I loved this; you made me remember and also had a good laugh. Little did we know how we would cherish those memories down the road many years later. I also remember getting peanut butter in retro tumblers, floral towels in laundry detergent, and gold rimmed plates and cups in Quaker rolled oats. My mother made aprons from flour sacks which had tiny colourful flowers on them. Thanks for the memory. It was a joy to read. xx

Aunt Beulah

The fifties may have been a simpler time, but they weren’t all birthday cake and ice cream. I remember crouching under my desk, hearing my heart thump and my teacher’s hose rub as she patrolled the classroom during an atomic bomb drill. Then, the next day, she distributed iodine tablets my classmates and I obediently swallowed once a week to prevent goiters; we thought taking a pill was better than a large lump that bulged from our necks so that folks mistook us for turkeys.

That was fun?

My past wasn’t all cowering and goiters, however, and I miss many things that filled my childhood with pleasure. For example, I loved the shiny aluminum tumblers that crowded a shelf in our kitchen. When filled with cold beverages, the tumblers frosted over like windshields on a below-zero morning and made everything — grape Kool-Aid, tomato juice, homemade root beer, even water…

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“Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.” . . . “Something up above was calling him imperiously,  . . . “Up we go!’ till at last his snout came out into the sunlight, and found himself rolling in the warm grass of the meadow. . . .The sunshine struck hot on his fur, soft breezes caressed his heated brow, and after the seclusion of the cellarage he had lived in so long the carol of happy birds fell on his dulled hearing almost like a shout. Jumping off all his four legs at once, in the joy of living and the delight of spring, he pursued his way across the meadow . . .”   Excerpts from  The Wind in the Willows,  by Kenneth Grahame.

Just like the mole in this beloved children’s story, spring is calling us, drawing us to the warm sunshine after the seclusion of our cellarage of the long cold winter.  I wrote an article years ago for helium on the rebirth of spring and was honoured that Phatitude Magazine wanted to publish it.  Perhaps because of the long winters we have experienced, I want to share this with you.

***

I couldn’t sleep, I felt restless and my mind was already on the tasks of the day. Not wanting to disturb the household I tiptoed into the kitchen to fix myself a cup of coffee. I enjoy the quiet and solitude before the day begins; I selfishly hoard that silent moment for myself. With a steaming mug of coffee in hand, I sit on the stairs of the deck surrounded by compressed shadows. My senses are suddenly alerted to the beauty of spring.

Spring arrives like a debutante, bedecked to beguile the senses. The moisture in the air is a mist, a vapor that settles like a bride’s veil floating gently over the land. Translucent beads of moisture heavy with the scent of the earth, lingers, dispersing its rich, sweet fragrance. I watch the sun slowly emerge; hovering over the vapor, warming it, lifting the veil and kissing the land beneath.100_1197

The beauty resonates through my soul. The earth becomes a bride each spring. She stretches her arms to the sun, just as the trees reach for the sun after the long winter sleep. The air is alive with a symphony of birds; warm breezes carry sweet perfumes from the fields and early blooms. Bees dart from flower to flower and butterflies sail gently above like a living mobile strung from heaven.

The long cessation is over and life awakens. Children play in puddles left by the melting snow and scramble together on the newly exposed patch of green grass. Shiny cans hang from the sugar maples collecting nature’s sweet nectar. Warm breezes sigh over newly plowed fields, and soft spring rain moistens the land making the seeds to swell and explode.

Everywhere life is revealing itself with a flurry of activity. Spring cleaning puts a fresh sparkle into the house after being closed off all winter. It is time to open the windows and let spring breezes rush through the house to invigorate the life within. Summer clothes are unpacked and winter things stored with moth-balls in the attic. The barbecue is uncovered and snow pushers and toboggans are locked away.

Springtime is a new beginning. It’s a love story that extracts the desire in us. Spring creates inspiration, stimulates imagination and evokes dreams. Spring is love and romance, weddings, and births and optimism for happily ever after. Spring is when love is new and innocent, when hearts sing that timeless melody only lovers hear.

A wonderful poem by Paddy Cummins. I want to join the women making hay and sit by a firkin the cabin. I would love to visit Ireland.

Paddy Cummins. Irish Eyes are Smiling.

photyoke ant
If you ever go across the sea to Ireland,
Then maybe at the closing of your day,
You will sit and watch the moon rise over Claddagh
And see the sun go down on Galway Bay.

Just to hear again the ripples of the trout stream,
The women in the meadows making hay,
To sit beside a turf fire in a cabin
And watch the barefoot gossoons at their play.

For the breezes blowing o’er the sea from Ireland
Are perfumed by the heather as they blow,
And the women in the uplands diggin’ praties
Speak a language that the strangers do not know.

And if there’s going to be a life hereafter,
And somehow I am sure there’s going to be,
I will ask my God to let me make my Heaven
In that dear land across the Irish sea.

* * *

‘YOKE THE PONY’ is an acclaimed…

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 Stock Photo ID: 78684245 Copyright:  newrock


Stock Photo ID: 78684245
Copyright: newrock

Parents want their child to succeed in life. They want them to have what they didn’t have and are willing to sacrifice, scrimp and save for their child’s education. But what do you do if your child doesn’t want to finish their education? What happens if their ambition for success isn’t as great as yours? We have to keep in mind that old cliché “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”

A child needs love and guidance, they need to be encouraged to find their own path and not always follow the well-beaten one. A parent should find and encourage the child’s passion; their talent could be that diamond that propels them to success. Getting involved with their school and taking an interest in the child’s activities shows not only support but that you genuinely care about their progress.

