Many thanks to all the folks who mentioned to me that they ‘love them ol’ photos.” My Mom deserves the applause — she wanted a record of homesteading and captured many moments for history. This month’s photograph is not one that she took but one that she saved. Let me introduce you to Uncle Bob, Grandad’s oldest brother, “an unclaimed treasure or a man who never married,” as Mom would say. This photograph was taken at the Edmonton Exhibition Grounds in the 1920’s. It is Fall Fair Time and the surrounding towns liked to partake in showing off their treasures. Grandad and his three brothers lived on a farm in Grimshaw, Alberta, where they trained these moose to pull their sled. They would drive them to town and to do errands around the farm. I chose this photo for this month’s front cover for the moose remind me of reindeer and Christmas.
Each family has its traditions, depending on the memories that are passed down and included in the next generation. I don’t remember Santa and his reindeer dropping down on our roof when I was young, but since I had lots of invisible friends to play with I believed that anything was possible. By the time I was eight years old, I helped Mom with the shopping and wrapping of Christmas presents so by then I knew better. Christmas holidays were a time to socalize and relax— sort of. Cooking a turkey and fixings for ten to twenty family members took time and effort as did the dishes, but we all loved the left-over turkey and the abundance of desserts, so we continued with the tradition till I became a vegetarian.
As I became older Christmas gift-giving became less important in our family. Dad didn’t like going to town, let alone shop and Mom preferred to give when she felt like it and not just on stat holidays. To me that made a lot of sense, and as my awareness shifted, so did what I wanted to do. Nine years ago on Christmas Day, I moved from our family home. I remember walking into the building and listening to my new landlord gasp, as she saw Rae’s truck pull up. She said to her husband, “I can’t believe that they are moving her in on Christmas Day.” I could, for it made sense to me: my three sons were home for the holidays and I had the muscle power to move my belongings, one load each day. Besides it gave us something to do as a family, and I thought it was a great way to end our relationship.
When my marriage ended, I asked the universe for a rest. I needed time to myself, to find out who I was, someone other than my children’s Mom, Rae’s wife or a lifeguard. After living alone for six years and enjoying every second of it, I could feel a change in my bones— it was time to allow a man into my life. I looked up into the sky and said, “If you have a man in mind, drop him in my lap, for I don’t have time to go looking.” For the next year I eyeballed each man as he came and went from the Centre, wondering who the universe had in mind. Then in March of 1996, a young man registered for a vegetarian cooking class, who afterwards asked questions about the Spring Festival of Awareness. Wanting to be part of a group with similar beliefs, he volunteered to make posters and anything else I could think of. After the Festival he took off to Chile for three months to work and when he returned, he dropped in to the Centre to say Hi to everyone. He was waiting for a phone call to go back to work. The call never came, but in the meantime, he kept busy helping with the Fall Festival of Awareness. He then made a trip to Edmonton with me to deliver ISSUES and share some time with my boys. He was a good driver, had a great sense of humour, and we talked about our many similar interests. He was a dedicated vegetarian right from the start and we enjoyed eating out but vegetarian restaurants are few and far between so we had fun sharing the cooking and eating at the Centre.
One Saturday night there was a potluck at Urmi’s, so Gerry and I went in his truck. Late that evening he dropped me off and as he left, I asked him, “Are you taking a break from volunteering tomorrow?” He replied, “We’ll see how I feel in the morning.” About ten am, I heard his truck pull up while I was still in bed. I laughed to myself, looked up to the sky and said, “Thanks, I now know what it means to have someone dropped in my lap.” With this as a clue that he might be the one for me, I asked for his birthtime and had my astrologer check him out. I wanted to know if there were any major obstacles if I got involved with him… for I am very practical woman who does not believe that love is blind. The astrology reading was delightful, with lots of inside info as to potential possibilities, with hardly any negative aspects, considering our age difference.
It was now a month before Christmas and he had time on his hands and was hoping to see more of BC, so he decided to take up the challenge of driving my Mom from Terrace to Penticton, in her Motorhome, to be with me at Christmas. He took the bus up and my Mom actually liked him. Later he told me he enjoyed her company and her many dogs… I gave him two bonus points for it was starting to be obvious that he was the one, but still I wanted confirmation. Christmas Eve arrived and the three of us visited and as he left to bicycle home to Summerland, I gave him a big hug, one that lasted several minutes. As I did, a song started playing in my head. It took a while for the tune to become clear but after he left I kept humming it till I remembered the words. It had been a long time since I had heard it. The next day we went for a walk and I sang the song, that had been in my head, to him. It went like this… k a Do you love me, I can really move, e Do you love me I’m in the groove, e Do you love me … not that I can tell…..? After listening to me sing the song he looked at me with a puzzled look and said, “What do you think it means?” I said, “I think it means I am supposed to ask you for a date.” He just about lost his footing in the falling snow and said, “I will think about it.” Over the next several weeks we had some serious discussions as to the implications of the two of us dating, but as far as I was concerned, this was who the universe sent and I seldom question its wisdom. Gerry needed time so we let the process happen slowly. An occasional movie, trips to Kelowna to do yoga and long walks or talks. During one of our evening chats we both had an amazing experience as we watched each other’s face change shape in the soft light of the room. We took turns describing each other as the images appeared and faded for we both sensed that they represented ourselves in past lives. Today our commitment is comfortable and solid and we look forward to what the season brings.