IGA alumni: a good friend is never far away

It’s been probably about 38 years since I was a clerk at the IGA grocery store in Fairview, Alberta. Back then, we had to memorize the weekly flier, the specials and make change at the til IN OUR HEADS! Needless to say, no matter how much the manager hoped and how much cheerleading I got from my mentor Cindy, I don’t think that damn til balanced once. What I really wanted to be was a bag boy, but girls didn’t get to be bag boys then. I hadn’t seen Cindy for at least 35 years, but several months ago, out of the blue, Cindy found me on the Internet and sent me an email. She hoped we could reconnect one day. Well, I emailed her back a few weeks ago and said, “Be careful what you wish for!” Cindy and her husband Mark hosted me during my recent book interview trip, and even cheerfully posed for photos with the woman I was interviewing. Everyone deserves a good friend who remembers all the things you’ve forgotten from way back when and who reaches out across those years to say hello.



And just in case she didn’t recognize me at the airport, I brought along my antique IGA name tag.


In the air

My view this week as I head to northern Alberta to interview and photograph a family for a book about fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Another in a wonderful and fascinating series of interviews I’m collecting for a project sponsored by the Alberta Association for Community Living and the Alberta FASD Family Advisory Council. This view as on my way to Grande Prairie, happily close to my old high school stopping grounds in Fairview, Alberta, and even more happily I was the sleepover guest of an old friend. 


Lions, tigers, bears, a cow, a pig, a crow…

I’m pretty excited about an upcoming book from Nimbus Publishing called In the Company of Animals: Stories of Extraordinary Encounters, edited by my pal Pam Chamberlain. Due out in September (familly members, you know what your Christmas gift will be this year), this anthology features stories about Canadians’ brushes – long term and fleeting – with animals. From the Nimbus catalogue: “Animals fascinate us humans, and we related to them in a variety of ways. Whether we view them as companions, as workmates, as symbols, as totems, or as food, animals matter to us…38 writers from across Canada tell thought-provoking stories of extraorindary encounters with animals…these writers are people who pay attention to animals, their natures and personalities and what they can teach us, and they ask us to pay attention, too.”

I’m honoured to be one of those 38 writers with my summertime romance story about Russell Crow. Congratulations to Pam and her assembled animal enthusiasts.

If you love animals, you’ll love this book! And you can get your holiday shopping done in one place.

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