My mother gave birth to me late in life. She was 40 and my father was 50. While I am eternally grateful that they had me at all, a great sadness in my life is how soon they had to leave it. I miss my parents. I did get to enjoy my Mother’s wit and wisdom much longer than my Dad’s, since he passed away in 1987. But my Mother passed away only three years ago and her presence and energy are still very close in my life.
She was born in central Alberta on the fourth of July in the 20′s. Hard times but she was luckily born to an amazing woman, my grandmother, and her father had a brilliant sense of humor that she inherited as his firstborn. Her father was born in North Dakota and maintained a dual citizenship which proved helpful for 3 of his 8 children in their decision to move to the USA. While my aunts and uncles have all passed away, I have very fond memories of travelling south of the border and staying with relatives, and hearing my mother’s predictable joking that “these banners and flags and parades are wonderful, but you really didn’t have to go to all this trouble for my birthday”. Ah yes. My mother. Never missed an opportunity to share her wit and sarcasm. And while I am like her in some ways I am incredibly different in others. Regardless, I miss her.
Her incredible skill with cribbage had her winning most tournaments that she entered. Her talent with items like a pot roast and a few potatoes and carrots, always turned it into a gourmet meal with melt-in-your-mouth tenderness and lovely depths of flavour. Her natural manner with people who came into her diner made it a very popular destination, especially for truckers which she (rightly so) took as a great compliment. Her gift with butter-tarts and how she transformed mere pastry and raisins into a mouth-watering and family-wide famous treat is still legendary.
She would have been proud to see how my husband and I flew Canadian Flags in our windows and yards from the 29th of June until yesterday the 3rd of July, in celebration of Canada. And today, on her birthday, I celebrate my friends and relatives in the US. A big chunk of my heart is in America.
As a lover of music, two of my favorite songs are “Southland in the Springtime” by Indigo Girls and “That’s Right (you’re not from Texas)” by Lyle Lovett. And I often eliminate the extra ‘u’ that English dictionaries insist for words such as favourite, neighbour, endeavour, colour, flavour, and more. I am not exactly sure why. The part of me with US blood perhaps? I joke of course because in reality I believe we all have the same blood. We all are cut from the same cloth. So today I chose to cheer on the US and to acknowledge that I watch your politics and policies closer than one might think. Yes there are problems, just as there are in Canada, in Australia, in the UK, in Asia, in Europe, and absolutely everywhere. But I choose to focus on what IS working and how many athletes, chefs, musicians, artists, poets, doctors, travellers, and more, who worldwide join me in singing the praises of how we are all the same. So on this Fourth of July, I celebrate the fact that we are more than neighbors. We share a continent and we are kin. Let’s continue to work together and help make this world better than ever!
Today, in my mother’s honor on her birthday, and for her American-born father – my beloved grandfather, and my dear US-residing brother and brother-in-law and both their families, and for all my dear friends in the US who I’ve met through our blogging endeavors and hope to visit someday in my travels south of the border, this is for you. God Bless America, and God Bless the World!
And with great joy I present here a couple of my favorite songs of all time! The Girls for their poetry and music, and Lyle for his musical talent and brilliant, humorous wit!