By broadening their horizon we can open the door to their imagination and possibilities. Throughout the child’s growing years we can bolster their interest by taking them on field trips. Visit museums; open their eyes to the arts and history. Have them interact with experiments at the science center; join an art group at the art gallery. Keep them active in sports; this will teach them discipline and the exercise will not only strengthen their bodies but also their mind. Join the library and visit the local theater. The more diverse their interests are the greater their portfolio will be for the future.

Children need to feel confident in who they are and unafraid to pursue their dreams. I remember a little boy who wanted to be a garbage collector when he grew up (the garbage truck intrigued him) I told him there was nothing wrong with that as long as he tried his best at the job he chose. Machinery appealed to him and he became a first class crane-operator for a large steel mill.

Pressuring a child into something he doesn’t want is defeating the purpose of success. Success isn’t always about the money; success is when you are happy with your job and look forward to going to work every day.

That old saying, children should be seen and not heard, is an expression that sadly rings true in many homes. We have to listen to our children; help them find their own niche. They should have their own voice and identity. They should fulfill their own dreams and not ours. Even if we don’t always agree with them we should support and help them achieve their dreams.

Parents give their children roots and wings. A good foundation of love, compassion and moral upbringing will be their compass as they pursue their dreams. In whatever they choose; their happiness is their success.

Yesterday's Child

Yesterday’s Child

Yesterday’s Child

White cloud

A veil concealed

Moved gently over time

An image

Moving, running,

Laughing, playing

Joyous, carefree

Innocence

Pure

Dreams of tomorrow

Happily ever after

A fairytale

No pain or sorrow,

She twirls

And dances to songs of the wind

A ballet

To Earth’s rhythm

Perfumed breezes

Plucking ribbons

Red ribbons from hair

Delightful

Charming

Beautiful and fair

Running barefoot

In strawberry fields

Chasing rainbows

Butterflies

Exhilarated

A soul so free

The child stopped and turned

She faces me

Beguiling eyes

Searching

Watching

Seeing

What might have been

Who was this child

So fair and free?

My heart stood still

The child was me

Pictures of the past 090The temperature this morning is a chilly minus thirty-five degrees and our windows are all framed with a thick border of frosty ice.  I remember when I was a child and frost covered the windows, you couldn’t  see through the etched patterns on the glass.  I’d place my finger on the ice and watched with fascination as my finger slowly melted a dot, then watched as the warmth of the sun radiated from that dot, melting the frost and slowly widening the view to the outside.

Every day I come across a scene or event that is reminiscent of yesterday.  When you’re young, every day is a good day and you look forward to the changing seasons.  Winter was no exception.

Winter meant carnivals, ice-skating and kids playing hockey in their back yard.  Winter meant red cheeks, runny noses, chapped wrists from woolly mittens and of course the best hot chocolate you ever tasted.  I remember a eight foot toboggan crammed with eight kids sliding down a hill at break neck speed, dodging old maples and oak trees, sliding past the old barn almost two hundred feet before rolling to a stop, spilling its giggling and screaming occupants into the snow.

Winter meant snow forts with a cache of snow balls.  Winter meant  snow ball fights, faces washed with snow and snow angels.  Winter meant Christmas with toys, tangerines, nuts and apples.  Winter meant Christmas concerts and Christmas carolling under street lights.

Winter meant stiff clothes on the clothes line and dripping mitts, snow suits and boots by the stove.  Winter meant frosty breath, ruddy cheeks and frozen feet.  In  winter, evening shadows came early and we’d tumble into the warm yellow glow of the kitchen that greeted us with smells of fresh baked bread mingled with scents from the wood stove and dinner.  Winter’s meant Cod-Liver-Oil pills, Vick’s vapour rub and woollen stockings wrapped around our neck when we had a sore throat.  At night I remember snuggling down into bed, heavy quilts tucked in around my sides so no draft could find me. Amidst the north wind howling and trees groaning, slumber came quickly to me in that cozy, warm house long ago.

Fifty-nine years later, the minus thirty-five degrees tells me global warming hasn’t found my corner of the world yet. Still in my pyjamas, I squint out of the window.  The sun is almost blinding as I watched ice crystals shiver across the frozen crust of snow.  The naked trees, stiff, their sap  congealed with the cold, trembled, swaying side to side protesting the icy winds that cut through them.

Although everyone complains about the long winter, there still is a beauty to be appreciated.  Rushing winds chase through the boughs of the large Spruce trees lining the driveway.  Thick pillows of snow that rested on their outstretched arms, now plops to the ground like dollops of frothy meringue.  In the field behind the house the wind sculpted snowy crystals into waves and curls like sand dunes then hastened to the roof where it formed a heavy wave that hangs lopsided down the front of the house like thick cream spilling down, suspended half way to the ground.

I sit at the table clutching a cup of hot coffee between both hands and stare at the scene playing out before me. Suddenly a bit of nostalgia grips me and I have an urge to place my hand on the frost and watch it melt, so I can again see the scenes of winters long ago.

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