me again

Hi Everyone. Well I took some advice that I frequently give to others.  “Take some time off! You need a break!”

Yes I did and I gave myself 2 months! Time flew. I cannot believe how quickly the days and weeks slipped by. Although I wasn’t blogging, I harvested a crop of new material that I will be publishing for the next while from 2 journals that I managed to fill.

Summer out here has been wonderful and I have made the most of it by spending as little time as possible indoors.  We’ve had plenty of summer showers and I managed to be out splashing through most of them.  Each and every shower/downpour still gives me that taste of heaven when I’m in it.  As much as I love it, I have to remember that it isn’t for everyone and they do not all share my exuberance about deliberately going out walking in it if there wasn’t a valid reason.

This last week was an eye opener for me! Literally! I called this a 9 day week because for two nights…I never slept at all!  I had too much on my mind, serious decisions to make and upcoming forks in the road!  At 3 A.M. one morning I found myself worrying about finding time for my Lilly Garden before it got swallowed by the weeds! Really!  It was time to get a grip.  When I went out at daybreak, they were alive and well.  Yes there were weeds but not nearly as life threatening to the Lilies as I was imagining and anyways the Lilies were the least of my concerns.  Why is it the weird things seem like giant obstacles in the middle of the night?  I thought all of that happened when I was eight, or six!

What it finally boiled down to was the fact that I was in withdrawal.  I needed to be writing. I needed to come up with a plan because my writing time was suffering and I was rapidly becoming an unhappy camper.  Yes, everything is scrambled in my journals but I was losing something a little more each day and I couldn’t figure out what it actually was!  Thoughts of giving up writing began to whirl around in my mind and it scared me.  I didn’t have writer’s block because the words were filling the pages and my mind was on course.  What I didn’t have was the time to myself to polish my drafts but I also didn’t want to miss anything going on around me either.  I’d lost my balance somewhere.

I had never thought of myself as a creature of habit or that I needed some sort of routine to make my life run smoother.  All my life I’ve fought routines, tried to avoid them like the plague whenever possible.  I promised myself when I retired, I would be able to forget the 9 to 5 day week! I’d be free at last!

Well I can honestly say that some of that has come to pass.  I haven’t completely retired but I have a job with flexible hours and that suits me to a ‘T’.  My time is very much my own but I do have to make choices…STILL!  As long as I breathe there will be choices.  I have to discern and prioritize a little more, that’s all.

This has come down to my writing.  I always ‘squeezed’ time in somewhere and I liked my spontaneous way of getting my stories done.  But around the 8th day of last week (my second night of not sleeping) I discovered and actually proved my whole theory about myself as a writer was wrong!  I know I won’t give it up and I know myself well enough to not settle for half-ass work.  When I am not writing…I find myself thinking, wishing I was writing.  This has been my retirement dream and it is within my grasp.  I have proof that I can do it.  And if I did … then I can do it again….and better!  I need to follow my own advice. I will rest when I need to.  I won’t allow myself to think like a ‘quitter’.  I will let my phone go to ‘Auto answer’ (once in awhile) and I will go back to my source of inspiration, which for me is ‘beside the still waters that always refreshes and restores my soul.  It is never busy there.  This is my writing routine and it has always worked.  I made the mistake of believing I could take shortcuts.  I need the one on one time with my Lord.  The solace and comfort I seek for the loved ones recently gone, is here whenever I write their names in the sand.  With peace and patience I wait until the waves gently claim them and in my mind sets them free.  Eventually the sun sinks, day is over and I walk home, sorting out the pages already drafted in my mind.

My home is also my sanctuary and often filled with happy distractions and I wouldn’t change a minute of that.  Family, friends, gardening, pets, hobbies make up the kaleidoscope of my life which cheerfully blends into my writing. I need this too.  It’s all part of who I am….the reason I write.

I am thankful for the 9 day week because it led me to the revelation that I didn’t have to factor in a routine, I just have to pick up where I left off with the old one.

AND….Here is my book: 101 BLESSINGS…The website is up & secured with pay pal for anyone who is interested in ordering.  It is an easy read that you can open randomly and begin.
The response has been more of a Blessing than I could have predicted.
Thank you for the local interest and support.  A special thank you to Robins for your help in promoting it here in my home town of Gimli,  Manitoba.  And most of all, thanks to all my valuable family & friends who are advertising it for me. You are too awesome! My loyal fans!

101 BLESSINGS is only the beginning for me.  I will be sharing on my blog from time to time and hopefully you will see how easy it is to find your own blessings.  Thanks for reading. It’s good to be back!

Memory Lane @:


cover for 101 blessings


closeup of teacups


As far back as I can remember my grandparents place, on my Mother’s side, was a very traditional old fashioned farmhouse that we all loved to visit. To one and all in our family & neighbors, it was simply ‘Baba’s House,’ a typical Ukrainian home.  A prairie farm where neighbors were welcome any hour of the day or evening.  There was always a continual flow of family members coming to visit or help out whenever needed. Often enough visits turned into just having a filling meal and fellowship.

The memorable part for me, was the love we felt in a home that was filled with old fashioned things.

Our Baba was a tiny woman, barely 5 ft tall, but strong when it came to ‘ruling her roost’. That included the men in her household especially.  I could see why she had to stand her ground or they would have put too much on her shoulders in those times.  Children were exempt.  She adored all of us.  Most of the time we were respectful but the odd times when we got out of line, she would call us by name and look threateningly fearful by shaking her cane at us.  And that was more than enough to settle us into being angels for long enough to be back in her good book.  That was usually done by offering to do some small chores for her.  Then she was immediately softhearted & generous.  Her apron pockets contained loose change or white peppermints which she gave us whenever we went to the garden or gathered eggs for her, helped feed the baby chicks.  It was a win – win for us kids at Baba’s house. A woman with a heart of chicks



apple blossom time


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There were plums and apples to pick from the orchard and rhubarb.  After we helped pulling it out,  Baba would cut it and give us a rather generous bowl of SUGAR! My cousins & I would sit on the steps dipping the sour rhubarb into it and I remember making faces and shivering but we kept on eating just the same.

Imagine giving children SUGAR like that today?  My children were monitored on that one too!  I watched their sugar intake like a hawk.

But nothing dreadful happened to us in our day!  We got stung by a bee once in a while, scared by a garden snake, walked through poison ivy more than once and yes, we suffered  a bit but our Babas, Grandmas & Moms had a poultice or remedy of some kind that worked every time!  It was kept simple.

We had a blast out in the endless yard, playing tag, hide an seek, running races across the open field and collapsing under the prairie sky, daydreaming as clouds of all formations rolled easily overhead.IMG_0752





The house itself was a great old fashioned two story with many small rooms.  There wasn’t a master suite or barely closets in those days.  Hooks on the walls held the everyday clothing and the Sunday wear was neatly folded in old dresser drawers.  This house was older than the one I grew up in and it was filled with lovely antique furniture.

My cousins and I loved climbing the steep narrow staircase & exploring the upper room that spanned across the entire house. Old lamps, several comfy beds, shelves of books, trunks of clothing and calendars that had hung on the walls for so long the wallpaper had faded around it.  Beautiful handmade rugs covered the wood plank floor.  If it rained, or in the evenings when the adults played cards or the women worked on their quilting bees, we played guessing games, talked about school, who we liked, whom we didn’t. We looked through old family albums repeatedly and tried on the clothing and compared fashions.  As I stroll down memory lane, how I wish I had the camera that I have now, but taking photos then were only for special occasions.

When we had exhausted all of the above, we ‘d crank up the old Victrola and dance to the ‘oldies’ in our finest attire we had pulled out of the trunks.  Lastly, we flopped on the beds & vanished into the feather down quilts and slept until woken to go home.

Amazing…Not one of us had any allergies to feathers, dusty rafters or woolly material!  Everything was an adventure from the machinery, to the sheds (filled with more old furniture and items of interest).  We were continually on the hunt to see who could find “the neatest stuff”

Old farm water can ROAD LESS TRAVELLED raspberry hollies


times ago



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We weren’t allowed to play with the axe!  EVER! But our Uncle Harry was grateful and paid us in nickles if we helped him carry wood because Baba needed an endless supply for her monster wood burning stove and her constant cooking and baking bread & buns!  There was hearty homemade soup through every season to go with that bread.  My grandfather, (Gi Gi) had to have his soup everyday whether it was a hundred degrees in the shade or fifty below. When he was busy out in the field we took a huge container out to him along with a jug of cold well water and he would stop long enough to eat, right there in the blazing prairie sun.  If we were lucky to catch him at the right time, we got to drive the tractor once around the field. That was our reward.

planting field





These are a few of the memories that I hold dear to my heart about the ‘good old days’ which at the time I never realized how golden they would be to me one day.  It is always a new experience for me each time I recall the simplicity of life and how content we were with what we had.  These pages of my mind come alive as I write and I am in my ‘happy place’,  knowing I am saving at least a tiny glimpse of them for the new generations of our family to learn about if they wish to do so.  The years have rolled quickly by but the one thing that has stayed in my heart since childhood, and has never left or changed… is my love for those old fashioned things.  They were instilled in my spirit because of the years of growing up around ‘Baba’s House’.


me and my dolls




me in yellow



Oh how I loved old fashioned things!

Cast iron pans. A kettle that sings.

Fine china cups, pretty teapots and plates…

Pictures on calendars with very old dates.

Long velvet dresses in purple s or reds.

Antique lace curtains and four poster beds.

Oh how I loved fresh coffee that’s perked…blue emamel





The taste of baked bread.  Brown soil newly worked.

That old fashioned farmhouse, had a loveseat for two.

A warm cozy fire and things we could do.

Wood steps to the attic where I’d often see

Hand knitted clothing, once worn by me.

lorna and me


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freerange flowers


Wild flowers in a jar always graced the table.

Soft little kittens played inside the stable.

Picking apples off trees, after a summer shower

That old fashioned clock that chimed on the hour.

White painted fences, freshly mown grass.


Neighbors who smiled and waved as they passed.

BLOSSOM BEAUTYWith springtime  blossoms, I remember those things

The time that it was…

And the memories it brings.***

I’m sure everyone of us has a place in our hearts and memories that we wish we could go back to…just one more time.  Going back to my Baba’s House would be one of mine.

Thank you for reading a few more pages of my mind. If I don’t get my blogs out as quickly as I did in the past, please hang in there with me. I have been busy promoting my book: 101 BLESSINGS, which hopefully will be out in another week or two at the latest. I will be setting up the links for it next week and am very excited for the release date to arrive!  Also I am working on two novels and hoping for a publishing date of mid September on the first one.  I have been getting many requests to make my blog into a book and actually that was my first plan when I began this blog about 9 months ago.  I wanted to get feedback on my ideas and they have been overwhelmingly positive. Thank you everyone who contributed to the hundreds of encouraging comments about it! It is in the planning stage as of two weeks ago, thanks to all your requests.

Have a wonderful weekend!  I plan to spend quite a bit of time writing by the lake.  The weather is perfect here.  As I have said so many times my spot beside the water is where my best inspiration comes from. Blessings to everyone of you. I appreciate your comments enormously. They are life changing.

Until next blog, take care,

Memory Laneme again










first blossomsOkay, so we aren’t quite at the Apple blossom stage yet, but we have hope that because according to the calendar, March 20th was the 1st day of spring.

Yesterday it snowed, again.  The wind howled and little drifts gathered trying their best to show how tough they are.

Today was cold, but the sun’s rays were warm and showing us glimpses of the promise of the season that is here.

hopethree in a row (2)Flowers

on my


sills are one of my

traditions that I have carried on from my Mom.  She did this every winter because the plants that she had saved by wintering them through, gave her the sense of warmth and brightness that kept her hope alive for our long cold winter to pass.  Then these hardy blossoms could be transported outdoors.  As it has happened, I’ve become my mother in some ways.  This is one of them.  I love coming home and seeing bright blossoms on my window ledges.  They still give me that memory of ‘home’, prairie style.

IMG_3230This picture was on our wall through every season since before I could read.  Mom used to lift me up and teach me the words, one by one.  I had them memorized but really convinced myself that I was reading.  It was my story about home. Our home. It is a humble old picture, but valuable because it was the creed we lived by.  After my parents had passed away, and the farm had been sold, we visited the old ‘home’ one more time.  This picture was still on the wall in the old kitchen.  Today, it is on the wall in mine.Dads housecoat  Rescued and valued for another generation or more.  It was difficult to say goodbye, to close that door, leaving echoes inside.  But in the same way we never want our seasons to end, (well perhaps winter).  But they must.  There is a time needed for all things. For our old home place, it was time.  The seasons had passed.

That home had been mine

since I was a year old.

lorna and me


It was ours for the time

we all needed it.charlies wood shedforgotten farms

dads chairThere were so many winters and flowers on the window sills.  For each winter, Spring faithfully followed as Mom taught us to hope for each one to come.  They always did and we rejoiced as if it were the first.

archway trailWINDOW TO THE PAST (2)

times ago








Several years ago, I was at an Aboriginal spring retreat with a client of mine and her young children.  It was a celebration of the Creator’s blessing upon the season.  The joy and freedom on the children’s faces is something I have never forgotten.  That night, in my room, I wrote a poem, which has been published several times.  I have never tired of it and look for opportunities to share it whenever ‘Spring’ rolls around.  Everything has life, joy and hope when you see through the eyes of children.  I sat on the sidelines and listened to an Elder telling the children the story of how Creator knows exactly the time for spring to arrive.

apple blossom time


If you are quiet, and listen close…

To the song of Springtime earth

You will hear the tiny voices…

Springtime is the season of birth!

hidden treasures






Under blankets in the forest,

Souls of grass and seeds wait there.

Now begin their new birth stretching

Feeling Springtime in the air!


Laughing water,                craven water

Down the hillside…

“Wake up! Wake up!”

The waters sing…



“Don’t you know that winter’s over?”

Shouts Our Creator: “For it is spring!”

Sounds of birds burst forth with chorus…


As they join with blossoms bright.

Sharing melodies of Springtime

For they know the time is right!

In the meadow, all is humming

From the warmth of daytime sun…

New buds shimmer on the willows

Time to grow now, every one!



Slippers, on the

Prairie, Hear the Songs the

Blossoms Sing.

Happy faces peek through snow drifts…rock on trail

And join in the song of spring!

As the grass wakes from its sleeping,

freerange flowers






New life bursts free everywhere!

Sun is brightly warming meadow…

“Rejoice! Rejoice!” Hear Creator declare!

Den & Soljah's own Sunset (2013_10_24 22_16_48 UTC)






What is stirring  In the forest?

Can you hear their Voices sweet?


Beautiful bushes craven valley (2)






New seeds resting late last autumn…

Are now stretching through winter’s retreat.mystery plants

Do you know the song they’re singing?

As Creator wakes the earth…

It’s the song, the song of Springtime

Creator’s miracle of birth!  ***

Yes, springtime holds a lot of sentiment for me, as I’m sure it does for many. We long for it and at the same time, think of the ones who cannot be here to share our joy when the season arrives.  We have to keep our joy, and carry the torch of memories because that is what would make them happiest.

I know there is still snow on my deck and snow drifts against the house but spring is in the air! Days are lengthening!  Spring is in the shopping malls!  The plants, the pots and baskets, the furniture and lawn mowers, so lets all jump in with both feet and say it:

Thanks for reading and leaving me so many great and encouraging comments. I love them all and appreciate every one.

Thanks to Pandanus Tree for several of the great prairie photos!

Until next time, Blessings from Memory LaneSIMBA AND ME






the rainbow promiseHi Everyone,

As those of you who read my work  or  follow me already know, I love the rain…as in: A nice refreshing, warm summer rain.  But I am not always thrilled at driving through it, especially when we get strong prairie winds and the wipers cannot keep up and it is frightening when buckets of water are hitting the windshield.  As I was coming home on this particular day, there was a super downpour and just as I was thinking of pulling over, it let up.  Just like that!  My first sigh of relief was:   ‘I can see!’  And what was even better was the fact that I could see ‘clearly’ not only ONE Rainbow,  but TWO!  For a change, this time, on the drive, I didn’t have to wonder if the storm was going to get worse as I drove.  The Rainbow that is always promised after the storm, was my archway ahead and it felt amazingly close so I drove on in confidence.  The worst was over and I enjoyed the Rainbow for quite a distance.

As the pretty little plaque on my wall at home says:


While I was writing my book of 101 Blessings this winter, I was learning so much on that journey.  The very things that were around me all the time were the sources for my Blessings, that I wrote about.  It didn’t start out quite that way because I had my book outlined from the list of events & memories that I took from my journals that I’d kept.  I did use most of it but

completely different than first planned.

IMG_3945What has become my own ‘eye opener’, was the fact that I didn’t specifically write them down as ‘Blessings” in my journals!  There are good things, happy moments, love of family & our traditions, some growing pain choices I made, even grief & disappointments I’d experienced.  Also various mistakes along my own journey in life that I’ve learned from.  Those are all the kaleidoscope of Blessings that make up my life!

As a woman of faith, I wanted to share with my Readers, how that faith works in my own life. Perhaps similar or differently than yours, but that is okay and as it should be.  We are all unique individuals.  For myself, mine has come from daily experiences that have kept me growing.  Heartaches from losing loved ones, changing plans, health, finances, relocating.  Learning patience.  The word: ‘WAIT’.  Not every time was a winner, but these journeys in my walk of life, became my Blessings when I climbed above the hurdles and held on to faith when the visibility wasn’t ‘clear’.

There is something about writing out that story that is within us.  I believe that and now, I can see it:  ‘CLEARLY’.

That old time favorite song by Jimmy Cliff has the perfect lyrics and I’ve always liked them. For this: they are right on!  I went to my playlist and listened to it over & over, with my spiritual ears and eyes tuned in.

It has actually been numbered into the Blessings Book @ 100, and I am sharing part of it here:



trees and clouds

‘I Can See Clearly Now, The Rain Has


I can see all obstacles in my way.

Gone Are The Dark Clouds That Had Me Down….


It’s Gonna Be A Bright, Bright, Sunshinin’ Day.


shady lane






Oh Yes I Can Make It Now, The Pain Is Gone.

All of The Bad Feelings Have Disappeared.


broad valley rainbow


Here Is That Rainbow

I’ve Been Prayin’ For…




It’s Gonna Be A Bright, Bright,

Bright Sunshiny Day!


tall holly


a sip or two






Look  All


There’s Nothing     FullSizeRender.jpggoodbye

But Blue Skies.


Look Straight Ahead…      Nothing But Blue Skies!




Real Bright,


Sunshinin’ Day!’



I was inspired by the loyal friends and loved ones who supported me.  They gave me space as needed and believed with me that my messages of faith were important enough to write.  They wouldn’t let me give up when I had moments of uncertainty.  Thank You, Lord, and thank you, Family, Friends & Readers, for all you have done.

You add numbers daily, to my Blessings.


Until next time, this is Memory Lane,

wishing you a great week again





I couldn’t think of a topic of any kind and I was going to just let this challenge go, but as I was driving home from work, I changed my mind. I’m a couple days late but that’s because I spent so much time writing my other stuff on my 500 words a day challenge, which I enjoy and am totally committed to.

Why do I HAVE to write something I don’t want to write?  I don’t have a lot of free time.  I am supposed to have retired but it hasn’t happened yet.  Writing is my joy!  I started my blog so that I had the freedom to write whatever popped into my mind.  Surprisingly enough, there’s still quite a bit there!

Pretty much all of my life, I’ve had to work at jobs I didn’t always love.  I’ve been moved and transferred, uprooted to places I didn’t always want to go, but I did.  I had a family to consider and we always made it work.

Now I live where I want to live and I will retire soon, (maybe).  I am not getting younger and I waited a long time for this freedom to come and go as I please, travel if I wish and write to my heart’s content.  I just completed a 230 page book of all my BLESSINGS and am in a thankful mood.  Plus I did it on the 500 word challenge in 2 1/2 months with Jeff Goins and a lot of great talented bloggers & writers.  That has been an awesome journey and my heart is full!   I am blessed to the 9’s and happy.  Do I have to get myself all in a Hissy fit to write about something that doesn’t inspire  me or will put me in a grouchy mood?  Because that’s what I’d be doing.

Many of the articles you bloggers have written are excellent and I admire and respect your talent for your ideas!  They are amazing and after reading each one, I find myself wondering:  “How did they think of that?” And every one of them is a unique topic!

It’s just not my cup of tea, that’s all I can say.  I love to read a good mystery that scares the you know what out of me but I could not write one if my life depended on it.  I have to write what I know and love at this stage of my life and I will not feel bad because I can’t write like someone else or use a chosen theme. However, I have in a way, picked a fight by not agreeing to go out of my comfort zone today.

Thanks for reading and I will see how I make out with the next challenge.  I didn’t do my own ‘lead magnet’ either but tomorrow my book is going to the publisher & they offered to help me with setting up my web site & lead magnet.  What a relief and load off my mind.

Forgive me for being a little behind you guys, but I have to do what works for me.  Ole’ Frankie sang it best:


Until next time, Blessings everyone.  Lane






IMG_3306As I posted yesterday, my writing journey has been amazing thus far.  Once I realized I wasn’t too shy to share many of my personal blessings in the book I just finished, 101 BLESSINGS, my world is opening up more each day.  I know I want to do what my title says.  I would like my words to be memorable and lasting in the minds of my Readers.  This Blog Challenge #2, that I am rewriting, is from an earlier post but it is one that I never get tired of sharing.  It was a special experience that I like to keep talking or writing about whenever I get the opportunity.  It really made me think about what my path is.  I hope to hear your comments about this post.

It was a beautiful Sunday morning and I was driving through Nebraska.  As far as my eyes could see, fields of blooming sunflowers were standing in unity.  I felt I was entering a sanctuary of worshippers.  On both sides of the road, sunflowers continued until they met the skyline. I slowed right down, the highway was deserted and with a closer look, I noticed some stalks with their faces bowed. Others were nearly hidden by taller ones.  I questioned myself.  “Which face would be mine?  The tall, strong one facing it’s source, the sun?  How obvious is the joy of my own salvation?  Am I foolish enough to think that if I lower my face I can blend into the crowd and be out of the Lord’s watchful eye?”

King David knew he couldn’t hide from God, when he asked the question: ‘Where can I go from Thy presence?  If I ascend to Heaven or make my bed in Sheol, Thou art there.  Even the darkness is not dark to Thee’.  Psalm 139.

As I drove,  I personalized faces.  Family, friends, brothers and sisters in the Lord who had gotten lost in the crowd, including myself at times.  Hurts, loss, disappointments, grief, are circumstances that can cause us to turn our face away from our source when it should be the opposite.  It’s during these times we need Him the most.  God’s word tells us to ‘stand in the light of His love.  He will cause His light to shine upon us and bring us peace’.  What wonderful words of hope.

Since that morning, I find myself searching faces whenever I am in a crowd at a mall, the beach, anywhere.  Try it.  Which face in the crowd do you think would resemble yours.  Do our own expressions reflect the Light of God’s love?  Is our head held high?  I would like to think mine is, but I’m sure there are times when I don’t put my best ‘face’ forward.

Last summer I planted my own crowd of sunflowers along the fence.  Joy filled me as I watched them grow and bloom.  Some of them weren’t as strong and tall as the rest, but I supported them so they would survive.   I loved the way the Lord used them as an example that I, a writer and an artist, could easily relate to. Imagine, just as He knows every hair on our heads, He also knows every seed in each sunflower plant.  He knows where every face is…In the light…In the dark…In any crowd, anywhere.

I hope this comparison will come to mind and make you smile the next time you pass by a field of sunflowers.

