I Like That

I Like That
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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Being Metis in Grand Forks, BC


Boundary Metis Community Association
All the fixings were presented in grand style on the food service table. Bannock with berries, deep-fried bannock, tourtiere made with venison, a huckleberry-filled cheesecake, smoked trout and salmon chunks, and generous compliments of coffee, tea, and juice. We stood single file chatting with one another in upbeat tones delighted with what we were about to receive.

Saskatchewan Bannock
Deep-fried Bannock

After dinner, we watched a short film on the significance of Louis Riel’s contribution to the Metis legend and beyond. We sang the Metis Anthem including the bold statements, “We are proud to be Metis, watch our Nation rise again. Never more forgotten people, we’re the true Canadian.”

Michif Bingo
To the delight of the children, youth, middle aged folks and elders, we played a game called Michif Bingo. The caller read the drawn words in the Michif Metis language with confidence. It was our responsibility to find the Metis words and translate them into English, guided by the clues on the bingo card. 

After several words and phrases were released, Frank expressed his enthusiasm.

“Bingo!” he said.

After the caller checked his card, he was invited to choose a prize from the display table.

Frank wins first bingo

Afterward, a dancer showed us a few Metis dance steps and then opened the floor to a shuffle competition. The children showed their talent and each one of them won a prize.

The enchanted evening ended with Greg, an expert in clacking spoons, giving a brief demonstration of his skills and inviting everyone to participate. Frank joined the circle with his wooden set of spoons and later used a metal coupling. Everyone clicked to the beat of the background fiddle music.

Craig the Spoons Instructor

Our hearts were brimming with happiness as we left our new-found friends.
All My Relations


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Reciting Poems in Grand Forks, BC

Readers, listeners and polite applause
We’ve gathered in the library for a very good cause
Poetry written with audience in mind
Haiku, rants, rap, lyrics of all kind

Folks concentrate, shuffle in their seat
Feels like a hovel with a beatnik beat
Stories are sensitive, some of them sublime
Others are dramatic, not all of them rhyme

Frank makes his presence known to the crowd
From where I sit, he does me proud
He speaks in clear tones, the poem not his own
But it comes across sincere to all who are near.

At the end of the evening the news broke through
We were saddened and heart broken, nobody knew
Our beloved poet Leonard Cohen had passed
Our beloved poet is free at last.




Lorraine, our hostess

Frank, guest reader

Greylin, remembers her uncle

Leonard Cohen
courtesy of Wikipedia


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Knitting in Grand Forks, BC


Ann and Greylin  ~ teacher and student
“I’m gonna go get my needles,” the man in the ball cap says. He joins the small group at the front desk of the library in a bout of reflective laughter. The thought of a man taking up knitting is a funny thing to that cluster of folks.

Seated at the coffee table nearby friends of like mind who knit yarn, listen to a comment of how one of the knitter’s father suffered from polio as a child and was taught how to knit.

“It helped occupy his time and kept his motor and cognitive skills sharp,” Ann says.

Her talent as a seamstress trails back to a time when she earned a living darning ladies silk stockings. Her introduction to this relaxing hobby began when she was three years old. Her skills these days include using metal needles that match the worsted weight of the yarn, showing others how to cast on, cast off and how to switch yarn colours without placing what she refers to as a ‘disgusting knot’ in the middle of your precious hand-crafted work. She brings her ongoing projects with her to our knitting group tucked in a practical bag. This knowledge-filled lady is at an expert level when it comes to her abilities as a knitter and educator.

Nimble fingers work the yarn
Sitting across from her today, Adrienne is wearing one of her masterpieces. A green sweater displaying several types of blended stitches. She is working on a scarf for her son who she says ‘likes it very long so that he can wrap it around and around and then tie it in a knot’. She too has been knitting for a long while and it shows. She can easily speak with you and look you right in the eyes while working her needles mechanically. They too are metal, her preference for this project.

“Susan, you’ve interrupted Estelle. She’s counting her rows. Keeping count of your rows and tracking your stitches is very important,” she says.

Estelle claims her place as an intermediate. She is working on a pair of fingerless gloves. Her preference is natural material, like alpaca wool. Today she is working the garter stitch using a bright white soft looking yarn.

Estelle works her knitting
“I inherited a large amount of alpaca wool from my mother and I started creating a shawl with it but wasn’t satisfied and so I took it apart. I’ll think about what else to do with the yarn,” she says.

“Oh, I’ve dropped a stitch,” Greylin says. Before she can make another move, she is called over by Ann who shows her how to retrieve the rogue loop and blend it back into the pattern.

