Tag Archives: friends

Summer Supper on Scotchmere Drive

Perhaps the best part of my special Saturday evening was not knowing I was going to the wonderful country church supper and suddenly finding myself there. Invited along by my sister-in-law and her friends I was included at the last minute. Unfortunately another,who held the ticket for the annual event had taken ill. Fortunately for me I was the one generously called as a stand in. With the most perfect late summer weather, a beautiful family farm setting, no mosquitoes, excellent food, great music and friendly company it was an unexpected treat.

The event at the McGugan Farm was a Pork and Corn Roast sponsored by North Caradoc St. Andrews Presbyterian Church. The setting (Strathroy, Ontario) was like something from a picture on a Canadian Country Calendar. Beautiful countryside, country road, huge shady trees, towering cornfields, lovely well kept heritage family farm, wide expanse of lush green lawn and a big drive shed set up for a feast. An estimated gathering of almost three hundred people gathered together to enjoy this home-style supper.  Very good music filled the air. It was the right kind of music, the kind that told a story and made you think back. One or two of the songs really got to me and that is why I think I was inspired to write this post on my blog. However, it was more likely the combination of all the elements I’ve mentioned that just seemed to be special and when I am moved this way, I write.

While thoroughly enjoying the tasty food, people watching, listening to music I constantly had the feeling that this was indeed something to share on my blog. After all, someone had shared with me so I could be there. Just being in the moment. Pies and butter tarts, homemade, ice cream on the side stretched out on a long table. Little kids, adorable, with families gathered. A hay wagon, tempting platform for the little ones to climb on. Lawn chairs in the shade. Tables set up in the drive shed. Food in bowls, platters, some nestled in icy buckets. Hot food, baked potatoes, beans, pork roast and corn on the cob and cold chilled salads.

Help yourself style with many helping their elders and their youngsters. The farm host, mingling and carrying a basket of raffle tickets, listening to my request to write about the supper. Buttertarts, like the wonderful buttertarts I shared with some folks there may have spurred me on as well. A wonderful country church supper all around and it was just what I needed. (Oh, and the peach pie… I can’t forget the peach pie. Yes, I had both.)

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Filed under family relationships, food, friends, health and wellness, history, inspiration, motivation, retirement, storytelling, weather, writing

Underground Formation

Third time starting this post. A most efficient way of prioritizing what I want to write about before the blog glitches up on me again and vanishes into thin air.My recent Young Writer’s Craft evening for our local library went well. Six children attended with ages ranging between five years of age to eleven years of age. Three sets of siblings consisting of four girls and two boys. Two parents, one interested and supportive relative(mine), the librarian and myself spent the evening with these kids. We played some sensory games, memory games,discussed some shared interests, evaluated favourite kinds of books, made some word banks, wrote some summer graffiti on a poster… intentionally,…. created some graphic illustrations and labelled them, created a group story, dramatized some lines from the story using different genre styles, shared a great book and some storytelling and examined some memories in a basket. There were cupcakes also. Some takeaways like little journals, stickers and pencils were the final touch. Every child, every parent and the librarian thanked me for my efforts. My relative invited me over for coffee and snacks. The Word Garden, although very tiny seems to have some strong sporadic growth and is rooted nicely and may produce a harvest yet.

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Yard Work, Digging Mostly

Keeping me on my toes, the gathering of two family members, a neighbour, my librarian and  her daughters, I went ahead with my night to meet and encourage other community writers.

The sensory games and  creativity ideas were tried. Some poetry, mine and another’s ( a professional) published piece were read. A story about the influences of the neighbour attending the event, upon my writing, was pulled for my stockpile and read in it’s entirety. We ate fruit and dessert squares. Another evening, led by me, encouraging young writers was planned for the summer.

In the meantime, stories and threads of ideas were revealing themselves, The group dynamics were interesting. From the mixture of a very small gathering came ideas of reading with very young children, the trauma of  caring for elderly pets,decluttering household contents and wondering about the unforeseen future, knitting, crochet, tatting, hooked rug making, church yard sales, baking, cooking, reading cookbooks, dealing with children, throwing away blackened pots of burnt spaghetti, recalling the chores of working with father in the barn milking the cows and going to the mill and cleaning the house, despising those awful hooked rugs so heavy to drag from the upstairs bedrooms all the way downstairs to air them and clean them while sister baked, studying French and setting up a writing blog …. one that the mom , the librarian, can’t read because it will be all about her according to one of the young daughters.

At the conclusion of the evening another neighbour arrived. A young mother returning her library books, noticing us finishing up the brownies and the fruit tray, realizing we were a bit over the closing hour at the library. Familiar to me, a neighbour, we often say hello. I knew she was a fellow teaching colleague on maternity leave and an artist. Now I know she writes a blog. From just skimming through some of her blog posts I’ve also discovered that her husband is a poet.

All in all, a successful gathering . A very small community gathering of supportive people just planting the seed and nudging together the warming circle of stories, ideas and creativity.Tending a word garden takes effort and patience and with a sprinkle or two of interest it might even take root.