Blessings Readers…From Memory Lane  SEVEN SUNFLOWERS




me againSo many tell me that I have a gift with words.  I finally believe that too. I use that as confirmation for my God given talent and I give Him all the glory.
My writing journey has been the greatest, most exciting and rewarding roller coaster ride, I’ve been on thus far!  I have always loved to try out the wildest, scariest ones I could find.  In that way, just dare me, I am brave!  However, new ideas, sharing my own little world with strangers, is sometimes met with scepticism on my part. At home, writing had been a part of me as far back as I can remember.   When I was too young to write my stories, I became a story teller and dramatically acted them out for anyone who would listen and write them down for me.  I soon began to write my own.  When I had children and we ran out of books, I wrote them bedtime stories.  After they grew up, I wrote articles for children’s magazines.  As I reached retirement, I seriously began my blog about my prairie life.  All stepping stones that have brought me where I am today.  I’d go on writing binges where I’d almost forget to eat, sleep or feed the cats.  When I exhausted that, I’d paint long enough to lay out a plot for my next writing adventure.  Then I’d write occasionally, fall in love with that routine for a while, have something published and get all pumped when the cheque arrived…

Then my keyboard would be silent.

Sadly to say, I wrote like this for 20- something years! Obviously, it wasn’t about things that mattered enough to me at that time.  I wasn’t in the right place to appreciate its value.  I started blogging last August because I wanted to share my memories that I had tucked away deeply in the pages of my mind and I knew I should do it before the ink faded from the pages completely.  Losing loved ones, brings the cruel reality, that we all have our time, sometimes it short.

I began to write my memoirs back to the days I was growing up on a dirt poor prairie farm in Manitoba, Canada.  I wasn’t bothered about ‘not living up to the  Jone’es, standards or any of that until I turned 15-16.  Once that discovery hit me between the eyes, I ran and never wanted to go back there for years.  Of course I did. (Once I built my own little Jones world), but I couldn’t go any further without my roots. I was empty.  I went home again and found them.

I decided what I had was golden and I want the new generations of our Family Tree to know their heritage and be proud of it.  I am.

Since I began the 500 word challenge on Face Book with Jeff Goins and the writers group, I have had a blast!  I got a revelation for a Blessings book on New Years Eve, actually a 101 of them was the number given to me.  I had never written anything quite like this and the word challenge kept the fire going.  I thought it would take me months & months to write but I finished the last Blessing yesterday. 2 months, 13 days!

I know now that all my writing trials, the re-writes, rejections, changing material content, were stepping stones to bring me to where I am.  101 BLESSINGS isn’t fictional.  It isn’t about a character in a story where I get to decide a dynamite surprise ending.  They are my hard learned lessons that became my blessings and I believe with all my heart and Spirit, I am meant to share them.

While I’ve been writing them, doors have opened for me and I know without a shadow of a doubt it has been the Lord who has walked, carried and even pushed me this far.  All the while, His banner over me has been LOVE!

Blessings & thanks for reading,

Memory Lane



me again

This is one of my first stories, written into my booklets I often made when I was about 12-13 years old.  Dad had nicknamed me ‘Summer Wind’ because I was training to enter races at our Harvest time picnic.  I never stopped running, ‘like the wind’,  he told me, for that entire summer.  This story was one of my treasures that Mom had put into my trunk & hid in our old attic, knowing I would come back for them one day.  It has been published in Indian Life Newspaper, in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada where I used to live.  I hope to make it into a mid grade children’s book of 2800 words, soon.  I would like to get some of your honest opinions on this.  It is a repeat in some parts from a previous blog post, but this is the manuscript, word count, age appropriate 32 page version.   As a child, I wrote it exactly the way it all happened.  I feel like I could just go right outside, and ride my bike to my friend’s house, as Summer Wind, again.


“Summer Wind, It’s going to be a scorcher out here today,” says Dad, wiping his forehead.  “Your Mama will be able to fry an egg on the front porch!”

“WHAT?”   He winks at me.   “Oh, Dad!  You always say stuff like that!”  In my head,  I can see Mama cooking our eggs on the front steps.

It is early in the morning but already Bright Sun feels hot.  I pick up the watering can and stare up at the never ending Prairie Sky.   I see the  trail of an airplane so far up there,  I can’t even hear it.   “Thank You, Summer Wind,”  I say.   I smile as it blows fresh air on my face & neck while I help Mama water the thirsty vegetables in our garden.    “I know you are there, and I wish I could see you, Summer Wind,  but you are invisible.   You make me smile when you touch my face.  Bright Sunlight and you make good partners for helping our garden grow.”  I am in a hurry today so I try to water my rows quickly.

“Slow down,” says Mama.  “You’ve missed some of the carrots.”  She fills my can again.

After my chores  & breakfast, I feed my Border Collie, Shep.  He will find a nice place in Cool Shade and sleep all day while I am gone, until he hears my bike coming down the gravel road.  He will meet me at the edge of our driveway.  If something new is happening at our house he will bark & race ahead of me.  He likes to win at racing too.

Mama has packed me a lunch to share with my school friend Iris and then I will ride my bike to her house about a mile away.  “Bye, Mama,”  I wave as I push through the gate.  “Thanks for our lunch.”

“WAIT!  You forgot your jacket!”

“Awe,  Mama!  It’s so hot,”  I tell her.  “Dad says you could have fried our eggs out here!”  She shakes her head & points to the sky behind her.  I toss my jacket into my carrier and peddle as fast as I can before she finds something else for me to do.  Suddenly,  I do notice that everything is quiet along our country road.  the birds have stopped singing.  Summer Wind gives me a push as I climb the first hill.  I see Mr. Stefan’s truck coming towards me.  I wait at the side of the road.  He slows down and waves as he passes.

“Going to pick up the mail.  Better hurry before it rains on Big Boots,”  he tells me pointing to the sky.  Big Boots barks his ‘Hello’.  He loves riding in the back of Mr. Stefan’s truck while Summer Wind blows his fur in all directions.  Little Dust Shadow follows them over the hill.  I remind myself to look both ways before getting back on my bike.  Mama says it’s a good habit, even on our hardly travelled road.

trees and clouds“WOW!”  I holler when I look up at the clouds.  “Dark Cloud is quickly moving  my way!  It is going to drop Fresh Shower right over my head before I can get to my friend’s house!”  I grab the jacket Mama made me bring.  “How does she know these things?”  I stand up and peddle, happy our lunch is in my plastic back pack and won’t get soaked.

“I wonder if Loud Thunder and Speeding Light will come next?”  I peddle as fast as I can, using one hand to pull my jacket over my head, just as the drops start.

Summer Wind is blowing stronger.  “Come on, Summer Wind, push me faster!”  I keep hollering:  “FASTER!  FASTER!”

I cannot peddle as fast as Fresh Shower is dropping drops.  Dark Cloud has pushed in front of Bright Sunlight.  Creator heard Mama when she prayed for Fresh Shower to send more water today.   “Thank You, Creator, for helping Mama grow our vegetables.”  I keep blinking the raindrops out of my eyes.  “And thank You for not sending Loud Thunder & Speeding Light while I am on the road!”

My friend, Iris will be happy for me today.  She loves Loud Thunder and Sky Storm, but I wouldn’t have come over and we have big plans for today.

“Hurry back, Bright Sunlight.  You have to dry my clothes!”   Shiny puddles are all over the road.  My tires make ‘squishy’ sounds as I crunch up my legs and ride through them.  Summer Wind has slowed down.  I am closer to my friend’s house.  The birds are starting to sing now that Fresh Shower is slowing its drops.  Slower…Slower…Slower…  Plop!  Plop!  Plop!




I see Iris’s place ahead, just one more small hill.  Dark Cloud has moved to our other neighbor’s farm where the mean boys live.  Bright Sunlight is free again & makes Raindrops sparkle wherever they landed.  Spider Web’s Lace is spread across Wild Flower’s petals.  I think of Kokum’s fancy white tablecloth.  Summer Wind makes Fresh Shower’s perfume smell nice.  That reminds me of my Grandmother, too.

Iris is waiting for me.  Her Mom hands us a bag of freshly made doughnuts to take along.  “Thanks, Mrs. Stefan.”

“You’re welcome.  Have fun girls!”

We can’t wait until lunch.  We both eat a doughnut on the way while we have fun riding all over the road trying to hit the puddles.  Summer Wind chases us as we speed up through them.


“Look, Lainie!  No hands!”  Well I can’t do no hands,  but I am so skinny,  I stuff the doughnut into my mouth and stretch my arms around my legs and put my feet up on the handle bars.

“HA! HA!”   Iris cannot do THAT!

We are not even peddling as we race down the hill.  As much as we try to pass each other,  Summer Wind keeps us even.  We turn off and go down the bumpy trail to our tree house.  First thing we do is fly our kites in the open field.  Summer Wind twirls, spins & pulls them higher and higher.   “WHOA!”   Mine drops to the ground.  Then Iris’s kite gets tangled in a tree close by.

“Hold my legs while I get it down,”  I holler, reaching for a strong branch.  “I think I have to cut the string!”  Iris doesn’t like climbing.

Iris nods.  “Do it.”

I unfold my camp knife and cut it.   The kite hits the ground.  “Is it wrecked?”  I ask as I climb down.

“No, it’s okay,  Lainie.  Thanks.”    As we walk along the edge of the field, we pick Raspberry Reds.  Dad taught me how to make a perfect red for water color painting by crushing raspberries through Mama’s strainer & adding just enough water.  I taught Iris how to make it too, so we collected a cupful each.  It was hard not to eat them all.

From listening to our parents and Elders story telling around the bonfires in the evening, we have heard great stories.  So today we are pretending we are living the old traditions and are surviving on our own.  We make camp beside our tree house.  Last summer, Iris’s Dad gave us the boards and old shingles for a roof.  He helped us build it.  It is strong and safe.  Our Mama’s both said it had to be that  way.   It even has a window & a door.  We can leave our stuff in it.  Nobody can see it rom the road,  especially the mean neighbor boys.   This is our very own place.  Iris and her Mom sewed us a new banner.   We hang it on the pole and put more stones around it.  Summer Wind waves it for us.

We are building an Inukshuk.  We learned about them at school.  Iris & I carry all the flat stones we can find from the pile beside the field.  Some are really heavy.  We choose the best round one for the head.  Our Inukshuk is almost as tall as we are.  We name it: ‘Doodlik’.  We are thirsty and take a rest to look at Doodlik for a little while.  “Every time we come here now, Doodlik will be here to welcome us.”

“I like that idea,” says Iris.

An Inukshuk is a friendship figure.  It is also a messenger who welcomes visitors and hunters & guides them with signs.  Inside the old barn, we found a set of antlers & we hang them over Doodlik’s arm.  That means ‘good hunting’  here.  We gathered a pile of sticks and dropped them beside Doodlik so visitors would get the message that is was a safe campsite.  Iris and I worked hard until Bright Sunlight was over our heads.  Lunchtime.   We climbed the short ladder to our tree house.  It isn’t very high but that’s okay.  It stays nice in Cool Shade.  Iris brought her new magazines and we read them while sharing our food.  After we rest in the grassy field and watch White Clouds turn into animal shapes while we finish the doughnuts.  We are best friends.  We talk about everything.  Our favorite shows,  best creepy books, good baseball games.  Sometimes we share family problems too.

We both have so many ideas about what we’d like to be when we grow up.  Iris wants to be an artist.  I might be one too and we both like to write stories.  I tell her why I get scared sometimes and about the mean names those awful boys call me.   She sticks up for me when she hears them and never makes fun of me.   She asks me other stuff about the Creator that she is shy to ask anyone else.  If I don’t know,  I  can ask Kokum.  She knows many things about the Creator.

We read out loud to each other.  Iris hates to read in front of the class.  I tell her she reads really good.  Once Bright Sunlight has moved to the other side of the sky, we have to leave.   We pack and then go in opposite directions.

Summer Wind helped me climb the hill and pushed me down so fast, I laughed out loud.  I stretched out my legs and enjoyed the free ride!  The cows in Mr. Smith’s meadow look all blurry black & white as I race past.

“HELLO COWS!”  They watch me but keep munching on their grass and switching their tails.  Home at last!

“HURRAY!”  I shout.  I know the car and truck in our yard.  Mama must have been keeping it a surprise for me!  As I turn in the driveway,  Shep barks out the news and races me to the house.

“I’m peddling as fast as I can!”  Both my older sisters & husbands are here from the city.  They are at the porch waving at me.  All I can do is smile because I need both hands to steer without hitting their vehicles.  Kokum is with them and comes running to hug me first.  I tell her I missed her so much.  “It’s only been a week,” she says.  Then whispers in my ear that she is glad to be back where she can feel the rain and listen to what the sky has to say at night.  I know exactly what she means.

I drop my bike and run to see what my sisters brought me.  Tonight we will have a family gathering.  I love it when everyone is at our house.  I want one just like this when I grow up.  Dad  has put the extra boards in to make the table bigger so we can all sit around it.  I have washed up and set the table.  My cousins will come with Uncle John who will bring his violin.   Auntie Rosie will bring her delicious home made strawberry ice cream for dessert.

Once our supper is over & the kitchen is cleaned up,  we plan for the evening.  I help put the dishes away and feed my dog.

“Thanks for helping,” says my sister Evie,  then hands me a bag.

“Brand new jeans!  Two pairs!  I am the luckiest kid today!”  I open the bag from my other sister.  “Oh boy, new comics!  All my favorites!  Books and paints too!”  I give her a hug.  “Thanks, Lorna!”  I run up stairs to put my stuff in a safe place for later.  Just in case my sister Allie comes with their FIVE kids!

Dad builds the crackling bonfire for us.  Dad brings out his violin and Uncle John and him play.  My sisters & Kokum sing along.  Our Uncle Harry gets in trouble with Mama for telling us jokes & scary stories.  Us kids laugh because it happens every time.

Summer Wind is around the fire, cooling our faces when we get too close.  Sometimes the wood crackles & makes us jump as sparks sizzle straight up into the night sky.  Dad points at them and whispers to me:  “Those sparks are going all the way up to be the brightest stars tonight.”

“REALLY?”  Then he nudges my shoulder and laughs.  “AWE DAD!”

While we have a sing a long with the grown ups, we make a mess toasting wieners, and then  S’mores!  Gooey, sticky, drippy marshies with crackers and chocolate sauce.  Mama lets us have all we want but then warns: “Don’t you go in the house like that!”  We wait for her to bring towels and warm soapy water.

It is very late.  Mama hugged me after my prayers and sent me upstairs to bed.  It was such a fun day,  I didn’t want it to end.  My bed feels extra comfy.  Moon Beam & a zillion Star Lights twinkle softly.   I look out at the sky and whisper: “There ARE some stars that do seem extra bright.”  I think of Dad and clunk myself on the head.  Shep’s tail thumps on the floor beside my bed.  He likes company when I can sneak him up to my room.  I reach down to pat him.  Mama won’t notice until morning.

“YUCK!”  Somehow there’s marshmallow goo in his fur.  My family are still out on the porch, talking & laughing.  They will be there while I fall asleep listening to the different sounds of their voices.  I’m glad Kokum lives with us now.  Her room is across the hall.  Mama wants to fix her a room downstairs but Kokum says she feels closer to Creator and the stars from up here.  I know she does it so that I’m not scared or lonely when Loud Thunder & Sky Storm comes.  When we are whispering together in my big bed after the house is asleep, she tells me she has many more stories to teach me while they are still playing loud in her head.  I am picturing a little radio with the sound on and then I hear her laughing into the pillow.  “KOKUM!  You are just like Dad.”  We both laugh into our pillows.

I am so sleepy but I am making plans for tomorrow after everyone leaves.  Iris and I want to make a path to our tree house with flat rocks.  Mama told me not to do my sad face thing, when my sisters leave because in a few days my sister Allie & the kids are coming…FOR A WEEK!  I might take them to the tree house but I will ask Iris if we can have picnics there.  It’s her tree house too.

Then they won’t get into my room when I’m not watching.

I know she will say yes.  She has two sisters and they share everything.  She told me I’m not a selfish kid, when I mentioned that I get heck from Mama for not sharing my room.  She just said it’s because I’m alone a lot.  I really do like it when they stay.

Gerry, Iris, Louise, Shannon & Robbie.  (He is the worst!)  He draws mustaches and beards on my good posters!  And I can’t slug him because he’s smaller & he’ll tattle on me!  Mama will take his side.   Louise breaks all my crayons but that’s okay.  She doesn’t do it on purpose, she just presses too hard.  Baby Shannon sleeps in my old crib still in the corner of my room.  She wakes up so happy and I give her a stuffed animal to play with.  Gerry, likes to be with my Dad in his workshop.  He knows where my secret hiding place is for my comics.  Iris and I stay together.  I will have two people named Iris at the same time.  I am actually their auntie but I always wish we were all brothers and sisters.

Summer Wind hums a night song.  I whisper:  “Thank you,  Summer Wind.  Good night, even though you are invisible.”  Shep’s tail makes a ‘thump’.  “Good night, Sticky Dog.’

“Lainie! Get that dog outside right now!”  I fly out of bed!

Shep has already scooted down the stairs.  The table is loaded with  bacon and eggs, toast, pancakes and Kokum’s fresh warm bannock.  Mama usually shares her coffee with me, with lots of milk & sugar in it.

All through breakfast, everyone is talking at once.  “How do they do that?”  Once I asked Mama how she can concentrate & she smiled and said:

“Years of practise.  You’ll understand one day.”  Whatever that means.

***the end***

A FOREVER FRIEND IS: Someone you may not see for years & years, but when you do…you pick up where you left off.

TO Iris , my forever friend. You inspired me through this story. We were together the summer I first wrote it, by flashlight under my blankets.  For all the adventures we shared throughout or school years & for always having my ‘back’. Love ‘Marlainie’

Thanks for reading this special post of mine.  I have a couple more posts almost ready so I will be back soon.  Happy March!  It’s a week old already. I love the comments and I am trying to respond to them all.  They really encourage me so Thank You!

Love & Blessings from: Memory Lane










I will always remember a beautiful Sunday morning when I drove across the rolling farmlands of Nebraska.  For as far as my eyes could see, the fields were aglow with blooming sunflowers, set against an endless blue sky.  I remember smiling and feeling that I was entering a sanctuary.  All were standing in unity as though worshipping God.

On my passenger side, a display of bright faces, stretching upwards, focused on their life source…the sun.

To my left, the opposite side of the road, the field of more sunflowers continued until they met the skyline.  I was cruising through their midst!  It was then I noticed some with their faces lowered & nearly hidden behind the taller ones in the crowd.

That scenic drive instantly quickened questions about myself.

Which face would I be?  The sunflower standing tall, yet submissive, my trust in my source…the Lord, God’s Son?   Would those I meet hear praises and encouragement from my lips?

How obvious is the joy of my own salvation?

Or…Am I foolish enough to think that if I lower my face I would blend into the crowd to escape the Lord’s ever watchful eye.

King David knew he couldn’t hide anywhere.  He asked this of God:

“Where can I go from Thy presence?  If I ascend to Heaven or make my bed in Sheol, Thou art there.  Even the darkness is not dark to Thee.”  Psalm 139: 7-14

The sunflowers with their faces down will probably survive until harvest but their fruit may not reach its full potential.

As I drove along, I personalized faces.  Family, friends, brothers & sisters in the Lord who had somehow gotten lost in the crowd, including myself at times.  Various hurts, disappointments, dealings, and deaths of loved ones are circumstances that could cause us to turn our face away from our source of life, when it should be the opposite.   Those are times we need to reach for Him even more and allow Him to be our source of comfort.   He has promised never to leave us nor forsake us.

The word tells us to stand in the light of God’s love.  He will cause His light to shine upon us and bring us peace.  What wonderful words of hope.

This is something I do quite often since I drove through that sanctuary.  Whenever I am in a crowd, at the mall, the beach, I look at their faces.  I wonder which one would compare to mine.  Try it sometimes.  Which face in the crowd do you think would resemble your expression.  Do our faces reflect the light of God’s love.  Is our head held high showing that we are walking in full ‘Sonlight’?  I would like to think that I do but I’m sure there are many times when I don’t put my best face forward & my expression isn’t glowing as much as it should.

Last summer, I planted a crowd of sunflowers in my garden along the fence.  Joy filled my heart and I was blessed every time I looked at them.  They took me back to that Sunday morning driving through Nebraska and the way the Lord used those fields of sunflowers as an example that I, a writer and an artist, could easily relate to.  Perhaps it was a refresher on how I should be a reflection of His light and make sure I get some sunlight showing on my face.

I felt peace with those sunflowers in my yard, their bright, bold faces glowing at me from my deck.  I also had a few that were leaning against the fence as a support and I still had hope that they would get their strength back and become full and tall as the others.  The few that were bowed right over and weakened from the harsh winds, I will go and support them until they too, can stand on their own.  They were all beautiful and I wanted everyone to survive.

Imagine!  Just as the Lord knows every hair on our heads, He also knows the number of seeds in each sunflower.

He knows exactly where every face is…in the light…in the dark…in a crowd…anywhere.

Thank you for reading this blog.  Hope you enjoyed it.  And I hope you will think of it and smile the next time you pass a field of sunflowers.

Until next time,

Blessings to you from me,  Memory Lane  me again






Every winter since my granddaughters were able to skate, their Dad floods the yard into a huge skating rink, complete with lights, and music.  It’s a fabulous sight.  Their friends come over and join for hours of good healthy outdoor fun.

My heart is full as I watch them and remember our skating days of old.  How we had loved the skating pond behind our farm that somehow our Dad ‘rebuilt’ every winter.  It was just as thrilling as the last, however, as we grew, the pond seemed to shrink a little each year. Watching my granddaughters laughing, racing in circles, teasing & pushing for lead, with their friends & cousins, all refreshes my memories.  Fun is … fun!  True, it has changed from my childhood, but in some things…not.  Cheeks still get rosy in the crisp winter air.  Eyes sparkle, mitts get soaked, toes tingle and coming inside for hot chocolate  with marshmallows is deliciously timeless.

In today’s world, if you can still find joy in some of life’s simple activities, then consider yourself truly blessed.  You are one who still appreciates the goodness of where we are, and all that we have around us. ***

lorna and me

Autumn was past, the first snow would fall,

We tried to wait patiently, for Dad to call:

“The pond is ready! Grab your gear…

The ice on the pond is smooth and clear.”

Our skates had been sharpened, and polished like new.

Mom pinned on warm mitts, knitted scarves too.

“HURRAY!” We’d shout, bundled head to toe.

“Awe, come on, Mom,  Just let us go!”

So many clothes were going to get in our way…

But we dashed to the pond, on a Prairie winter day.

the skating pond

Dad always stayed near, within sight of us.

He knew otherwise… Mom would lecture and fuss.

He gathered dried branches and lit a small fire…

Knowing it wouldn’t be long, before we got tired.

Along with us came hot cocoa and cake.

I never knew then… Life long memories we’d make.

Our noses were tingling, as we welcomed the heat.

We sat on the logs and rested our feet.

We giggled and teased…About who skated faster.

Smiling, Dad said: ‘We woke all the animals up…with our laughter!

I can still feel the warmth of that cocoa going down…

While Dad changed our mitts, before second round.

Then off we skated, revived galore.

On a perfect prairie day.  Never thought I’d want more.

Then came a whistle, a wave of Dad’s hat.

Meant the time had come… We had to go back…

Old Shep gave a bark, then led home down the track.

Leaving all leftovers crumbs…For the animal’s snack.

We turned once to get… One last look at our lines

Some nice figure eights and squiggly designs.

Just a small skating pond, not far from our place…

Where we all grew up…In our own Prairie space.


Next time when the snow is gently falling, don’t close the drapes.  Bundle up and go out walking.  Better still, pull out those old skates and head towards the rink. I guarantee there will be happy young people there who will help you get going. (I know this for a fact) I dare you to tilt back your head & catch snowflakes on your tongue.  They will make you laugh out loud!  Seize the moment.  It’s right here.

IMG_1546Thank you Mom & Dad, for giving us so much that your South Paw, namely me. is still writing about it…today.

