BOAA, Bowmanville, Life in canada, Myrtle The Purple Turtle

It’s a Purple Wave!

Blog Photo - BOAA - Lady holds Myrtle Book and smiles

Blog Photo - BOAA - People coming in for Signing

I didn’t count, but a lot of people wore purple in Bowmanville, Ontario last Tuesday! 

Blog Photo - BOAA Purple Lunch crowd

Blog Photo - BOAA - Purple Lady seated reading book

I was one of them. I found a partly-purple scarf and a decades-old, no-longer-stylish jacket in my closet for a massive book-signing event, held in honour of Myrtle the Purple Turtle.

Blog Photo - BOAA - Cynthia signs book for Beth

 Staff, volunteers and members of the BOAA (Bowmanville Older Adults Association),  were in fine form.Blog Photo - BOAA - Cynthia signs Book with volunteersThen Dolly (below) showed up in her purple wig and had me beat.

Blog Photo - BOAA Dolly with Purple Hair

There were purple scarves, purple coats, purple shirts and sweaters, purple earrings, purple everything! And so many different shades of purple.

Blog Photo - BOAA - Purple Ladies waiting for book sign

Blog Photo - BOAA Cynthia and Lady seated with Myrtle

Blog Photo - BOAA - Purple Scarf and Earring

Blog Photo - BoAA Book signing - Purple lady with books

But I can tell you that everyone wore a smile. BOAA is that kind of place. You show up and you’re immediately made welcome.

Blog Photo - BOAA - Purple Ladies 3 shot

Blog Photo - BOAA - Purple shirt Gentleman with Myrtle

Grandparents, great aunts and uncles, great-grands and others from the community showed up to get their copies signed for the children in their lives. (And a few bought the book just for themselves.)

Blog Photo - BOAA - Purple Ladies waiting for books to be signed

Many were BOAA members; some had read about the event in the regional newspaper.

There was turtle jewellry.

Blog Photo - BOAA - Turtle ring

Blog Photo - BOAA Book signing - turtle Brooch

Executive director Angie Darlison set the tone, appearing as a purple turtle, complete with shell!

Blog Photo - BOAA Angie the Purple Turtle2

Blog Photo - BOAA Angie the Purple Turtle

 She also shared some turtle jokes.

  1. What do turtles use to communicate? A shell phone!
  2. What do you get when you cross a turtle and a porcupine? A slow-poke!

Blog Photo - BOAA Purple Couple Benny

The couple above, by the way, are Benny, the creator of the BOAA Christmas Village, and his wife Agnes.  It was a pleasure to meet them.

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village red house and track

Thanks again, BOAA!  It was turtally wonderful.

~~

Photos by Chelsea Wolf.

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A Good Home, Canadian life, Canadians, Family, Inclusion, Inspiration, Life Challenges, Life in canada, OpEd

Below the Waterline

Can you imagine smiling politely as someone insults you and the people you love most in the world?

I recently met a man who came to our home to repair an appliance. His work completed, we got to talking about ethnic food. He asked me: “What do you think my background is?”

I stared at him, his European ancestry evident in his face, skin colour, hair texture. But he wouldn’t have asked that question unless he had been born somewhere outside Europe, I reasoned.

“Maltese,” I said, picking the first place that came into my mind.

“No,” he replied.

I was still staring at his face.

“I give up,” I finally said.

“I’m Canadian Indian,” he said.

“Seriously?” I asked.  I know that indigenous people come in a variety of shapes and shades, but still….

“You must be mixed with a lot of European blood, then?”

“No, only a little,” he said. “My grandfather on my father’s side was half German.  I look  a lot like him. But all my brothers and siblings look completely indigenous, with darker skin and black hair.”

I smiled knowingly now. “My extended family is kinda like that,” I said. “Our family’s racial mix seems to disappear for a generation or two, then it pops up and a child will resemble an ancestor two or three generations back. Funny how that happens, eh?”

Blog Photo - Hollyhock Mutant

We chatted for a while longer. But after he left, one thing he said stayed on my mind. Because everyone he meets assumes he’s caucasian,  he sometimes hears people talk about indigenous people in disparaging terms.

“That’s my people they’re talking about,” he remarked, sad and matter-of-fact at the same time. “That’s me they’re talking about in that way.”

~~

Our conversation reminded me that when we meet someone, we never quite know who we’re talking to. Below the waterline, beneath the obvious, lie differences that we can’t see.

If you met some members of my own family, you wouldn’t know their racial mix either.

Blog Photo - Mama's Garden CU of CR

And if you met me, you wouldn’t immediately realize that as a consequence of my car accident, I struggle with a head injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and the depression that accompanies those challenges.  Yes, mental disability.

