Little niceties

It doesn’t take much to stoke a much-needed smile these days, and we keep coming across many little examples of caring in our community. All these add up and help us get through difficult times. We’re happy to stumble across small acts of kindness like these, even though this cat is clearly not impressed that his owner is embracing the neighbourhood dog population.

“I’m brave.”

It’s what Jim said as he got his Pfizer shot. And then he told Nurse Stephanie “I’m so proud of you!” Thanks so much to everyone at the Prairieland Park drive through vaccination clinic, and all the other SHA workers who just keep at it. Great work. One step closer to a taste of back to normal.

Thoughtful perspective

I was so impressed with my son-in-law that I asked if I could post this. Once a police officer, he now teaches in an administration of justice program in California. This is what he sent out to his students on the day the verdict came in regarding the murder of George Floyd. He urged them to pause for reflection, and so should we:

“As you may have seen in the news, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of three charges for the death of George Floyd. With this verdict, I think justice has been served. Chauvin’s actions and the lack of intervention from the three other officers who stood-by while Chauvin killed George Floyd were unjustifiable. Clearly, this incident demonstrated how all four of them should have never been allowed to wear the police badge and hold the power and authority the community entrusted in them to protect everyone they were supposed to serve.

I commend you for your desire to learn more about the criminal justice system and possibly take on a challenging and rewarding career as a criminal justice professional. As you move along in your educational journey and into a career of service, think about why you are doing it and who you are doing it for. Be a change-maker and hold those around you accountable to do the right thing for all people. As a society, we need it.

On the heels of this verdict there are going to be more stories about injustice in the criminal justice system. It seems the system takes one-step forward, but then two-steps back. Centuries of doing things one way will take time to reform. You are a reformer. Make it your goal to treat everyone with dignity and respect, regardless of who they are or where they come from. Be compassionate and kind in your actions. As a society, we need you.”

In good company

I am thrilled that my novel Small Reckonings has been shortlisted in the 2021 Saskatchewan Book Awards. The announcement was made Friday (after a breath-stopping postponement from Thursday) and it took a moment to register that my novel – and my face – was appearing as one of those selected in the City of Saskatoon/Public Library Saskatoon Book Award category. We find out at the 28th Annual Saskatchewan Book Awards on June 17th who rises to the top of the lists. Congratulations to all those shortlisted across 14 categories (see all here), and especially to my fellow nominees in the Saskatoon Book Award cohort. Along with my publisher of the first edition, Burton House Books, Small Reckonings is rubbing shoulders with these literary luminaries. Good luck Leona, Jenn and Richard, Shannon and Bill!:

If Sylvie Had Nine Lives (Freehand Books) by Leona Theis.

Flat Out Delicious: Your Definitive Guide to Saskatchewan’s Food Artisans (Touchwood Editions) by Jenn Sharp (photography by Richard Marjan).

The Burden of Gravity (Caitlin Press) by Shannon McConnell.

In Search of Almighty Voice: Resistance and Reconciliation (Fifth House Publishers) by Bill Waiser.

A good day

Thanks so much to Nurse Patti, who gave me my jab this morning, and to all the SaskHealth workers at the immunization clinic for such a smooth and easy process. I join Rick who already has his first shot, as well as my parents, and now we just wait for Jim’s age group to come up. One jab closer to being able to visit, have a meal together, see friends, relatives, and the kids and grandkids Pearl and Alexander in California. We’re looking forward to a snuggle with the newest, Dahlia, who was born in November. I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to infrequent handwashing and no masks in crowds, but it felt good to stick it to COVID today.

The real Hank

It’s not every day that a character out of your novel comes to visit. Hank stopped by yesterday on a trip in to the city on his way to Early’s for his seed potatoes. He came by to say hello and pick up a copy of the revised edition. He regaled me with more childhood on the farm stories, so now I have to figure out a way to work Jimmy the pet goose into the sequel.

In good company

Brenna, the friendly consignment coordinator, just stocked copies of Small Reckonings (revised edition) at McNally Robinson here in Saskatoon, and sent me these to show me she did it! I’m proud to be sitting there in the Prairie Writers section, within arm’s reach of mentors like Barbara Sapergia, Leona Theis, Yann Martel, Jeanette Lynes, and Guy Vanderhaeghe. A pretty nice neighbourhood. Mask up and have a distanced browse for the great offerings on this wall. If you’re looking something to read during self-isolation time, fill your heart and soul with wonderful stories by prairie authors.

And then it wasn’t spring anymore

What a difference a day makes in Saskatchewan. Spring has officially been here for a week and on March 29th, walked around on the university campus, +14 C, wearing only a light jackets. I saw my first gopher (so you know it’s spring), and we even had a popsicle. Got positively hot while we set up patio furniture, washed the railings on the decks, and spread the last bits of snow around the yard so it would melt faster. Ahh, Spring. Then Winter decided it wasn’t done with us yet. A winter storm warning, blizzard conditions, road closures, semi jacknifes on the highway and cars on the ditch, gusting winds up to 100 kms an hour, and just for fun, up to 15 cms of snow. But calm and sunny today – with all that snow just waiting to be shoveled.