Saturday, May 30, 2009


This weekend on Grand Manan has been all about

On May 28, my grandparents - affectionately known as "Mam and Bap"- celebrated sixty years of marriage.
Mam and Bap were both born in a little community called Ingalls Head on the island of Grand Manan. Their childhood homes were less than a quarter mile apart and both are within view of the home where they've spent the last 60 years.
It's a home with a lot of happy memories for my cousins and me. Packing our "diddy bags" for an overnight visit (I always hoped for the squashy bed in the pink room) ... endless games of "Mother May I?" in the back yard in summer... endless games of "Go Fish" and "Crazy Eights" at the kitchen table in winter (But never on Sunday!)... the ever-present container of home-made cookies in the pantry cupboards.

The family has grown and changed over the years but here are some things you can still count on at "Mam and Bap's": morning coffee is served promptly at 10 each day, Bap's peas always taste best when swiped directly from the garden, the cellar floor will be clean enough to eat off and every year Mam celebrates her 39th birthday. Around five o'clock every Sunday, for as long as I can remember, supper is laid out for all who want to join. (Today promises to be a packed house as we polish off the cooking from yesterday's party.)
Most of all, it's a house full of love, hugs and playful teasing where the forty-year-olds are just as likely to snuggle up to "my Bap" as the five-year-olds.
For six decades, Mam and Bap have been the centre of a universe of orbiting children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It's all happened in a tiny village on a tiny island but seeing the family and friends who turned out to celebrate them yesterday, it's a very vast and rich world indeed.
If my grandparents' 60-year-marriage is rooted in one small community, the most recent newlyweds in my life encircle the globe. Lori grew up on an island in the Atlantic (Grand Manan) and Leon grew up on an island in the Pacific (Australia). They met on a mountain in the middle (Banff). On January 1, 2008, Lori and I had a conversation that went like this:
"I think I should marry Leon."
"Sweetie, we all think you should marry Leon."
The fact that she had not seen him since the previous January seemed oddly and happily irrelevant.
The full story of how she ended up on a plane to Australia to marry a man she hadn't seen in over a year constitutes another post (movie) entirely but it suffices to say that on May 11, 2008 my dear friend skipped down a beach in Melbourne and the new - and aptly-named - "Mrs. Quick" never looked back.

One of the wonderful things about this round-the-world adventure is that it's spread the rituals involved in uniting two families over a long period of time. This weekend we welcomed Leon's delightful mother Fran - previously known to all but Lori only through Skype, Facebook and wedding videos - to our big Grand Manan family.
It likely wasn't easy for Fran to send her beloved son halfway around the world but from the looks on Mr. and Mrs. Quick's faces, it was worth it.
So as we celebrate loves new and old, my wish is that Mam and Bap stay as goofily in love as Lori and Leon and Lori and Leon have as long and happy a marriage as Mam and Bap.
Here's some Nat King Cole to sing us out...


Just a little green
Like the colour when the spring is born.

My dog Henry doesn't volunteer to walk. Ever. He likes to putter around our backyard in Fredericton or he will walk in the park... if you drive him there first. But if his feet touch pavement he refuses to move. But for whatever reason - maybe it was the salt air, maybe he was trying to get back to the city - he decided at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning on Grand Manan that it was time for a morning constitutional.

I was, understandably, less enthusiastic about this idea than he was. It was foggy and wet and Saturday but once we got outside with the dew on the trees, geese on the wing and the smell of green in the air, it was kind of lovely. Except for the slugs. I don't care for slugs.

Now, where's my coffee?


PS Spending a lot of time with Mason Jennings - I'm fairly certain it's love.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Our Little Corner of the World

Not long ago I read something to the effect that when visiting a city, you should experience it like a local but in your own city you should act like a visitor.

Yesterday I was at the Charlotte Street Art Centre to celebrate a milestone birthday for a dear and inspiring friend. This is one of my favourite spaces in Fredericton; a great mix of people of all ages in a beautiful space that's alive with music, dance and visual arts. Every time I'm there I'm reminded of how many hidden gems there are in our town.

Several years ago a friend and I had tossed around the idea of putting together a book of our favourite, lesser-known spots in Fredericton. The book idea went by the wayside but this blog seems like an ideal spot to resurrect the idea and celebrate our little corner of the world.

I'm looking forward to rediscovering some favourite haunts and hopefully uncovering some new ones!

For now I am off to quench my new chai latte addiction before my mom and I take Henry for a walk in Wilmot Park.


Sunday, May 24, 2009


I love Sundays.
Today was delightfully uneventful.

Mowed the lawn.

Finished War and Peace - this translation came out a couple of years ago and it's absolutely stunning. *

And made this amazing Thai Green Curry with Seafood - Bon Appetit recipes never disappoint.
So now Henry and I settle in for the last few hours of the weekend. Le Sigh...
* Reading W&P made me we want to revisit Woody Allen's hilarious romp Love and Death. Maybe a good way to wrap up a great weekend.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Alive, and very much so.

My friend Denis claims that every time he reads a truly great book it makes him never want to write again. He's pretty sure that someone - possibly Harold Bloom? - came up with an extensive literary theory about this but, in any case, I have long had the same feeling about blogging. There are so many terrific and interesting blogs out there that what could I possibly have to add to the discussion?

Possibly nothing. I guess we'll see.

There's no over-arching philosophy behind this blog; no significant raison d'etre. It's just my thoughts on those people, places and things that make me feel "alive, and very much so."*

* That's a quote from Tolstoy. See Denis' theory...