Sunday, September 30, 2018

Photo Essay on Molly's Funeral

Having forgotten to bring my cell phone along with me to the funeral, I have to thank Richard who took the following pictures.

My text with his pictures will be episodic, but that is what pictures in an album usually are -- small snapshots that help us remember what happened before and after these moments.

I will try my best to write and I forgive anyone who gives up reading before coming to the end, as I hope they will forgive me for text that may not hang together.

On arriving in Magrath, Richard spotted a deer.  He swung the car over to the side of the road, had Michael jump out and point to it and took the first snap shot once we had arrived in Magrath.  A deer, which the natural eye cannot see in this pictures, but as you can see, Michael saw in and was claiming the prize Richard had offered to the first persons who could sight a deer.

People had left the chairs that had been placed around the coffin now and we getting ready to leave Raymond and go back to Magrath for the family dinner. I was telling Richard that the town of Raymond thought that the Mormon temple was going to be built there, and had a hill picked out as the site for the building, naming it Temple Hill.  The temple was eventually built elsewhere, but the name stuck on the hill, so now we have the Temple Hill Cemetary here.  And that is where Keith McBridge was buried, as you can see from the marble plaque at the foot/head of the coffin.

I am pretty sure those are Braden Keeler's brothers across the road standing in front of the white vehicle.  Braden took me over to meet them.  They are as charming as he is.

There was a display in the foyer of the chapel.  Showing here is a quilt made by Molly.  Big M on the quilt for Molly. There are pictures of all of the families of her children on the quilt, probably transferred from a photo to a textile, and then incorporated into this quilt.  As well, at the top of the quilt is a wedding picture of Molly and Keith.  I can still feel my fingers running across each photo and thinking about the changes in their families from when the quilt was done to now.

Here is a page from a photo album displayed in the foyer.  Nadiene -- upper right hand picture -- looked as though she might leap off of the page.  Also, the two lower left pictures are of quilts Molly made, I think the one on the lower left being the famous one that won 5 ribbons at the Calgary Fair.  Please correct me, someone, if I am wrong.

Five Ribbons that the quilt won at the Calgary Stampede Fair
Five ribbons for the same quilt.
These ribbons were used to demonstrate Molly's devotion to excellence.
Not a stitch out of place. 
A five ribbon quilt, a five ribbon life.

A picture of Molly from a year book.

M.J. Johnson
Molly Janine Johnson

Miles (Jack) Johnson suggested the name for this girl -- name her Molly he suggested and that was fine with Bessie.  Later Bessie learned that Molly was the name of the heroine in the latest western he had been reading.  My thought is that Molly should be happy that the name of the woman in the western wasn't Penelope.

I wanted a picture of Ross McBride and his family and told Richard that.  Richard tried but he was more interested in getting a picture of Brayden Keeler taking the picture of Ross and Nikole's family.

And now here is Ross and Nikole trying to get that family of 7 children ready for a picture to be taken.  Four of their children on the left and three on the right. Ross and Nikole in the midddle.

A better time to have taken a picture was when these McBride children were singing at the pulpit.  The musical number was "Peace in Christ".  Richard noted to me afterward that each of them had an electronic device in their hand that held the words to the song.  Richard was arguing to me that those of us who grow old without keeping up with the latest technology will not be able to understand the direction the world is going for the young.

To give more background, when Molly's children decided she should move to a nursing home; they added up reasons why they thought the move should be made.  Molly wasn't eating.  She wasn't answering her phone.  "Wait," I said to Richard.  Sometimes I don't answer my phone when I am busy.  "Well, take a lesson," said Richard.  "The newest generation is used to have their calls or tweets answered within an hour or two or they think someone is dead."

This beautiful daugher-in-law and grandchild belong to Cammy and Flip Phillips.  

She was so generous telling me that she would let Richard take her picture and the picture of this sweet baby so that I could blog it.

And Braden was the same -- so sweet that father and daughter.

Here is a long shot of Molly and Keith's children and their partners.

LtoR: facing us
Nikole and Ross McBride, Lynda and David Pearson, Coreen McBride,
Terry and Michael Jones, Colleen and Doug Keeler

the dedication of the grave

This was one of the  touching moments of the funeral for me. Ross knelt on one bended knee, put his hand on his mother's casket and began the traditional Mormon graveside dedicatory prayer, "By the power of the Melchizedeck priesthood invested in me I dedicated and consecrate this as the final resting spot for ...."

I am sure most people can say the prayer by heart.  I have heard it many times, and although I have never offered it, I still can say it along with the person who is asked to do it.  I love its promises and the hope for a day in the future when we will all see each other again.

