor's election victory party had been held at the club house.

It wasn't hard to connect the dots. I guessed the Mayor had been informed by staff , the club had been informed by the Mayor and the members presented themselves in force at the Council meeting.

But not quite. I finished the play. I stated the property value the club has enjoyed. I referred to businesses paying taxes . providing employment and struggling to make a living. They should not have to compete against a restaurant, a large screen television a liquor licence against a club that pays no taxes, rent or mortgage.

That's not fair. The club should govern themselves accordingly.

Some of them may hate me for saying it. Some may not. But one thing for sure, they heard it from me at a public meeting.

I missed the last meeting in June.

Apparently the Leslie Street residents who were horrified by the view of a the bottom of a baseball field light pole, who claimed friendship with the Mayor were there.

They too were encouraged to voice some unfriendly stuff about myself

It has as been a continuing pattern. Last term it started with Sue Walmer always with a following, to defend the Mayor against imaginary evil. .

This term Ms Walmer still appears and Sher St. Kitts and sundry others rally at the mayor's bidding.

Last night it was the cab driver and potentially the soccer club.

No doubt as the election gets closer, new enemies will appear that I don't even know I had.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Market Rating

The market was fantastic, the rain held and everyone was having a great time.

Once you've had Snowden Farm's meat pies its hard to go back to anything else.

We find 35-40 minutes at 375 is perfect.

Which kind did you get?

We stock up on the Steak and Guiness, and of course the Beef and Chardonay as John named it after our daughter Charlotte.

The pasta sauce and meatballs are also excellent, but a must is his sausage rolls, the combination of the pastry and the beef is excellent.

We've tried both flank steak in our slow cooker and it makes the most excellent pulled beef, of course he also sells his own too which is what we're having for dinner.


I had steak and onion......Mmmmm ........ mm .......mm.

The strawberries didn't even need sugar. Though I'm sure the juice would have been the perfect elixir.

Oh My God, there goes my diet again.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Beautiful Music

By my standards, if it brings tears to my eyes,or lifts my spirits, then it is superlative.

Memories from the musical Cats and Don't Cry for Me Argentina are in the first category.

I heard a few weeks ago, Andrew Lloyd Weber has been diagnosed with cancer. I find myself thinking of him and hoping he is making progress..

He can't be much more than fifty years old .It's hard to comprehend how one person can be responsible for so much that is so beautiful.What a gift.

Books are important. Art and sculpture too. But in terms of a universal infusion of joy, nothing comes close to music and a beautiful singing voice.

Second would have to be the ability to make people laugh.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Dinner Date

Adam and I had dinner together last night. His treat. I wore the earrings and necklace he bought me for Christmas and a red jacket to match.

He wore his sports jacket and black sweater. He's a cool dude.

We don't go out together as often as we used to.

Last night, Mum and Dad were at a barbecue to celebrate the success of the tournament.

Keenan and Robyn went up north to be with Grampa and Aunt Jill and her family. Grampa is missing Margaret terribly and the family gather around when they can.

Aaron was working.

So Adam was free to be with me. He had the game to watch after with a beer in his hand and nobody to tell him he couldn't have another one.

I thought about some of our times together. When he was small enough to sit on the steering wheel with his legs through the spokes.

When we played pat-a-cake. and impsey- wimpsey spider. His style of eating an ice cream cone. He simply dropped his face into it.

Later,when he was about four, I took him to Baskin and Robins and let him choose. I was never quick enough to stop him from getting away from me after. There was a games arcade a few doors up and he was gone in a flash making a beeline for the next excitement.

I always had to solicit the help of whoever was on staff to get him out of that place.

I thought I might stay with him last night. But Heather assured me he would be fine. He likes to be by himself, she said.

Every now and again, she comes home and everybody is accounted for except Adam. Nobody notices when he went or how long he's been gone.

He has a cell phone and answers it. But always manages to be cagey about where he is at. so that if anyone thinks of seeking him out, they won't know where to look.

They live close to the Mall and of course Yonge Street. There are lots of stores that interest him.

Pizza shops where he can buy a slice and a pop. He can go where he wants instead of tagging along where other people want to go.