Thank you to my family & faithful readers. Until next time this is Memory Lane @






I hope everyone had a good Christmas and quality time with loved ones. I found that almost everyone I asked had a similar response: “It was nice, but quieter this year.”  Mine was definitely quieter than others, but so enjoyable. That’s the word: Enjoyable. I actually had time to enjoy what was all around me.  My family was not all together this year so we kind of had our get togethers in stages and that was fine. To me the celebration happens when we are together…not just the date on the calendar.  Between visits I rested and reflected on our Christmas’s past. I enjoyed going through the family albums and picking out some old black & white photos of family members.  Oh yes, and I watched Scrooge’s Christmas Carol a couple times, with popcorn & hot chocolate, as part of my own little tradition. LOL!  I dug out many of my favorites. I also watched Serendipity, Christmas Vacation, Meet Me In St. Louis & A Charlie Brown Christmas.  The season would not have been complete without:  It’s A Wonderful Life, & White Christmas. There.  Now you have my ‘most populars’ of the season. I tried to teach Marley to sing the Christmas Vacation song! I did!

I don’t know which of our voices was worse! He did catch onto his cues though. What a cat!




I think I was extra sentimental this year. Maybe it’s an ‘age’ thing as much as I hate to admit that, but if that’s the only way my ‘age’ is getting my attention, then I am very fortunate.  This year I just felt acutely aware of what was happening around us.  All the trouble around the world, the hunger and poverty, so many fellow brother & sisters in need everywhere! This year I appreciated how wealthy we are to be in our own places whatever they may be, as compared to the grief and hardships in other places in the world.

I wrote quite a lot about my love of Christmas in my previous blogs and that hasn’t changed, however, this year more than ever, I treasured the memories of what our family had together. For one:  A childhood with a safe home life filled with faith and we had the security of being loved and cared for. My biggest worry and fret was mostly over the fact that I thought my Mom was mean. Why? Because she wouldn’t allow my dog, Shep, whom I got when I was about 6 months old,  into the house, except during thunder storms & holiday breakfasts. Yeah, I sure had it rough!  desktop (219x155) (2)

During my quiet times this season, I let my memories take me to that favorite place in my heart: Memory Lane.  I thought how much I would love to go back…just once more to another Prairie Christmas that was so far removed from today, it would have made an excellent black & white movie.  I would love to walk down the sheltered spruce tree lane from the house to the main road and listen to the wind whispering through the snow covered branches, one more time. Last time I drove past, the lane had filled in completely.

driveway home



I am thankful that I can still look back, and write about it before  words from the pages of my own mind, fade from sight.

This was one of our earlier trees, before I was old enough to search for the biggest, bushiest one.



Everyone (and I don’t mean just in our family) travelled to get ‘home for the holidays’ and sometimes under extremely cold and snowy conditions. Neighbors kept watch for each other. This little farm , surrounded by trees was always a hub of activity all year ’round.

take me home Mom


eve and lisa two

Me in the middleThere weren’t

cell phones or road side service.  Somehow they always made it through, by the grace of our Mother’s & Grannie’s prayers, I believe. Back then, however, if your vehicle broke down, whoever stopped (and everyone did) to help, would simply pack you and your children & parcels  into their vehicle and bring you home.IMG_0061







me and my dolls

Our Christmas preparations usually began after November 11, Remembrance day.  That was my Dad’s only request each year.  We gave that day of respect to those who fought bravely for our country.

IMG_0054Dad spent the day in his normal way, just a little quieter.  We had our minute of silence before our meal for his Brother, our Uncle Herbert, who died as a POW in Hong Kong.  He had been gone a long time but our Dad made sure he was never forgotten.






monday washh photo


Baby shannon & Mommy



baby Shannon








The search for our perfect tree began after that day.  It was up to Dad and I to find it.



We made many trips through the bush on our land, each one heightened my anticipation.  When we eventually chose ‘the one’,  Dad tied a piece of red flannel securely to it, so he wouldn’t forget which one I had decided was pretty enough to dress up for our celebration.  How priceless when I re-think that.  Dad knew every tree on our farm, and was blessed with an even better memory.  He only did that so “I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.”


Young Louis with babe an mableEarly December, Dad hauled out boxes of carefully wrapped decorations.  Mom loved her cards and before I went to bed, we spent time together admiring them. I knew a few tears would roll down her cheeks as she became sentimental over an old card from a friend or family member who was no longer here.  She would wipe it away and smile:  “Well, Aunt Clara, dear, you are still a part of our Christmas this year.” All cards were hung across the room from wall to wall.  Everyone did it that way…No E-cards at that time.

school days for Eva, Alice, Lorna

Decorating the house and tree were my tasks.  One I did with gusto! Anyone who knows me will say I am still the same today. Mom began baking and cooking from morning till night.  Dad & I gratefully accepted any leftovers for dessert or evening tea.

It always snowed the day we hitched Paddy & Judy to the sleigh & set out to get the tree.  Dad was a tease & tormented me with words like: “Well if it snows any harder we may not find it.”  I assured him I knew exactly where it was???  Of course I did.  Lucky for me and the red flannel.

Mom sent a thermos of hot cocoa & snacks for us.  Once the tree was chopped and safely on the sleigh, we rested with our steaming cocoa and admired our choice. I still recall snowflakes landing in my cup and the joy in bringing that tree home to get Mom’s final okay.  She always assured me I picked the best one, ever.  I helped Dad with the tree and settling in the horses.

He carried the tree into the barn overnight to thaw.  He said the animals needed some Christmas too.  As anxious as I was to get the tree into the house, I liked that.



Finally the tree, the house, and yes, even colors in the barn, all looked fabulous.  Waves of cinnamon & brown sugar drifted through every room.  Homemade cider steamed on the stove for the trail of neighbors who never passed by without a quick stop to drop a gift or card.  Family arrived, arms filled with bulky, mysterious packages.  My excitement was off the chart! The downstairs bedroom was the hub of secrecy as I listened to rustling of paper and hushed voices.  IMG_0065

Christmas Eve, the bubble lights danced on the tree which was surrounded with presents.  I had my own secrets under there too.  I could hardly wait for my sister to see what Dad had helped me to make for them in his workshop.  He got a somewhat knitted scarf and a new story book I had written & illustrated.  Neighbors visited on that evening to join us in singing carols. Mom kept the table loaded with baking & cheer. No one left empty handed without a jar of cranberry jelly, a fruit cake or a neatly wrapped box of Annie’s Famous Maple Fudge.

December 25th! What a day!  It was my most memorable during my youth growing up on the prairie.  Uncomplicated, but valuable. Humble, although rich.  Each one became the most special in my heart for the whole year.

I tip-toed down the stairs on Christmas morning while the house was all quiet. Except for Mom & Dad, all were asleep, even the little guys who were camped out on wall to wall sleeping bags in my parents large room. My old crib was still in there.  Although I was dying to open presents, I loved this time with my parents. Dad always quizzed me about noise on the roof & I said I didn’t hear a thing! Santa must have landed like the down of a thistle as that song goes because the plate that held my snack for him was empty and my huge homemade stocking was full! Mom reminded us we had ‘way too much of an imagination!

Then it struck! Everyone was up! A quick breakfast was Mom’s unyielding rule. About 30 seconds of silence while Dad said grace and then breakfast was served and we didn’t slouch or grumble at the table on this morning. Mom passed me Shep’s heaping plate, then joined us. I called Shep in from the porch and set his dish beside the stove. “Merry Christmas, Boy.”

Mom put the turkey in the oven while we all helped clear and waited for those long awaited words:

“Present opening time!” Dad carried his coffee into the living room, sat back in his comfy chair and contentedly watched until we came back to our senses again!***


Just one more Prairie Christmas…Oh what I wouldn’t give

To have us all together…The way we used to live.

I think about the family ties…The love from Mom & Dad.

Just one more Prairie Christmas…To share all that we had.

Of course I know it can’t be done…Over time and those who passed.

But still I love to ponder…The traditions we made last.

I’m thankful for these pages…In my mind of years ago…

That I can share in future…a generation they don’t know.

My tree lights twinkled colors…Outside the night was clear…

And back home beneath our prairie sky…

Linger memories of a time so dear.***

I wish everyone a blessed 2016.  May you have a healthy, faith refreshed and peaceful new year and enjoy at least one new blessing every day.

Until next time, thanks for reading.  My blogs may be a bit slower for the next while.  I am working on completing my new book: SHARING BLESSINGS ONE BY ONE.  I hope to have it out by Easter.

I love and appreciate all the comments & will try to answer every one of them.  Please keep them coming.


@ Memory Lane’s Site







Tonight after work, I stepped out of my house for a walk in the knee deep, newly fallen snow!  Everywhere I looked, the snow had transformed ordinary, unnoticeable objects on my deck and yard into lovely art subjects, nestled in the winter wonderland that I love!

moonlight snow

There wasn’t another soul out walking or driving around.  Lights from neighbor’s windows reflected on the falling snow,  making it look like shimmering gold & diamond dust!  My breathtakingly beautiful winter wonderland is real!  My granddaughter would call it ‘magical fairy dust!’  The child in me, could believe that’s what it is, too.

And I was the only one out revelling in it!

Everything was so still,  I could almost hear the huge feathery flakes landing.  The solitary street lamp was just a hazy glow above me.  Now I am thinking about how close it is getting to Christmas once again.  It has always been my favorite time of year.  This year I am finding myself extra sentimental about the season and the ‘reason’ for the season.

I stopped right where I was and lifted my face towards the sky.  The snowflakes landed quickly, covering my face, but instead of feeling icy cold, they warmed me.

I let myself enjoy the comfort of my faith that brings peace & love to my heart, and with it, new hope that this season always gives me.  I felt excitement stir within me that good things were still coming and how precious life really is.  It has been a very tough, emotional year but His grace has filled our family with many new blessings, for which we are all thankful.  Slowly, not easily, we are accepting that tears and grief are part of family life that comes with loving and losing loved ones.  We have the assurance that we will meet again one day.

We still have our love and our hope.

We still have our faith and our joy.


I began thinking about another Christmas so long ago.  The one that took place in  Bethlehem.  I tried to visualize the Angels who brought the good news to the Shepherds late on Christmas Eve, as we know it on our calendar year.  By the time the Shepherds arrived at the stable, Jesus had been born.  It was Christmas day.

Christmas Eve had begun as a:  ‘Silent Night, A Holy Night’,  for the Shepherds who were out in the fields tending their flocks of sheep and keeping them safe through the night.

Joseph and Mary were on their way to Bethlehem.  Mary was going to give birth very soon.  Can you imagine the concerns Joseph must have felt trying to get her there in time?


For the Shepherds watching their flocks by night, everything was as usual.

‘All was calm…All was bright’.

This was their regular shift.  I’m sure they were chatting about normal everyday things or taking turns napping while another guarded the sheep, until his turn came.

I started thinking about the beautiful words to some of our traditional carols.

“Oh Holy Night,

The stars are brightly shining

It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth!”

Those Shepherds didn’t know how their night was soon to change.  In a few short days, the world was changed.  Mary had given birth to a son.  Heaven and Earth rejoiced!

2nd let the heavens


As I stood there with the snow falling like a heavy shroud, over and around me,  I thought again, about the Shepherds first reaction when an Angel suddenly appeared and God’s glory was all around, probably almost blinding them momentarily, like the heavy snowflakes covering my eyes.  Immediately, the Angel spoke to them and took away their fear by saying:

“Fear not!  Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy.”

Really!  I’m sure nothing like this had ever happened to these Shepherds before. They had probably lived very simple, quiet lives.  I would assume they had families & homes of their own.  I’m sure that standing in their place,  I would have thought:  “I’m glad I’m not alone here tonight, because no one would believe this!”  Think about it!

The Angel continued with the good news:

“This great joy is for you and for all of the people!  For tonight in Bethlehem, a child is born.  He is Christ the Lord, our Savior!”

The Shepherds probably never moved a muscle or hardly dared to breathe while the Angel gave them directions of where to go to find the new born Savior.

“In the city of David, (Bethlehem), You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, sleeping in a manger.”

As soon as that was spoken, a host of angels descended from Heaven, praising God & singing:


Glory to God in the Highest!

Peace and good will towards man!’

Then as suddenly as they appeared, the Angels left the Shepherds alone in the field and went back to Heaven.  Just like that!  They were gone and I’m thinking that all was quiet again.

I shook the snow off my head and thought about how their heads must have been shaking as they gathered the flock closer and decided what to do next.

“Star of Wonder! Star of Night!

Star of Royal beauty bright!”

bethlehem's star

They were obedient to the Angels and believed that the long awaited promise had truly been delivered.  They followed the star into Bethlehem to see for themselves what had come to pass.  Imagine their excitement as they walked into the town of Bethlehem in search of the stable where the Angel told them they would find the Christ child.

The joy they must have felt shouting out the good tidings of the miraculous birth!

“O little town of Bethlehem

How still we see thee rise.”

The Three Wise Men were also following the star and bringing precious gifts for the new born King.

“We Three Kings of Orient are.

Bearing gifts, we’ve travelled afar.”

three wise men

And then behold: There He was!  Just as the Angel had told the Shepherds.

In the stable, lying in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes, the tiny Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.  Those men, met Joseph and Mary that night, the earthly parents of Jesus!

Because Joseph and Mary had arrived in Bethlehem late, all the rooms at the Inn were already filled but the Innkeeper, seeing that Mary was heavy with child,  was kind enough to offer them what he could…A room in the stable and I’m sure they were grateful for that.

the inn keeper

For a moment tonight, I wished I could have been there. What would it have been like to be a part of the miracle and excitement in that quiet town of Bethlehem with Joseph and Mary?

The Three Wise Men that travelled from a distance led by the Bethlehem’s Star, carrying their priceless gifts for the new King.  Then last but not least,  I considered the kind hearted Inn keeper.  Surely his life was never the same after that Holy night that took place right in his stable!  Even the animals were quiet.

stable with cattle

I would have loved to have listened to the cattle softly lowing while the baby slept.

babe in the manger

“Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Glory to the New Born King

Peace on Earth and Mercy Mild

God and sinner, reconciled.”

Yes, it would have been wonderful to be in Bethlehem on that first Christmas.

I am thankful that the true meaning of Christmas lives within me and that it goes way back to my early childhood.  The stories my parents and grandparents told me always made me feel like I was right there in those ‘days of old’.  I will always be thankful for the blessings that I’ve carried with me throughout my life that they instilled in me about Christmas.

As a child, I loved the excitement of Santa and wrapped presents and hanging up my stocking.  Decorating the house and tree traditions are still with me today but what I remember most is the faith that was strong in our home.  The love of family and going the distance, whatever it took to be together.  Christmas isn’t only a season, it’s a feeling, one that lasts year to year because it is built on faith and family traditions.  And, because Christ is who keeps the family going.  The real ‘reason’ for the season.


Let The Light of Christ in Christmas Shine this year!




We need it now, more than ever.

May the real blessings of Christmas bring you peace and happiness.  Wishing each and everyone of my family, my dear friends, readers I haven’t personally met and new fellow bloggers, all the best for 2016.

Blessings for a Merry Christmas from Memory Lane @

merry christmas from me



glorious frost



Every year at Christmas our home had a special guest.  Our guest was always dressed in the finest fashion.  This elegant guest was our Christmas tree.  Dad and I always went by horse and sleigh on the trail through our farm to get it.  It  had been chosen earlier and marked so that there was no other decision when the time came.  Dad hitched the horses. The sleigh bells were ringing and I bundled up to my eyes, felt like the happiest kid alive!

After returning with our priceless cargo, Dad unhitched the horses, put them in the barn and then we unloaded the tree.  He said it was only fair that we put the tree in there first so that the animals could enjoy it too.  I agreed.  I loved the way my Dad thought of everything.  Also it gave our tree a chance to thaw out overnight, which I realized years later.

This was our Christmas tree tradition from the time my sisters and I could remember and it continued until Mom and Dad moved from the farm.  Long after we were all grown up with families of our own, we still drove through blizzard conditions at times, on our Mother’s prayers,  to make it home for the holidays and gather around that wonderful guest in our living room, sing carols, and enjoy the house overflowing with family, food, and dear neighbors.

Although we weren’t the only ones with a Christmas Tree tradition, ours is the one I think about the most to this day.  But, did you know the custom actually began in Germany & Scandinavia in the 15th century?

During the winter, families brought evergreens into their parlors or living rooms, and dressed them with paper roses, apples and sweets.  The smell of fresh pine helped them to remember the spirit of life when all seemed cold and dark.

One Christmas Eve, a spiritual man named Martin Luther, was walking through the forest in Germany.  He looked up and was so touched by the star filled winter sky that he chopped down a fir tree and brought it home for his children.  He put candles on the tree and lit them.  His family was so excited, they gathered around and shouted that the tree was filled with heavenly stars!  Martin Luther wanted them to see the spirit of Christ, lighting up a dark, cold world at Christmas time.

News about Martin Luther’s tree spread quickly.  Soon other families went out and chose the finest trees they could find and brought them home.  The Christmas tree tradition began.

Today, many celebrate by placing gifts underneath the tree as a reminder of the Christ child, Jesus, and His birth that special night.  The shepherds followed a bright star and Wise Men brought gifts to honor Him and show their love.

When German settlers came to America, they brought the Christmas tree tradition with them.  Many settled in Pennsylvania in the 1940’s.  Brightly decorated trees became a joyful and popular sight for young and old.

However, it was back in 1856 that President Franklin Pearce set up the first White House tree and every year since, a beautifully decorated Christmas tree is there as the White House special guest.

Growing a Christmas tree takes approximately 6-8 years before they are tall and full enough to be cut and brought to our homes.

If you are out searching for that perfect tree, even if it is in a commercial lot these days,  listen closely amongst the branches.  Close your eyes for just a moment and let your imagination take you away to those simpler yester years.  You might be able to hear that old spirit whispering softly…of a Christmas and the first Christmas tree tradition…of long, long ago.

Merry Christmas Memories.  Hold them close to your heart.

christmas with geraniums (2)



backyard junk


The same yesterday, today and always.  I am writing about that initial moment when flakes come tumbling down and begin to cover a grey-brown land.  Yes, we know the cold nights and shorter days are here.  We’ll be out shovelling and complaining about plugging in those vehicles but still, there is something nostalgic about watching the transformation as one season gracefully gives way to another.  Then inch by inch,  the Master Artist covers everything with heavenly white.  The garden and back yard clutter and old bench and trellis become a winter wonderland…And…

Where I take scads of pictures, run into the house with wet slippered feet and live happily ever after!

NO!  I really haven’t had a brain freeze or anything.  I don’t need a ‘reality’ check.

Remember…I am only writing about the ‘first snowfall’.  Where I sneak out to my yard & close my eyes, while letting those frosty flakes land on my face and tongue.  Then I am happily snapping photos and retreating to my own little perfect world writing about the wonders of new snow.

Until I have start going out to scrape the ice off my windshield every morning like everyone else.  But…

Right now…

The artist in me wants to immediately get my brushes and paint trees with marshmallowy branches.  The rusty old bench outside that needs painting looks picturesque and the ugly wire fence puts Spider Web’s Lace in second place. When the sun shines on it tomorrow, it will twinkle with a million sparkling diamonds.

I miss painting with my sister Alice.  She knew exactly how to paint the many colors in snow.  It wasn’t just a quick slab of titanium white at all.  There was ochre, sage, blues, and mauves of every hue.  She could paint trees in a way that made them stand out in 3-D.  I have watched her spend hours just working on layers of detailed branches.  I can’t seem to get back to my painting without her just yet.  I wish I could finish all the work I’ve begun because I know that’s what she would want for me.

We never missed calling each other when the first snow appeared.  Our conversation was always about our yen to get our painting gear out & paint the old dead oak or spruce trees over in Mrs. Who- So- Ever’s, front yard, etc.  After her trees, she always painted in a cozy little cabin, with warm inviting lights in the windows.  I know that’s where a piece of her heart always longed to be.



Just last week, I went racing outdoors to catch the first flakes with our group of after schoolers!  The moment we saw those first flakes coming down, age wasn’t a factor!  I was in the moment.  What a great memory those kids gave me that day and I hope they remember how I enjoyed it without letting my age hinder a fun adventure with them.

We all agreed: Those first flakes tasted ‘icy-lishious!  Just as exciting as when I was 6 or 10, 25 or 55!

Then there are some who are happy just to view it all from indoors!

for zenova


Alice on a snow day (2)

wait for me

great view






It all starts with the first snowfall.  I remember them as a child.  I remember them with my children and presently with my grandchildren.

Tucking children into bed for the night and waking up to the happy voices and the sound of feet as they ran from window to window looking out to the snow that magically covered everything in our yard.  Zipping up jackets over their jammers, grabbing some mitts (they didn’t have to match, or even be their own) & away they dashed into the newly fallen snow!  Making the first snow angels!

It wasn’t a one time thing…it was tradition.

new snow










I wrote a poem back then that has been published several times in different children’s magazines over the last 20 years, the most recent was last year in Indian Life, an outreach across Canada & the US.  I hope to keep publishing it for the next 20 years.  It is a small but timeless peace that although written for the 6-10 age group, anyone of any age can relate to it.  See what you think.


I Went To Bed

And Through The Night…

God Changed The Colors

From Brown To White!

Out Of My Window

I Looked Far And Near…

I Hadn’t Been Dreaming…



Snow Landed On Our Trees…

Snow Covered The Hedge…

There Was Snow ‘Cross Our Doorstep

And Window Ledge!

All Water In Our Birdbath

Had Turned Into Ice..

Good Thing Dad Made…

A Birdfeeder.  Nice!

All Little Furry Friends

Who Travel To And Fro…

Left Tiny Footprints

In The New Fallen Snow!

Our Box For The Mail…

Bright And Shiny Red

Wears A Comfy Blanket

Like The One On My Bed.

The Black Garden Earth,

Now Is Snowy White…


God Did All This…


snowy bench



























I am happy that I have kept writing because I know Alice would want that for me as well.  I’m thankful for our good memories that I am able to share through my writing/blog and I know without a doubt she would feel honored that we are keeping her so close to our hearts.  Her name is always included in our conversations.

Before I submit an idea with the hope of publishing,  I sometimes do a title search, just for my own interest reasons.  I like to see what new ideas I can learn from other authors who have come up with the same title before me and know if I have something too similar that’s already out there.

I did this last night for this blog. No particular reason but I am so glad I did.  It sent my blog in a new direction and I love when that happens!

I found an extremely interesting poem entitled: THE FIRST SNOWFALL, written by James Russell Lowell.  He was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on February 22, 1819, son of Reverend Charles Lowell & attended Harvard University, where he graduated with a law degree in 1841.  Shortly after that he published his first collection of poems: A YEAR’S LIFE  (Little & J. Brown).  He was an ardent abolitionist & widely published in anti-slavery newspapers.  He also published a number of literary essays, multiple poetry books, political pamphlets & a series of satirical verses written in opposition to the Mexican War.  Along with Wadsworth, Longfellow & Whittier,  James Lowell belonged to the group of writers called the Fireside Poets.

In 1853, Lowell’s wife & 3 of their 4 children fell ill and died.  After that he returned to Harvard to replace Longfellow as professor of modern language and literature.  He taught there for the next 20 years.  He continued to publish books of poetry until he died on August 12, 1891. Imagine all that tragedy and he still went on and made the most that he could be of himself!

His poem about the first snowfall is haunting and memorable once you’ve read it.  It tells a story totally opposite to my whimsical one.  I am going to copy it out here for you.  If I hadn’t read it myself, I would never have learned of the grieving heart behind the incredibly talented man.  It has touched me and left me in awe.

It has given me a new awareness about all the amazing work by others that I haven’t or may never read.

And it proves to me again, there is always a story, within a story/poem.  One of my sister’s own sayings.


THE FIRST SNOWFALL  by James Russell Lowell


The snow had begun in the gloaming,

And busily all the night

Had been heaping field and highway

With a silence deep and white.

Every pine and fir and hemlock

Wore ermine too dear for an earl,

And the poorest twig on the elm tree

Was ridged inch deep with pearl.

From sheds new roofed with Carrara

Came Chanticleer’s muffled crow,

The stiff rails softened to swan’s down,

And still fluttered down the snow.

I stood and watched by the window

The noiseless work of the sky.

And the sudden flurries of snow birds,

Like brown leaves whirling by.