Many people added a rose to the top of the coffin.  Others took one from the wreath that was on top of the coffin.  I didn't do either.  But I looked at the beautiful wood on the casket. Just beautiful.

Removing the wreath and getting ready to lower the casket.

And that is it for the pictures Richard took.

Thanks to him I have had a chance to go back and relive some of these moments.


Molly McBride Feb 1, 1929 – September 22, 2018

Image from Facebook page of Terry Jones
Richard, Michael and I drove to Magrath for Molly’s funeral.

We left at 10 am, on the #2 highway south, but still it felt as though we were weaving our way through country roads and in and out of the coulee’s that pepper what was once only a trail between Central and Southern Alberta.

We talked about the silo’s full of wheat, about the grain elevators, the bales of hay with their green coats, sometimes the hay was yellow, being placed in orderly stacks.

We talked about the wind turbines, generating energy, and noted that while we saw them in the distance at first, there was a time that we drove right under them.

We drove past the St. Mary’s Reservoir and saw the precious water spilling out of it in into the irrigation ditches. Sometimes the yellow field were just stubble, sometimes the wheat had been cut and was laying there in snake-like piles, drying in the heat of the autumn sun. Richard promised Michael that the first person to spot a deer in the fields would get a wonderful surprise. We spotted one right beside a pond in the town of Taber and at that point Richard pulled the car to the side of the road, hopped out, and Richard took a picture of Michael, with the deer in the background. I am beginning with these sights because they were the ones of Molly’s birth and death. Born in Taber. Died in Magrath. And in between her life took her to Calgary, Edmonton, Kamloops, Sherwood Park, High River, Barnwell, and finally to Magrath when she could not longer take care of herself. Even at that point, she could reach out and take care of others. It was just when she stopped remembering to do self-care, like eating, that others steps in to minister to her.

Since she died I have been trying to write about Molly’s life. The paragraphs were harder to do than writing usually is to me. I think what I needed to hear was the collective whole of those who were closest to her, for in many ways she was and is an enigma: a tiny person whose grand plans she executed with the help of others, and without that help, she sometimes went on to single-handedly drive them to completion.

Trying to find an image that would work for for me about Molly's determinedness, Colleen gave it when she described moving Molly from Barnwell to Magrath. Molly sat in a blue chair and told those who had come to move her, “You can’t make me go.”

Molly was right. They couldn’t make her. 

Perhaps they had known that before coming to get her. They had planned to counter her resistance by just picking up the chair and taking it along with her sitting in it. That might be the kernel of why Molly could do so many things. Nobody could make her change her own agenda.


Friday, September 28, 2018

5 in a selfie

AGM 2018

LtoR: Wyona, Art, Arta, Lurene, Miranda

 ... in the foyer of the TingleMerrett Ofices building ...

Not often this bunch get in a selfie together. 

This picture was taken after this year's LaRue AGM.

Art invited everyone to meet him at Costa Vida where he was meeting his children for lunch. 

Miranda and I had other duties.  I don't know how the Bates did, though I did know that they got there, got served and had 10 minutes before they had to go to the next event which was picking up the car from the auto-mechanic.

Now though our lives may seem humdrum, it doesn't seem that way from the photo.

Laynie, Glen and Janet escaped to their own event.  Darla and Don Robertson wanted to look at corporate records so they stayed behind in the office.  And that about sums it up, folks.


King Lear – Ian McKellan

Tonight the woman selling tickets at the theatre said apologetically, “We only have seats in the front two rows. Everything else is sold out.”

“Not one single anywhere?”


I took a side seat, isle B, deciding I could just lay my head back and live with the consequences of not buying a ticket online earlier.

I had done the work of studying the plot again, figuring out the politics of the war that was going on, and even done a test on what I had read. Why on earth did I do that?

The show was terrific. I forgot that I had such a horrible seat. Every flicker of an eyelid or twitch in the corner of a mouth of an actor was a thrill tonight. I was thinking about Shakespeare’s women in this play, and their portrayal in the show. Cordelia, dressed in army fatigues? I wondered on my way home if I thought that strengthened her character. And I was thinking again about the riddle she presents to her father, really. Wondering, why, if she thought he was growing old and was a bit demented, didn’t she give him a clearer answer to his question.

I liked the costuming of the women – Kent as well as Lear’s three daughters. I did spot a pearl necklace on one that looked similar to one in my own closet – one with a large decorated clasp and three strings of pearls. I don’t know why I couldn’t get my eyes off of that.

