Why is everyone scrambling to get their hands on the fall issue of Readers Digest’s Our Canada magazine?

our canada_cover copy…Because a story I wrote is featured in the October/November 2015 issue!

The magazine—produced by the esteemed Reader’s Digest—captures the true essence of Canadian life through its compilation of interesting stories and beautiful photos contributed by Canadians from coast to coast.

You’ll find Our Canada magazine at most magazine newsstands, as well as at community libraries.

My story, Thanks for the Memories, is featured on page 59 of the October/November issue. For those of you outside of Canada, I’ve reprinted the story below.our canada_story copy

Thanks for the Memories

Today is the day I say farewell to an old girl who has been a part of my life for a long time. She has always been dependable, ready and willing to go anywhere, anytime. She expects nothing more from me than the sustenance she needs to keep her alive—the oil that keeps her old parts moving and the fuel that stokes her get-up-and-go.

Although she’s not much to look at, my old car has been a faithful companion for many years. A tug of war pulls at my heart, although I know the time to part with her has arrived. Indeed, the decision has been a long time coming. Still, my hand hovers over the phone. It feels too easy. A quick call and she’ll be gone. The lump in my throat swells as I think of the crushing end that awaits her.

So many journeys we’ve taken together. Sunday drives north of the city, cruising along ribbons of winding dirt roads, oldies playing loudly enough to make me dance in my seat. No air conditioning—instead, her windows rolled all the way down to allow the warm country air to flow in: farmland, freshly mowed grass, garden blooms and road dust—smells of summer.

She also delivered me safely through the most vicious of winter storms. Her wipers slicing through sheets of rain and sleet and snow; her heater warming away the chill as I inched along past bus stops crowded with commuters huddled and bent against nature’s wrath.

She was a companion on countless shopping trips, her trunk packed with Christmas parcels and bags, birthday surprises, wedding and shower gifts. A symbol of my freedom, taking me wherever and whenever I wanted to go.

The old girl embraced us with her seatbelts during milestone outings with my daughter, Jennifer…to purchase her first pair of school shoes; get her first haircut; enjoy her first baseball game; take part in her first dance recital; and attend her graduation ceremony. Enabling pivotal conversations to evolve thanks to the intimacy of her interior, she was a place where my daughter could crack open her aloof, adolescent shell to spill confidences normally kept secret.

My husband, Paul, and I sharing heartfelt conversations during our Sunday afternoon drives—lazy, rambling chats all too rare in our busy lives.

The makeshift refuge she offered for brief escapes…so many workday lunch hours spent curled up on her back seat with a good book, a cup of coffee and a fluffy pillow kept tucked away in her trunk. She served as a hideout, a familiar sanctuary, perfect for stealing away to be alone with my thoughts. She was a safe haven locking out the world, where I could rest my head against her steering wheel to have a good cry.

Really, she is so much more than just an old car.

It’s late afternoon when the tow-truck driver arrives. He hands me a sheaf of paperwork. I chew my bottom lip against the threat of tears, and sign. He looks tired and bored as he hooks her onto a heavy-duty chain and cranks up her front end. To him, this is just another job to complete before his workday ends. Gently, I touch her corroding paint. I turn away briefly as the driver barks a hurried goodbye and disappears into the cab of his truck.

As she fades away in the distance, I thank her for the memories—and then I move on.


A salute to writers of the past, present and future

writers1Let us imagine for a moment that we live in a world where writers do not exist. We express our thoughts verbally or by gesticulating, but no words are recorded for posterity.

There are storytellers who entertain us with impromptu tales. Mimes are the new Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Daily local news is dispatched by word of mouth but becomes diluted and distorted, as usually happens when the masses pass information verbally. And telephone companies are rolling in more dough than ever!

booksBut there are no writers. Imagine that.

There would be no books. No Lewis Carroll, Hans Christian Andersen, Beatrix Potter, or C.S. Lewis to fuel our imaginations. No word pictures from the past painted by Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman or Tennyson or Wordsworth. No Edgar Allen Poe or Bram Stoker or Mary Shelley to chill our spines. No Tolkien, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jules Verne or Mark Twain to sweep us away on amazing adventures. No Louisa May Alcott, Harper Lee or E.B. White to bring us to tears and laughter. No runaway romances, funny anecdotes, or science fiction to entertain us. I wouldn’t have enough space to list all the authors from yesteryear and present day whose thoughts and ideas would never have connected with ours.