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Loads of Gravel

Ninety years ago from her farmhouse window she would see the loads of gravel being sold from my grandpa’s gravel pit. Every load moved by horse and cart was marked down on a tally on a calendar beside her party line telephone. With all the typical work to do in her house and around the farm she had time to do this. This neighbour had a husband but no children. She was a topnotch housekeeper, cook , quilter and kind soul.

When you went to visit her, even in her later years, she could put together a great homemade meal in no time flat. Bam! She was amazing. The visit would last well into the night because there was a lot of ground to cover with respect to catching up on all the news of the neighbourhood and adventures of those farther afield.

My neighbours are close at hand.

An older couple has moved into a seniors apartment but they are still involved in the local activities at the church and coffee shop. A new person has taken over their place and has a very old dog and a very young dog as well as some horses boarded somewhere which are part of a business venture she manages.

Another neighbour is constantly on the go with his trucking business and his wife is a devoted daughter, caring for her parents.

The folks beside me are busy night and day caring for children and others, often in emergency situations. Quite possibly, these people are angels.

Across the street are lovely folk involved in teaching,books, music, art, food and cats. They are either on their porch with herbal tea or off to watch the swans. Music from the sixties floats through the air, sometimes.

Directly across,a relative resides. Family sports events, community and social activities, planning such events for her wide range of friends and recently some kitchen renovations occupy her time. She seems to keep tabs on me as well.

Further along, another relative lives a bachelor life of hobbies, friends and travel. He is also very fond of his amazing ginger coloured cat. He sends me emails about his cat, often.

Across the street is a young family with several children that liven up the neighbourhood, attracting the other kids down the street and they all get together as “The Chicken House Gang” and happily go off to the local park to play. All of them are sweet and polite. I should know because I see them go by back and forth a couple of times a day and they wave or say hi. Quite possibly, these kids are angels too.

Around the corner is a gentle and dignified grandma that rides her bike or goes on walks with her grandchildren.

At  the end of the street, another couple, distantly related, reserved and respected.

On the corner, in a huge restored old house a busy family, a tiny dog, teenagers in the house.

More neighbours, further along, as the streets and lanes wind in and out. New grandchildren are the news of these folks, or so I hear. They have been away to visit this new baby but are home again as I’ve been told as we gathered on the porch.

A toad is happy to be in my garden and follows my footsteps as I water the plants. The big tree across the street has a racoon carefully moving along the bigger branches.

At night, when I can’t sleep I think of things like the neighbour of my grandpa’s watching and tallying his gravel business and then I blog a bit to boost my stats. I’ll count them in the morning.

 

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Pickup Lines

An older man behind the lunch counter

dismissed initially as a possible seatmate

tiny table in the winter indoor sun

preferable

low key conversation way back

in the market’s deli

discretely held

yet holding my interest

older woman unloading

some comments to a younger person

considerations given

and the gist of it I think

of the audible part….. was about

money

can relate

moving on,  finished, paper napkin and coffee cup

shopping needs doing now that the older senior shoppers have gone home and cleared out of the parking lot and now safer to go out there and not have my nice car whacked by a zooming zoomer

after all is said and done

taking a different approach

to turn in dirty tray to deli workers and proceed

an older man, wearing his coat and winter felt cap

sitting straight and tall at the lunch counter writing intently, noticed now

one glance to see his neatness scribed there, a journal maybe

something he does every day

another peek but useless for telling

anymore

most likely he will be there again and I may say hello and comment

about the day and smile or nod at another older writer

like myself

the comments made by the old woman at the back of the lunch counter

something

about money and frustrating people

another

story

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Home Truths

Boots on for walk on crusty ice through wind tunnelled city

Theatre day

Frozen car, windshield wipers frozen, trunk won’t work

Friend with me and we go as best as we can

Still making up mind about the play

Should have liked it more and maybe I will like it more when I make up my mind to like it

difficult

pain

killers for ache

so unable to relax

completely there

At home relief, collapse and boots still on for support and warmth

No need really

just home

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Resonance

For a couple of hours today, my responsibilities and worries just took a back seat as I immersed myself into a unique theatre experience. It was just what I needed. The small theatre was previewing a one man play and I was asked to join a good friend who appreciates the talent of this young actor. Few others were in the audience as it was held mid afternoon, mid week and for whatever other reason. A group from a nursing home filled up the front row with their wheelchairs and caregivers. This setting, this dynamic of patrons, the talent on stage and the content of the play worked a special kind of magic. An insight was achieved and respect worked both ways between the performer ,his accompanist on the piano and the audience. As part of the audience, sitting behind the elderly and in full view of the play, I was caught up in the layers  of human experience. To explain further it was perhaps like play within a play but only to someone sensitive to the professional work on stage, the bravery of spirit embodied in the old folks attending the play as a scheduled outing and the presence of a few others like myself, just theatre goers. I’m glad I didn’t miss it. I’m glad I went. When it works , it is magic.

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