“Tom” was so interesting, putting Gloucester’s arm on his shoulder so many times. Chilling lines and such acts of love, both physically and with thoughts that he would verbalize.  "Forget and forgive."  I have no idea why that one struck me with such a bolt of thunder.

You know that last scene with the knife and the stick, how the fight went on and on. I was thinking, how do they do this? Maintain suspense when we all know how the play is going to end.  And then I went back to watching and hoping that the play would end differently.

My theatre crowd was a strange one – not the opera crowd of white hair, walkers and canes. I was surprised at the youthful look on people’s faces – maybe the 30ish crowd. Even a cowboy with a Stetson, boots and bolo tie. No one I knew though, except an English professor and his wife. Once I went to the theatre with Rebecca and it was booked by a school class, but this wasn’t the case here.

Ian McKellen nailed it with his portrayal of an old man. I should feel comforted thinking that the character of a demented man is not one I will have to carry in later life. But there was a raw nerve touched when Lear stated that he was 4 score years old. That sounds pretty young to me.


Thursday, September 27, 2018

Skipping Rhymes

Bonnie gifted me with a skipping rope when I was about to come back to Calgary. “I bought this one when you told me that working with children might involve using a skipping rope. At least you said Doral always had one.” Her words made me laugh. Yes, I always remember a rope that Doral would bring out and then he would set up skipping with us. He must have turned one end. I don’t remember who would have turned the other. His ropes were long and we could do double dutch with them. As well, he taught me how to make a knot in the rope and then use it as a lasso, a talent I have not passed on.

Well, the brand new white rope of Bonnie’s is mine now. At every chance I have been using it with Michael and Alice. He, it turns out, is already a good skipper. Alice has the drive but not the skill. The first time she tried, she was jumping pepper so I turned pepper and counted the skips – 16 of them on her first try. I am working on slowing her down, now, since there is something far more calming about a slower skip.

by Edith Fowke

$35 at Amazon
$2 at Salmon Arm Thrift Store
I have taken out my Sally Go Round the Sun book.

 I don’t know how mothers can make it through the day without referring to that book for more ideas about skipping rhymes, dandling rhymes, palm and finger plays and even taunts.

For now we are working on the skipping rhymes.

I am trying to get Alice to learn all of the variations of Cinderella / dressed in yella / went upstairs / to kiss a fella ….

She is more interested in the old classic I had a little teddy bear / his name was Tim....

Or, Doctor, doctor, can you tell / what will make poor (insert name of any child) well / ....

Michael jumped in at one point and was twisting in circles.

 She just can’t help but want to match him whether he is running in and then running out, or doing twists and turns far above her jumping level. 

So when he leaves the skipping spot for other play, there is always work to be done with her so that he doesn’t get too far ahead of her.

Sometimes Sumin turns the other end of the rope while Sumarga plays in the yard. But when she has to take care of him, then I tie the rope to a chair or to the leg of a table.

I can keep that rope going, even when the other end is sliding up and down the handle of a summer lawn chair, never a talent I have put on a work form, but still a talent.

As I said, a good jumper needs a good turner.


Michael is 7

Happy Birthday to 7 year old Michael
I do not know how this happens but at the university it is possible to book the lego room for a birthday party.

The event comes with people who supervise as well.

One of the glitches is that  you bring your own food which doesn't seem to be a problem with the family who lives next door.

Miranda can make and decorate cakes as though she does it for a living.

As well, I saw her cutting the middle out of this layered cake with a goblet.


... Smarties in the center ...
So that when the cake was cut, smarties could come tumbling out of the center.

I will remember the cake, probably long after Michael and his friends have forgotten it.


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

King Lear from the Chichester Festival Theatre

Photo from National Theatre sie
I thought I might go alone to see King Lear, since my usual theatre companions are taking a pass on this one.  "Not interested," said my sister.

Still, here is what the blurb from the National Theatre says, in case I can pique anyones interest in going.

The Synopsis:
Broadcast live from London’s West End, see Ian McKellen’s ‘extraordinarily moving portrayal’ (Independent) of King Lear in cinemas. Chichester Festival Theatre’s production received five-star reviews for its sell-out run, and transfers to the West End for a limited season. Jonathan Munby directs this ‘nuanced and powerful’ (The Times) contemporary retelling of Shakespeare’s tender, violent, moving and shocking play. Considered by many to be the greatest tragedy ever written, King Lear sees two ageing fathers – one a King, one his courtier – reject the children who truly love them. Their blindness unleashes a tornado of pitiless ambition and treachery, as family and state are plunged into a violent power struggle with bitter ends.