Well, he's twenty-four years old now. We just have a hard time getting used to that.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Losing Confidence

I noticed the Marvelous Party post is here twice. I had to cut and paste to transfer it from my personal post to the political Now I have it twice. I'm afraid to mess with it in case I lose it

I tried to cut and paste another one about Figures Asked For, then that one appeared in a position I didn't expect.

Now it seems to have disappeared.

Now I think I will go and hang out my laundry which is something I know how to do quite well.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Morning Routine

For years after we arrived in Aurora, the Globe and Mail was delivered before we were up in the morning. We had the same delivery person and he never failed to have the newspaper on our doorstep by six a.m.

Then he gave it up. Probably went to University. The service became erratic. If I didn't get to read the Globe and Mail first thing, it was as if my day couldn't start.

Then the Toronto Sun was launched. The Globe and Mail changed to meet the competition.Not for the better.

The Toronto Sun was modelled on the Daily Mirror, a British tabloid. It was sized so that we could hold it with one hand while hanging on to the strap on the underground or the bus with the other, on the way to work.

In the mid-fifties a terrible accident happened in Portsmouth, a naval port. A bus ploughed into a company of marching sea cadets. Many were killed and many others severely injured.

For weeks, it seemed the newspaper reported daily on the death of another young person .

The sadness was overwhelming.

It was about then I started seriously thinking about leaving that place altogether. The war had ended twelve years before. The misery never did.

We came to Canada and life suddenly held promise such as I had never known in my adult life.

I cancelled the Globe and Mail years ago. I took the Star from time to time. I never enjoyed it like the Globe and Mail.. I cancelled the Star and decided to read it on line. That way I can choose my what to read and not feel I had to absorb everything to get my moneys worth.

I hadn't really gotten into it online until a couple of weeks ago. I read the GTA section. And there are some columnists whose views interest me. It's not the same as having The Globe and Mail on my doorstep every morning . But the Globe and Mail isn't the same either.

This morning I read a headline about the brain being affected by races. I thought the races were of the exercise variety. I don't do physical exercise. I always think I should so I was interested in the story.

Turns out it was about a psychological study by some academic at Toronto University
about how white men's brains react when they see people of a different race on a video screen.
Seems they don't. And that is somehow seen as a negative.

That stuff is almost enough to put me off reading a newspaper again.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Age of Reason

Is seven years according to Catholic teaching . Because my birthday was in December, I was six when I was preparing for my First Holy Communion.

We were encouraged to go to Confession every week and take Holy Communion every Sunday. The nuns would escort us across the moor to church on a Friday afternoon. If we
committed no sins during the week, we were told to confess to whatever sins we could remember in our lives. I must have asked.

I was at my grandmother's house the week-end after I made my First Holy Communion. My aunts wanted to know what sins I had confessed . I said I missed mass nine times. It was likely as far as my memory would stretch.

Some memories made an impression. Nobody ever gave me a satisfactory explanation of an impure thought.Even though our teachers for that class were not nuns.

I didn't think much of the idea that a new-born child could never see God unless born again of the Holy Ghost. Limbo was the place set aside in nowhere for these throw away souls. I didn't think that was fair.

I think my mother must have been quite melancholy at that time. Her favourite admonition to her quite young children was "Aye, when am deid and gone ye'll be sorry"

My prayer, on my knees every night, was that I would die before my mother. I could not bear the
thought she would die before me .

A couple of years later, in the fourth class, we were learning about everlasting life and the Day of Redemption when all souls will rise again to be to-gether for eternity. I asked Sister Eugenius if we would be re-united with our parents and brothers and sisters. I hadn't lost anyone as yet but my mother continued to remind her children of the impermanence of life.

Sister Eugenius answered promptly and firmly. No, we would not, she said. Family relationships would mean nothing in the hereafter.

Well, it was not what I wanted to hear ....I didn't say it....I was nine. But really, what's the point ?

Year's later, I was listening to a sermon about how life begins at the moment of conception. I thought......wait a minute.....how about all those innocent new-born,throw away souls, assigned to Limbo, never to see the Face of God, because they didn't live long enough, independent of a mother's body, to be born again of The Holy Ghost or whoever was responsible, didn't make sure they were baptised.

