Had she lived, today would have been my mama’s 102nd birthday. It would also have been my parents’ 77th wedding anniversary. My parents got married on Mama’s birthday because my grandfather, Mama’s dad, thought that would be an auspicious day. But poor Mama found herself in a predicament when it came time to sign the … Read more
Special things help us remember special people. But telling their stories is even better.
Junk—like beauty—is in the eye of the beholder. With a bit of science and creativity, junk can be transformed into useful things.
My recent epiphany about the folk song “Alouette” brought to mind some other bird songs from my childhood—folk songs my Baba Fill taught me in Ukrainian. One was an action song about a chyzhyk—a siskin or a finch*. Again, in the bliss of ignorance, I didn’t know what a chyzhyk was until I looked it … Read more
Sometimes we think we understand things we really have no clue about.
A recent study at Harvard University’s Music Lab found that babies were soothed by lullabies even when they were sung in unfamiliar languages such as Scottish Gaelic or Hopi. That’s amazing! And it got me thinking about the lullabies I know. When my son was little, one of his favourites was “Oi khodyt’ son”—“Dream Passes … Read more
Picture this. A mountain-ringed campsite beside the Athabasca River in Jasper National Park. A crackling fire. Sun slanting down through the trees. River rumbling over rapids. The occasional crow chorus. (The resident clan regularly sends scouts to check if we’ve forgotten to take the dog food in.) Soft music playing from one of the randomly … Read more
Nostalgia was once thought to be an illness caused by clanging cowbells. We know better now. Photo by Max Itin on Unsplash. Believe it or not, nostalgia was once considered a disease. If you had it, you might be “treated” with leeches, opium, blood-letting, bullying or even bodily harm. A Russian general once threatened to … Read more
I ate the most delicious cherries the other day. I only buy cherries if they’re from neighbouring British Columbia, and I make a point of stuffing myself when they’re in season. Eating cherries always makes me think of my Kamloops family. Kamloops, B.C., is where my dad’s oldest sister lived. Every summer, my Auntie Jessie … Read more
I don’t think of myself as a materialist. Not especially, at any rate. I am a Taurus, so I do love beautiful things. But I don’t have to have a lot of beautiful things. Just some beautiful things that do, in fact, make me happy. I wrote about the power of things in a blog … Read more