I have Muslim friends who are rarely recognized as such because Muslims are seen as brown-skinned, and primarily from the Middle East or India/Pakistan.  I have Jewish friends who don’t fit someone else’s idea of what a Jew should look or behave like.

I have deeply religious friends who have heard others disparage their belief in God, and atheist friends who are disdained for not believing in God.

And until quite recently in Canada, it was often acceptable to talk about gays, lesbians and transgender persons in very negative terms. In some quarters, it still is.

These are just a few of the many invisible differences that exist among the people we know. Differences that are sometimes disparaged, even rejected.

~~

The talk with the appliance repairman left me thinking about the potent mix of emotions a person feels when they are accepted as “one of us”, knowing that if their true identity were known, they’d likely be rejected, as would the people they love.

What must it feel like to be allowed ‘a pass’ because of the way you look, but to hear people, over and over, deride a group to which you belong?

My visitor described his experiences without self-pity, without anger.

I didn’t ask him: are you glad at times that you don’t look Aboriginal? Doesn’t it gain you entry to places where your real identity would deny you access? But perhaps I didn’t ask because I already have a sense of such things — my own background being what it is.

And not for the first time, I wondered: is this the kind of adversity that is supposed to make a person stronger? Or does its effect simmer quietly out of sight, corroding one’s soul?

 

 

A Good Home, Flowers, Gardens, Life in canada, Peonies, Photographs

A Photographer’s Passion for Flowers

~~

Gundy Schloen is passionate about photography.

So: add her passion for photography to her passion for flowers and what do you get?

Blog Photo - Maltese Cross Photo by Gundy Schloen

Beautiful photos of flowers, of course.

Over the years, Gundy has taken thousands of photos of flowers.

Flowers in her own garden and flowers wherever she goes.

Blog Photo - Oshawa Peony Festival -Photo by Gundy Schloen

Like the Oshawa Peony Festival a few weeks ago. (Oshawa is a city east of Toronto.)

So I asked her if I could feature just a few of the photographs she took there.

Blog Photo - Peony Yellow - Photo by Gundy Schloen

But choosing just a few was very difficult. I really liked this one, above.

Then again, I liked this photo below and the one below that.

Blog Photo - Peony large pink CU - photo by Gundy Schloen

Blog Photo - White Peony photo by Gundy Schloen

Gee whiz – I liked a lot of them.

Blog Photo - Peony Border photo by Gundy Schloen

And aren’t these ones below just luminous?

Blog Photo - Red Peonies - Photo by Gundy Schloen

Beautiful flowers…. and beautiful photography.

Blog Photo - Prized peony - Photo by Gundy Schloen

Well done, Gundy and thanks for allowing me to feature “a few” of your stunning photos.

Blog Photo - Gundy Schloen in her garden - photo by P. Schloen

Photos copyright of Gundy Schloen.

A Good Home, Flowers, Gardening, Life in canada, Poem, Poetry, Seasons Change, Winter's End

A Winter’s Tail

The birds are back with songs of Spring

Their tunes incite imagining

That Winter’s end will soon arrive

And living things shall haste to thrive

~~

Via vitalxrecognition.wordpress.com/
Image Thanks to: vitalxrecognition.wordpress.com/

A Winter’s Tail, how bittersweet!

Today it’s sun, tomorrow sleet

And wind to stop us in our tracks

And cold to freeze Spring-hungry backs

~~

One day we feel a wave of hope

Warmed by our thoughts that we can cope

And then come gales of Winter still

And blizzards coat the windowsill

~~

Blog Photo - Icy Winter evening

Ho, Winter! Do your level best

Your time is near to take a rest

For Lady Spring prepares to rule

She’ll thaw your ice and warm your cool

~~

She’ll rout you, kick your icy tail

She’ll make you wish you’d stopped at hail

Who’s mighty now, oh Freezer Guy

Who rules the roost? Oh my, oh my!

Blog Photo - Rainy Garden with Flowering shrubs

Spring wakes the earth; the gardens flower

She turns grass green and makes you cower

She strips away your winter clothes

And sprinkles sunshine up your nose

Blog Photo - Mama's Garden2

She brings new life to garden trail

She gives new strength to plants so frail

To stand up ‘gainst your mighty storm

And so defy your freezing form

 ~~

Ho! Winter’s Tail, I kid you not

Pick up your snow and off you trot

Break down your ice and melt away

See you around, when skies are grey

 ~~Blog Photo - Lilacs and forget Me Nots

See you next time, oh Frigid One

But not too soon, for Spring’s begun

And three great seasons I shall see

Before you’re back to torment me.

 ~~

Thanks to Hamlin Grange for all original photos.

Dedicated to my friends Lisa E. and Marion W: Spring is near.