Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The past slides into the present

What's on my mind today (if you use Facebook, you'll know this is the question Facebook always asks) so...what's on my mind is the large collection of colour slides my father, Gordon Davies, amassed during his years as an outdoor writer and photographer.

I've checked online with both of my brothers, one at his home in British Columbia, the other gallivanting around Europe with his wife on their umpteenth 'second honeymoon'!

Neither brother has been able to tell me where those slides are now...but I'm telling you, Dad's photos were beautiful. Not only beautiful, but also wonderful.

The gizmo pictured above is supposed to able to transform colour slides into online photos, I've been told. How wonderful is that?

You're probably thinking if I had such a gizmo, I would bore everyone in Blogdom with endless travel, fishing and outdoor photos (if one of us can find them). You might be right. Fish photos would be a change, however, from endless pictures of my dogs, past and present. And a change is...well, you know, it's as good as a rest.

I can't even find Dad's books now, because I had loaned both of them (Living Rivers and Living Rivers II) to a sick friend. I do hope she had a chance to read them both before she died, because they are happy books.

Oh, don't get me wrong, they're not jump-up-and-down happy, like a teenager on a trampoline, but serene-and tranquil-happy, like a hot cup of coffee on a cold winter's day. That's what El Gordo wanted...always coffee, never tea, and he'd thank you with that mischievous twinkle in his eye.

When we were young, Dad taught us about fish and their spawning.
This lake trout is in 'spawning dress' and  therefore not good eating.
Wikipedia photo

I'm sharing this trip into my past with Lady Fi's
Our World Tuesday

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Dog and ball retrospective

Cito Gaston
On more than one occasion my husband, Richard Schear, and I drove from here (Medicine Hat, Alberta) to Seattle, Washington, to watch 'our' baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays, play the Seattle Mariners.
The Jays were still led by coach Cito Gaston and were great fun to watch because playing against the Mariners meant playing against the incomparable Ichiro Suzuki.
In the stands, there would be an equal number of American and Canadian fans, many of them there because of the rivalry between the Jays and the Mariners, and many of them because they loved to see Ichiro's amazing performances.

The incomparable Ichiro
However, Dick and I had our own favourites: two young Blue Jays players we called our boys: mine was Aaron Hill and Dick's was Adam Lind.
Aaron Hill at bat

Adam Lind

In time, our trips to Seattle had to stop because we adopted a dog. She turned out to be a dog who loved to travel, but of course she couldn't be left alone in a hotel room while we attended a ball game.

When we first found our Golden Retriever at the former SOS Senior Dog Rescue in Medicine Hat, they called her 'Lily'. She had been living wild with another Golden, and  the two had spent a winter in a barn. Unfortunately for them, they couldn't stay in their new home, because the farmer couldn't afford to keep feeding two big dogs, so he had to give them up.
'Lily' was not, however, the name we kept for her. Our next door neighbours had a 'Lily' so Dick suggested we name her after his favourite Toronto baseball player, Adam Lind, and her name became Lindy.

The late, lovely Lindy was a beautiful girl, with a beautiful personality. She loved people and was even willing to be dressed up for Hallowe'en, when she loved to lick the candy-covered faces of neighbourhood children.

I'm posting this retrospective for
Lady Fi's incomparable meme, 
Thanks, Fiona, I know how much you love Goldens.
Our beautiful Lindy, here with her daddy, who adored her.

Monday, September 25, 2017

With love but not permission...

    In a previous post, I mentioned a poem I've always enjoyed but was dubious about sharing  because it is still, apparently, in print.

This week, however, I'm going to be big and brave and bold, in keeping with the indomitable poet, archy. Perhaps I'm breaking copyright (I don't know) but I want to share this with you because, if you don't already know of Don Marquis and his characters by now, you should.

Also because the author is dead these many years, and because the poet who claims, here, to have written this poem was, if he is to be believed, once a vers libre bard whose soul transmigrated into the body of a cockroach named archy.

Now, archy could type out his poems by climbing up on a typewriter and jumping down to hit each key with his head, then going back up and jumping down to hit another key with his head...well, you get the picture. However, archy couldn't use capital letters because he couldn't hold down the shift key.
His best friend was a black cat named mehitabel who claimed to have been Cleopatra.
Who or what they may have transmigrated into by now is anybody's guess ...maybe he is still a cockroach and she still a cat, or they might even be mice... but in the Don Marquis book I love so much, mehitabel was an alley cat of dubious virtue, and archy was a very determined poet who had, one imagines, a very sore top-of-the-head.

