I won’t be blogging for the next week or so as we head off to Pelee Island where we will be staying in a place with no wifi. We are having a huge family party with all of my husband Dave’s siblings and their partners, our nieces and nephews and their partners, our great nieces and nephews and our own children and grandchildren. Lots of fun family time awaits.
I’ve put together a book telling Mom and Dad’s life stories
The family party is in honor of my mother-in-law Anne Driedger and my father-in-law Cornelius Driedger who have both passed away, Dad just one year ago. The party has been in the planning since we met for Dad’s funeral last June.
My father-in-law’s family on Pelee Island in the 1930s.
One reason it is being held on Pelee Island in Lake Erie is because my father-in-law lived there for nearly a decade after his family immigrated to Canada.
This family party will honor Mom and Dad’s legacy. I am really looking forward to it.
See you in a week!
Good Bye Dad
At the Chaise Lounge with my friend Meena.
We’ve had house guests for the last two weeks and before they left Winnipeg they wanted to treat us to dinner at a restaurant of our choice. We decided to pick a restaurant we had driven by hundreds of times and always thought we would like to try.
The Chaise Lounge has a beautiful walkway lined with plants and flowers. We ate on the porch, but a peek inside showed it was a little more elegant. The food was good and we had an enjoyable time visiting with our guests one last time.
Meena is to the far left in this photo with my teaching colleagues in the English department in Hong Kong
We got to know Meena and Anil when we lived in Hong Kong and Meena was our colleague
Meena far right was a member of our Hong Kong book club
and a member of our book club. Meena and Anil now have children living in Winnipeg so they make visits here several times a year and stay with us. It has been such a treat to maintain our connection with these Hong Kong friends.
For some reason Dave was playing hide and seek.
We all had different entrees at the restaurant and received a bonus dessert because service had been a little slow. Not that we minded. It gave us more time to visit.
Hong Kong House Guests
Sculpture Garden Stroll
Introducing Visitors from Hong Kong and India to Mennonites
Playing hockey can be a great experience for kids. Hockey teams can help community pride flourish. Hockey can bring people together. Playing hockey can also be an awful experience for kids. It can batter civic pride. It can divide people. Bear Town by Fredrik Backman looks at both the negative and positive sides of hockey. It is set in Sweden but could happen any place where people love the game.
In Bear Town hockey gives an immigrant kid a place to belong, helps a boy without a Dad find a father figure, gives meaning and purpose to the life of an old man, provides camaraderie for a hockey phenom whose parents don’t have time for him, and inspires hope in a dying community.
In Bear Town hockey creates a culture that entitles young men to think they can treat others violently. Hockey inspires vandalism and blackmail and fosters a locker room mentality that isn’t respectful of diversity. Hockey tears families apart and makes people feel hopeless.
Bear Town is suspenseful. It tells a story that will engage you completely. If hockey has ever played a role in your life as a fan, parent or player it will make you think about that experience in new ways.
Thanks Terry MacLeod
The Shady Area Between Violence and Non-Violence
Filed under Books, Sports
“Could Andrew Scheer have been elected the leader of a national party if he were a woman with five children including a newborn? “
In an essay in Macleans magazine Rona Ambrose, the previous interim leader of the Conservative party writes about ways to encourage more women to be involved in politics. She says we have to be willing to accept that women regardless of their physical attributes and family compositions are capable of holding government office.
Her comment about Andrew Scheer the father of five young children and…….. the Conservative party leader who succeeded her, suggests we don’t always think of male and female politicians in the same way. There’s an assumption that mothers of large families with young children might not be the best political candidates, but fathers of similar families are. Ambrose says this reflects not only the obvious practical challenges in such a situation but also ” the real, judgmental, and sexist perceptions that women face in politics. ”
Women with young children should represent us politically. They are in tune with the needs of young Canadian families and their voice is of great importance. What things could we do to encourage and support them so they would not face stereotypical discrimination and so many practical impediments to political service? Should affordable child care with extended hours be offered on Parliament Hill? Should members of Parliament have more flexible working times, additional help with travel expenses so families can be together more often, and assistance with finding schools and housing in Ottawa? Should there be a greater openess to allowing children to be present in their parents’ work place on Parliament Hill? Implementation of some of these changes has already begun as this CTV News article suggests.
