As many of you know I am a columnist for the newspaper The Carillon. This was my last column of 2017.
Posing with the portrait of the MaryLou whose father built her a kitchy castle
I never thought I’d visit a castle bearing my name. I spent January in Phoenix and toured MaryLou’s Castle with my brother Ken. It was the home of MaryLou Gulley who lived in the massive house her father built for her from recycled stone, wood, ceramics, brick, steel and well really just about any material you can imagine. MaryLou’s Castle has thirteen fireplaces, a pump organ once owned by a woman who murdered several husbands, and a huge camel painted onto the back of the sitting room couch. It’s quite the kitschy place!
My grandson made these rock renditions of three coyotes Jean, George and Jack. They were the main characters in a story my husband Dave unravelled for our grandson every night under the stars in Arizona.
In February my two grandsons and their parents came to visit us in Arizona. We went hiking and swimming and visited the Phoenix Children’s Museum. We played endless rounds of Candy Land, did daily art projects and each night under the stars by our backyard fire pit my husband unravelled the next chapter in a story he created for our older grandson about three coyotes.
Visiting my Aunt Mary in Kansas.
“I held you before your mother did,” my Aunt Mary reminded me when I visited her in Kansas in March. My aunt was a nurse and stayed in the delivery room with my Mom the night I was born. After the birth, while the doctors attended to Mom, Aunt Mary held me. My parents used part of my aunt’s name when choosing mine. I loved seeing her again.
Giving folks from Siloam Mission a tour at the art gallery
They changed my stereotypical ideas about homeless people. In April I gave a tour of the Winnipeg Art Gallery to clients from Siloam Mission. They were so knowledgeable about the art and took such pleasure in it. I learned a great deal from them.
Royal Canoe performs with the WSO
I visited the Centennial Concert Hall twice in May. First to see my daughter-in-law leading two choirs participating in a performance of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. Then later to see my son’s band Royal Canoe stage a full concert performance with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and sell out the hall.
Three great guys from my church, Brock, Ike and Delmar who helped me with the Little Free Library project.
June marked the official opening of the Little Free Library at my church. I spearheaded the effort to create a space where people in the community could get books for free.
My sons and some of their cousins gathered on the shore of Lake Erie at sunset
Competitions, conversations and copious amounts of food were the trademarks of a four -day gathering of my husbands’ brothers and their families on Pelee Island. The island was one of my father-in-laws’ first homes after immigrating to Canada. It was fitting we held a July celebration there to honour my husband’s parents and have tons of family fun.
With my brother Mark on a boat ride at Moose Lake
In August I made my annual trek to Moose Lake. My brother and his family now own the cottage I have visited every year since my grandfather built it when I was seven. A summer never seems complete till I’ve been there.
With my sister and her husband on Glacier Vik in Iceland
In September I went cycling through Germany, Austria and Switzerland for a week and then spent six days learning about glaciers, waterfalls, volcanoes and rainbows on a driving trip in Iceland.
Four Grandmothers by Dee Barsy my favorite piece in the Insurgence Resurgence exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery
In October I celebrated my birthday and started giving tours of a ground- breaking exhibit of indigenous art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
In November I won a brand new bicycle at a fundraiser for Arts Junktion a warehouse in Winnipeg that provides free recycled art supplies for teachers and community organizations.
On a hike on the Peralta Trail with our friends Rudy and Sue
I ended the year on a sad note saying a final good-bye to my friend Sue Nikkel. We shared many travel adventures around the world with Sue and her husband Rudy and I will miss my conversations with her, our golf games, book discussions, glasses of wine, Sue’s wonderful cooking, her advice, and the interest and care she extended to me on many occasions. Good-bye Sue and good-bye 2017.
A Prayer for the New Year
Highlights of 2016
My Grandmother’s Epitaph