I prepared a slide show documenting my husband Dave’s life for his 65th birthday party. These two old photos were included in it. They were both taken on some of the first visits I made to Leamington Ontario to meet Dave’s family. I think his Mom must have snapped the pictures. I found them after she passed away and we were going through boxes of old family albums she had kept. This one is out on the field on Dave’s parents’ farm. Just because he was home from college in Winnipeg for a short visit and had brought his new girlfriend along didn’t exempt him from having to do his share of the work on the farm. In this second photo Dave has his ball glove in hand and from the sweat in his hair I am assuming he just finished a game of catch with one of his brothers before his Mom snapped the picture of the two of us. We look so young and happy.
“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”– Karl Lagerfeld
“The past beats inside me like a second heart.” – John Banville from his novel The Sea
My Parents’ Romance
At Sixes and Sevens
The Path of Life
My husband Dave is celebrating his 65th birthday today. He’s changed lots in physical ways over the years as these pictures attest, but his sense of humour, his love of adventure, his avid interest in so many different things, his vast network of friendships and his love for his family has stayed the same.
Dave’s Birthday 2016
Dave’s Birthday 2015
Dave’s Birthday 2014
At our last meeting my writers’ group discussed a recent Ted Talk given by writer Anne Lamott entitled Twelve Things I Know To Be True. I could really resonate with many of them. Here are three I particularly liked.
1. Almost anything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes. That includes you.
When I am really stuck on a writing project or work assignment the best thing to do is just leave it for a while and go for a hike, take a nap, have a shower, read a book or go to a movie. Invariably while I am doing something completely different the solution to my writing or work dilemma reveals itself. Everyone needs to take a break sometimes and we shouldn’t feel guilty about just unplugging and giving ourselves down time.
2. Family life is both astonishing and hard.
Welcoming a new child is astonishing. Saying goodbye to a parent who has died is incredibly hard. Watching your child accomplish something and knowing that in that moment they are truly and utterly happy is astonishing. Watching your child go through illness, or disappointment, or loss is heartbreakingly hard. Having a family member affirm and support you is astonishing. Accepting the criticism, silence and correction of a family member can be humbling and hard.
3. God means goodness. God is a loving, animating intelligence. Emerson said…… We learn from nature the lessons of worship. Go outside often and look up when you need to find God.
I too think of God as good. Bad things don’t come from God but God does send people to help us when we human beings mess up and bad things happen. And I do feel the most worshipful and close to God when I am outside, looking at stars, walking in a forest, wading in the ocean, or tracking a bird in flight.
In her Ted Talk Anne Lamott talks about nine other things she knows to be true. You can hear about the other six on the Ted Talk site.
Thoughts on Hope
And That Led Me
Every summer since I’ve been seven I’ve spent time at this lakeside cottage. Its been in our family for three generations. My brother and his family are the current owners and they work so hard to continually improve it. They keep it looking absolutely lovely! I am so appreciative of the way they are maintaining a piece of our family history and also how generous they are about sharing it with family members. They warmly welcomed me this last weekend when I drove out for a quick visit.
I have lived in twenty- one different homes since I was born, but the cottage has been a constant in my life. Spending a day there always calms my spirit and rests my mind. Sitting around a dancing fire under a black sky brilliant with stars, long chats with family members, reading a good book in a comfortable sunny spot, eating a perfectly barbecued steak at the picnic table, having my morning coffee looking out over the glassy water, hearing a loon call, seeing a doe and her fawn on the road, dipping into the lake for a refreshing swim, watching hummingbirds, going for a boat ride and being disconnected from my cell phone and the internet. It’s the best kind of therapy.
Lord You Have Come to the Lakeshore
A Moment to Remember
Filed under Family, Nature
We had fun celebrating our anniversary with a dinner party yesterday. After my sister lit the candles on the cool cake she brought to the party, Dave and I even sang the chorus of a song from our wedding ceremony. On that hot August day in 1973 it was performed by the beautiful voice of my childhood friend and college classmate Lynette accompanied on guitar by my cousin Al and my brother Ken. I was only nineteen when we got married and I loved the tune to Greensleeves so I wrote new words for it for the occasion. The chorus went like this…….
May God bless you and bless the love
Which binds you now together
May God bless you and bring you joy
Forever and forever.
Of course I know now marriage isn’t always filled with joy. There are difficult challenges and conflicts and sad times too, but forty- four years later I am very appreciative of just how much happiness, fun, love and adventure marriage has brought to my life. As the song suggests Dave and I have been very blessed.
Our anniversary party ended with popping a bottle of champagne and sharing it with our guests on our roof top patio. It was a lovely evening!
A Controversial Wedding Photo
Blended Families Are Nothing New
Celebrating Marriage in a Historical Building
This is my favorite photo from our family reunion weekend on Pelee Island in Ontario. One night as the sun was setting our children and their cousins made their way down to the lake front to sit by a large inukshuk someone had built. Watching them silhouetted against the sinking sun I got kind of nostalgic and sad. I remembered all the happy times these thirtysomething adults had as kids… playing together, celebrating holidays and having fun on their grandparents’ farm.
Their grandparents have died now, all these cousins have families of their own, and several live in other provinces, so it will be harder and harder to bring everyone together. Our reunion this summer was a whole year in the planning.
Later looking at this photo I thought of how lucky the Driedger cousins were to have been part of a family where they were loved so unconditionally by their grandparents and where aunts and uncles and cousins cared about them and were interested in them. One of the purposes of inukshuks is to act as direction markers so people can find their way. They are like northern compasses. I hope as our children look back on our many family gatherings over the years, they will have a sense that our time together served as a kind of marker or touchstone that helped them navigate through life.
The Path of Life
The Driedger Amazing Race
Name That Driedger
I received a very unique gift during our Driedger family weekend on Pelee Island. I had created a photo collection of several hundred pictures to showcase our family’s life across the generations and had written a book telling the story of my husband Dave’s parents. In appreciation my niece Stephanie presented me with a beautiful bracelet made by the Alex and Ani jewelry company. I had never heard of the company before so I did a little research. Founded by Carolyn Rafaelia in 2004 and named after Carolyn’s two daughters the company designs jewelry pieces that “adorn the body, enlighten the mind and empower the spirit.” Since its beginnings over a decade ago the Aex and Ani company has grown into an international business worth billions of dollars. They donate 20% of their profits each year to a variety of charities prominently featured on their website and their employees serve as volunteers in various worthwhile projects for thousands of hours each year.
The symbols on their jewelry have special meanings. My bracelet has the Path of Life symbol. The text included in the box that came with my bracelet said……..Life is a journey. We each choose our own path and these choices create our future. Every twist, turn and miraculous detour has its purpose.
It was such an appropriate gift for a family party during which we were celebrating the lives of my husband’s parents. I realized as I wrote their life stories how the choices they made along life’s path to immigrate to Canada, to persevere through the depression, to maintain their faith and hope through all kinds of adversities had created a bright future for their children and grandchildren and great grandchildren.
I love my Path of Life bracelet. It will serve as a beautiful reminder of our family’s journey. It wasn’t a necessary gift though because I got all the reward I needed as I watched people looking at the book about our family history and talking about it.
Earrings and Tombstones
A Forty Five Year Old Necklace