These changes will not only benefit women politicians but also support fathers like Andrew Scheer and my own member of Parliament Robert Falcon Ouellette who has five children, so they can share parenting responsibilities more equally with their partners.
Looking Back Instead of Forward
Could I Join the Conservative Party?
I Sat in the Speakers Chair
Jesus’ grandmother Anne was one of the featured saints in a sermon in our church last Sunday. The apocryphal Gospel of James has Anne’s story. She was Mary’s mother and Jesus’ grandmother. Artistic depictions of Anne show her playing an important role in her grandson’s life.
Virgin and Child with St. Anne by Lucas Cranach the Elder 1520
The sermon about Anne last Sunday brought back memories of two churches dedicated to Jesus’ grandmother I’ve visited. This is St. Anne’s Church in Jerusalem. I visited it on a school trip with my Hong Kong students. The church is located right beside the pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed a man who had been sick for 38 years. This is fitting because Anne is the saint of healing. Interestingly Anne’s church in Jerusalem is at the same spot where there used to be a shrine to the Greek god of healing Ascelepius.
Statue of Anne and her daughter Mary in the St. Anne church in Jerusalem. Like the Old Testament character Hannah, Anne thought she wouldn’t be able to have children and was an older woman when Mary was born.
In Quebec City I visited the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré.
At the back of the church are all these cabinets filled with crutches and canes people have left behind. They didn’t need them anymore after visiting St. Annes’ church because St. Anne healed them. She is the saint of healing.
The Virgin and Child with St. Anne by Leonardo da Vinci
I never knew about Ste. Anne till I visited the two churches built in her honor. It is interesting to realize there are religious writings that gives Jesus a grandmother who played an important role in his life just like many grandmothers do for all of us.
I was having lunch in a Steinbach restaurant last week when a woman approached me. I recognized her right away as the mother of one of my students from many years ago. Her son had made such an impression on me that I had taped a photo of him in my journal during the year he was my grade four student. The reason I remember him so well is because of something that happened while I was reading aloud Anne of Green Gables to the class. We had just finished the chapter where Anne tells her adopted father Matthew she believes the two of them are kindred spirits. The little guy pictured below came up, tapped me on the arm and whispered “You know Mrs. Driedger I think you and I are kindred spirits too.” It was the highest compliment I could have received and I’ve never forgotten that moment.
The boy’s mother who came over to me in the restaurant last week told me about her son’s stable career, his happy marriage and the fact that he was now the proud father of twins. She even showed me a photo of his two tiny newborns. I was glad to hear my kindred spirit was doing so well.
Stopping by Woods
Kids and the Flood of the Century
The Children are Watching and Listening and Wondering
Filed under Books, Education
In 1986 when the curators of the Picasso Museum in Antibes France decided to paint a memorial artwork to honour Picasso, a Canadian woman was chosen as one of four artists from around the world to help create the memorial. Her name was Daphne Odjig.
Daphne died last year at age 97 after a remarkable career. She was dubbed Picasso’s Grandmother by fellow indigenous artist Norval Morrisseau. Daphne discovered the paintings of Picasso in the 1950s and carefully studied and analyzed his work. Picasso upon seeing Daphne’s work at an exhibition called her ‘a remarkable artist’.
Tribute to Picasso by Daphne Odjig
Daphne is sometimes referred to as the Grandmother of Indigenous Art. Joseph Sanchez says Daphne was indeed a ‘grandmother’ figure to many indigenous artists. “Her energy guided us,” he says. She also gave indigenous artists financial support by buying their paintings for her gallery.
I always end my Picasso tours at the Winnipeg Art Gallery by going to look at Daphne’s painting Friends Rejoicing in our collection and tell my tour participants about Canada’s Grandmother Picasso.
The Song My Paddle Sings
An Award Winner Inspires Teens
A Different View of the World