I thought of a mound in sweet Auburn

Where a little headstone stood:

How the flakes were folding it gently,

As did robins the babes in the wood.

Up spoke our own little Mabel,

Saying: “Father, who makes it snow?”

And I told of the good All-Father

Who cares for us here below.

Again I looked at the snowfall,

And thought of the leaden sky

That arched o’er our first great sorrow,

When that mound was heaped so high.

I remembered the gradual patience

That fell from that cloud like snow,

Flake by flake, healing and hiding

The scar that renewed our woe.

And again to the child I whispered,

“The snow that husheth all,

Darling, the merciful Father

Alone can make it fall!”

Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her:

And she, kissing back, could not know

That my kiss was given to her sister,

Folded close under deepening snow.

*** James Russell Lowell  1819-1891 ***


This is my reality check this morning…A week, make that 2, after I started this blog!  Still snowy beautiful, but definitely…here for awhile.

lampost up close with fresh snow (2)











On the up side, I am in the midst of writing my novel and enjoying blogging ‘way beyond any pre-conceived ideas I started out with.  I am waiting with high hopes for news about the bloggers writing contest that will be picked right before Christmas.  It’s for a $4000.00 US writing scholarship.  Winning that could bring a few of my writing wishes & dreams…into my world.

Thank you & blessings to you, my faithful readers. I truly appreciate each one of you & I love your comments and continual encouragement.  Until next blog, this is Memory Lane Site @



alice and the angel


NOVEMBER 14, 2015











You are always missed…even more so today

Because … Today is your birthday.

Love from all your family



nice four generation mabbs

family of five

Especially your Fabulous Five.


alice close up






alice with alice



eve, shann, alice






alice and trav




alice den and napa




rob shan iris alice


alice and the gulls


school days for Eva, Alice, LornaBaby shannon & Mommyfour mabbs




happy times



alis hat


hippy sis


To me, you will always be: Forever young,

To you, I will always be: Your baby Sis,  South Paw


me again

There isn’t anything that can clear my mind better than a walk along the lake. ‘Beside My Still Waters’.  Today I needed to go for one of those walks.  Without realizing it, some days I get so wrapped up in worrying ‘way off into the future…mine… which I have very little control over anyways, other than trying my best each an’ every day.  The rest is mostly out of my hands.  That could be ‘scary’ or it could be a relief, depending on one’s outlook.  I think I probably fall into the category of: ‘a little of both’.

wind song today

Today is a bleak and windy day but still beautiful.  I expected the lake to be choppy & rough with waves but it wasn’t.  It was mostly calm, yet so alive and vibrant.  Timeless.  Just what I needed.

It is always right where I left it.  It always has a message for me.  So does the wind which sang to me as it swirled around my head, blowing my hair into my face and whipping my  notebook pages around.

I decided to put my camera and paper into my bag and just listen.  I zipped up my hood, shut off my phone, slowly walked along  to a clump of trees and softly the wind settled into a beautiful song that became:


I heard a lovely Wind Song… While listening by the shore

A heartfelt haunting melody… That made my spirit soar!

It understood my sadness… Lost dreams that still run deep

The ones that even through the night… Wander as I sleep.


My Wind Song wrapped around me… I didn’t mind the chill

It lulled my restless mood today… The memory with me still.

I gave myself those moments… Head tilted to the sky

The wind so fresh against my lips… Made me smile instead of cry.

Because Wind Song reminded me… Of the joys that I have known

The seeds of love and laughter too… That carefully I’ve sown.

How is it Wind Song helped my quest… I needed now to know

It’s not too late to dream new dreams… There’s time for them to grow.


Hold not regret… Or waste the hour,  over what might next appear

Embrace today, set a new goal… The moments are right here.

The wind that causes angry seas… Waves crashing to the shore…

Also sings a lullaby…  To comfort and restore.


Thank you Wind Song… I won’t forget.



Thank you Family & Friends, for reading. These are great words that really do go well together. I keep this on my desktop.


Until next time this is Memory Lane @








‘He leads me beside the still waters and restores my soul.’

be still and know

What a glorious day it has been this Sunday.  I was able to spend it doing so many of the things that make me happy, that remind me love can be all around us in so many forms.  It’s just like my favorite saying about ‘Feeling the rain…Don’t just get wet’.  You have to let yourself ‘feel’ the rain.  Otherwise, you won’t like your hair and you’ll only notice the water stains on your clothes, instead of how wonderful they smell.

Today, being a Sunday,  I chose to ‘feel’  love in my immediate world around me.  I went out looking for it in this beautiful prairie sky & lake setting.  The sky was amazingly blue and alive with lazy travelling clouds.  Trees, although almost bare, still handsomely grace driveways, roadsides & shore.  The evidence of their ‘coats of many colors’, still flutter around here and there before getting settled as ground cover for seedlings that must rest for the winter, or lining in nests for burrowing furry friends. Neighbors are out walking happy dogs.  Kids are still skateboarding down the road.

“What’s not to love!”

By the lake.

still of the morning

Seeing the true wonders in nature, how God is a Master Artist and the way every detail is taken care of,  always helps me tremendously to deal with my worry, anxiety,  my messy somewhere ‘half finished’ house,  grief,  disappointments, failures, and uncertainties of what is ahead.

If He can handle all of these things here on earth and in the sky then surely my problems aren’t too great for Him.  And His word does tell us that,  but for some reason, I still think I have to jump in first and help!

But just for today, I backed off!  I got dressed, left the dishes, clothes in the washer and my bed unmade.  However, I had a good excuse for that.  The cat was curled up in the middle of it.  I shouted: “Later, Dudes.”  Then shut the door & listened for a moment.  Nothing inside was upset or falling apart without me!

Easier than I thought.

This private view was all for me this morning:  Priceless!

shore in shadows

Further down, as I stumbled over this rugged assembly of downed trees, roots and branches many times over the season,  I almost turned back, looking for my easier trail, but I didn’t.  I chose to look over it and the path along the water’s edge ahead, was open, sunny and smooth.

That was a sign to me that although it looks bumpy now, don’t give up….There are smooth places also.  Keep moving forward.

The water was perfectly still.  (These few photos of this same place were taken earlier in the season, of course).  My camera is full at the moment.


rugged shore

Coffee, camera, and notepad, boots and windbreaker lead me to one of my favorite meditation places.  “Beside the still waters”.

I even have my own reserved natural bench.  Many times I have sat the rain out on this ‘bench’ and drank in the fragrance, the sounds, the peace that moments of ‘being still’ can bring.


park bench

I leisurely daydreamed.  Anywhere my thoughts decided to go…I let it happen.  Surprisingly enough I didn’t dwell on any topics that I cannot change right now.  Rather, I enjoyed my time of rest and the buffet table of the simple pleasures I have in front of me.  As Julie Andrew’s ageless song goes:

“These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things!”

And some of my most relaxing times are spent:

Shopping for heart shaped stones to hide into my paintings:


nice shopping

five year search

A 5 year search:  A lucky stone (found with a hole bored through it) that is heart shaped.

I sort of hide the stones as a finishing touch.

all three waterfall (2)





This one below,  I titled “Broken Heart” Because I actually found the heart shaped stone that was in 2 pieces. (close to bottom, towards your left)

second stage


I can send  ‘Special Delivery’ messages of love and hope to Heaven anytime.  I get to write what’s in my heart,  into the sand in full view.  Heaven above me doesn’t require postage at all.  I can bring flowers and freely leave them at anytime, for any season.


we love you

winter gren


I spent time today….Just remembering loved ones …in happy ways…and no tears,  as I scanned through my camera.


fathers day tribute to jack


alice with alice

The Four of Us, laughing over the craziest stuff & all talking at once!

four mabbs

I will always remember the joy of seeing Louise after so many years.


I miss the way my sister Eve made sure there was always cake for any and every occasion.  There was always a gathering at their house.  My brother in law, Ron was usually outnumbered by all of us women and would leave us ‘cackling hens’ as he called us, and go downstairs to listen to his music!

easter Eva

She is still just as beautiful!

Sisters spending a sick day at home with Grammie. WOW!  Seems like only yesterday.

home day with grammie


Today I lifted my face towards the sun but realized I am already missing the touch of the warm summer rain…

clouds by pop

rose after rain

The fragrance of flowers afterwards…

And best of all…

my rainbow road


Miss the lovely colors of my flower gardens.  But happy to write:   I will have geraniums on my sills all winter!  I always do.

three in a row (2)

Although I do love winter out here and I am ready for the rest from yard work… I

first blossoms

Look forward to apple blossom time once more.

appl blossom time 2014


Last spring, a mother cat and her kittens visited.  I invited them to a barbeque.

two for a barbecue

They stayed around and the season changed.  I let them in to watch TV one frosty day…


two of us look in sunroom

The rest is history!  They watched the 1st snowfall from inside their permanent  home.



wait for me

After returning home to my comfy couch  today, I reviewed the efforts I’ve made at painting again.  It’s been a struggle since losing the 2 people who were my main encouragers:



Some got finished…

all three waterfall (2)

Others haven’t.  Several are half done.  Will see how it goes this winter.

three cougars (2)

This photo was taken during Simba’s last year… Going on 2 years.  Still miss him & walk around expecting to trip over him.  Automatically looked for him under his favorite tree a few times this summer.

simba in the sun

I could never put a price on the feeling that still comes over me while watching the geese until they’re out of sight.  Year after year, it takes me to my Dad and looking to the North for all the signs of a change of season.


I waited, but no other flock came after these.

geese over moonlight bay


I love how my favorite piece of Driftwood changes with the seasons and is never disappointing in it’s beauty and originality.  There was a time when I first saw this beautiful piece that I thought about loading it, bringing it to my front yard and putting all season lights on it.  True, it would have been lovely, but I would be robbing the spot it is in.  It’s MORE than beautiful right here.  I don’t need to ‘own’ it,  I have photos to share and through my writing, you know its a special landmark.  The colors behind it are gorgeous!

rustic art of driftwood

As I sat, warmed by the sun, I knew the direction I was going for this blog.  I began going through my photos.  I randomly picked out a bunch and clicked them onto these pages, just a whole scramble.  I think they speak for my thoughts today, the best.

It has been quoted that a picture is worth a thousand words, right?  Well, here’s a few thousand for my thoughts and memories of what I feel are just a bit extra special to me…this Sunday.  There are always memories, Always the surprise in finding an old photo, a card or letter.  These are todays pages of my mind:

Happiness to me means:

Not being afraid to write the word: Love’ anytime.

written in the sand

Take photos of anything you like:

These were Baby birds and Bunnies that have shared my yard.

on your own

baby alone

Thank goodness I never hurt these babies with my trimmers!

hidden treasures

This Mommy & her five babies lived under my deck and also had a nest in my flower bed.

Going back to a season of:

Finding yummy worms for baby chicks will always be one of my sweetest memories.

digging for worms


baby chicks

Sunshine and Dora  were very special.  They got to wear nice doll clothes and be taken for rides in the stroller.

Thinking about my Mom.

I laughed at my own complaints and whining about hanging out Monday’s Wash with my Mom…She never got upset with me…even when I used the clean sheets for making tents!  Thanks for the memories, Mama!

monday washh photo

Found this Photo:  My sweet, petite Grannie who shared the upstairs in our creaky old house & chased away my fears, or held my hand if I had a bad dream through a thunder storm.  My Dad.  I still can hear his laughter, the way he called me South Paw or Summer Wind.

Four generations here.  Grannie, Dad, my sister Alice & Robbie.

nice four generation mabbs


Wish my Sunflowers were still blooming.  Think it is about time to finish my painting.




And this one…

new shelf in wave

Having a plan is a good thing.  We all need that.  However, I have recently come to the conclusion that I cannot beat myself up when everything doesn’t get done.  The world won’t end because my bookcases & wicker furniture aren’t all painted the same color yet, or due to the fact that I’ve gained a few pounds and I don’t have my book finished by the date I promised to myself.  What does matter to me is making sure I have time for those who need company or an ear that will care and listen.  I  want to be responsible for treating others right, regardless of what comes back.  That is not up to me to try and change, which I often do.  That’s where I jump in to help God.  I need to have more faith that He will do what He said He will do!

I had so much free time today because I took the day off.  I gave it all to Him when I closed my front door and went out walking with great expectations…

No!  I am wrong!  I left without any expectations at all!  That’s why my mind was open, happy and clear.  I enjoyed the simplest day, my mind uncluttered.  I didn’t let go of that.

As I get ready to post this, I am hoping to keep this outlook about my situations, fix whatever I can and let the rest go.  If it’s out of my hands, I have to believe it is in much bigger, wiser and unconditional loving ones.  I am going to remind myself when the doubts threaten, of where I spent my Sunday:

Beside the still waters.


new pink peeper

Thank you for reading.  I hope there is something in this blog that you will find encouraging for yourself or someone you know.  You could be that one bright color in someone’s life today, tomorrow or the next time you meet.

Blessings. Have a great week.

Memory Lane




Wasn’t it just Springtime?  The signs were all around.


Trees and perennials burst into leaf and the fragrance of their blossoms filled the air.  We had the whole summer to look forward to…lots of time for everything…all those picnics, short road trips, family gatherings, weddings, showers, transplanting, building that new deck.  No need to rush, right?

morning glory on the line

Suddenly summer was full blown. The signs were everywhere.  The sky was the limit.

on your own

Days were long, gardens grew, baby birds learned to fly, everything was alive.  It seemed like there was still lots of time for completing all those ‘to do’ lists.

Pansies for Mom (2)


Even grain fields were amazing as I watched their growth and changes.

green hills

clearin land

Field of Gold (2013_10_24 22_16_48 UTC)

And there were the wonderful walks in the summer rain.


everything has a purpose

This year I loved it more than ever, especially the smell of it.  I called it a taste of heaven, probably because I miss my sister & my best bud so much and somehow letting the rain wash away my tears, became the important therapy I needed.  I walked in it as much as possible hoping the memory will carry me through the winter.

My yard was a hub of activity and I loved having several species of birds around.  Including my notorious crows, Cheech & Chong!  What a pair they were. Although they got on my nerves at times, and I believe they chased away some of my robins, I couldn’t help but like them.  They were extremely smart and they knew me.  Somehow we connected and I accepted having them around.  They were bullies at times and we had several disagreements about that.  I actually miss the pair of them.  It has become very quiet here now.  I wonder if they return to the same place in the spring.  Guess I’ll have to wait on that one.

I even gained a few Hummingbirds around my front deck this year.  They loved my bright Hollyhocks in the back but didn’t hang around there too much, and I think it was also because of Cheech & Chong.


summers promise fullfilled

These are my third generation Hollies I remember growing all around our yard and garden when I was a child.  They started at my Ukranian Grandmother’s (Baba’s) house.  My mother grew them and now I have them and have done transplanting , and saved seeds for generations to come.  As I have written in so many, or probably all of my stories: My parents are my Wind Spirits.  They are close to me always in so many different ways.

a sip or two

Summer gave me long days and evenings with lots of time to walk, reflect and be peaceful.  I enjoyed every minute, happy or sad.  Whatever my mood was, I found I was able to come home and ‘blog’ my heart out.  Thank you to my faithful encouraging readers.  You keep me going.  I am thrilled that through my writing, your comments have told me I’ve been able to make you feel that you are actually right there in my story with me.  How inspiring is that!  A writer couldn’t ask for better feedback.

indian summer

I loved walking beside the lake early in the morning or around sunset and watching the flock of geese that landed to feed and frolic in the shallow water.  They were quite playful and shocked me because I always thought of them as very focused and serious.  In this secluded inlet, they were relaxed and totally entertaining.  I sat perfectly still and observed, not even wanting to distract them with my camera, so I didn’t.


I took time to enjoy colors in the simple things around me.


Before long, however, the days became noticeably shorter.  A northern chill was in the air in the evenings.  Leaves changed colors.

pebbles and yellow leaves

Everything was ripening quickly, then winding down as its season was coming to an end.

driftwood on moonlight bay


Then the surest sign of all.  One my Dad taught me as a child.

“Look to the North, South Paw.  The geese are gathering in groups getting ready and soon they will be flying overhead towards the south.  It’s time for their great migration.  They know when it is their exact time to leave the cold and fly south.”  This is what he told me every year about this time.

FullSizeRender.jpg flight to south

That was a long time ago, but missing my Dad is still as fresh in my heart as always.  I loved the sound of his soft, yet strong voice.  I knew I could depend on him.  I thrived on his knowledge and experience about everything around us.  It was because of him I learned many things about our beautiful, intelligent Canada Geese.

Back to my comment on: “Wasn’t it just spring?”  One of Springtime’s most welcoming sign is the return of these geese.  We hear them long before they are visible in the sky above. The beginning of a new season.

blue sky for mondays wash

They never fail to appear.  No matter how many seasons we see them, I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that each spring their sounds give us a good feeling.

‘Kanata’, is a Huron word for ‘village’ or settlement.  The Huron first named flocks of geese ‘Kanata’ because these birds nested and bred close to Aboriginal settlements.  Kanata was also the name given to what is now Quebec City, then conformed to the English name: Canada.

Today, Canada geese are established from Mexico to the Arctic.  They are loosed and thriving across the land from Canada’s east coast to the west.

Although they start out in large groups, these geese gradually form smaller ones.  It may be a family or pairs of several young geese known as yearlings.  The giant Canada goose is likely the most known populated water bird in North America.  Their wing span can spread over 6 feet & they can weigh anywhere from 20-27 pounds.  The only difference between the male & female is the male is slightly larger in size.  There are various ‘sub species’, all with the famous neck band but they only weigh in at about 7-10 pounds.

A Gander, the male, will hold the highest rank if he has the most goslings (babies).  The more goslings in one family, the bossier, the proud Gander!  Hmmnn…Typical isn’t it?  LOL!

Now this is where it becomes interesting:

Fights for rank only break out between Ganders if they both have the same number of goslings!  Sometimes, 2 year old geese will breed, but the normal breeding age is 3 years old.  When this happens, chances are the young 2 year old parents will lose their brood to the older, more aggressive pairs.  It may even be their own parents who take their grand-goslings in order to gain the higher rank!

WOW! There is no escaping competitiveness is there?

noisy departure

While in flight, they make a racket!  The average Canada Goose belts out about 10 or 12 different vocalizations.  This is their way of communication with one another.  Their cruising speed averages 30 miles per hour but will speed up to 40 mph during migration.  If they are really pressed to reach their destination, they can fly at an astonishing speed of 60 mph!

Geese have proven to be amazingly loyal.  If one goose gets sick or wounded and falls out of formation, its mate or one or two others will follow it down to the spot it has landed.  They will stay with the wounded goose, protect it, forage for food, often risking their own lives, for as long as it takes to recover or until it dies.

Canada geese that were once banded, have recorded ages that vary from 12 to 80 years!  One pair was actually recorded as having been together for 42 years!

I hope they put a diamond in that female gooses band!

Although it’s familiar that geese mate for life, research has discovered that the occasional divorce does occur.  Most geese will select another mate after a partner’s death, while a few will simply return to the same nest alone, for many seasons.

These remarkable birds do not change their route from year to year.  A mated pair will always return to their same nesting place.  The young learn the familiar route from their parents and once flying on their own, will still return to their birth locations, year after year.

Typically, the female chooses the nesting site.  A favorite is atop a muskrat house or beaver dam, close to,  or on the water.  She will accept man made nests, or reuse abandoned ones built by owls, crows or hawks.

Then she redecorates. (Of course she does!)

She is resourceful and uses whatever materials are close by…at the local waterside Walmart…twigs, grasses, moss & leaves.  Later, she will line the nursery with her own down from her chest.  She is planning ahead with good intention as she picks the spot for her nest.  While sitting on her eggs, she positions herself so she has a good view in case any predators try to approach the nest from any side.

It’s a simple request made by the female: A room with a view!  I totally get that.

Now, the proud Gander doesn’t sit on the eggs, but he stays close and fearlessly defends the nesting area.  He decides how much territory should be privately owned.  If he senses danger of intruders, he will spread his wings, hiss and create havoc until he drives that would be threat, away.

A typical Canadian Mother Goose lays her cream colored eggs anywhere from March to early June.  She will lay one egg every other day up to 12 eggs.  The normal count is 5 to 8 eggs.  Not necessarily: Cheaper by the Dozen!

The first eggs are pushed aside and left camouflaged until all the eggs have been laid.  It doesn’t matter if they are cold.  The female will begin lining the nest with her down for comfortable insulation when she is about half way through her laying.  Only when all of her eggs are laid, will she begin incubating so the eggs will hatch at the same time.

While I was doing the research on the Canada Goose, I was amazed at how every detail has been taken care of by both male & female and their intelligence, loyalty & commitment floored me!

Hatching of the eggs takes a further 25-30 days.  Mother will stay on the nest the entire time, except for brief food, water and bathroom breaks.  Raccoons will go after the unattended eggs if allowed an unguarded moment.  I could only imagine the wrath of Mama Goose, if that happened while she stepped out for her much needed break and Dad was on duty!

There would be no living with her!

I often took the children to Wascana Park while we lived in Regina, Saskatchewan,  to feed the geese.  One day, a little one got left behind and was frantically calling as it tried to climb up the bank of the lake.  I picked it up to see if I could find its family.  Out of nowhere an adult goose appeared in an outrage!  It hissed and bit at me & knocked me down with its wings & didn’t stop until it had knocked me into the water!  We learned never to mess with the little ones again!  They have many human-like traits.  They are loyal, protective of family & each other and are gifted with an impeccable memory.  That goose came after me every time it saw me that entire season!  I had no idea which baby I had picked up, but the adult goose remembered.

During this incubation time, the adults molt their flight feathers and are unable to fly.  However, the male’s sole purpose at this time is to stay right by the nest to defend it.  These feathers grow back just in time to teach their young to fly for their fall migration.

As I see it, God kind of took away his keys so he isn’t a flight risk ???

the geese family

The proud parents celebrate the goslings and lead them to the water to swim within the first 24 hours of birth!  They must gain a pound a week to reach a stable flying weight in the next 2 months. The geese feed on tender marsh grasses, pond weeds, cattails, berries & salt grasses.  They are observed by the thousands in fall, foraging fields for grain or corn kernels.

The parents are fiercely protective of their young as anyone who has ever tried to snatch one, or gets too close, will find out as I just shared.  If there are several geese families in the area, they congregate & share taking care of the goslings, adding strength and safety in numbers.  The large birds do not have many natural enemies besides hunters but the goslings can fall prey to owls, hawks or snapping turtles.

When the great migration is in progress, thousands upon thousands fill our sky, flying day and night.  This usually happens from the middle of September to early October. Before starting out they stop several times to feed themselves well before their long, difficult journey.  They migrate in family groups & the new goslings stay with their parents for one full year.


Their distinctive V shape formation is unique and for logical reasons.  They keep this shape while flying thousands of miles at a time as a way to assist one another.  As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the flyer behind it.  This allows them to cover greater distances than if flying on their own.  Usually a female is the lead point.

(Makes sense…a male would never ask for directions.)

Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one.

The males have the important part of guarding the rear.  They honk continuously to encourage those in front to keep up their speed.  When the lead point gets tired, it changes position & another flies to the front and takes over.  No slackers anywhere in this species.

Canada geese are a proud and magnificent bird.  We are blessed to have any opportunity to enjoy them.  From generation to generation, year after year, we watch the flight of the beautiful ‘Kanata’ Geese.  The sound of their honking is always a sign that summer is nearly over.  The formation of honking geese flying overhead always confirms that a season has passed and another will fill it’s place.

As we respectfully watch them leave, we automatically think of spring and what a welcoming sight it will be to see and hear them returning from the south,  Somehow they bring a message and create the feeling that all is right with the world again.

God really is the amazing artist and He created them with an amazing instinct, beautiful markings, strength, courage and has given them the seasons and their place and purpose under the sun.  Just as He has made people, there are no two ‘Kanata’ Geese exactly the same.  He knows every feather just as He knows the number of hairs on our heads.  We are all beautiful and were put here for a purpose.