Greylin and I are beginners. She has a history of crocheting which is another form of knotting yarn. She has a couple of projects on the go for family and friends.

The rhythm and pace of knitting are meditative. The tea provided by the local library along with the donated yarn and knitting needles are generous. The area provided for us to sit and mingle is delightful.

We welcome you.


Yours for the choosing



Saturday, April 9, 2016

Marc Makes His Mark


Marc in the woods

Marc charges out of the dark
Like Clark, Clark Kent
Like a shark
Pulsing, full of life
Risen from a coma
Dropping his cloak of strife
He is perched on an arc
Like the horned lark
Vancouver Island park
Hark! Nature
Walks, talks, fishing, wishing
Marc is in his glory
Tells a story to his children
Marc makes his mark
Marc in the dark
Bark!
Stark
Pitch black
He left in the dark
We can’t see his physical
He’s reached the pinnacle

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Marc Regimbal

I heard the news today, oh boy
My brother, Marc, is missing in the woods
He drove his car to catch some fish
We now all hope get got his wish




Friday, April 1, 2016:  My sister calls me to say that my brother, Marc, is missing. She explains that he went fishing on Thursday, March 31st at O’Connell Lake near Port Alice and hasn’t come home. She says that once they reported him missing, a Western Forest Products worker told the RCMP that he had seen a man of Marc’s description at O’Connell Lake that day.

Marc loves fishing
She tells me her son had driven all the way to O’Connell Lake but didn’t see him there nor his car at the lake or anywhere along the only logging road in and out. She tells me how they were counting on the search and rescue people to comb the area and hopefully find him. “Yes, me too,” I say. We speak a little longer about letting the experts do their job and how, for now, all we can do is wait.

“Please take care of yourself,” I say.

She whispers something softly, undiscernable into the phone and disconnects.

Later, that morning, I speak with my sister's husband, who explains that Marc had dropped into his office on the 31st to say that he was heading out to O’Connell Lake, to do some fishing. It was two-thirty in the afternoon. He tells me he thought it was a bit late in the day to travel that far. Marc didn’t see it as a problem.
“I drove to Port Alice myself. I drove around the town but didn’t see him or his car. Anyway, today, we decided to report him missing to the RCMP. Also, Sam, if there’s any news, I’ll be texting everyone. So, keep your phone nearby and charged.”
I offer my support of thanks. I wait for him to hang up.

I talk with my husband for a while about what I’d just learnt from my two phone calls. He shares his experience as a past search and rescue volunteer and assures me that the team on the north Vancouver Island are very skilled. “If anyone is going to locate Marc, they will. One of greatest thrills for rescue workers is to find their target,” he says.

My heart is heavy with sadness and I worry for the rest of day.

Saturday, April 2: Global News gives a description of Marc as a missing person. Brad texts me to say the announcement is posted on Facebook.

Port Alice RCMP are searching a remote area near O’Connell Lake for 62-year-old Marc Regimbal, who was reported missing April 1.
Police describe him as Caucasian, 5'9" tall, 185 lbs. with thinning, grey hair. He is known to drive a 2001 blue Honda Accord with the BC licence plate BW025F
Anyone with any information on Regimbal's whereabouts is asked to contact their local police.


I place a call to Marc’s estranged wife. We talk at length about the waiting game of having someone disappear and not knowing their whereabouts. I tell her I love her and that I will keep her up to date on things. She says okay to that.

I’m so sad, I take an Aspirin and lay down.

Marc with two fish
My sister posts on Facebook: This is my brother and I want him back. 62 year old explorer and adventurer, he was anxious to get us some fresh trout so headed off to explore places he's never been before. Problem is.... he went alone and now has been missing since March 31st. Love you big bro.

Later, my oldest sister calls me to say that her daughter saw the missing person report on their local news channel. We speak for a while about Marc having driven up the switch-back logging roads to the isolated lake. She asks about the terrain. I say that we've on that logging road and it is narrow, has loose gravel and switch-backs. “So, it’s dangerous?” she asks. I tell her it is very steep rock on one side and a long way down on the other. “Yes, it’s a dangerous road.”

I text my other brother-in-law, to ask him to call me. He texts back to say that my sister has called him to let him know that Marc is missing. He texts later to say, 'Maybe he got stuck somewhere.’ I text back that I love his optimism, always.


I hear my phone ringtone, oh boy
The sound promises an update
I’m told of plans to help find Marc
Scour territory steep and dark

My phone rings. My heart pounds with excitement. My thoughts go to a sighting and rescue. My brother-in-law said he would text, so this must be a big deal. It’s my son.