A couple of months later I read in the media, the Vatican had abandoned the theology(if that's what it was) of Limbo.

Somebody must have discovered the contradiction between what they used to teach and what they are teaching now.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I love you too ,darlin'. But I can't tell the story about Aunt Theresa.

She won't let me

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Sunday

At my house.

Stephanie and Erik were down from Sudbury. Cheyenne and Abigail were here with Lindsay. Stephanie gave them bubbles and skipping ropes and just a little bit of chocolate. I bought a huge bag of candy coated Cadbury eggs and everybody had some to nibble.

Michael brought Dara, his girl friend to join the circle. Patrick was down from Ottawa.

The day was beautiful. We filled and spilled out of the house on to the deck and down in the sunshine. Shiny bubbles floated and burst among us. Adam poked them with his finger and made the little girls laugh. The girls showed off amazing skill with the skipping rope. Stephanie did too.

Stephen's two golden labs, companions of many years have departed this world. So, Stephen and Mary didn't have to leave early to release them from confinement in the garage.

Frank and Lorna on the other hand, had horses to feed.

It's Frank's birthday today. Several others are close. As the family grew we didn't have birthday parties or presents. We were too many. If they were deprived, there's no sign of it now.

There was always a cake though. Everyone was reminded to be home. We sang a chorus of Happy Birthday, candles were blown out, then For He's a Jolly Good Fellow and So Say All of Us and three rip-roaring cheers with rousing conviction.

The growing number of voices make the choruses and cheers sound like a Welsh miners' choir.

When we get together now, there's always a birthday or four in the offing. Robyn bakes the cake from scratch It gets bigger every year.

This year Marnie brought an exotic dessert with nut crust, dense chocolate centre topped with strawberries premarinated in balsamic vinegar and whipped cream.

Rhonda brought an Italian Easter Bread Wreath and Stephen and Mary brought a gigantic apple pie.

Storm brought mushroom appetisers stuffed with cheeses and sausage, baked and served straight from the oven. Stephanie makes an excellent guacamole.

Theresa and myself rose early and got the beef and pork into the oven in good time. The meatballs were cooked and into the crock pot to stay warm for the feast.Heather brought fresh-baked buns.

Conversation was about the twins, a trip just taken to Tacoma, and one planned to co-ordinate the twins and Vanessa's return to Canada for the summer.

Cameron of the Barrie Bucks was in Vancouver for the Olympics.

Mexico and Florida trips were recounted, and a lengthy discussion about a summer golf event
with cousins from London, Cobden,Ottawa,Barrie,Kitchener.Aurora, Newmarket and Keswick.

Since Martin stopped coaching minor hockey, he and Marnie take frequent trips around Ontario to places they have never been.

When the sun went down, the temperature cooled and we donned sweaters.
Finally it was dark and time for big hugs and kisses all around, as each family drifted off home.

Until the next time.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Adam... Number One

He was first in the 50metre back stroke race at the Special Olympics Swim Meet in Oakville on March 21st.

I gave him thumbs up.

I said it made him Number One.

He put his head, down and nodded.

But I could see his smile.

Nancy Black is head coach of Master Ducks and community co-ordinator of Aurora Special Olympics.

Adam's mother Heather has become a competitive swimmer because of her involvement in the program.

Now she has taken a clinic for coaches.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Adam's Younger Brother, Aaron.

Is nineteen. He finished high school last year. Didn't have a focus on his future. Decided to work for a year and get his bearings.

He didn't really focus too heavily in high school either . He had a hard time maintaining interest in the subjects being taught.

Keenan and Kari were working and saving and planning a grand tour of Europe. Aaron caught the fever. Worked full-time at Food Choppers, took all the hours he could get and joined the tour.

Before he left , he had been adopted sort-of, and tagged along on the job with a liquor representative and quite enjoyed that. Wore a shirt and tie and concentrated in making a good impression.

Went to Jamaica for ten days.. Enjoyed that too.

Worked night shifts over the holiday season at a liquor store. Made some money.