Let’s enjoy our Canada Geese by respecting their natural habitats so that generations who follow us will be able to enjoy them too.

As I watched this small group feeding by the side of the road,  I knew any moment they would depart and it both thrilled me and saddened me.  They had a mission to complete.  Suddenly, it began.  Just like that. One began to lift off and the rest followed.

noisy departure

The noise was almost deafening.  Forget being sad!  These birds were celebrating! What’s wrong with me?FullSizeRender.jpgbegin flight

I hollered: “Bon Voyage, my friends!”

That was all they needed.


I watched them until the sky became silent and they vanished into the clouds.  I felt my Dad watching over my shoulder and telling me:
“Before you know it, Summer Wind,  they’ll be back again.”

I smiled and got into my car.  I know he’s right.


Thanks Dad.

And thank you for for reading.  Hope I was able to share some new facts about these beautiful birds and their amazing life styles.  Perhaps when you see them again, you’ll see them just a little bit more as family groups, as new parents & a species who are loyal to each other until the end.

I’ll be back soon with more Autumn memories.  Until next time,


This is Memory Lane @



A WALK IN THE WOODS by Summer Wind

shady lane

This was the path I went on a nature walk with my granddaughters  only a couple of weeks ago.  Just before the leaves began to change.  However, you could already see tinges of changes on the way.  As we walked, talked and stopped to listen to natures sounds all around us, for a brief moment I felt like a ‘time traveler’.

I was the wonderful age of 10 and my Dad was just around the bend because he thought he’d heard a prairie chicken scruffling in the brush.  Shep was at my side, waiting until Dad called him to come and spook it out into the open so that Dad would know that was in fact what he thought.  Although he carried his twenty two, he never shot them while I was there.  He would walk me back to the clearing and then return to that exact spot.  I ran to the house and changed for play.  I never really questioned the hunt.  I didn’t want to and I knew whatever happened was not for sport and my parents never ever were wasteful.  It was part of our normal prairie life on the farm.

busy livvie

More often than not, Dad & I went for our walk in the woods after a summer shower.  Dad loved that the most.  He always made up the excuse that we should check out the field in case the rain had affected the crop? My response was always the same.

“Um… Dad, isn’t this good for the crop?  You always say it needs a good rainfall.”  He’d grin and grab his cap and then say:

“You’re right, Smartie Pants.  So let’s go check out how fresh it looks and watch while it waves back at us.”

There went my imagination again as I animated in my head all the grains of wheat, waving at us with Smiley faces.

We had a routine down pat.


As soon as the sun is shining once more…

I grab my boots… And run out the door!

Dad yells:  “Hold on a minute!”  I stop and wait.

Old Shep barks.  Dad opens the gate.

After the rain… On a path through the forest…

Listening to the  birds… Rejoicing in chorus.

The earth is refreshed… Appearing spring green…

Colors more alive… Than I’ve ever seen!

Cattle are grazing… A plane’s soaring high…

I can hear the lambs… In their pen, near by.

Spider Web’s Lace has captured a few drops…

That sparkle and glisten… Through the tree tops.

Shimmering green, touched with gold are the trees…

While dropping warm rain… As it falls with the breeze.

Following our trail… I jump over the rocks…

Can’t wait till I take off…My boots and my socks!

We’re down at the creek… Hearing the frogs…

Dad laughs while I balance… On the slippery logs!

There’s always time… To have a light snack…

That Mom has lovingly put in my pack.

After we sit and talk for a spell…

Dad looks round and then he says… “Well…

Think we should head back… There are chores to be done.

It’s now after three… We started at one.”

Old Shep runs ahead… This trail he knows best…

Until we catch up… He takes a short rest.


heading home

I shake off the drops… That plopped down from the trees…

Good thing Mom doesn’t mind… I got mud to my knees.

Oh how I loved each walk that we’d take…

How each time was so special… All the memories that we’d make.

As we walked down this path… Just the other day

All of those years… Kind of slipped away.

Now I am like Dad… Making old memories new…

Perhaps one day… They will share them … Too!

***Summer Wind***

Thank you as always to my parents.. My Wind Spirits with me everywhere.

And thank you to my granddaughters who lovingly share their love & time with me whenever the opportunity arises.  Love you as big as our prairie sky.

Yours forever,  Gram.



clouds at sunset (2)

Summers on the Prairies are as hot as the winters are cold.  But our extreme climate changes, keep us from becoming ‘bored’ for lack of a better word.  The skies are always an amazing surprise especially through the summer.

splendor sky

I remember my summer vacations growing up in a remote prairie town in Canada.  I was having the best years of  a life that  I wish was still around for me today.  I just didn’t know it back then.

Except for those ‘what I called horrid’ times of berry picking when I had to wear all of the ‘cover up clothing while Mom banged a stick to scare away whatever,   and hanging out Monday’s wash,  with Mom,  I pretty much got to do whatever I wanted in a day.  I played outdoors without a complaint in the sweltering heat from morning until after campfire and then was sent to bed.  Notice I wrote: ‘bed’ … not ‘sleep’.  I went upstairs to my ‘bed’,  where I wrote about my day in my journal, as I chose to title it….(it was a plain scribbler).  Even if it was a boring one.  Somehow writing about it gave it value for the future.  Besides, Dad told me  that about everything I wrote.  He said: “South Paw, things don’t often happen twice.  At least not exactly the same,  so you had better write down the way it was today.  You never know it might be important somewhere down the road.”

Of course I am thinking famous published author for National Geographic or something like that.  Well he was right in a different way because I am grateful I wrote as much as I did.  And I am thankful my Mother saved them where she knew I would find them.  That ‘important someday’ is here and they are invaluable to me and other members of the family.  OUR PIECE OF PRAIRIE SKY will be published when the time is right and I know without a doubt that my sisters, my children, my parents and grandparents would be the happiest that I carried it through.

Suppers were very late during harvest because everyone did their share in working until dark.  I still waited with Shep at the edge of the field every evening, just to get my chance at driving the tractor to the yard.  It was way more exciting driving with headlights on.

Soljah in the silhouette (2013_10_24 22_16_48 UTC)

After our meal, Dad had his tea with Mom outside.  I took a cool bath and we had a short campfire while Dad told me about the family of deer that he saw grazing early in the morning.

As soon as I was off to bed, I began to complain about the heat.  My room was hot and stuffy.  There wasn’t a cool spot ANYWHERE!

The night seemed endless and I couldn’t sleep a wink.  As a last resort, I usually threw my blanket on the floor.  Even the linoleum stuck to my cheek after a minute or two.

The old Whipporwill in the nearby tree called out relentlessly.  As I listened to him over and over, my mind seemed to form what he is saying about the hot summer night.

Somehow, daybreak has arrived although I’m positive I never slept at all.  I awaken to a miraculous sound…The summer wind coming through my window is fresh and cool…That sound & fragrance is: RAIN.

That changed everything as I pulled my blanket onto my bed and drifted into a deep sleep so thankful that winter is a long way off.  It doesn’t matter that today will be another hot summer day under our prairie sky and tonight will no doubt bring another:


Looking out my window on a clear summer night…

Stars in a endless sky…Twinkle bright.

My window is open…As wide as can be…

Hoping for Summer Wind…To comfort me.

Everything’s still…Except Whipporwill

Telling  our house…”It’s  a Hot Summer Night!

It’s a Hot Summer Night!”



total peace

How I wish I was out in a tent…open wide.

I’d let the Lightening bugs come inside.

nite lite

I’ve got a story … But it’s ‘way too hot…

So I turn off my flashlight and say:  “Maybe not.”

Staring at the sky… How far does it go?

That is God’s mystery…I wish I could know.

It’s much too hot up here in my room!

I keep praying and wishing for morning soon.

I throw off my blanket, stretch it out on the floor…

While I listen to Whipporwill…Complain EVEN MORE!

“Hot Summer Night! Hot Summer Night!”

I climb back in bed, toss and turn trying to sleep.

But even my pillow  is too hot ‘gainst my cheek.

I try to think and make myself  sleepy…

But Owl is hooting and makes me feel creepy.

Wish now that Whipporwill…Would just take a hike!

But he keeps on and on:  “It’s a Hot Summer Night!”

When daylight arrives,  I’ll run out exploring

Escape from my house… Don’t care if it’s pouring!

We haven’t had rain, in long over a week…

Barest of water is left in the creek.

Tree Down (2013_10_24 22_16_48 UTC)

Dad prayed at breakfast:  “Lord, send water soon.

Our veggies are wilting by mid afternoon.”

“Tomorrow as soon as morning will come…

I’ll pack up a lunch to the creek I will run”.

Dad says: “Fish are hiding.  No use trying your luck.

All they will do… Is get stuck in the muck!”


On my log I will sit,  get my feet wet…

Catch floating bugs… With my old fishing net.

tree trunk formation (2013_11_02 15_10_11 UTC)


When I’m feeling too scorched…I’ll jump right in!

Splash cool murky water on my suntanned skin.

As the prairie sun moves direct over me…

I will hide in the shade of my climbing tree.


carcas of something

It’s now close to morning and what sound do I hear?

Was it me praying…Or dreaming?

NO!  It’s suddenly clear!

“IT’S RAINING!  The air’s cool and fresh!”

I pull back the curtain… “God must have said: YES!”

nice sky colors with tent

We’ve all been set free,  from the hot summer night.

The sky’s changing color…It’s almost full light.

I fluff up my pillow,  breathe in the clean rain…

My blanket is cool on my bed … Again.

Even Whipporwill’s quiet…  Settled into his place.

I turn to the window,  Summer Wind touches my face.

“Thank You, God,  for an answer to prayer.

You watered the garden.  You cooled the night air.”

Dad will nod saying:  “It turned out alright.

Now go catch some fish, for our dinner tonight.”

I listen to sounds as the last drops have fallen…

That cooled the house and thirsty  garden.

Now I close my eyes, with this thought in  my head…

How happy I am… That it isn’t…


pink and white


Wintertime, instead!


Thank you for Reading.  I love you all and this might be posted again….Say about January when we need a reminder of warmer weather.

me in yellow

Memory Lanes Site @

Some photos by Pandanus Tree



I have had moments where I really wondered if my life is for the birds.  That is such a common slang.  However, if I consider what I’ve just asked myself, the reality, in the bigger picture, some of their logic makes sense.

Last year a family of robins took up residence in my back yard.  I watched them from early spring when they arrived.  Most of my other birds had already filled several of my rental units in the mature trees around the yard.  But this mother to be,  had made her own decision to build.  I didn’t think she’d made a sound choice.  Too risky.  There wasn’t much room…and what if the foundation wasn’t solid enough for the nest?

A good choice… (I thought)… would have been:

The High Rise…

bird house one

But where she decided to build would have stressed me to the nines!  I’m sure Mr. Robin would have been okay to settle into a pre- built,  but he obviously went along with whatever she wanted.  Smart male.

I would have chosen the main floor of: ‘The Two Story Whitehouse:



Or:  The Country Cottage Bungalow… (however, it probably needed too much inside work and doesn’t have a deck).

cottage bungalow

The economy condo just needed some paint….


But she wanted none of those.  She wanted her home custom built and with a spectacular view.  I have to admit,  that part,  I understood.

Well they worked and they worked.  I did my best to help with the decorating supplies.  I used the tree branches to hang out strips of colored tissue paper,  ribbons, colorful yarn, shreds of wool, even cotton balls.  The location she had chosen was in the farthest corner of my eaves where the roof overhangs generously allowing them a cathedral ceiling.  They were closed in by my large apple tree, hidden from view.  A very safe, private spot overlooking the entire yard, open concept…

Hey!  She held out for what SHE wanted.  How does that saying go ?  “Happy wife…Happy life.  He’s got it figured out.

It was made known to me from an early age that if it was in the Bible,  don’t argue or question it.  Mom and Dad had raised me believing that the Lord loves every living creature.  The birds instinctively know this and the Bible tells us to watch the birds of the air and how they do not worry about anything.  It’s true.  If it rains, they become quiet because they are bunked into some cozy place and they are enjoying a restful time.

Lesson at least # 51…. for me…

Take a rest from worrying about things I cannot change or have any influence over.  Most things we worry about (myself anyways) haven’t even happened yet and we don’t know if it will…Or  it has happened and there is no way of changing it either way.

I never once saw that female robin flapping her wings nearly having a nervous breakdown because tomorrow is the family reunion and the weather forecast is calling for thunder showers all day!

They never worry about where their food is coming from or where they will live.  So why should I stress if the electrician couldn’t make it over to install my new plugs and lighting…It’s summer.  I should be painting outside anyways.

And what a big deal! The flooring guy never showed up and is 2 weeks late.  REALLY?  It’s a non life threatening issue.  Perhaps he’s going through some serious family or even health issues that he has to deal with.  Mrs. Robin wouldn’t hold that against someone.  She would simply stretch out the cotton balls across the bottom of her home and…WAH – LAH!  New area rugs!

I continued to watch my robins daily and they were amazing.  They worked,  they gave themselves time out together & played in the birdbath.  They were getting ready for parenthood and never went far from their new home.  There was one mishap…


But she focused forward.  The rest of her family needed her to continue and she couldn’t do anything about what happened.

Life begins, life ends, life begins again.  That’s what it says in the Bible…And Mom and Dad would have told me the same thing.

Mrs. Robin had settled in for the final ‘nesting’ stage and rarely left…Soon there was tiny chirping sounds from the nest.  I kept the birdbath filled with fresh water, warmed daily by the sun and she really enjoyed her free moments while Dad watched the nest from my apple tree.

I made sure I watered the gardens frequently so yummy earth worms were easily available for quick take outs.  She waited for me to do that and hopped ahead of me listening to my voice.

It was pretty awesome when I got my first sighting of the babies early one morning.  After that I waited close by, camera and coffee close at hand hoping for the first photos but by the time I could get anything they had some feathers.  These photos were taken after they’d grown enough to be seen.

Mama Robin & 3 Babies

Mom was out getting groceries while I ‘birdsat’  the brood of three from my lawn chair.  Nothing better go wrong on my watch.  At first I could only see the tips of little scruffy heads.  They never made a peep or moved the entire time she was away.  It fascinated me that they had the instinct to know they must be perfectly quiet for their safety.  As soon as they realized their mom was near once again out came tiny stretched skinny heads, mouths open to whatever she offered and they had excellent sets of lungs!  After that it was nap time for all.  Dad went out and did the shopping for the next meal and got to spend some time doing whatever ‘guy robins’ do when away from the nest.  What amazing devoted parents they were.

Towards the end of summer, the babies were growing and finally venturing from the nest.

baby alone


baby robin

I worried about them as if they were pets but as much as I wanted to tame them,  I made sure they remained wild.  I only got these close up photos with my zoom.

That mother trained up her children with the lessons they needed to know for survival and then she let them go.

It’s easy to say:  “Oh, they’re just birds.”  But can anyone say for sure that she never felt twinges as a mother as they left her?  They have incredible instincts and memories, so how can we predict what they feel in those little beating hearts of theirs?

I won’t touch that one.  I know that all through last summer while watching them,  I saw a loving little family who had given me hours of simple happiness and gratitude.  They gave me the opportunity of  observing them close up and personal as I followed their growth.

the talk

Two of the young had already left and one was hanging around getting too comfortable around me.  Mother stayed for a few days coaxing, calling and then finally  she swooped down and actually pushed  the young one off my bench and then it realized it could fly.

there they go

This is the last photo I took of them.  They were around mixing with other birds and then eventually, I couldn’t recognize one robin from another.  This year robins did not nest in my yard.  They visited the feeder and the birdbath but never nested.  I was a little disappointed.  I thought the second generation would have come back for sure.  But they were only here for a season.  That is what we are given so I am thankful I enjoyed them, took photos & wrote about them in my journal.  And now my blog.

You may think its your very own yard but it isn’t.  And you can’t always pick who wants to be your neighbors.  I have had a pair of new ones camping in my Maple Tree and although loud mouths,  they have been quite entertaining….completely  different and I am not sure if I want to renew their lease.  Two crows,  whom I have named Cheech & Chong.  They are very amusing because they argue all the time.  I think that’s why my smaller birds aren’t around.  It’s like “Five o’clock Somewhere”, all day, every day, in my back yard.

Lesson # ???  You can’t always choose whom you ONLY want in your life.  Some may not be as sweet and pleasant to be around but they are necessary tools for God to use in building character within us.  Mom told me this all the time, when she listened to my woes about those mean neighbor boys and although that was long ago,  things haven’t really changed over the years.  Mean is always around to test us on our reactions.

These crows,  Cheech & Chong,  are clever characters!  They know me and they’ll stop arguing while I talk to them and then faithfully answer me back in a pleasant, soft tone.  I am serious!  They follow me from tree to tree, as I work around the front yard to the back.  I’m sure they fly along sometimes when I go for my walks.  They sit on the lower power lines that connect the house and garage and will not make a sound while I’m playing music on the deck  (Raggae of course).  I’ve discovered that Cheech & Chong  are quite liberal in their taste of music because they also like my:  Good Ole’ Time Rock & Roll!

I warned Cheech & Chong if they want to stay for the rest of the season, they better not leave any trademarks on the top of my car or windshield.  They’ve been 100%  polite about that….and they never party late at night…

But oh….


Thanks for reading this crazy mixed message blog…I’ll be back soon.

P.S.  That weather prediction for the family reunion was wrong.  It was a perfect, sunshiny day.

me again

Memory Lane @


Land of beautiful Sky (2013_10_24 22_16_48 UTC)

Photo by Pandanus Tree

This story was originally written during the summer I had turned 12 years old and could run like the wind…A Summer Wind.  Since then it has been revised  several times and the Aboriginal version was published last year as a children’s story & hopefully will be published in the near future as a chapter/picture book.  It is a simple story based on a typical long, hot summer day in the life of two carefree girls.  My life long friend, whose name also happens to be Iris, and Summer Wind, my nickname that year.  We are the main characters…and characters…we were.  I am related to two Irises.  Imagine that!  One is my niece, to whom I am sister close: (the Falcon Lake story that I shared), and the other was my neighbor/school pal whom I grew up with and knew all my nick names: (my 1st blog).  Her and I had become ‘blood’ sisters and done the whole ‘Ya! Ya! Sisterhood’, ceremonial thing,  (‘way, ‘way, before the movie) at one of our campouts when we were about 10!

If my trip down memory lane is as accurate as I think,  then the first draft of this story was written late one night while my family were sitting outside talking until the wee hours.  That would have been why I was able to sneak Shep,  sticky with marshmallow goo, upstairs with me for company.  With so many people around, Mom wouldn’t notice he was missing.  Shep knew that about our family visits, too.

As for me, you would have found me sitting cross legged, in the middle of my bed, with the blanket over my head…YES! Even in the heat of a long summer night…my trusty flashlight propped on my pillow, while I wrote down my day’s adventures.  I’m sure I helped keep the battery manufacturers in business because my sisters were constantly bringing me a fresh supply of batteries.

This is how a day for Summer Wind started.

“LILLY!  It’s going to be a ‘scorcher’ today,” says Dad, wiping his forehead.  “Your Mama will be able to fry an egg on the front steps!”


He winks at me.

“AWE, DAD!  You always say stuff like that!”  In my head I can now see Mama cooking sizzling eggs on the entrance to our porch!

As I pick up the watering can and run to the garden to do my morning chores, Bright Sunlight is already very hot.  Tilting my head ‘way back to gaze at the blue sky,  I see the trail of an airplane so far up that I can’t even hear it.  I love the prairie sky above our land.  It is as high as forever to me.  I know it will always stay the same.  I want to stand there and just look at it but right now I have to help Mama water thirsty vegetables in our garden.

“Thank you, Summer Wind.”  It is blowing cool air on my neck as it runs past me.  “Wish I could see you, but you are invisible.  That’s okay. I know you are here and there.”

Bright Sunlight and Summer Wind make good partners for helping our garden  grow.  I am in a hurry this morning so I try to water my rows quickly.

“Slow down, Lilly,” lectures Mama.  “You’ve missed some of the carrots.”  She filled up my can again.  I start over.

After breakfast, I feed my border collie, Shep.  Now he will find a nice place in Cool Shade and sleep all day.  Summer Wind will blow over his bed while I am gone.  He will still hear my bike when I am coming back home and will be waiting for me at the very end of our driveway.  He knows he isn’t allowed to be on the road.  If it’s been a quiet day, he will walk beside me but if something new is happening, he’ll dash ahead and race me to the house.

Mama packed a huge lunch for me to share with my best friend, Iris.  I am ready to ride my bike to her house.

“Bye, Mama.”  I wave as I push through the gate.  “Thanks for our lunch.”  Before I left, I noticed that Mama had all of her baking stuff out.  We must be having company.  There aren’t many times when we don’t around here.

“Lilly, wait a minute.  You forgot your jacket.”

“Mama!  It’s so hot,”  I tell her.  “Dad says you could fry eggs out here!”  She shakes her head and points towards the clouds gathering in the sky.  I toss my jacket into my carrier and peddle out of our driveway towards Iris’s farm.

Suddenly, everything is still and quiet on our country road.  I can’t hear any birds singing.  I look above me at the prairie sky.  Those clouds weren’t there right after breakfast.  They are travelling at top speed now!  I start peddling harder.  “Summer Wind, push me!”  Mr. Stefan’s truck is coming towards me.  I move over to the side while he slows down so that Little Dust Shadow won’t get into my eyes.  “Hi, Mr. Stefan!  I’m just on my way to your house.”

His dog, Big Boots barks ‘hello’ at me.  Mr. Stefan pokes his head out of his truck and glances up at the sky.

“Better ride quick, then,”  he tells me with a wave.  “Gotta go and pick up the mail before it starts to rain on Big Boots.”

Big Boots loves riding in the back of the truck.  Summer Wind blows his fur in all directions.  I watch Little Dust Shadow follow them over the hill then remember to look both ways before getting back on my bike.  Mama says it’s a good habit, even on our quiet road.

“WOW!”  I look up again.  “Mama and Mr. Stefan are right!  Dark Cloud is almost right here!  It’s going to drop Fresh Shower right on my head ‘way before I can ride to Iris’s house!” I grab the jacket Mama made me bring along.

“How  does she know these things?”  I stand and peddle.  Good thing our lunch is in my backpack and will stay dry.

“I wonder if Loud Thunder and Speeding Light will come next?”  While I’m peddling as fast as I can, I’m only using one hand because I have to pull the hood of my jacket over my head.  That made my bike wobble all across the road!  Summer Wind has gotten stronger at my back.  “Good job, Summer Wind.  Keep pushing!”  I shout.  “Faster!  Faster, please!”  Now I can’t peddle faster than Fresh Shower is dropping raindrops.

Dark Cloud has pushed in front of Bright Sunlight.  Our Creator heard Mama when she prayed for Fresh Shower to come and give our garden more water today.  I have to keep blinking the raindrops out of my eyes.

“GOOD!”  I shout some more.  Loud Thunder, you did not come!”

My friend, Iris will be happy about that for this time.  She usually loves Loud Thunder and Sky Storm, but today we have made plans.

“Hurry back, Bright Sunlight.  You have to dry my clothes for me.”  Shiny puddles are everywhere on the road.  My tires make squishy sounds as I crunch up my legs and ride through them.  Summer Wind has slowed down.  I am very close to Iris’s house now.  The birds are beginning to chirp again because Fresh Shower has almost finished dropping drops.





Just one more small hill and I am there.  Dark Cloud has moved to our other neighbor’s farm.  I hope those 3 mean brothers all get soaked!

Bright Sunlight is returning and making the Raindrops sparkle wherever they landed.

Spider Web’s lace is spread over Wild Flower’s petals.  I think of Kokum’s fancy tablecloth.  Summer Wind makes Fresh Shower’s perfume drift all around me.  It smells nice.  That reminds me of Kokum too.  She smells like wild flowers.  Our Grandmother lives with us but she is visiting in the city right now and I miss her.

Iris is waving at me.  She has been waiting.  Her mom hands her a bag of fresh doughnuts to take along.

