Sunday, January 28, 2018


This horse was my grandparents sport utility vehicle, a used one with pretty high mileage, but good tires and a reliable engine. He was named Tommy and he did try to head back to his previous owner a province away a few times. That was just til he settled in though. Til he got used to the idea of being a family vehicle. A take the kids to school and pull the plough through the potato patch sort of vehicle. An early crossover I guess.
This pair were my grandfather's work trucks. Grandpa was self employed or they might have been seen as a company benefit. They were pretty versatile and hauled logs out of the woods better than any skidder. Two horse power might not sound like much, but they were greater than the sum of their parts I can tell you. Huge, strong, reliable, loyal, gentle.
My great uncle Lloyd is about to ease on down the road. Likely hunting was his plan of action. My grandfather is giving last minute instructions or possibly consulting the GPS for directions. Leather seats, four on the floor, all wheel drive, lots of pull when the road got steep.
My great grandpa R.C.Ray was known as a horseman. He knew horses. I expect he passed along a few tidbits to those with ears to listen. His son is standing rather proudly beside a horse that can simply be described as huge. I don't imagine mileage was great because a horse that size would eat you out of house and home. Wouldn't have won a beauty contest either with a face only a mother could love, but what a silken nose he had. And feathered feet!! And such a sleek coat and sober, steadfast eyes. Sign me up.

Thursday, January 25, 2018


In the distance, I can hear my washing machine coming in for a landing.
A pause, and then seven urgent chimes sound.
I am summoned.
For some reason, this morning I remember my mother washing clothes in a wringer washer; a great white rub-a-dubber with the wringer set at a misleadingly jaunty angle.
There was always a tub or two of rinse water sloshing murkily nearby, a nose tingling of soap scent, and a motor chugging in steady rhythm, lefffft, rrrright, lefffft, rrright, like the sound giant windshield wipers would make.
Now I just twirl a dial, press a button and get on with my life.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

take heart

Soup has lost its charm by the end of January. Just in time, the days grow longer, and lighter. We come out of our dazed hibernation and take heart.

Monday, January 15, 2018

against the blue

An etch-a-sketch sky this morning; jet stream orange against the blue.

like a savage

Things can be overlooked in the morning scramble to school.
"I didn't have a spoon!" my grandson said, his eyes wide.
"I had to eat my pudding like a savage."

Friday, January 5, 2018

first aid

I signed up for a first aid course once, long ago.
We met in a large echoing gymnasium,
two rows of us all sitting with our feet on the floor and our eyes on the instructor.
There we launched into the lesson, pondering calamity after calamity.
I was gradually aware of a strange sensation.
An unexpected reaction.
"What am I feeling?" I wondered.
"What is it.....?"
And then I knew.
It was blood.
Every time the instructor said the word, blood, I wavered and wilted.
I had never been qualmish before. I had never been queasy or qualmish about.....blood.
With a growing feeling of disbelief I realized that if she said blood one more time, I would have to leave!
She said blood one more time.
I had to leave.
I raised my hand and made my exit.
The gymnasium was very large.
The doorway seemed very far away.
I wavered and wilted.
I only got as far as the doorway before I slumped to the floor.
They used me to practice bandaging since I was already laying down. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

stash of cash

Children were out and about today, spending their Christmas money.
Thank goodness for Zip Loc bags.
Two little girls emptied one onto a counter and their auntie sorted through their scrunched up bills, and at least a pound of assorted change that included tokens from Disneyland.
There were some pretty nimble mathematics performed as toys were considered, minus the sale price, plus the tax, times two little girls, divided by the available stash of cash.

horrible warning

I'm having trouble telling you this story because I'm used to typing with all ten of my fingers. Until a few minutes ago, I had ten happy fingers but not now.
Now I have only nine happy ones and one shocked and unhappy one.
Accidents are usually a shock I suppose.
Accidents can make you feel astonished at your own carelessness.
Here is my confession.
The cold, hard facts.
I was sewing fast.
And I was very tired.
My family will be reassured to note that I did have on my reading glasses but sadly, my eyes had glazed over and I was careening back and forth, quilting in lines, endless lines, back and forth and forth and back and back and forth.
There was a sudden, abrupt, resounding thunk.
The world stood still.
I squinted at my sewing machine. 
The needle was broken.
My eyes drifted to my hand. 
I looked in amazement at my finger.
A piece of broken needle was sticking out both sides.
I felt incredulous. (astonished at my own carelessness)
I have been sewing for more than fifty years without incident.
I learned on my mother's treadle singer for goodness sakes.
You had to be pretty coordinated to sew on a treadle sewing machine.
Your feet had to work independently of your hands.
You needed to be quick and nimble.
I never once ran over my little girl fingers nor my teenage fingers.
I bought my Pfaff when I was 19.
I have sewn a million miles on it.
No fingers were mown down in the prime of their lives, or mine.
But now I have become just another statistic.
How the mighty have fallen.
I guess it's true.
If you can't be a good example, be a horrible warning.
Consider yourself warned.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

a flourish

2017 has gone out with a flourish.
A sparkling, glittering, glassy sort of flourish.
Rain fell and froze, transforming the woods into Currier and Ives glitter dusted scenes.
Power ground to a halt.
Transformers flashed and boomed.
The cold outside came inside.
And settled in for a stay.
It was warmer in the fridge than the living room.
And a mug of hot tea wasn't just a distant memory, it was a New Years resolution.

Monday, January 1, 2018

common bond

"Police or Ambulance?" a voice asks.
"Ambulance," I say, breathlessly.
A woman to my left begins to pray aloud.
"A pedestrian has been hit by a car," someone says to my left.
Across the street, I can see people running. Two soon kneel on the cold, wet roadway beside the very, very still form lying there.
A voice is asking me questions.
A man passes me a piece of paper.
My voice tightens and breaks as I read the address,
the phone number.
I am safe and warm inside a building.
But someone else is not.

I had been working when the door burst open and someone cried out, "Call 911!"
I was dialing before I knew why.
Can't life change in a moment of time?
The ordinary suspended.
Strangers transformed.
A common bond.

In the distance a siren wails.