Aaron is nineteen, bright, articulate, and entertaining.His Aunt Theresa says, "That Aaron, he is smooth."

He registered at George Brown College for the 2o1o/2011 school year. He's excited about that.

Much to his mother's concern though , he is making no effort to find a job. Heather is beside herself trying to think of the right things to say to him to persuade him how important it is to work and save to pay for his education.

From hindsight, I try to persuade her not to worry.

In the meantime, she finds herself keeping him company doing fun things. She enjoys his company and he enjoys hers. She spends money she wouldn't be spending otherwise.

Yesterday, Heather was here. She is my handy-man. Aaron called a few times. Ends up coming down from Newmarket on the bus and joining us for lunch. He called half an hour after they left to thank me for lunch,(Mary Brown's Chicken) and tell me how much he enjoyed it.

I enjoy his company too. Everybody does. When we talk about the advantage of finding a job, Aaron smiles and says the job will find him. He is a bit concerned because his money is running out. But this week he received an income tax rebate.

He also received a call from the liquor store. They are planning summer staff complement.

The job has found Aaron.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Neil ... My Sister's Boy

There was a message waiting on my voice machine when I came home on Sunday evening. Neil had died that morning.

Neil is my sister's son. He was a casualty of the sixties culture. His adult life was lost
and tragic. His mind deserted him and his body betrayed him a few weeks ago. He spent the rest of his time in care.

When I heard the news, the picture that flashed before me was a little boy of five or six getting off a plane from Scotland wearing his cowboy belt with double holsters and twin pearl handled pistols ready for whatever Canada had in store. His black hair lay flat and shining in a fringe over his dark brown eyes. A sprinkle of freckles covered his nose.

He hadn't known his family before he died. The last time his dad left his room he bade him "Adios". Incredibly, they heard him whisper back "Adios"

We have never lived in the same place since they came to Canada. They have driven down for various weddings.

Now it's our turn to drive to Ottawa for Neil.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

An Adventure

Robyn is going to visit her cousin Vanessa and twins in Tacoma in the March break. Keenan and Keri are going too and Vanessa's brother Patrick who lives in Ottawa is going as well.

Vanessa lives in a lovely little two storey,blue and grey house a block from the Pacific Ocean.She's excited about her cousins coming.

Her mother and father, Mary and Stephen, have been already.Mary travelled with Vanessa when she took the twins home from Canada. Then Mary drove back across the continent with her girlhood friend to transport the wedding gifts.

Stephen went a few weeks ago because the twins are teething. James works extra hours and Vanessa takes care of a couple of other little ones as well to make ends meet.Now and then, she needs help. Her Dad, my son, was there for her.

Heather and Theresa and myself are planning an expedition timed to help bring the twins home to spend the summer at the cottage in Georgian Bay. The plan is for the twins to enjoy the same summer experience as their mother did , with her maternal grandparents.

Lizzie in Peterborough likes me to write in the personal blog. She says it's the only way she can keep up with family activities. Lizzie is a student at Trenton. Has an apartment. A job. A dog and a cat.

She doesn't have a car. Her parents would bring her home for the family gatherings if she would come.

The only time we see Lizzie is at Christmas.She didn't see the twins when they were here. Cheyenne and Abigail, Lindsay's children, hardly know her. Lindsay is Lizzie's cousin.

When I was leaving her parent's home on Christmas day she said;

"I know you're mad at me Grannie, because I don't come home to the gatherings. But I have to work to keep the debt down."

Lizzie is planning to spend another two years in College. She is finishing a degree which includes women's studies. She is planning to continue with a college course in journalism.She is not planning to come home any time soon.Meantime the years roll by.

I know Lizzie Buck better than she knows herself .

I explained to her, though I doubt it made a difference:

"I am not mad at you. I am just not going to allow you believe it makes no difference whether you are here or not. It does. The circle doesn't close when one person is missing "

The gatherings keep the links together. Talk and laughter and pleasure in each other's company and sometimes tears, are the glue that holds us together. It gives us the security of knowing we are each part of something more than ourselves.

You are not alone, Lizzie. You are part of something bigger.

When you need us, we'll be there.