“Thanks, Mrs. Stefan.”  I think her doughnuts are the best I’ve ever tasted but I would NEVER tell Mama or Kokum that.

“You’re welcome.  Have fun girls,” she tells us.  Naturally, we can’t wait until lunchtime. We both eat one as we ride all over the road.

“Look Lilly! No hands!”

I can’t do that!  But with the doughnut stuffed in my mouth,  I can stretch my arms around my legs &  put my feet up on the handlebars!  Ha! Ha!  Iris can’t do THAT!



Summer Wind chases us as we speed through the puddles.  They won’t be there long now that Bright Sunlight is back.  We turn off the road to a bumpy trail and come to our tree house.  First we fly our kites in the open field.  Summer Wind twirls them for us and pulls them higher and higher.

“WHOA!”  Mine drops to the ground and Iris’s kite gets tangled in the trees close by.

“Hold my legs while I get it down,”  I holler, reaching for a strong branch.  “I think I have to cut the string!”

Iris nods.  “Do it.”

I unfold my pocket knife and cut it.  The kite hits the ground.  “Is it wrecked?”  I ask as I climb down.

“No, it’ll be okay.  Thanks Lilly.”  Iris doesn’t like climbing at all.

We pick raspberries in the bush behind the old barn and talk about some of the stories we have heard sitting around the campfire with our families and neighbors.  Today, we are pretending these are the old days and we are out hunting for game on our own.  Together we set up camp beside our tree house.  Last summer,  Iris’s Dad gave us boards and nails to fix the tree house.  My Dad came over to help us put in a good floor.  He also gave us old shingles and helped us make the roof rainproof.  We even have a real window and a screen door.  Now we can leave our stuff inside and it doesn’t get wrecked.  The best part is that no one can see it from the main road.  It’s our secret place.  We put up a colorful banner that Iris & her Mom sewed.

Now we decide to build an Inukshuk.  We learned about them in school.  Iris and I carry all the flat rocks from the pile beside the field.  I found a round one for the head.  Some of those rocks were heavy.  It took both of us to lift them but it’s finally finished so we sit and admire it for a few minutes, then decide to name it: ‘Doodlik’.

Iris found a set of antlers in the old barn and put them on Doodlik’s arm.  Antlers or a piece of animal hide means ‘good hunting here’.

“Every time we come here from now on, Doodlik will welcome us.”  Inukshuks are  friendship figures.  A messenger that welcomes visitors, hunters & guides them with signs.  The pile of sticks we placed in front of Doodlik will tell visitors it is a good place to camp.

“I like that idea,” Iris says.

Now because we worked so hard, we are hungry and thirsty.  Bright Sunlight is right on top of us.  That means it’s lunchtime.  Out tree house is still in Cool Shade so we climb in.  It isn’t high up. Only two steps.  I wished it were higher but Iris wouldn’t like it  so it’s okay where it is…

It is nice to rest inside the tree house.  Iris has brought some new fashion magazines that we look through while sharing our lunch.

Iris and I are best friends.  After lunch, we stretch out on a blanket in the field and watch the clouds form into animal shapes.  Some of them looked like ugly faces so I named them after the mean boys and we roll over laughing.  That felt good as we finished the last doughnuts.  For awhile we just talk…about anything…our favorite movies,  songs,  best scary books,  good baseball games.  I am really good at baseball and I can outrun the boys.  Iris tells me I should just ‘whack’ them with my bat but she is tougher than I am.  Mama says it’s probably enough that I carry it around with me.  Like she carries a big scary stick when we go picking berries….”just in case…?”

Iris and I have so many ideas of what we’d like to be when we grow up.  She wants to be an artist.  I might be one too.  I like to write stories and so does she.  Maybe we’ll do both.  I talk to her about things that scare me.  She thinks it’s because I’m alone most of the time.  Sometimes I cry when we have these talks.  She never makes fun of me.  The mean kids call me  ‘Skinny Bones,  Bean Pole  & WORSE!  I wish I had an older brother sometimes,  but Iris sticks up for me when she hears them  &  they never fight her back!

Sometimes we share our family’s problems that no one even knows we know about.  We even ask each other stuff about the Creator that we don’t want to share.  If I don’t know the answer,  I can ask Kokum,  then tell Iris.  Kokum knows many things about the Creator’s ways.

We take turns reading a favorite book out loud to each other.  Iris doesn’t like standing at the front to read at school.  I don’t know why.  I tell her she reads really good.

Once Bright Sunlight has moved across the sky,  we know we have to go home.  We pack away our stuff & ride in opposite directions.  Summer Wind helps me climb the hill and pushes me down.  I laugh out loud,  stretch my legs and enjoy the free ride!  The cows in Mr. Smith’s meadow look all blurry black & white as I race past.

“HELLO COWS!”  They watch me but keep munching grass and switching their tails.

Home at last.

“HURRAY!”  I shout.  “I know that car & truck!  Mama never told me anyone was coming TODAY!”  I speed through the gate as Shep barks and barks while racing me to the house!  “I’m going as fast as I can!”

Two of my older sisters and their husbands are here from the city.  They’re waving at me but I just smile because I need both hands to steer.  Kokum is with them and comes to hug me.  I have missed her so much.  She says it’s only been a week?

Secretly,  she tells me she is glad to be back where you can feel the rain and listen to what the sky has to say at night.

Tonight there will be a family gathering.  I love it when everyone comes over.  I want my house to be just like this one day.  I run up the steps dying to see what my sisters brought me.  But first, I have to wash up and set the table.   Dad will make it bigger so we can all fit around it.

Supper is over and the kitchen is cleaned up.  I put the clean dishes back into the cupboard.

“Thanks Lilly,” my sister Evie says then hands me a paper bag.

“You got me new jeans & a matching jacket!  And more batteries for my flashlight!  I am the luckiest kid!”

I give Lorna a hug, too.  “New comics!  All my favorites! How did you remember?Oh!  More writing books & colored pencils!”  I run upstairs to put my new things away just in case our sister Allie comes with their 5 kids!

The chores are done for the evening.  Uncle Harry,  Uncle John & Auntie Rosie are on their way with my cousins.  Auntie Rosie is bringing her delicious homemade strawberry ice cream.  We will enjoy dessert outside.

Dad starts the campfire as soon as they arrive and we gather around it.  Uncle John & my Dad tune up their violins.  My sisters sing along.  My Dad always plays my Mama’s favorite waltz and she smiles and wipes a happy tear away.  She told me one day while we were berry picking that song was their first dance together. I like that my Dad remembers things like that.

Uncle Harry gets into trouble with Mama for telling us jokes and scary stories.  We laugh because it happens all the time.

Summer Wind is at our campfire, cooling our faces when we lean too close to the flames.  Sometimes, the wood crackles and makes us jump as sparks sizzle straight up into the night sky!  Dad points to them.

“LOOK LILLY! Those sparks are going all the way up and will be the newest, brightest stars in the sky tonight!”


Then he laughs at me. It’s dark but I know he winked.


We make a mess toasting gooey, sticky, drippy ‘marshies with crackers and chocolate sauce.  Mama laughs and lets us have all we want but then hollers:  “Don’t you dare go into my clean house like that!”  She brings out towels and a bucket of warm soapy water for us.

Now it is late.  My cousins have gone home.  Kokum has hugged me after my prayers.  It was such a fun day,  I don’t want it to end so I will write it down and then read it whenever I get lonely for my sisters.  My bed is so comfy.  I look out at the stars .

“There REALLY are some that seem extra bright,” I whisper.  Then I remember Dad’s wink.


My family are sitting out on the porch, talking and laughing.  They will stay there for quite awhile.  I love falling asleep to the sounds of their voices and the night birds.  Shep is in my room tonight and is sound asleep beside my bed.  I reach over & pat him.

“YUCK! Sticky dog!”  Somehow, he got marshmallow goo on his fur.  His tail thumps on the floor.  Mama won’t notice he’s here until morning.

Summer Wind is blowing into my room.  If Fresh Shower comes back,  Summer Wind will blow the curtains across my face until I lower the window.  Sometimes if i’m alone & Loud Thunder comes, it gets scary for me.  Kokum will come and help me pray or think of things that take my mind away from the noises.  I am happy that her room is across the hall from mine.  Mama wants to fix her a room downstairs but Kokum likes it up here.  She says she feels closer to the Creator, the stars & to me.  Often at night we whisper together while the rest of the house sleeps.  She says she has many more stories to tell me while she can still hear them speaking in her own head.

I am trying to write them down so I will remember them too.  I listen even while she is silent.  I can picture a tiny radio in her head telling her what to say.  Kokum laughs because she knows exactly what I am thinking.

“AWE KOKUM!”  She is just like my Dad.

Tonight as I fall asleep,  Moon Beam and a zillion Star Lights twinkle softly.  I have already planned more adventures for Iris and I for tomorrow after my family leaves to go back to the city.  Mama told me not to be sad when they leave because my oldest sister Allie  &  the 5 kids are coming and staying for a week! Yikes!  I have no time to be sad!  I have to hide my best stuff in the secret attic behind my bed!  But I am still happy they are coming!

I will take them to the tree house if it’s okay with Iris.  It’s her tree house too.  But she has 2 sisters & is really good at sharing.  They will love it.  We can have a picnic there and fly our kites.  My room will be safe.  Dad will help by letting them build things in his woodshop.  We will have a campfire every night.

Tomorrow morning we will have a huge breakfast.  Everyone will be talking at once!

“How do they do that?” I always wonder.

There will be bacon, fluffy eggs, fried potatoes and pancakes.  Kokum will bake fresh biscuits and we’ll pile on homemade plum jelly.  Mama lets me have weak coffee once in awhile with lots of milk & sugar…Maybe tomorrow.  Then after a late lunch, they will leave for the city.  I will take my new comics over to Iris’s & we will read them.

Right now, Summer Wind hums a night song.  Although invisible, I know it is right here. It is always where I am.

I whisper: “Thank you, Summer Wind.  Good night.”

I hear Sheps’s tail ‘thump’.

“Good night, Sticky Dog.”  ***

A forever friend is: Someone you may not have seen for years & years, but when you do…you pick up right where you left off.

To Iris  &  our forever sisterhood.  You inspired me all through this story then and the re-write now.  Thank you for all the adventures we shared and the memories we created through our school years.  This one’s for you.  ‘Lainie’








What a beautiful soothing day.  I woke up to the sound of softly falling rain.  Made gallons of coffee and went walking.  I usually walk in the rain hoping to meet people but today I went where I was pretty sure I wouldn’t have to exchange pleasantries…just for a short period of time.  I rested my mind in a tranquil place.

shore in shadows


Don’t get me wrong,  I love where I live because of people who cross my path every time I go out.  However today,  I was in a Sunday kind of mood.  None of my three sisters have ever really liked Sundays since our families have all grown up.  My sister Eve claimed Sundays were the longest days sometimes,  especially if the family were away and no one was having a ‘family thing’.  We are quite the bunch when we get together and really enjoy our own company so to speak.  We are never bored listening to the same stories we tell over and over and always have lots to laugh and share.  We all talk at once???  So it wasn’t that often, that someone wasn’t having a get together.  I suppose that’s why it was odd not to be together.  Through the week, if I called Eve and nothing much had happened over the weekend, she would simply say that the day was:

“A Sunday kind of day.”

That meant she was hoping for company or wanted to go out for coffee with me and by the time I got there…(usually within 10-15 minutes) she was ready to go.  With a laugh, I jingled my keys and off we went.  That was our joke for many years and from it came wonderful spur of the moment lunches, shopping sprees and of course…coffee breaks and heart to heart talks between us.  I cherish those memories and all of the laughs and tears together.

3 sisters


Shortly after I began my walk today, the sun came out for short periods and I sat there browsing through my journals for this blog but all the while wanting to stay on the subject of the rain.  It didn’t take long to find one and I was in a perfect mood for a bit of re-writing of this one.

A few years ago, I wrote a children’s poem as I had watched an Aboriginal family of children playing in the rain at a celebration in the park across from my house.   I never took photos because I didn’t want to barge in on their privacy by asking permission to photogragh the children.  So I sat quietly on my steps and watched them, memorizing every detail in my mind.

I write a variety of material for an Aboriginal Newspaper and this one was originally published about 2 years ago.  I do have all rights to the poem.  In my mind I can still see them dressed in their colorful clothing and dancing in their tribal custom to the joy of the rain sent from their Creator.  Young and Elders joined the circle.



Raindrops are falling…

To the ground

Splishing and Splashing…

Come on!

Dance Around!

One drop starts…

Two, three and more…

Now dancing on the roof…

Drumming on the door!

Creator sends…Our summer rain

Mother Earth…Will be

Refreshed again!

Come along…

Dance for joy

We know Creator

Loves each girl and boy.

Dashing and splashing

Through the puddles deep…

Follow us now…


Dance in the rain…No time to stop!

Keep in time…



Spider Web’s Lace…


And rose petals shine…


rose after rain

Morning Glories…Bloom divine!

morning glory on the line


Birds return with utmost delight…

a sip or two

To flowers that bloom…In colors bright.

summers promise fullfilled


Breathe the air…Check that sky…clouds by pop


Clouds are quickly rolling by.

Dance in the rain…

To Creator’s drum!

Stomping our feet…

In a circle…RUN!


The rain has stopped…Tiny  waterfalls flow…



And  Creator’s  promise…


dens rainbow

Dedicated to children everywhere, regardless of age…Feel the freedom to enjoy what is all around you.  That’s what happy children do and I hear comments like “Oh if only I could do that.”  Or:  “Wish I was young again.”  Now who is telling you not to feel young enough to run along the beach, take a quiet walk down a different street than your own or sing!  Sing in the rain, or cry…whatever is needed.  Be free.   As I’ve said in my other blogs…Every rainfall is different and each one will makes you feel special when you are in it.  Because it is JUST for you at the time.  Enjoy it.  Seize the moment.  You can deal with your frizzy hair later.

I do plan to grow up one day…but not yet!

Thanks for reading.   I’ll be back soon sharing one of SUMMER WIND’S own stories.

Memory Lane


pansies with a view

My back yard has slowly been filled with all my familiar things which are nice little signs telling me I belong here.  There was a sign that a house was for sale.  I bought the house and I moved to this new location.  First I had to put up a sign to sell my own house in the city.  A family saw that sign and bought it.  It all began with looking at signs.

What I love the most about living in a community rather than a city,  is knowing that anywhere I go,  I will see something familiar.  I know I can walk the same direction and the lake will be in the same spot.   The pharmacy, our Post Office, a gift shop,  hotel,  grocery stores, a park & even our Vet Clinic all have visible signs that let us know who they are.  When a new shop in town opens, it will have a bright colored sign to let everyone know about it and following that, their front window will have a sign with their hours of operation written out.  We just have to read the sign.  How about these ones: ‘GARAGE SALE TODAY’, or:  FIVE FAMILY YARD SALE’  with an arrow pointing the direction to the location.   Quick & easy to understand those signs and we will follow the sign, never doubting for a second that it would be anything but what we read.


before poplarfield

When I drove back to my old home place, although the road had been widened & resurfaced, it was still the same road.  Newer signs were reposted along the way, but the words & names of places were the same.  At the farm all the signs of my former life were still there, some visible while some were changed by time & the elements.  As I looked around me, my memory served me well as I visualized the way it used to be. Signs of summers that I remembered  were everywhere.

Have you ever driven into Dallas, TX.,  Vancouver,  B.C.,  Chicago, IL,  or Los Angeles, CA?  Well the first thing you look for are ‘Exit’ signs or where to switch lanes to merge in & out of traffic.  Some freeways are eight to twelve  lanes!  Traffic moves in an orderly way most of the time,  because they have a great ‘sign’ system.  That is a must to avoid mass confusion.  Modern tech has given us GPS systems that talk us through,  but we still need to read signs.

At this point my decision to move from a busy crowded city was almost like coming full circle.  But this time I am writing pages in the ‘now’ about my experiences that I want to share while they are still fresh and alive to me.  This is a wonderful time and experience for me… I am so appreciative of each blessing as I greet & recognize them.  I am trying not to miss anything.  Writing these pages for all of you will hopefully give you signs of who I truly am and about the things that matter to me.  Memories that I especially want to share with my family.

I decided to move to this lakeside town to be closer to my sister.  I was almost ready to retire, and my dream was to do that, then write my memoirs and hang up my shingle for my: ‘Colors of the Wind Art Studio’.  The place I bought had a great deal of potential for that in the front portion, while offering  a fabulous sized private back yard, which I am gradually converting into a Zen garden.


I happened to be over at my sister’s the day my brother in law decided to dig out a gigantic tree stump from their yard.  I fell in love with it and visualized it as a table since it was about coffee table height.  I could complete it with a shatter proof glass top,  varnish the sides and so on.  I paid a neighbor to cut it carefully at ground level with his chain saw, and we got 2 more guys to haul it over to my place on the back of his truck.  I could feel these guys shaking their heads at this weird new woman in town.  If they were discretely giving each other signs while driving over about what they thought, I knew it would have been:

“Amigo…She eez loco!”

However, after an hour’s work, everybody won!  The guys got beer money.  I got the gigantic tree stump.  My brother in law was happy that he didn’t have to deal with chopping it up  and discarding the garbage.  My sister was thrilled that I had saved her tree because she had wanted to do exactly the same thing with the old relic.  (The tree stump…not her husband!)

Well as it turned out, the ‘relic’ never did become a table because I rearranged the yard to fit around the stump.  I collected rocks and stones and planted a lily garden around it.  Then I added a huge bird bath that I also rescued from a back lane.

I HAD to.  There was a big sign on it:


…So I did!

….Oh Yes…The same guys moved that for me too!  Same thoughts, I’m sure.  Same payment plan….Everybody won.

Five years have passed.  Lots has changed during that time.  My brother in law and sister are both gone.  It’s just over a year for my sis.  My son has been coaxing me to let him take away the old tree stump.  It is beginning to rot away and he is concerned that it is becoming a refuge for ants.  I didn’t want to part with it yet but it is only a matter of time now.

A week ago,  I really looked at it.  He is right but I am not giving in too easily.  There were some green sprouts growing out of the cracks but as I pulled out a couple of weeds,  I saw something that amazed me…

There are two young maple trees that have sprung up and are growing together!  Not one,  but two!  I am delighted!

Instantly,  I accepted this as a sign.  Perhaps, it may sound silly or childish but I don’t care.  It was a sign!  Not a miracle or anything dramatic…just a little sign for me.

more of trees

We all have choices that affect our decisions, moment by moment sometimes.     What cereal should we have for breakfast…I don’t eat cereal…I want what’s in the flat box in my fridge.  The sign on it tells me it’s pizza.  I love cold pizza.  How we like our coffee.  Where we’d like to spend a vacation and who we want to be with.  And… The choice of what we want to believe.

I want to believe this was a sign that my sis & brother in law are okay in their eternal homes. Simple.  These trees signify new life from the old deteriorating shell, that is crumbling all around them.

I am not writing a sermon.  I am simply sharing what I personally got from this and it is something I choose to hold on to.  I won’t feel as sad when my son takes away the stump now. The seeds of new life have found a way to grow!  I’ve already written about my sister’s love and fascination of trees.  In their yard,  years ago,  my brother in law had planted 3 maples, one for each of Alice’s girls, my nieces.  There were two very strong spruces that were for the boys,  my nephews.  Every morning, my sister took her coffee into the front room, looked at her trees & said a prayer for her ‘Fabulous Five.’  I know this to be true.  My brother in law also told me this so often.  These trees were her signs about her children and that made her content.  These signs brought her comfort.

Alice and I talked about the deepest subjects that any two sisters ever could.  We had often discussed the subject of whichever one of us went first & if there was a way to send the other a sign, we would do that.  Of course we went about it in a loving, joking manner… it wasn’t a morbid thing.

I, of course was wondering what I’d be wearing???   This made her laugh and she would shake her head & say something like this:

“Oh, Sis!  Trust you to think of that one!”

I always teased her about her smoking & burning things in the kitchen, even though she was a great cook.  So I’d tell her that I would just watch for an angel with a little cloud of smoke around her head instead of a halo!

But, I always admired the way my sister had no fear about dying.  Her faith was without doubts in that area.  She had incredible courage.  As far as I know, she didn’t care one way or another about signs, but she wouldn’t have been discouraging to anyone who did.   And, all kidding aside… we did promise to do that one ‘sign’ thing… if there was a way.  Just loving chats between two sisters who in reality, never wanted to deal with having to let go of the other, first.

The two new maples out of the old dead stump are little life signs to me.  Maples spring up in cracks of sidewalks, unused chimneys,  and almost anywhere all the time, I know that.  Yet, I am blessed over these little trees that are growing for me right now.  Because to me they are special.  I am just accepting them as a gift.  Signs do go as far back as God sending an olive branch out to Noah.  He could have used anything but he chose a tree branch.

Trees happen to grow for generations exactly like families.  My new trees will someday become old trees and make way for newer ones from the seeds of the fertile parent tree.  Whenever we do our name and history searches for photos from the past or several generations, these collections are called:

‘Family Trees’,  aren’t they?

It’s a sign.

everything has a purpose

Thanks for reading.  I’ll be back here soon,

Memory Lane


POSSIBLE BOOK PHOTO (KODA) (2013_10_24 22_16_48 UTC) (2)


If you had grown up around our Dad’s sense of humor, comments like this were an everyday thing.  He had a terrific quick imagination and I seized every opportunity to collaborate with him for writing…especially poetry.  He could rhyme the most unlikely words, and you just HAD to believe them.  Well this is a poem that we wrote together one rainy night when I was nine or ten years old… So try and look at it from my point of view at that age.

me and my dolls

I have re-written some of the lines…not content… and it was published in a children’s magazine in 2007, but I clearly remember the night the original was drafted.  It was a dark and rainy night and I didn’t want to go upstairs to bed, so Mom let me stay up and sit at the kitchen table.  I had my notebook & I asked Dad what I should write about.  He was playing Solitaire.  It was boring to me because of the pouring rain all day & night and I hadn’t been outside or with my friends…yadda, yadda…whine…whine.

He pulled back the curtain as we sat there and peered out into the black night.  I could feel the wheels on his  ‘imagination bus’,  just turning.

He suggested: “Write about how hard it’s raining!”

“But rain is rain,” I said, whine, whine.  Not according to Dad.  He told me EVERY rainfall was different.  Anything can happen.

He looked out again and said: “Now, did you SEE that?”

I leaned over and looked out.  Of course now the window was fogged up from us breathing on it!  Mom was busy ironing in the other room.  All I saw was rain drizzling down the window.

Dad quietly said: “Write about Kangaroos.”

He had my attention now.  “WHAT?”

“I do believe it’s raining hard enough to bring Kangaroos all the way here from down under!  That hasn’t happened for quite awhile so you’d better write about it.  This might be important news one day.”  I looked and looked, and wiped the window with my sleeve.  Couldn’t see EVEN ONE!

Dad put his finger to his lips an glanced over my head.  “Your Ma didn’t see them the last time …either.”  I understood.  I didn’t run to tell her our exciting news.. She was listening to “The Red Skelton Show’ or something like that.

So we began…

Late one night…While asleep in bed…

I woke up to noises… Above my head!

When I looked out… Then did I see…

KANGAROOS!  Raining down past me!

They hit the ground… And then bounced quite high…

How could they be RAINING?  From the sky?

I was going downstairs… With the news…


“That’s NOT me jumping,”  I tried to say.

“Ma, come to the window… Right away!”

Oh sure.  Just as soon as SHE  looked  outside…

All the KANGAROOS… Went to hide.

“Now that is it!”  She yelled at me.


Get upstairs… And into your bed!

Shake those ideas… Out of your head!

Why do you make up stories like these?

Turn out the light… AND go to sleep…PLEASE!”

So I went upstairs…. Got into my bed…

Peeking through my window…A KANGAROO….said…

“This is a night…You’ll remember FOREVER!

That anything can happen…IN RAINY WEATHER!”


Well that KANGAROO was right….I haven’t forgotten that night…AND…I hope I do remember it FOREVER!

