That wonderful time of the year

It seems a little – okay a lot – early this year, but harvest is upon us. It’s only August! We love the bounty from our treasured community garden plot and captured just a little of it in some jars tonight to squirrel away for the winter. The sunflower seeds didn’t make it into the salsa; those are for the birds and surprise sunflowers in the garden next year.

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Smoke defeats Hamlet

The people at Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan are a class act. Tickets to tonight’s performance of Hamlet in hand, we were faced with a cancelled show due to air quality, or lack thereof, because of the Alberta and B.C. forest fires. So we waited in line to see if we might exchange tickets for something less smokey. Lovely to see actors Skye Brandon and Joshua Beaudry come to chat to people in the lineup, and artistic director Will Brooks trotted in and out to explain the circumstances. We smoothly rebooked for Friday night; kudos to the box office staff who had to refund and rebook the audience. Smoke happens.

A day late. Sorry….

Happy belated Canada Day! I apologize, as we do. First time paddleboarding adventure for me with the Saskatoon HOME and Prairies North teams, at least a few of us who could get away from computers as we work on the fall issues. Many  thanks to the bosses Amanda and Rob Soulodre and the people at locally owned Escape Sports for this nearly 3.5 hour 13 km paddle from Poplar Bluffs back to the city. A wonderful experience–if you haven’t tried it, do! So worth the time and energy, and possible lungful of river water. I was the only one who ended up #@! over teakettle in the water, but then again, I was the oldest of the group so someone had to take leadership.

Baba Alice, the good gardener

I had the delightful pleasure of interviewing Baba Alice Kripki and her sister Vicki Chunik in 2013 for an article in Saskatoon HOME magazine’s spring issue about their big side by side gardens. It was called The Quintessential Baba Garden – Old Country Know-How Still Flourishes. She was 96 then, and Alice loved her garden. She told me, “You need to get your hands dirty – and your feet!” She grabbed my arm and sang me little Ukrainian slightly off-colour ditties about calling your husband an ox. She was given to little fits of laughter. The secret to abundant growth? “I like to sing in the garden. Do the work, that’s all.” She, and sister Vicki, her more stoic straight man, were delightful and inspiring. It was one of my most memorable interviews. I saw Alice’s obituary today and it brought back such great memories of meeting her and Vicki, and spending a wonderul afternoon knee-deep in their garden produce in the back yard. “Will I have garden next year?” Alice responded to my question then. “Oh, sure. My kids don’t want me to work so hard.” She grinned. “But we’ll see.” Alice was 101 years old when she died on June 9th, my mother’s birthday; I guess that means gardening is a good prescription for a long life. My best to the family. I will always treasure that afternoon with the baba sisters.

Joni

Jim and I attended a memorable event on Sunday afternoon. We caught the bus on Broadway with Mayor Charlie, and watched from on high the celebration of Saskatoon’s hometown girl Joni Mitchell. Her childhood friend Sharolyn Dickson spoke on Joni’s behalf (black and pink shirt). I ran into my old business mentor Leslie Bell (striped shirt), who went to school with Joni and another frield, Joan Chapman (scarf). The event was led by former premier Lorne Calvert, one of the leaders in the efforts to offer an appropriate tribute that has seen its share of stumbles over the years. But this time, everyone’s happy, including Ms. Mitchell, who watched the live stream of the celebrations with a gaggle of friends in Los Angeles. She was even honoured with a Saulteaux name, presented by Harry Lafond from the Yellow Quill First Nation. When she renews her driver’s license or passport, she can use Sparkling White Bear Woman. And the occasion was enough for me to go dig out my prized autograph; Joni signed an Air Canada barf bag for me years ago as we decended into “Saskabush.” Her word. Wonder if that will make it into a song?

 

Farewell, and a new beginning

I’ve always loved the Third Avenue United Church in the heart of downtown. Ever since I was a bridesmaid for Gary and Ginny in the early 1980s; the magnificent interior sorta took my mind off of the really, really poofy (did I mention poofy?) light blue bridesmaid dress I was floating down the aisle in. Jim and I attended the farewell gala concert last night. A packed house and a reassuring speech by Eric Anderson, the new owner, who says the building will live on as an arts centre. Audible sighs of relief by everyone who fought for heritage status. Such a memorable concert. I just wish Rick could have been there. He’s in Whitehorse helping my folks pack up and sort their house for a move to Saskatoon.