No biographies or memoirs to give us a glimpse into the fascinating lives others have led. No history books to take us on great journeys back in time. No geography books to transport us to places we’ll never be able to see on our own. No science books to expose us to worlds we can’t even begin to imagine. No special-interest books to inspire us to learn new activities.

magazinesNo magazines with articles that entertain and teach us. No Good Housekeeping or Reader’s Digest or Popular Mechanics or Psychology Today. No National Geographic or Sports Illustrated or Prevention. No People Magazine or Fortune. No newspapers to keep us informed about the world around us. No comic books filled with scenarios featuring larger-than-life heroes.

No greeting cards or letters. No advertising to help us make choices.

No song lyrics on record. No theatre, television or movie scripts.dictionary comic card

No manuals to instruct us. No dictionaries or encyclopedias or famous quotations.

Consider the impact that writers throughout the ages have had on our lives. Writers make work of seeking out and compiling information about the things that we wonder about but don’t have the time or resources to seek out on our own. Writers use their skills to transform rough ideas into vivid pictures that will teach, entertain and inspire. Writers keep the era that they live in alive in the minds of future generations.writers2

Writers live with constant rejection—it’s the nature of the work. But today, I’d like to take a moment to praise and raise a toast to writers everywhere—those from the beginning of time, those today, and those of the future.

Bottoms up!

Picture time! A day at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto

Paul and I made our yearly jaunt to the CNE last Friday and we had a blast, as usual. While there, I figured out that he and I have been going to the CNE every year for the past 39 YEARS! God, talk about feeling OLD! (Mind you, we were only five when we met :)))))))
1.food bldg
It was a perfect, sun-filled summer day. We had the best time just walking around the midway, looking through the buildings, pigging out on junk at the Food Building, and then pigging out again later at Ribfest. I seriously thought I was going to have to call a tow truck to get me off the picnic bench. The best part—we stayed for the evening concerts at the bandshell. It was a 70s rock night, all the way!

The opening band was called Pigeon Park, a group of young guns from Vancouver who were absolutely phenomenal. I found a video by them on YouTube—check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_dwoWmxmM0 Future grammy winners, wouldn’t you agree? If anyone can bring rock back into the Anno Domini era, it’s those guys!

28.foghatThe headliners were Foghat. Remember them from the 70s? If you don’t remember the name, I’m sure you’ve heard their mega-hit song, Slow Ride. It was even covered by Adam Lambert and Alison Iraheta on American Idol. Here’s a link to the song on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcCNcgoyG_0

To say that they were fantastic is an understatement. Those boys had the whole place rocking, and when they did Slow Ride for their encore, the place went wild.

Of course, most of the audience were boomers, a few of which hadn’t yet left the 70s behind. There was the odd old geezer in t-shirt/leather vest/tight jeans with dyed hair down to his (flat) butt, bandanna tied around his forehead Brett Michaels-style, a woman in stilettos draped on his arm that, aside from having a 60-year-old face, was dressed exactly like the groupies of the era. I was entertained as well as fascinated. Watching them made me wonder what led them to cling to the past like that. The band I get—it’s all part of their “costume” and their job. But the average joe? The writer in me wanted so badly to approach some of them to ask for interviews!

Anyway, by the time we got home at 11:30 that night, we were pooped and our eardrums were still ringing. But boy oh boy, what a wonderful day! I’ll share my pictures with you below.

Princess Gates at night

Waterfall garden

A curvy alpaca

10.sand sculpture

Sand sculpture of veggies

Paul with the most angelic busker


A competitor in the Superdogs Show

Donna wishing she could fly an old F16

27.pigeon park

Pigeon Park on stage (with Foghat banner behind them)

Foghat lead singer and drummer

Foghat base guitarist

Foghat drummer

On the midway


%d bloggers like this: