Tag Archives: storytelling

Half Done

The book is well written and poetic but it doesn’t appeal to me.  I will finish reading it because it is for book club. It is the kind of book I have to take to my reading hideout in the market parking lot and finish as I eat an oversize sandwich on whole wheat with choice of pickle, celery or carrots and drink dark roast coffee. I can’t read this book at home.More to the truth, I won’t read it at home. The afternoon sun will fade. Grey nothing best described as late afternoon surrounds the car and I drive home. It is the way this book is tolerated. In a few days there will be a meeting and we will have a good time as usual for this is the book that has brought us together. A well written, poetic book,complicated and thoughtfully done, it has merit. Historical, educational, sensitive and bluntly graphic with images of sunlight on the feathers of geese and the flight of a terrified child falling into defective net,a flag held by other children,breaking both arms and no one coming to help. It has become a chore and most likely worth finishing to get the full benefit.  My book, which I’ve never written glints in the moonlight. No geese.

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Tracks in the freshly fallen snow on my yard were made with a variety of little feet. Some were from the little ones lining up at the school bus stop. Other tracks were recognizable as rabbit, squirrel,bird, dog and cat tracks.

At the farm, later in the day a slow moving possum made his own muddled way through the snow drift under the bird feeder. As the day wore on and I made an effort to go into town to do a little Christmas shopping I found the slush from the street and sidewalks treacherous to track through. Town was somewhat busier than usual but that didn’t mean the two main streets and sidewalks had been cleared properly.

Footprints from the ice melt salt used to make my sidewalk entrance safer caked onto the indoor entryway floor before footwear could be removed.

This all brought to mind the game my mom used to play with me on the farm. She called the game fox and goose because just the two of us played it together. It was an adaptation of an old country school game of tag correctly called Fox and Geese. We made tracks and chased each other trying to get to a special safety spot designated as the henhouse. Often I would just plunk myself in a drift and make snow angels or watch my mom run as fast as she could on her own round and round the zigzagged track. The game would have been normally played with a large group of kids all spaced out around a big circle trying to get to the centre henhouse for safety without being tagged by the fox. Mom didn’t worry about those details.

 Our version didn’t really make a great deal of sense to my three year old self but to this day,( well) over half a century later, I remember the glorious deep glittering snow drifted at the side of the faded red chicken house and my strong and pretty mom laughing and stomping a big path of tracks through the field like a child herself. Ordinarily, she didn’t have time to play. Her long day was filled with farm work , worry and taking care of the family. To see her at play, eyes shining, face rosy, running like the high school athlete she was in her glory days was significant to a little three year old, rare and memorable, like tracks in the snow.

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Second Cousin

When it was visiting hours it was the same as any other time except for that time when you brought the pretty pink geraniums in a white plastic pot. Speech denied itself except for a p…ppp…ppp…sound. You seemed to understand and nodded and it was enough to remind you  whenever the pink geraniums bloomed. Maybe you try to keep the slips of geraniums now over the winter but most likely you just buy some new plants in the spring.

When you were just a small child there were times for visiting together under the old maple tee  at the front of the farmhouse. There was time for a nice lunch of cold oatmeal cookies from the freezer, cucumber sandwiches and homemade lemonade made from the concentrate from the travelling salesman. Kittens from the barn with sweet wee faces and picky little sharp clinging claws on your school jacket were the most fun to play with after lunch was cleared away. You sometimes made up spoofy stories about elves in the bush or under the bridge by the school grounds.

You have the big dented kettle high up on your kitchen shelf to remind you. It was for all things and was kept boiling for washing up at the stone sink, making tea and sterilizing jars. Parsley tea wasn’t your favourite but now you seem to eat the raw parsley from your garden hoping it is medicinal and the right thing to do.

Age doesn’t matter when you play with a friend having a nice lunch under the old maple tree, cuddling a wee orange kitten. You did all the talking then, a little storyteller. Describing the stories and songs from school and tales about the other kids. You know, don’t you that when you brought the pretty pink geraniums and speech was denied, eyes watered with tears and held yours.

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Soup on a Pedestal?

At first, I thought I must have entered the wrong store absent mindedly, revelling in my new found freedom from intensive dog sitting. Looking around and beyond, I saw books on display but in my immediate space, entering the bookstore I was treated to a whole section of cozy grey wool blankets, tea making things, candles, table linens, dinnerware, yoga mats and baby gifts. Bookends, word games, giftwrap and you name it engulfed the side aisle of the store.

 Near the back of this long line of lovely things I found a display of children’s books that led in fact to a whole section of children’s games, toys and oh yes, some more children’s books.

Making a quick but thoughtful purchase of some children’s books for a family gift I made a dash out the door to avoid spending anymore money on stuff I most likely didn’t need. I was tempted but I overcame the impulse.

They didn’t really want me to buy books in that store. They wanted me to buy the illusion of the book reading lifestyle. Rare teas, rich chocolates, soft woolen throws and earthy looking pottery soup bowls on pedestals demanded my attention and my cash.

A  book lover all of my life, I keep warm while reading in woolen blankets crocheted by my sister, drink my tea out of mugs collected from garage sales ,enjoy the scent of finally using ancient candles stored for years in case of a power outage and eat my homemade  soup out of small tempered glass pot that can either be heated on the stove, oven or glory be, the microwave.

I used to go into the store to just look around at the books and breathe the bookish dusty atmosphere. I didn’t mind the scent of coffee brewing along the café side of the store. In fact I found it often a temptation I couldn’t ignore. Also appreciated were the many interesting chairs and tables around the very large store encouraging the buyer to stay awhile, read and then decide about a book purchase or not. Phased out a couple of years ago, the music section was another favourite spot of mine. Replacing the jazz, blues, folk and classical vibe are displays of electronic media stuff. Oh well. I can maybe find a music store before they are totally replaced by on line sources.

Needless to say, I felt overwhelmed and out of the loop, yet again. My idea of a bookstore keeps being made over and updated while I hang onto a dream place of quiet shelves, stocked with real books. The kind of store that the second hand type of bookstores have become. A little cramped, a little dusty, rather quaint but filled with choices and treasures of the literary kind.

I’ll go back. I always do. I know the books are in there…. somewhere.


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