Mother and child reunion
“Hi, Mom. How are you doing?” He shares with me that I should put all my hope in prayer and also on the search and rescue teams out looking for Marc. He tells me that his friend once worked as a military search and rescue officer and that they have very specific plans to follow. His friend suggests the search can last up to ten days. He also tells me that his friend wants to assure me that nine times out of ten, the missing person is found. I thanked my son. 

Monday, April 4: 7:52 a.m. text message from my sister: ‘Hey Susan. I’m sure you’ve read my most recent FB update. I would have called you but it’s better on me to text. Physically, talking about it to too many people chokes me up and is too draining. Heading out to do some searching today will update you later.’

Monday, April 4: My sister on Facebook: Received recent update.... After covering pretty much all of the logging roads by truck, quads, and on foot, and searching from overhead with helicopter and plane, the Search & Rescue team have exhausted their resources and the Campbell River team have headed home. Local people are continuing to look. We are heading out when its light as well. Thank you to the S&R team and everyone else who has been helping. ....Love you big bro.

I hear my phone ring, soft, oh boy
I clutch it tight and read the name
The announcement comes, I release a gasp
Mom, Marc’s been found. He’s passed.

My phone rings. It’s my son. He tells me that Marc has been found but he is deceased. Somebody found him in his car at the bottom of a ravine. Apparently, he died quickly. His car was found in water.

I tell him that I’m so sorry. I was hoping that Marc was just missing and would be found alive. He agreed that would have been good. I’m crying and am overwhelmed with grief. I share with my son that Marc was getting to know us again, and we were getting to know him, again. Oh, what a sad time for us.

O my God! O Thou forgiver of sins! Bestower of gifts! Dispeller of afflictions!
Verily, I beseech Thee to forgive the sins of such as have abandoned the physical garment and have ascended to the spiritual world.
O my Lord! Purify them from trespasses, dispel their sorrows, and change their darkness into light. Cause them to enter the garden of happiness, cleanse them with the most pure water, and grant them to behold Thy splendours on the loftiest mount.
~ Abdu’l-Baha

Marc Regimbal ~ my beloved brother




Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Take a Refreshing Hike

Elk Falls
On Saturday, August 22, 2015, my stepdaughter, Misty, and her son Niko, strolled along with Frank and me on a hike to the Elk Falls Suspension Bridge, a project by the Rotary Club of Campbell River.

Three dynamic things stood out for all of us; the wonderful wide well-tended paths; the spectacular views along the assortment of trails;

Niko on a trail 

Mushrooms on a log

Frank on a bench ~ family in background

Niko on suspension bridge

and the nerve-wracking heart-stopping sensations felt when we looked down, way down into the gorge through the gratings on the staircases leading to and from the suspension bridge and on the swaying bridge itself.

View of Elk Falls

Our visitors from Kamloops are avid walkers and encouraged Frank and me to relax on the benches offered at almost every trailhead.

View of original water pipes at trailhead

I’m a walker also, heading out almost every day but recently I ache with a persistent feeling of stepping on a thumbtack at the heel of my left foot. By the time I get home and sit down with my feet up, another throbbing presents itself from that heel to my knee.

Susan on a log

Note to self: explain my symptoms to my doctor next visit.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Hummingbird's Wish

Colette lives here
I notice a decorated billboard at my familiar feeding site and hover over it. I  recognize my friend's name. The sign looks happy and I trust it to be safe. I wave my wings over to a screened window and look inside. Many of the faces are familiar, but there seems to be one missing. My food and sweetwater provider is not there but I look further and I'm pictured on a bottle along side these words - The happiness of sunshine, hummingbirds and flowers, and infinately more.

Colette is celebrated

I hope my kind friend has filled my feeder this morning. I flutter around the side of the house and notice a collection of my favourite flowers. I flicker over and dip my beak into each pleasant encounter. I am startled by the sound of a banging door. I flap to my safe haven in the trees.

Colette's friends
Clusters of humans come into the yard and sit on chairs, stand to face each other, hug one another and lift drinks to their face. I feel that my familiar friends are sad; sad like me because my caretaker is not around. Colette's gentle hands provide me and the other birds with crushed and whole seeds sometimes jazzed up with peanut butter. She places flavoured drinks in the trees and always cleans the porch railings for us to perch on. I wish she were here. My friend’s presence provides a calm and caring oasis in a dangerous landscape. The energy of this group feels much like her. The have kind, sensitive and laughing hearts.


Colette my caregiver
I look carefully at an image of my buddy and realize she is two-dimensional. Even with her not in the yard, I know of her past, feel her presence and imagine that her future is bright, filled with blossoms, love and images of me, and her human friends, in her new place. For now, I am here and wish for the day I meet up with her – my generous human friend.