I guess I will go look up famous sayings from this play and refresh my mind on a few of them.


Goodreads quotes were fun to study while I ate my lunch today.  I have forgotten how difficult the English language of 400 years ago is.


Photo: Moiya Wood
Moiya spotted this beautiful tree outside of Wyona's house.

Hard to see more beautiful colour, the red on the tree and that colouration picking up the red on the engine on the tracks.

Glen calls the phenomena cladoptosis.

I had to go read  up on it.

Still, pretty incredible.

Re the beauty of the lake?  Wyona and Greg are going to the there sometime next week.  They have to check up on their house.  A CPR truck backed into the corner of it and chipped the corner of their garage.  I know.  Pretty incredible, given that it is summer, or was at the time of the accident.

So the bad weather was not a factor in the accident.

Further to that, Wyona, Chelsea and Charise were out for lunch on an early Saturday in September and while they were in the restaurant, someone had run into the car.

The Bates family are having a hard time with their stationary belongings:  a car and a house.


Monday, September 17, 2018

Road Trip during the Salmon Run

Every road trip seems like the best road trip ever.

Bonnie and I drove back to Calgary last weekend.

Our first stop was at the Health Unit in Sicamous so that she could finish a report.

That took two hours, but it was two hours well spent where she had a photocopy machine, the power to fax reports and plenty of space to lay out papers. A six hour job (if done without all of that equipment) done in two hours. Then we were on our way, around the local traffic circle and to Askews for a case of Coke for our trip and our share of sugary treats in a bag.

Not out of town yet, but we still have the feeling we were on the road.

My favourite street on the perimeter of town is Paradise Avenue.

I told Bonnie that if our trip was more leisurely, I would have like a selfie in front of that sign.

We stopped to see the Salmon running on Yard Creek again. And then just because we could we stopped by the local café for ice-cream. Rona Martin runs the shop.

The shop is well worth visiting, just to see the tea pots that she has collected and that now line the walls of her cafe.

She is the district councillor for District E, Sicamous and while she was piling the ice cream high in the cone, she also asked where I was from, and then keeping the conversation going by saying that lately she met Calgary’s mayor.

I had to laugh – always on the campaign trail. Good for her. She did tell us that the salmon were also running under the foot bridge which is just two block down the road, past the school, across the railroad track, and then go straight to the foot bridge for one of the roads less travelled.

This is how directions are given in these small hamlets.

No naming of streets.

Just turn at the pink house, etc.

Bonnie and I turned left when we should have gone straight ahead, so we also saw the salmon running on the local bridge under which the Eagle River flows.

How can a person get lost in such a small town?

Eventually we did make it to the footbridge, admiring, not only the smoky swirl of the salmon, now travelling upstream in calmer waters, but remarking on the incredible cleanliness of the sandbar that is at the side of the river. A teepee built out of drift wood on it, but no litter of any kind.

Truly, our time swept by in the car. I told Bonnie I had a story for her, and that I didn’t want her to comment until I said, “the end.” It wasn’t until long after Golden that I had said the last word and finally said the magic words – the end.

And then the time continued to fly by.

We stopped at the Spray Lakes for a selfie and then I told her I have always wanted to stop in at the Stoney Nakoda Casino.

She told me it was my lucky day. I am looking for a small gift for Pouria, since he will become a Canadian citizen on September 19th. When we entered the Casino Bonnie went straight to ask for the gift shop, which closed two months ago. I still wanted to look around. But I am not a gambler. I just walk up and down the isles of machines or listen to the cheers of some people at a table with poker chips and feel like I have been to the Casino. As well, the air quality reminded me of the air in BC for most of the summer – smokey.

I love road trips.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

On watching Angry Inuk

I can't find my Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 93 Calls to Action.

I will find them when I do some deep cleaning. 

For now, I know them well enough to remember that there is one where the Government of Canada calls all churches to teach the history of the Indigenous people of Canada.  Our Bow Valley Ward hasn’t started doing that yet. I am going to do it here for anyone who wants to attend such a class until one starts in my ward or in their own ward.

Here is the assignment for this week: watch the NFB's Angry Inuk

Seal skin purse, a gift to me.
Purchased by Rebecca Johnson while visiting in Inuvik
I use this for make up or to hold loose change.
The National Film Board is showing Angry Inuk by Alethea Arnaquq Basil for free until Sept 25th.   

I watched it last night in preparation for this post.  

