Father loved Christmas and usually began preparations well in advance. But one year he decided to change his practice, at least where our Christmas tree was concerned. Many people decorate their tree on Christmas Eve. It's part of a religious or social custom. Sometimes it's just family tradition.
One year, because of plant layoffs and father's frugality, we did it out of necessity. Father said he wasn't cheap, just cautious with money. As a child of the depression, he always sought a good bargain. Now that I look back on it, he might have had a cheap side to him. Read More
Volume 17, Number 100, December 2014/January 2015 Newcomer by S.B. Julian
A new house, new garden, fresh start ... First morning after moving day, I take a coffee onto the porch and survey my new back yard. It is small, but after condo living it beckons like a horticultural wonderland. It has, to borrow the most famous expression in gardening, "capability". Read More
Volume 17, Number 99, October/November 2014 Ebenezer’s Party by Lawrence E. Collins
Lydia Williams, from the wharf, in the coastal community on the Southern Shore, looks out across the water, at the fog holding onto the headland with thin, misty fingers, lest it be blown out to sea on the rising wind.
She feels her stomach muscles tighten with that old familiar clutch of bowel, a mix of bile and scorching blood formed of fearsome longing.
Back in 1818 Baron Karl Drais von Sauerbrunn called his fabulous invention a “Lauf Maschine” (Running Machine), although later it was named after him, “Draisine”. This contraption was entirely built of wood with two wheels - one behind the other - a saddle over the back wheel to sit on, and a handlebar to steer with attached to the front wheel. This “Running Machine” was propelled forward by pushing off the ground with alternate feet. I have seen a bike like that in the bicycle museum in Bremen, Germany. Baron von Sauerbrunn achieved the remarkable speed of ten kilometres per hour on level ground! It was not until 1848 that a French father-and-son team, Pierre and Ernest Michaux, refined the Draisine by means of cranks and pedals. Knowing this it should not come as a surprise that my green, one-speed, coaster brake trusty old bike came to be called by everyone, including myself “The Green Machine”. Read More
Volume 17, Number 98, August/September 2014 WINNER OF THE YOUNG WRITERS’ CATEGORY (AGES 10-19): THE SUSANNA VOTH WIEBE PRIZE
(JUDGED BY NORMA LINDER) A Glimpse From Above by Olivia Paul
The lights in the hospital room are dimmed and I can barely make out the objects around me. I feel the presence of my parents and the surgeons, whispering anxiously amongst themselves whilst busying themselves for the procedure. I lay my head back on the pillow and squeeze my eyes shut. This time, they’re going to remove my spleen. Such a funny word, spleen. I have no idea what it’s used for, and whether or not I need it, but it doesn’t seem to matter as they’re taking it out of me. I will be minus one spleen when I wake up and I hope I’ll still feel like me. Even though a piece of me will be gone. Another piece. Read More
Freddie the free loader has a splitlevel house. It sits on my verandah.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, how can she have a splitlevel house on her verandah.
Well I’ll tell you. The house is made of two cardboard cartons. It has a blue plastic roof and wall-to-wall carpeting. The only furniture is a bed. The bed takes up half of the house. It’s made of old towels and ripped up cloths no good for any other purpose. The house is heated by an electric light bulb, 100 watts even. It hangs at the entrance of the house and is plugged into an outlet on the wall.
It was always soiled, that old, full length apron that had ties at the neck and waist and that she wore seven days a week. Aunt Jessie was in her late fifties, plump with grey streaked hair, and a pink and white complexion. Many men would find my surrogate mother desirable. She had not been able to have children of her own, and loved us four children dearly, always trying to find ways to please us and win our affection and loyalty. Read More
We were spending a wonderful evening with Frances, a friend of ours from Saskatchewan, sharing a bottle of wine and reminiscing about the past. We often do this in Mission, Texas where we spend the winter with many close friends from all over Canada and the USA. We are from Eastern Canada and know quite a bit about the fishing industry but very little about farming.
“Slow down a minute,” interjected my husband as Frances rambled on. “What is a stook?” Read More
On a hot, clearsky day in the early summer of 1932, Mrs. Petrowski got her piano. It arrived on the 3:00 o’clock westbound, all padded and crated up, and required several men, grunting and heaving, to lower it from the box car onto Kelley’s freight wagon. The dray horses were familiar with the noises of the train, but shied nervously away from the crowd that had gathered to witness this momentous event. Frank Kelley held the reins taut, and calmed the massive pair of Clydesdales by repeating their names, Star and Tanner, and adding “steady now” and “whoa” in his church choir baritone voice. There was other freight: canned goods and fabrics for the general store, machinery parts for McCleary’s Machine Shop, and the mail bag for the post office, but it was all set on the station platform to be dealt with later. The piano commanded a solo performance. It was hauled along the dusty main street alone, standing high and regal in the wagon, and followed by a parade of townspeople, and even some district farmers and their wives, who normally only came to town to meet the eastbound that carried their cans of cream and crates of eggs back to the city. Read More
The Minesing Swamp is a vast area of wetland just north of Toronto. It is a unique assembly of microclimates.
These are my memories of the Minesing Swamp. My father and I often visited while he was alive.
The cool of the evening
bears the wind of surrender
The lyrical sweep
of the gull’s sad cry
is the way that the air
down to the ground
In the soft dusk glow
vague silence is softly broken
by a sigh Read More