Good one, DAD…Thanks for the memory,  Love South Paw







It happens to rain quite often where I live.  That’s okay by me because I love the rain.  Not so much the icy, hard driven type,  but the soft steady rain that soothes a sunburn,  blends with your tears,  freshens a smile,  and makes hair frizzy curly…who cares!  It smells wonderful to be out walking in the rain.  Wear clothes that will sun dry and feel as though they just came off the clothesline!  This morning,  I did just that.  I started out thinking about the stresses that might cross my path today,  worrying about my family members, praying for safe journeys for those ones travelling &  missing the ones that aren’t here to talk to about these matters… I took it all for a walk with me, out in the light rain.

As I walked, I felt the summer wind calming my spirit,  the rain was cool but refreshing.  I grabbed a coffee,  my notepad was shoved inside my pocket,  and I headed for the lakefront.  I left my phone at home because it was raining and I wanted to focus on the smells and sounds of the rain.  I wanted to be absorbed in  it with no umbrella hovering over me.  Free so that I could lift my face and ‘feel’ the rain.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes by Bob Marley and it is so very correct:


feel the rain


As I passed a few people on the street, I quickly concluded that they were not on the same page as I was, in fact, the exact opposite.  One lady, marched by underneath her tightly held umbrella, arms crushed to her sides, trying desperately not to get her rain jacket wet!  Her dog was pulling happily on his leash, eager  to run freely,  lovin’ the moment, wanting to feel the fresh rain on his fur!

A man nearly knocked me over,  be-lining for the coffee shop, trying to talk on his cell phone while keeping it out of the rain with his cap.

A lovely mom hurried towards me with 2 young children, both wearing adorable rain coats and brightly colored splash boots.  However, I could tell  she was in a rush to get them to the daycare around the corner while they aimed for every tiny puddle on the sidewalk.  The adults all had the same: ‘why did it HAVE to rain this morning?’, expression on their faces.  The only happy ones were the children & the dog!  I laughed because I knew which category I was in, & you guessed it.  I was on the happy side of the rainy street!

If you hold out a glass while its raining, it will never remain empty…it will be half full in no time!  I wish I could have babysat for that mom because I had something that she didn’t this morning & probably wanted.  Time.  Time, to let her family play & splash around in the puddles.  Time for not having to be worried about keeping happy little children clean & dry until they arrived at daycare.

It has been so many years since my Mom passed away but as I wrote my last article about her & I picking berries together,  that line about how I complained to go home to do my own stuff…I realized how much I wish I would have appreciated those times and savored them as I would now.  However, I am thankful to have come to this peaceful, contented feeling in my spirit about my life.  Some never do.  How sad.

Rain is a part of summer that I love,  but I tend to take it for granted…I mean it always ‘rains’ doesn’t it?  Well, that’s what we think.  But how would we feel if one day…it was gone?  I thought for sure I would be picking berries my whole life as a chore, but one day that was gone. I grew up and moved away.  At our campfires, I loved it when huge raindrops landed on the glowing embers.  They sizzled and made weird little sounds while tiny smoke clouds hissed at us.  When I rode my bike to my friend’s house, there were often sudden little cloud bursts!  I loved those too.  They were always there.  They probably still occur on that narrow prairie road under our piece of prairie sky,  But I’m not there.  It didn’t last forever.  When I was a child, I thought like a child and everything was ‘forever’ …good or bad.

Moving forward is good and that is how life works…Its just nice to think that some of the good things in life ARE free.  Rain is one of those things.  Feel it!  Then you won’t care about getting wet!

I am glad to be where I am.  I love the memories and I love feeling appreciative about all my blessings.  Rain, to me is a blessing.

At present, I can still go out picking berries, or mushrooms, fruit, & veggies, but those exact moments during my youth, were all slightly different,  a one time happening.  We don’t know why, when, or what can change, but that is the one certainty of life…it’s always changing.  I have been learning this more than ever, lately.  Live the moment, treasure the memory,  even if its as simple as a rainfall.  It’s one of a kind.  It even smells differently, if only slightly, each time.

This morning, I treated my walk in the rain as though it might not always be around.  If I miss this one, there won’t ever be another exactly the same. This morning’s rain had patches of sunlight peeking through which made everything glisten & sparkle like crystal. but today was my moment, my revelation of what a special morning it was, walking and being at peace with my Lord and feeling blessed for all I have.  Yes, there is something  about the rain…It makes me think about how much I love it.  My Dad loved it.  My Mom did too.  My sister Alice  & I loved it together.  It poured the evening she left us.  That was okay because I had to drive for an hour to get home and my mind was occupied by the wipers working at top speed.  A week or so later, I planted a tree for her,  in the rain, but it was a beautiful rain.  As soon as it was planted the sun came out and shone directly on it.  I know she loved it.  And she would love the fact that I walked in the rain this morning & thought about her…a lot.

my rainbow road


me again

Whenever I look back on those years known by my parents as: ‘the good ole’ days’,  I realize how special they truly were.  Today, they are the valuable memories I am sharing.  Going berry picking was my Mom’s way of spending ‘one on one’ time with me,  but I didn’t get that when I was a kid.  Living on the prairie as we did, picking berries was a pre-requisite of life in the country.  Every kid I knew,  myself included, hated those dreaded words we heard, almost every day throughout the summer:

“Come on, Lane.  Let’s go berry picking.”

I think my Mom went to sleep every night with a plan in mind for her next picking spot.  I had learned there was a methodical way for these expeditions.  We never hit the same spot every time.  We moved around in order to keep a certain amount of fruit ripening for the next picking appointment.   This way it seemed to me,  there was an endless bounty available and the picking sessions would go on until the snow fell!  One way or another, there was no escape from that dreadful chore, because even when we weren’t trampling through the woods,  we were in the orchard picking every ripe strawberry, plum, or various apple off our many trees.  At least picking fruit in the orchard behind our house, I didn’t have to cover up 99% of my body with clothing on a perfectly hot summer day.

I often thought I was a bother, a nuisance to our Mom most of the time.  I even resented the fact that she never took time to talk to me or understand the things that mattered to only ‘me’…but she did.  Those WERE our special times…those times we picked berries together.

Mom dressed me in Dad’s long sleeved shirts so I wouldn’t get bitten by mosquitoes.  I wore my overalls to protect my legs from getting scratched by twigs and scrub bush and Mom tucked my long hair under Dad’s cap so it wouldn’t get caught or tangled in hanging branches.  I didn’t want all that hair,  I wanted a cute short crop style like Hayley Mills in the Parent Trap.  And…I wanted to wear jeans…all the time.  I promised myself that when I grew up,  I wouldn’t EVER own a dress!  Well, those who know me today and all through my ‘grown up’ years, will laugh at that one!

A walk in the Woods

We’d leave the bright sunshine and burning heat behind, and walk together down one of many shady trails through the woods to the north of our farm.  Even Shep, our Border collie,  didn’t escape these berry picking hours.  He wouldn’t have stayed behind anyways, but somehow I envied him because I believed he did have a choice.  Poor deprived little ‘Skinny Bones’,  me,  I had all these terrible chores to do in a day.

Every so often, Mom would bang the stick she carried against a tree!  Shep’s ears would perk.  He was our protector, from what,  I never asked or wanted to know.  “For noise,” Mom said calmly, then we walked on.  I didn’t want to think about what we might step on, or disturb from their cool afternoon slumber.  And why did she insist on making noise if something  (I visualized a Shreck-like troll) was peacefully asleep?  Beyond me!  But we had this routine for years,  generations, and nothing ever came after us….So I guess her theory worked.

Midway through picking,  we stopped for a picnic lunch.  Mom had her thermos of tea or coffee and a cool jar of Kool Aid or Freshie for me.  We’d sit on the huge white stone by the clearing to the field, share sandwiches, buns and cookies and we’d talk.

Yes, we talked together.  About anything and everything I could think of to ask her.  Sometimes I brought my little notepads and I wrote in it,  my version of an interview.  I loved to get her talking about her own childhood.  Her first dance when she met our Dad etc.  I never tired of hearing how they met.  Her eyes got sparkly and she talked shyly with a smile that shed years away from her face as she shared a few little secrets.

Other times we discussed school and what I wanted to be when I grew up and the hopes she had for helping me make my dreams come true.  She let me complain about the mean kids and she let me get all the frustrated feelings I had towards them out of my system & it made me feel better for awhile.

Old Shep got the leftovers of our lunch, then we stopped by the little brook & he had a long cool drink.  Then we’d pick again for awhile.  As soon as her built in timer went off,  she’d say it was time to head home.  Dad would be putting the kettle on for afternoon tea.  Shep knew the word ‘home’, and without so much as a nudge,  he’d turn around and head in that very direction, faithfully leading us back.

I remember the brightness as we left the woods and the feeling of the hot sun on my face again.  Dad would meet us, take our pails, while I peeled out of the shirt and long pants, glad to be in my shorts and tee top.  Mom hung them up in the porch for next time while Dad estimated how many pies Mom would make.  After tea, my latest notes written for memory’s sake,  I went off to see what had happened to barn cat & her kittens, or the new calves or piglets while I was gone.


“Let’s go berry picking,”  I’d hear Mom say.

Right in the middle of my time for play!

“Put on shoes and Dad’s long sleeved shirt.

Cover your legs,  so the twigs won’t hurt.”

We took Old Shep from his lazy nap

Pinned up my hair, under Dad’s cap.

Mom led the way to her favorite spot.

Stopped for a snack, when we got too hot.

I’d look around wishing it would rain

But it seldom did, so,  we’d pick again.

Though I complained to go home and play…

Wish I could walk with her…today.

Now I would tell her,  how much it meant,

Those chats we had…the time we spent.

At last Mom checked her pail and mine.

Told me with a nod,  we’d done just fine.

“We’ve picked nice berries,  between us two.

Your Dad will be very proud of you.

Now you have plenty of time for play.

Come on, Old Shep!  Lead the way!”

He gladly led us on the path going back

Wagging his tail.  Sniffing his track.

At last we come out,  into the day’s hot sun.

I see the house!  I start to run!

Mom says: “Careful with your berry pail!”

I hand it to her and dash down the trail!

Old Shep starts to run farther ahead.

Anxious now,  for his shady bed.

Dad gives a wave.  He knows we’re done.

I whip off my long shirt, in the afternoon sun.

At suppertime,  something sure smells great!

Strawberry pie!  I can’t wait!

Picking berries was NOT that bad…

When I think back on those times…Mom & I had.

I’d wear long sleeves…Carry a pail,

If only we could walk…Down that memory trail.

Tuck up my long hair and not complain…

If I could be there…with Mom…again.


For Mom  always. You are the wind beneath my wings.

From Summer Wind



THE CAMPFIRE (2013_10_24 22_16_48 UTC)

Photo taken by Pandanus Tree on Pandanus Prairie land


I have only met a few people who scrunch up their noses when asked if they would like to sit out beside a camp fire.  How damaging to hair or clothing could a little bit of wood smoke from a campfire be?

Besides it would all be gone with: Monday’s Wash!

As kids of course, it never entered our minds .  There were no worries.  If summer wind shifted, & we got a gust of it, we coughed, wiped our eyes,  hid our faces in our jackets for a second or two & carried on!

Our families have enjoyed gathering around a fire for as far back as I can remember.  Sometimes they were just in our backyard fire pit and at times we needed umbrellas when it started to rain.  We didn’t give up easy!  When I was  camping with my own family, the boys usually kept it going even in the daytime…Again, rain or shine.

At night, there is something comforting and almost hypnotic about sitting on an old log or lawn chair,  doing absolutely nothing but staring at a circle of toasty warm flames dancing & swaying every which way,  while playfully flicking sparks unexpectedly.  That is about the only time anyone moved, except to throw on another log or two.  Then we’d settle again and watch the new logs ignite, maybe strike up a conversation, chat about everyone’s day.

Take that, Netflix!

A campfire in the evenings, after everything was done for the day, was almost a nightly routine while I was growing up.  It was my  Mom’s power tool to get me to finish the dishes or sweep & do my homework.   Some evenings there would only be my Mom,  Dad  & me,  Sissy Pie Lainie,  but they always took the time & effort so I wasn’t disappointed.  Generally, though, we did have neighbors or my cousins & my aunts & uncles dropped over for coffee & a game or two of cribbage.  While the adults visited, we would sit around the fire, poking our greenwood sticks that Dad had whittled for us.  If they had a nice neat point on the end, that was the hint that there was a wiener roast in the plan.

Oddly enough, I liked our campfires so much that I was willing to put my hostile feelings aside when the ‘name calling’ neighbor boys dropped by just about the time of our wiener roast.  ‘Slugger’,  that’s what I called my lucky bat, was parked for the night, along with most of my attitude & I was content to just chill by the fire.  I have to admit on these occasions, they were decent & polite.  They gabbed with my Dad about fishing, hunting, , how their Pops was going ballistic because their tractor was dead and somehow it was their fault…you know, everyday small talk.  To this day, they still speak fondly of my Dad  and I know he made lasting memories with them, including threatening to lose them in the bush up north on the next hunting trip…if they didn’t treat me nicer.  But…they didn’t.  They are still around , so obviously…Dad didn’t either.

All too soon, the fire was shrunk to dying embers.  We hated to see it go.  But Dad was always true to his word when he promised to make us another.  Stuffed with hotdogs, & marshmallows  we surrendered whatever was left of our green willow sticks, and said our goodnights.

Upstairs in my room, I sat at my window and thought of new plans for tomorrow.  The stars were so vibrant in our prairie sky, while the moon cast long shadows across the yard.  Mom and Dad would be downstairs, tidying up and making their workday plans…  Before long, it would be silent, except for the whipporwill and that scary owl…somewhere close.  I didn’t REALLY believe mean ole’ Stevie when he told me THAT owl was waiting just for me to go outside at night & it would swoop down and PLUCK my eyes out!

Maybe I believed him a little…NAH!  (Yeah, I did).

I climbed into bed and tied back my curtains.  Summer wind drifted in,  bringing the fragrance of our lilacs with it.  I drifted to sleep thinking…If tomorrow night’s clear, and Dad has made fresh kindling and piled it beside the fire pit,  that means it will be another great evening,  because:


During the summer… When stars are bright…

Dad makes a campfire… Until late at night.

We each get a long stick… To poke in the fire…

Then blow out the flame… As it creeps a bit higher.

Sitting around it… Talking and planning…

Feeling the heat… Sting our faces from tanning.

Mom brings out ‘marshies’… For us to toast…

So we have a contest… who can burn theirs,  the most!

We stuff ourselves sticky… Until they are gone…

And shiver each time… Owl hoots out his song!

It gives me the creeps… But brave ole’ Dad’s there.

He laughs and he says… “Owl’s saying his prayer!”

So we beg Dad again… For a story,  “Please tell!”

He enjoys how we listen… But he does it so well!

Sometimes they are funny… We giggle all night.

Or else quite a scary one… We hush up,   tight.

But slowly the flames… Burn down to a glow…

Dad gets the bucket…It is time to go.

That’s okay, too… If tomorrow night’s clear…

About the same time… We’ll be back out here.

To dad,  by  Summer Wind

Me in the middle

As I write this,  I can still hear the crackling sounds of our fire…not any fire…those fires are the ones on the pages of my mind right now,  and all that went along with it.  The smell of the green willow branches on my hands,  wood smoke in my long hair.

As I hugged Shep,  his fur smelled like wood smoke too, but his breath smelled like wieners!  And he had a marshmallow stuck to his back!

On my way to school the following morning,  those mean boys would probably run down their driveway and torment me all over again,  but they wouldn’t get too close,  because of ‘Slugger’.

By the end of the day,  it would all turn out okay & in my favor  because I knew I would get a100% on our spelling test  & they would fail and have to stay after school to write out words for an hour.   Then their Pops would go ballistic because they were late getting home for chores….It was going to be a good…no…make that…a great day for me!  My memory is clear on this.  It was.

Hope you enjoyed sitting around this campfire with me.

For my next blog, I will take you  ‘BERRY PICKING’.  A  job every kid I knew who lived on the prairie, had to endure.

P.S……Yes,  that is me in the little ugly dress!

Memory Lane @:



dens rainbow

Photo by Pandanus Tree

Our piece of Prairie Sky started out as my own journey,  but it has become more than that.  My family are all on their own and live miles apart, but we still are all connected to the prairies.  We all have our own pieces!

I have gorgeous photos taken by them from all corners of our beautiful prairie land.

This came to me @ 5.A.M. this morning after a wonderful family weekend celebration & it changed my whole direction from what my next blog was going to be.  I had mainly planned to write random pieces as they came to mind but for this one I decided to continue from WHAT’S IN A NAME and go back to what set my writing pattern in motion.

My trip back home as I’ve written, led me to all my stories,  my nicknames, (loved & hated) my artwork & my poems…some were barely readable scratches on pieces of paper.  They had all been saved in a trunk for me by my Mom, who in her wisdom, knew I’d come back one day.  After all of the findings:  the joys,  the tears,  the remembering,  the sorting and years of re-writing,  I compiled my book filled with:  MY PIECES OF PRAIRIE SKY.  However all my attempts at publishing left me with the feeling that it wasn’t the right time.

Now I know that it’s because I am NOT alone on this journey.  My life is braided into my family’s, theirs into mine.

That makes it ‘OURS’.  Not that I am going to invade on their privacy in any way, but because I am going to be able to keep sharing it with them & I see how they are a continuation…of where I began…on the prairies.   It’s a journey that’s definitely ‘OURS’.

After my parents had gone, I couldn’t think of any reason to go back to a place that didn’t belong to us anymore.  I was quite angry at God for many of my own reasons.  But mostly I was angry because my parents were good people.  They shouldn’t have been taken yet and I should have come back sooner and helped keep the farm in our family.  So in reality, it was myself whom I was angry at…it was just easier to blame God.  Besides, isn’t He the ‘Multi Tasker?

The winding road back home was a two hour drive.  The season: Early Summer.  Slowly I crossed the main street of my old home town. More than ten years had passed since I’d taken this drive.

“Another six miles to go,” I told myself.  Now I was on a gravelled back road.  I glanced in my rear view mirror.  A thick cloud of dust chased me and blocked everything else from sight.  I visited the cemetery first.  A few recent plots stood out, a reminder of the circle of life.  Summer wind whispered gently, soothingly through the tall pines.  There was peace here.  I felt it instantly & let my tears go.  I was tired of being angry.  It was up to me to change it.  No one else.  I wasn’t doing such a good job being my own boss so I simply said: “Take over, Lord!”


house in view


The wind felt clean and refreshing on my tears.  I back tracked and came to the last hill before our old place.  “Funny,”  I thought.  “It seemed this hill was a lot steeper when I used to coast down it on my bike.”   The row of tall spruces, still standing were a familiar & rewarding landmark.  They were breathtakingly strong and beautiful!  More stately than I recalled, standing firm against the elements, year after year, decade after decade.  I slowed to almost a crawl & drank in the view.

Even as I write these words today, that feeling of ‘familiarity’ as I idled down the driveway, washes over me.

driveway home

How happy I was every day, when I reached it after a long hot walk or bike ride.”So good to be home!”  In my mind, our border collie, Shep,  was coming out of his shady bed under the lilac bushes, to meet me at any moment.  He had been

my dog since I was 6 months old. desktop (219x155) (2)

Shep had a built in radar.  He knew how I hated snakes and would run to meet me, then walk ahead of me down our shady drive.  The garter snakes liked to sleep stretched out on the cool gravel.  If there was one,  he actually grabbed it, shook it a few ’til its brains rattled, and tossed it into the bush.  Shep was my hero dog for many great & faithful years.

As I parked in the yard, I pictured myself running across the sweet squishy grass after a summer shower.  Everything  sparkled in the sun.  Shep & I ran for joy!  After I collapsed out of breath on the front steps, Dad  would tell me how he estimated I put on at least two & a half miles!

“Better stop for fuel!  How about Blueberry pie?”

It was intense!  I was here and overwhelmed with forgotten emotions.  I almost expected Mom & Dad to come out to greet me with outstretched arms!  Summer wind blew all around me.  The fragrance from our lilacs enveloped me.  Lovely shades of purples, mauve & white, all blooming in a wild, untrimmed maze of colors.  I looked at the house.  The windows , now scantily clad in tattered ecru lace,  once starched & held back with ribbons.

I closed my eyes.  Beautiful flowering plants lined those wide window sills all year ’round.  Those same plants were faithfully set out on the steps during summer showers. The second story with the double dormer windows faced west.  That was my room.  Oh how stifling hot that room became during long summer days.  That turned into longer summer nights from which there was no escape unless God sent rain!  And that was that!  Grumbling got me nowhere!  That was for the bears & Readers, you’ve already read about THAT one! Picture this & breathe in…On the east side of the house, the endless clothesline with freshly washed sheets billowing in the summer wind!  Can’t you just smell that clean country air dried laundry?  There’s nothing like it!

Now that was a temptation too hard to resist no matter how many times I got in trouble for it!  I snuck them off the line and made the best tents…EVER!  However, I don’t remember Mom once coming to take them away while I was playing in them.  So maybe I shelled peas for an hour before supper!  I knew I owed her big time.  I’d had hours of fun.

After raising my crew & years & mountains of laundry, via automatic washers & dryers, I realized how much extra work I made for her.  They would be back in the load titled: MONDAY’S WASH.

‘GOOSEBERRIES!’  Does anyone remember what they were?  OMG!  They were these awful green berries that grew on the prickliest bushes in our orchard.  Dad might have been right when he told me they were named that because they were so sour, they gave a person goose bumps!  It was true!  I can remember how my cousins & I dared each other by stuffing our mouths full of the berries, then our nerve was tested by crunching into them!  They did make you shiver! AAAGGGHHHH!!!

A short path away was Mom’s summer kitchen.  It was the hub of activity.  Preserves in the fall,  jars and jars of them were simmered to just the right color & thickness.  Never ending loaves of bread came out of the oven of that big black cook stove.  It was identical to the one my sister, Alice cooked on at the lake, but  at least she used a modern one at home.  But my Mom cooked almost everything on hers out in the summer kitchen, also boiling hot in the summer.  Dad had gotten her an electric one but she preferred ‘old faithful’ as she called it.  A red & white enamel coffee pot still remained in its place above the warming oven.  Heavy cast iron pans hung on the wall as though any moment someone might drop in with fresh fish for frying.  A hand crocheted dish towel hung by the sink.

Beside the door, Dad’s work boots neatly placed & ready for morning.  I ran my hand along the checkered blue & white oil cloth covering the table.  Here, my parents enjoyed tea after the evening meal.  While they played a card game or two, I was busy writing about all I had or hadn’t accomplished that day.

The gate with it’s solitary hinge complained a little as I closed it.  I heard the friendly greetings of the neighbors who stopped by.  The country style of sharing joys, sorrows & endurance or geniuine concern for one another, can not be forgotten just because years have passed.  Neighbor relied upon neighbor for help and it was given without question.  That was the way it was …then…this is how I still remember it …now.   From the very roots of my heart.


My treasures were safe in my car.  It was time to go, but still I lingered.

I closed my eyes & thought about how many others have taken similar trips down their own memory lanes?  Everything has a season and a purpose.  I knew now that my Mom hadn’t really left us.  She loved her home and us.  She  freely gave of herself to the community and our church.  Her greatest joy came through in the countless things she made for us and taught us to do.

Dad hadn’t left without a trace, either.  His love for our home was still vivid in our minds.  He always said he never needed to travel around the world.  Everything that was dearest to him was right here, under the prettiest piece of prairie sky. Their loving spirits have continued on in us, their children.  Together they had firmly planted seeds of family love.

Like the prairie wind, their memories will keep moving with us.  Although we may not see it, it is still there.  It will continue to come and go.  My parents are my prairie wind.

The season for them will always be summer.  That’s my favorite wind.

When years have taken a toll on our memory, hopefully these printed pages of my mind will refresh us, bring us new hope and joy to give to our generations that follow.