I have been intending to watch it and in fact did see about 18 minutes of it a few weeks ago until I was interrupted  and just didn't get back to it during the evening.  

I thought film was lovely.  I use film as my chance to travel as well as learn about Indigenous history.  Here are moments that stood out to me.

1. the picture of the little children who had just eaten raw seal and some of the blood was on their mouthes.  I admit, that image was so spectacular that I had Bonnie come and look at only that piece of the film.  I was remembering when I took a food class where I learned that all people eat the foot that is around them.  In this case, seal is the meal of the day.

2. sledding down a hill on sealskin – so right to see that scene after being told how to prepare a seal skin for sale or private use and then seeing them  use a toboggan run as a chance to scrape fibres off of the seal skin.

3. foot dancing during a protest in Toronto.  I wish there had been more of that.  I could feel myself wanting to stand up and try a few steps of that.

4. I loved the shot just going through the village and past all of the house.  As well, the image as a plane went overhead filming the community for us.   I loved being a Canadian at those two points. 

5. I stopped the film during the screen credits and read them slowly, both during the ones for the music credits and then again I stopped the screen when there was thanks going out.  So sweet and what a good use of the screen.  And a double bonus for me that I can stop the images at home, when I can’t do that at the theatre.  I miss the huge screen though.

6. I studied the Indigenous tattoos on the women.  I have seen single portraits of these tattoos before.  What felt new to me is that I wasn’t observing these tattoos now in single portraits, but as adornment on women who were living their real lives – at their computers, in their kitchens, making clothing, attending meetings at the European Union, etc.

7. I liked the thread of protest that runs through the film: protest about their chance for commercial success being taken away with an argument that can’t be sustained intellectually.

That is it for this week. 

Watch the film if you haven't yet.  We will discuss it more next week as well.


Saturday, September 15, 2018

American in Paris - The Musical

An American in Paris: the musical
I sat down to figure out which of the NT Live and the Met NT Live productions I should pencil into my daytimer.

This week coming up on Thursday is American in Paris - the Musical, a show that ran at the Dominion Theatre in London.  Playing at both the Eau Claire and the Scotia bank -- 6 pm.

For a good review go to An American in Paris: Gorgeous blend of ballet and musical theatre.

The review says that the show offers us a gravity defying sprezzatura.  I must look that word up.


PS.  I did look up sprezzatura.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Vermillion Lakes Selfie

LtoR: Bonnie and Arta -- 2 tired travellers
On our road trip home to Calgary from the Shuswap, Bonnie and I stopped to stretch our legs at the Vermillion Lakes tourist stop, just outside of Banff.

I told Bonnie that at this point, I am always saying to the driver of the car, I know we are tired, but I have always wanted to stop in at the Casino on the Stoney Reserve just down the road.

Bonnie said, "You are speaking to the right driver."

When we got there, we took a quick tour through the casino.

Neither of us have any desire to gamble, at least in this way.  I wanted to pick up something truly Canadian at their gift shop.

It closed two months ago.


Friday, September 7, 2018

Hobbies – Dave, Greg, Moiya and Arta

Moiya invited Greg and me to dinner on Wednesday. 

As part of the conversation we were talking about hobbies that old people have.  

Here is our list.

Moiya:  She likes to sew.  She hasn’t had time to do this for many months.  Just no time.  Last year she did a long 8 month course and then the summer comes ....

Greg:  He likes to read.  Right now he is reading about the aftermath of World War I.  He finds his books on sale at the Piccadilly Mall and comes home with 6 to 8 at a time.  They cost pennies, he says and the hard copy brings him a lot of enjoyment.  He doesn't read that much from the Kindle anymore.  Right now there are no books out for sale.  Instead there are sign-ups for community groups in the spot where he usually buys his books.

Dave Wood: He likes to restore old cars.  What he likes is watching a TV programme about the restoration of old cars.  The actual hobby is too expensive for him.  $10,000 for some of the parts?  Nope.  He sticks with keeping modern cars running in his other spare time.  What he likes for a hobby is "building things".

... a memoir about Chinook country ...
Arta: I am reading books written by Indigenous authors, or books about Indigenous communities.  

Right now I have 3 books being read simultaneously.  

One is The Original Meaning and True Intent of Treaty 7 by Sarah Carter, Walter Hildebandt and Dorothy First Rider.  

Another is a memoir given to me by John Borrows called “The Banker and the Blackfoot” by J. Edward Chamberlain a memoir from southern Alberta.  

When I am at Rebecca’s there are books like this on every side table and coffee table, so I haven't run out of books to read yet.