#49 Upon entering 2016
January 01st, 2016
There is white shyte everywhere. Everything frozen and still. I’m at my big front window, using a damp cloth to wipe dust and critter hair off the house plants. Along comes the Village snow plow. Up my street, turns in the vacant lot at the end, then comes back down again… with the blade UP. He didn’t move a teaspoon full of white shyte. He probably gets double overtime for working at Xmas time. Yep. Blade UP.
Only in Tahsis.
I have Lilli visiting with me. Her smile reminds me of her maternal grandmother, now passed. Christina Billie was a woman with a smile to light up the world. Died in a house fire. Too many good people went over because of house fires.
My Lilli-Billie has been a delight from the day she was born. It amazes me and touches me how I can look at her as she is now, eleven, incredibly bright, absolutely acing school, bubbling over with music and questions, and I see, at the same time, this little girl, not yet three, asking if she can help me cook “breffus.”
I can remember I let her butter the toast, then I pulled a chair up to the electric stove, told her not to touch anything, it’s all “burny hot.” Then showed her how to stir the eggs in the bowl, how to pour into the pan, and now we take the spatula….
Lilli, today, remembers, “Grandma put her big hand on my little hand and showed me the stir…and we did it, then she took her hand away and I did it. I felt SO big.”
Now I suspect she could turn out dinner for a dozen. She is so much like my daughter that at times I almost feel as if I’m in danger of getting them mixed up, and that’s silly, one has blonde hair and the bluest eyes in the country, the other is so obviously First Nations and yet…
Lilli and her sisters are the daughters of my first-born, my son. Phyllis Diller used to do a routine about Jewish mothers bragging “my son the doctor” and “my son the undertaker” and so both my boys got lumped into “my son the nut.” I’m not at all sure I was “a good mother” but we had fun.
So then Grace arrived, a cousin. Off they went on Grace’s Christmas present bike. Came back a couple of hours later and I knew before they asked what it was I’d hear. Grandma, can Grace sleep over with me tonight? At my age the last thing I need is TWO, but yes, of course, but only if her mother agrees. And, of course, she did.
So off they went to get Grace’s pyjamas and I started supper. Scalloped potatoes and pork steaks cooked with mushroom gravy. They ate enough for two full grown loggers then went into the bedroom with my electric keyboard. Such glee!
Today they were gone shortly after breakfast (poached eggs on toast), to return the pyjamas and then catch the water taxi over to Esperanza where there’s to be a huge New Years celebration, complete with a big dinner and, after dark, some fireworks. They do a good job at Esperanza and if you’re looking for Summer Camp for a child or a grandchild, that’s the place to send them. They’ve got everything from canoe and kayak lessons to overnight camping at Ferrier Point. My kids went and now my grandkids go, and it’s one of the few places where I trust them to care for my treasures. Lilli will come back laughing and we’ll have time together, then her Auntie will drive her to Gold River to meet up with her mom and go home with her.
Everyone is going to Gold River for the funeral of an elder. Kids are not allowed to attend funerals, but the band sets up kid care and games and fun and distraction galore for the smaller set. Pregnant women aren’t allowed to go to funerals either because the unborn will sense the grief but not understand why and it will confuse them and make them unhappy. While the adults mourn the loss of someone who spoke the traditional language and knew the history, stories, and songs, the kids will be supervised as they play and whip around doing kid things.
Christmas holidays can be exhausting, and yet it rejuvenates us and puts us in touch with what is truly important.
I still have stuff to do. When I win the big 649, I’ll got to New Orleans for a satisfying dose of music and po’boy sandwiches, and then to Florida for the manatee. I want to take in an Acadian festival and the fiddling celebration. I want to hear zydico as it is really played, not the stuff over-produced and on disk. And I want to visit the Grand Canyon…
Maybe I’ll see Thelma and Louise there! They tumbled out of that convertible on the way down, grabbed a tough bush, hung on and discovered it was growing at the mouth of a cave, so they went in and lay there, sobbing, exhausted. A few days later they made their way up the side of the canyon, getting to the top at night. Then they limped past the last of the FBI investigators and who knows where they are now? Maybe running a souvenir stand which features little convertibles containing two women, hands clasped, raised in triumph… why not?
In a world where Donald Trump is running for President, any damned thing is possible.
Happy New Year to all.
Anne Cameron grows pussywillows on the western edge of Vancouver Island. She received the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding literary career in British Columbia in 2010. Her 23 books include Daughters of Copper Woman, the bestselling work of fiction ever written about B.C. and published from within B.C. She has banished herself to Tahsis, a small town not far from Friendly Cove where the shenanigans called British Columbia all began.