I looked up one more time.

trees of home


YEP! It was still there…right where I left it….OUR PIECE OF PRAIRIE SKY.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back soon with the “MONDAY WASH” that I pulled off Mom’s clothesline!

Memory Lane @


me again

I had recently turned 15 & discovered the four letter word: ‘BOYS’.  I was spending the summer at the cottage with my oldest sister, Alice and her ‘Fabulous Five’, my younger nieces and nephews.  I admit I sure didn’t think of them as fabulous kids then, but they’ve earned that name ever since the day I am writing about.  Iris, the oldest daughter & I were close in age and her and I were more like sisters.  As the youngest of four daughters, I never had to deal with siblings & sharing ‘EVERYTHING’.  Staying with my sister & family, venturing out of my sheltered life, broadened my outlook and helped mold me into the independent person I am. The day started badly.  We were up and dressed, ready to head for the beach when my sis lowered the boom!  “You girls aren’t going anywhere! Can’t you see it’s pouring out?”  We tried to argue that it was just a little bit of rain while we watched it streaming down the windows. “I don’t believe this,” I complained.  “A whole day ruined.  We’re stuck here in our room!  Do you think it’ll rain for long?” Iris shrugged.  “How should I know, Lane! But you do owe the bank $75.00 for taxes.”  We were on the bottom bunk playing Monopoly for the umpteenth time.  My brother-in-law, George, had gotten us our 1st jobs at the concession on the main beach.  Every morning we hiked the zig-zag trail along the lake to our new jobs.  It was a ‘fun in the sun’ place to be.  Families were relaxed and generous with tips.  Lifeguards were awesome & we could have all the food & shakes we wanted.  Of course we only worked during peak periods & when weather permitted.  So on this miserable day, we did what teenage girls do when things don’t go their way.  We pouted, called her Mom mean names, (I know, I know. Me of all people–name calling) and we plotted a no fail plan of escape.  It wasn’t going to be easy with six extra snoopy eyes waiting to tattle on us. Alice had no worries that morning.  She was singing along through a cloud of steam, to her country music, & had every pot on the stove full of something.  Potatoes for salad, some kind of vegetable soup and the most humongous pot of stew I’d ever seen!  Who does this at the beach?  Iris was terrified our friends would drop over and see the production but I told her not to fret.  Our friends came over BECAUSE of her Mom’s cooking.  Besides, I told her, if they clean up we won’t have to.  Fergie would be over for sure.  He was the one ‘geeky’ guy in the crowd that hung around us like a puppy.  He reminded us of the puppet, Finnigan from the old Mr. Dressup show.  He’d willingly do chores for my sister’s cooking & I don’t think he ever got fed at home!  Alice liked him because he was so helpful and happy to do it, unlike the rest of us. My sister loved the rain.  She loved being out there cooking on a gigantic wood stove.  We all had to share the job of carrying wood into the cottage and placing it in a big  bin.  Honestly, just when I thought I’d gotten away from chores.  It made Iris furious because it seemed every time we were showered and dressed to go out, her Mom needed more wood! While the world of shakes, fries, and the coolest guys in the local band hung around practising their songs before their next show, I was waving a $100.00  Monopoly bill in front of my opponent.  “Wanna sell Atlantic Avenue?”  I had no conscience and cheated without mercy.  Iris didn’t seem to notice anyways.  I had just placed hotels on Park Place and she landed there & began grumbling.  I don’t know why we were torturing ourselves with this game again but it was an excuse to stay in our room away from the little rodents as I called them. (at 15, I was the WORST aunt…ever, I know!)  “Pay up, or shut up,” I said holding out my hand.  “And stop grumbling!  You sound like a….?” Louder came the grumbles & it wasn’t Iris!  It was right outside our window!  We stared and froze in that order.  Then the window rattled, in fact the wall shuddered!  I couldn’t tell if the drumming sounds I heard were from the rain or my heartbeat!  “Let’s get out of here!” In a scratchy voice, Iris reminded me how we had barricaded ourselves in.  Right she was.  It had taken a lot of pushing to get a monstrosity of an old oak dresser in front of the door, our only way to keep Robbie, Weezer & little Shann out.  They would have jumped on the bed, touched everything, ate our candy stash & wanted to play our game with us.  My sister would have made us do it.  They had sticky hands & nothing of ours was sacred & I kept asking them to go away because they didn’t smell very good, either.  OUCH!  Even as I write this now, I wish I could sugar coat it a little but this is my story and they knew me then. LOL! “No chance to move anything now,” I whispered.  Instead, we scrambled up to the top bunk just as a dark form blocked the window  A black bear peered in at us!  “HIDE!” Iris screamed and dove under her quilt.  I grabbed the other end. I wanted to be a writer/journalist since I learned how to print but I figured it would never happen because I  lived such a safe, boring life on the farm.  Iris was going to be Florence Nightingale in some third world country.  I knew she was gutsy enough to do it and she had the temper to make sure what she said…got accomplished.  I, on the other hand, would fly in with a crew & drop food supplies for her cause & write amazing stories to get her the publicity she’d need and so on.  We were always planning together and our goals weren’t as different as we may have thought.  Looking back, I realize our common ground was simply to love people, where they’re at and accept them without judgement.  That is a learning process for our entire road of life. “What a story I can write after this is over!”  I said all pumped with adrenalin. “Oh yeah, take pictures too!  Of our bodies!”  Iris snarled. Well…I learned: RULE #1: in journalism.  Have a pen and paper handy, along with a camera & plenty of film!  Remember, we didn’t have cell phones, or even digital cameras.  Life WAS rough in those ‘good ole’ days’!  We could have sent this to You Tube!  But I had zilch! Nadda!  My film had all been used, taking pictures of the boys in the band, the lifeguards teaching beginner swimming,  Iris and I posing for each other.  My youngest nephew, Robbie had used all my paper for his drawings. So, I heard myself say: “It’s raining.  Maybe he just wants to play Monopoly with us.”  We started laughing hysterically until he slapped his paws on the window pane.  I sensed the power in that thrust.  He sniffed and snorted noisily leaving smudgy drool on the glass.  By now my sister’s favorite (according to Iris)  stinky dog, Tonka, was at the door barking and frantically scratching to get in.  Tonka was a great shepherd, we just added him to our list of complaints.  To us, everything either smelled awful, we disliked it, or it involved some sort of work & interfered with our plans, hair-do’s, clothes or make up. Iris was still under the blanket but I couldn’t take my eyes off that bear.  I brushed away tears.  I wanted my Dad & I wished I was safe at home.  I came to appreciate my home, safe, home, a lot more after that day.  Dad would have known exactly what to do.  So would my brother-in-law, but he was working in the city.  I told Iris if we got out of this alive, she was going to need lots of therapy! Imagine! Wasn’t I just ready for the Little Miss Compassionate Award! But that brought her out swingin’!  “Shut up, Lane! Just SHUT UP!”  She smacked me a few good ones!  She was a hitter.  I let her.  I deserved that!  Mentioning that was my way of getting her back for calling me Skinny Bones.  She threatened to tell the guys at the beach my nickname but I would never have won a fight with her.  Her brothers didn’t challenge her & one of them is older than her. My sister was banging on the door, wanting to know why we were upsetting the dog!  REALLY? Iris was still for some unknown reason, pounding me with her pillow!  Three more voices joined in the pandemonium:  “Let us in! We wanna see, too!”  As the glass shattered, my sister went to call for help. I said some prayers while watching those hairy arms flailing impatiently.  First, I told God how sorry I was for cheating in Monopoly.  I begged Him not to let the bear get us because I was mean to my nieces & nephews, telling them I didn’t like them. Because I did.  I loved them and secretly envied Iris.  I always wanted younger brothers & sisters.  I didn’t want to grow up alone on the farm.  That’s why I stayed with them as much as I could. The good part in this was the small window.  The bear was definitely bottom heavy.  He was unlike any animal I had seen up close.  Not at all like the cute, fuzzy ones on National Geographic.  This one was huge and wild, and not scared about being at our cottage! I shook myself.  What would my parents want me to do?  Our life wasn’t finishing here.  I needed to grow up, write better stories and outlive the awful name of Skinny Bones.  “We’re not gonna die, you Dummy!” I yelled.  “This is an adventure like in my Nancy Drew books!  She wouldn’t sit here crying!  We gotta get a grip!”  I pulled out my bag of candy from under the mattress and tossed a handful at the bear.  He tried catching them as they bounced off his head.  So much for that idea.  Not being able to catch them REALLY ticked him off!  He let out a roar that still chills me today.  Then, something phenomenal happened.  Bear started sniffing around.  With pieces of glass stuck in his fur, he wiggled back out of the window.  It was my sister’s voice!  Calm & clear.  I leaned over and there she was.  It hit me!  Someone should have been saying: “Kids, don’t try this at home!”  I grabbed Iris.  Tonka was still going nuts in another room.  “LOOK!” We watched her Mom set the pot of stew on a flat rock a short distance away from the cottage.  Slowly she backed away.  Mr. Hungry headed right for it.  What a Kodak moment…head down in the pot…butt ugly lookin’ our way.  Charming! “Your Mom’s awesome!”  I screeched.


Alice always had a way with animals.  She had named a deer Charlie & got him to eat crackers from her hand.  We thought that was cute but this was out of her league…or not? “But Lane, there’s a bear in our stew.”  For once I got to smack her with her own pillow.  “I know!  I told you someone would want all that food!”  Next the Park Rangers were on the scene, aimed & fired a tranquilizer into the big butt facing our way.  A few more seconds over went our guest and that lunch was all in his dreams. BINGO!  We were off the bed laughing like lunatics and with super strength, moved the dresser aside.  “Glass,” I warned the little guys.  “Don’t go in there till it gets cleaned up, okay”  Little heads nodded in agreement.  I grabbed Robbie and gave him a squishy hug, then danced around in a circle with him.  He didn’t smell icky at all, just like the rain,  but he sure looked at me like I’d lost it.  And yes, I had lost something…my selfish attitude.  This time I remembered to thank God for helping us.  Now what my Mom always said made sense: “Pray without ceasing in times of trouble.”  It worked!  I couldn’t wait to tell her that.  I decided to write her a letter.  Awesome! The ranger said he would send someone out to fix our window my sister told us.  She sounded a little shaky as she sipped her coffee & told us to make some peanut butter sandwiches.  I couldn’t resist.  “What? No stew left?  Such a loss!”  Okay, so I still had some attitude left…  This was all in the span of an hour or so…geez.  Anyways I glanced outside.  “The sun’s coming out!”  In all the commotion we hadn’t noticed it had stopped raining!  “Still want that shake & fries?”   Iris’s huge brown eyes sparkled.  She dug out her lip gloss. “Race you there!” I shrugged.  She was fine.  She didn’t need therapy at all.  Her siblings?  I saw them differently.  They were these little people…in my family…who meant everything to me.  They loved me too and wanted to hang around me.  I was older & I helped take care of them and they looked up to me.  In their eyes I was ‘cool’.  I wanted to start living up to that image.  I shivered.  What if they’d been playing outside?  Then I did the math.  They weren’t.  Because God had sent the rain and made sure we were ALL inside.  For the rest of the summer, I decided we were going to keep them closer a lot more.  Later, I would figure out how my heart got changed through that experience.  Dad and I would do it together. I poked my head into the kitchen.  “Hey guys,  we’ll be back soon and bring you something good, okay?”  Wow!  Their faces lit up like little neons!  I felt great as I ran to catch up with Iris.  “Can you imagine when this story gets around?  By the way, let me tell it, okay?” “Not a chance, Skinny Bones!”  Iris laughed and pushed me off the trail.  “You know I can outrun you!”  I followed the sound of her laughter down the path.  Iris has the greatest laugh of anyone.  Yeah, she could outrun me & I was a darn good runner.  I let her go because I now had different priorities because of the four letter word…. I could run like the wind but my hair would be ruined or snagged on a tree branch…not worth it…I had to look good! From all the memories we made together, this one topped the chart for me.  Anytime we get talking and need a laugh…reminiscing over the summers at the lake always comes up.  I gave Iris a copy of the 1st draft & asked her to critique it.  Later when she called me, she couldn’t talk because she was laughing so hard.  Finally, she told me I did a great job but didn’t think she was the hero I made her out to be.  I told her she was…then…and always will be.  She still has that same great laugh.  How wonderful for me to have found this story amongst many.  Not a single photo from that adventure but the ones that were in the camera came out fine.  Iris, with her teased hair, perfect makeup, looked fabulous burying Neil in the sand.  She got a picture of me too.  Yes, she did!  Fergie and I sitting side by side in the bleachers.  He had to sit beside me.  The look on my face said it all!Iris an me at falcon lake

Thanks, Iris, part of my Fabulous Five, for being such an important part of my life’s story.  Love ‘Skinny Bones’

family of five


This story is also a tribute to my sister Alice.  I remember her laughter over this story that took us back to simpler times.  She loved it & it led to many other happy time events & long talks about us all being at the lake together. She left us suddenly just over a year ago. We miss her so.  What I miss most is the sound of her voice & her smile.  Like her daughter, she had a great laugh but there was something about her smile that spoke for all her emotions.  The one I liked most was her mischievous one that left us wondering what she was really thinking about.  That is what I see every time I think about my sister.

I know she is happy & free.  She is our Wind Spirit.alis hat

To my brother-in-law, George, who made all those wonderful summers at the lake possible for me.  I spent so much time at their place in the city,  he was almost a 2nd Dad to me during my early teens.  He was my 1st employer.  He bought my art work and stories and continually encouraged me on.  I have kept all of these memories in a treasure box close to my heart. This is Memory Lane sharing just one of the memories…out of the pages of my summers spent at the lake with people I love. Thanks for reading.  I’ll be back soon with a few more pages


SIMBA AND ME Hello world and welcome to my 1st blog. Memory is the pen name I am attaching to my favorite nickname, Lane.  For those of you who decide to follow me…And I hope you will… as you read along through my pages, I’ll share my memories, some sentimental journeys, other hilarious/embarrassing antics that are commonly known as ‘growing pains’,  I think you will understand why this pen name fits. Thank you to my Family, & Friends whom I know I can count on for support as I start what I hope will be my best writing adventure yet!   And to new Friends.  I  look forward to hearing back from you and hopefully you will share some of your ‘memorable’ nicknames also.  I have been considering a blog for quite awhile and now I am taking that leap of faith and actually doing it.  It’s going to be a great way to share all the memories I’ve stored up in my mind over the years, plus, I need to continually challenge myself with my writing. Somewhere around 12-15 years ago, I began sorting through my poems, short stories, memorable/sentimental events in our family, some previously published.  I realized how my values about my life growing up in a small prairie community have changed for me over the years.  Although I had always heard how times were better ‘in the good old days’,  while I was growing up I didn’t believe that.  I sure didn’t believe I had it ‘easy’ either!  In fact, this is how I started the ‘name’ thing.  I was looking through my old copies of my work and realized how names were a big thing to me.  For instance: I HAD MADE UP LOTS OF NAMES FOR THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE TO DO AS A KID!   I had to do this thing called: CHORES!  Every day!  “Boy, when I grow up and become a Mom, I’ll never make my children do that!” …Sound familiar? Well here I am, nearly retired and I am the generation now writing and telling my grandchildren about ‘the good old days’. There’s a song I just heard the other day by Willie Nelson that sums it up:   “Ain’t It Funny How Time Slips Away.” Life got busy for me and I lived in the city with my own family of four, lots of pets, nieces, nephews and cousins. By the way, my crew will rat me out if I don’t say this.  THEY DID HAVE TO DO CHORES! My parents had passed away and I hadn’t been back to the old family farm in over a decade.  I decided to drive out one afternoon, seeking closure, I suppose.  I really didn’t know why I felt the need to go but I did.  I never expected the changes to affect me so dramatically.  The farm no longer had our family name on the land!   But I had known that.  However, I was able to wander freely through the home I had grown up in, opened every Christmas present, waited impatiently for fresh baked bread to come out of the oven after school.  I climbed up the stairs to my room with a view.  The same stair halfway up still creaked.  I hated that stair but it was MY stair, the one Dad NEVER fixed!  I named it “Blabber Mouth!”  I laughed as I rocked back & forth a couple times & listened to it grumble. “Yes, I’m home,” I said out loud, then climbed up to my old room. Imagine my delight when I opened the ‘secret door’ to my little cubby behind my old bed frame!  Neatly packed in small trunk were all my diaries, hand made booklets with printed or hand written stories and poems I had scribbled out.  I always found a way to write out a new idea I had, so I wouldn’t forget it.  Other times I wrote by flashlight under the covers and by bright moonlight shining in through by double window.  But I got the story done!  I usually read them to Mom & Dad at breakfast the following morning.  Dad would laugh or comment and hand me a pencil: “Make sure you sign this one, South Paw,” he’d say.  That was my family nickname for me because I was left handed. I couldn’t believe I was here looking through my old trunk but I was!  And they were just as I remembered…so long ago!  Hardly believable!  Ready for me.  Every piece of work had my name signed on it.  Dad always reminded me to do that.  Mom  must have known I’d come back one day and find them.  She was right.  I had such a moment of missing her that I almost couldn’t breathe.  I hugged them and carried them to my car.  Then I came back for the trunk and filled it with a few more trinkets.  My teddy bear from my Granddad and cards and letters he sent me.  The envelopes were all addressed to me.  I remembered how important I felt to receive a letter with my own name on it. I took one long last look around.  I felt at peace.  Although the farm wasn’t ours, it was okay.  We weren’t in need of it anymore.  But I looked up into the same piece of prairie sky.   It hadn’t changed and it never will.  It still remained  ‘our piece of prairie sky. I had the greatest long talks with our dear Aunt Edna Mae.  She often used to tell me that it was easy to wander around for years and never even realize we had lost ourselves.  Then one turn of events can change everything & bring us back.  As I stood beneath that piece of never ending sky that afternoon, her words came through, clearly. Also my Dad’s voice and his ways with words echoed through my mind.  Anytime I asked him what he thought I should be when I grew up, he’d look up, then extend his arms wide and tell me this:  “Anything you want.  The sky’s the limit for a South Paw like you!” “WOW!”  I thought.  There was a lot of power in a name like that for a 12 year old!  I  glanced back as I slowly drove away.  I had a fresh vision.  While I stood looking up at our piece of prairie sky, I had found my roots.  My sisters and I were raised with good values, a strong faith and loving parents as examples.  I had always been free to follow my own dreams.  Now I knew what it was…I would become a published writer. But I wasn’t going to write just anything.  I wanted to write about things that that mattered, truthful topics that would touch the hearts of my readers, entertain,  make them feel nostalgic & hopefully able to relate through my sense of humor. OUR PIECE OF PRAIRIE SKY became the title for my book.  About 2 years ago I thought I was all set to publish but I kept finding & adding new topics I wanted to share.  Several months ago, while browsing through my trunk for inspiration for a newspaper article, I came across the bundle of editor’s notes I’ve kept from submissions & acceptances over the years.  For example:  ‘Great walk down memory lane’, or: ‘good luck with publishing more of your memories, Lane’.  I liked this one: ‘Lane, thanks for your submission to Good Old Days Magazine. You really brought back happy memories of times with my grandparents’.  Another:  ‘What lovely memories you have written here, Lane.  My grandma also taught me how to sew on an old treadle machine one summer.  All the best to you’.  Suddenly, I knew I was Memory Lane.  It fits. When I was 10, Lane wouldn’t have been my pick for a nickname or any part of my name.  I blamed a lot of my ‘growing pains’ on it.  Lane was an open door for:  ‘Lainie the freckles, brainie!  How about:  ‘Big pain, Lane?  Or this one that got me so mad I’d cry:  ‘Lane, Lane, has no brain, ’cause she got hit by a freight train! But I didn’t cry long.  Luckily I have always been a ‘glass half full’ rather than half empty’, type of personality.  At age 12-14 I took a serious growth spurt. While the names Beanpole & Skinny Bones rang out across the schoolyard or anywhere I rode my bike, my turn was coming…and I reveled in the ways.  I  could hit a bull’s eye using a bow & shoot a tin can target accurately with my Dad’s 22 while he supervised these matches with the neighborhood boys. News travelled that I was really good at baseball.  My arms were strong from pulling the bow & I could hit a fly ball or grounder as hard as the boys and run even faster on my long skinny legs!  I gained the respect I sought once I started carrying my own lucky bat around with me.  I  even named it ‘Slugger’.  It had earned that name.  My Dad loved baseball & whenever there was a picnic after church or in our town, Dad would get a game going with whoever wanted to play.  I was 1st in line.  It was a perfect excuse to avoid wearing the dresses my Mom insisted on. They were mostly ugly dresses and naturally ugly names like Sissy Pie Lainie followed ugly clothing. On the field I got my moments of ‘payback’.  I had a slight but sneaky advantage being left handed.  I stood over the plate facing either direction.  It threw the pitcher off, every time!  Dad would call: “Batter up!  Come on, South Paw, you’re up!”  So I positioned myself to look as though I would hit towards 3rd but a quick little twist smackered it past 2nd.  Then I ran like the wind while 2nd base was chasing my ball and dove into 3rd.  Next time up, I changed it …or not.  That year, Dad named me Summer Wind.  I loved that name…still do.  I remember how wonderful it felt to be named after something as amazing as the fresh seasonal breeze. and it helped me believe I wasn’t ever going to let myself get trampled over.  Many of the poems & booklets I wrote in that time frame were signed: ‘To Dad,  from your Summer Wind’ I had also been practising for the races at our school.  I ran 2 miles to get there every morning.  Then I ran home and made it in time to run across the field just to meet Dad so I could drive our John Deere tractor home & park it for the night.  I ‘ran’ errands for Mom to our neighbors down the road without complaining.  It was worth it when I did win several ribbons at our school field day that summer and I don’t remember a single mean or poke fun name thrown at me!  Success was mine for a season. Names are always on my mind.  Whenever I start a new children’s story, or even one of my own I spend a long time choosing names for my characters.   As I mold a new personality, I let him or her fit into the name I have selected.  I think it’s safe to say, there’s a little of me or one of my family members in every story I write.  I chose really good ones when I wrote about those mean, name calling boys!  “Ha! Ha! Thanks for the inspiration, guys! And for some things, time means very little.  I  haven’t escaped nicknames even now.  Also, I didn’t grow up hating dresses!  As anyone who knows me will tell you…I love clothes!  The more colorful , the better!  I named myself a: ‘CLOTHES-AHOLIC’!  But my pals have a better one for me…They named me ‘Hippie!  Whenever, wherever they see me, its:  “Hey, Hippie! Where you going?  Want to go for coffee with us, Hippie Girl?” I laugh!  I think its great.  They call me that for fun & they know I can take all the teasing they dish out. I wish I could have stood my ground & laughed when the kids were taunting me with names like ‘pogo stick.  I bet they wouldn’t have known what to do if I’d laughed in their faces or rode away yelling at the top of my lungs: “HEY, YOUR RIPPED OLE’ UNDERWEAR IS HANGIN’ OUT, STEVIE BOY!” But that just the thing, isn’t it? We learn but it takes a lifetime.  I am thankful for my friends who laugh with me or how together we make fun of ourselves.  It’s freedom like a breath of summer wind! We know who we are to one another.  I know they care about me…a lot. FRIENDS…Now there’s a name filled with meaning.  Choose with care, use wisdom and your discernment, then give generously back to those who have earned that calling. FAMILY…My greatest blessing in life.  They surround me with their love & support.  They are accepting, unique & different individuals who are all amazingly talented in their own ways.  I am blessed beyond words sometimes but in one way or another I will make sure they’ll be recognizable in my stories. Well readers, I am sure each one of you have a name that strikes a chord somewhere in your memory.  Either it was loved, hated or special to you for your own reasons.  I would love to hear about them. Thanks for reading my 1st blog.  My next one will be a few pages from: SUMMER AT FALCON LAKE.  It was the summer of my 1st job away from home & the valuable lessons I learned at a young enough age about the true meaning of family.  No worries, Family…whatever else happened @ Falcon….stayed @ Falcon…Gotcha! Memory