This poem appears as it was written by archy, with no uppercase (capital) letters because, as I said, he couldn't shift for himself.

archy meets warty bliggens

i met a toad
the other day by the name
of warty bliggens
he was sitting under
a toadstool
feeling contented
he explained that when the cosmos
was created
that toadstool was especially
planned for his personal
shelter from sun and rain
thought out and prepared
for him

do not tell me said warty bliggens
that there is not a purpose in the universe
the thought is blasphemy

a little more conversation revealed
that warty bliggens considers himself to be
the center of the said
the earth exists
to grow toadstools for him
to sit under
the sun to give him light
by day and the moon
and wheeling constellations
to make beautiful
the night for the sake of
warty bliggens

to what act of yours
do you impute
this interest on the part
of the creator
of the universe
i asked him
why is it that you
are so greatly favored

ask rather
said warty bliggens
what the universe
has done to deserve me

if i were a human being i would
not laugh
too complacently
at poor warty bliggens
for similar
have only too often
lodged in the crinkles
of the human cerebrum
                                           ... by archy

archy is sharing my walk down memory lane with
Lady Fi's marvelous meme, Our World Tuesday

Monday, September 18, 2017

The World is Too Much...


“The World is Too Much with Us” (circa 1802) is a sonnet by the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth. In it, the poet criticizes the world of the first Industrial Revolution for being absorbed in materialism and for its people distancing themselves from nature. (Wikipedia)

In the early 19th century, Wordsworth wrote several sonnets blasting what he perceived as "the decadent material cynicism" of the time.
"The World Is Too Much with Us" is one of those works. It reflects his view that humanity must get in touch with nature in order to progress spiritually.

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours:
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. —Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; 
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

Triton fountain in Rome
by Gianlorenzo Bernini
Who among us can fail to see the similarities between the ancient world, as described here by Wordsworth, and the world in which we live today?

As writers and poets, we can all read his words "getting and spending, we lay waste our powers..." and "for everything we are out of tune, it moves us not"... and we can't help but apply those words, from 1802, to life in the 21st century.

Yes, our world has seen changes which, in so many ways, would amaze and even, we suppose, awe Wordsworth, were he to see it today.

However, I doubt if he'd be impressed.

With his discerning eye, the poet would know without doubt that our modern reality bears out his opinion..."we lay waste our powers" indeed.

What would the sea god Triton think of the melting polar ice caps... what could a sea god think as we pollute his very oceans along with the lakes and rivers a poet once could love? ...The rapid extinction of one wild species after another would break a poet's heart... and, of course, war always war, never a decade or even a day without war...what kind of sonnet could Wordsworth write today?

Yes, we "lay waste our powers," and now we have to live in the world that Man's arrogance created. Who of us can really believe that 2017 is better than 1802?

And who among us really cares? "I've got what I want, and the rest of you be damned!" That is the mantra of too many.

RIP, William Wordsworth. Yes, may you rest in peace despite us!

Written for Lady Fi's memorable meme,

Thank you, Fiona, for the world as you see it through your discerning eye, every Tuesday.

Monday, September 11, 2017

A Daddy and dog reunion

When in doubt about a blog post, I always have dog photos on hand. These are from our recent trip to Red Deer, Alberta, to see Dick's daughters, Andrea and Randi.
We took our darling little dog, Bonnie-Belinda, who had never travelled that far before, and who had never met that many people in one place at one time, and she got along just just fine with everyone she met!
She even attended a skate-boarding bonanza. I don't seem to have photos of that, however. I was too busy worrying one of Andrea's two boys would go splat, but I fretted for naught. They knew what they were doing.
Bonnie-Belinda was fascinated with the skateboarders down in that concrete bowl, and would have joined them if I hadn't held her leash short and v-e-r-y tightly.
In these photos, we met up with Randi and Andrea at a beautiful park, complete with an off-leash area for dogs.
We didn't let our Bonnie off her leash (we don't feel she's quite ready for that in places where there might be interesting critters to chase) but she met the other dogs with aplomb.
Andrea's elderly pup, Grommet, used to the ways of the world, ignored everyone but Andrea.
After Bonnie had some sniffing and pleased-to-meetchas, we continued walking.
I, of course, gave up first...not quite exactly really quickly, mind you, but definitely first. I found a bench on which to sit, and from there I could watch the most amazing spectacle. But more on that another time. First, the Bonnie pictures, now my favourite things.
In these photos, I met up with the others at a nice grassy area, complete with facilities, ever the objective of old ladies out walking. Here, I was holding Bonnie on her leash while I sat at a picnic table.
Then she saw her daddy coming...





I'm posting these for Lady Fi's wonderful meme,
Our World Tuesday

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Because it is still in print...

A vers libre bard.
So, my fellow bloggers...I do believe I can't reproduce, here, a poem I have always loved—because the book (in which it appeared when I first read it) is still in print!

Therefore, I must assume, it could still be under copyright, because my research has been inconclusive in that regard. The last date I have been able to find is 1977.

However, one poem seriously 'gives me to think' and I can't help but wonder if it will do the same for you. I will provide you with some links, so that you can decide if one of these poems reminds you of anyone alive (and living large) today.

The poem that made me think is one I've always loved, and is from a book, which I have also always loved, by a writer whom I have always loved as well (ever since I could read, and long before I could type). One of the poems linked here "gives me to think" very seriously.

The soul of Cleopatra.
Of course, now I must ask if one of these poems makes you think of one person in particular. It is a someone whom the poem fits to a T, as will probably be obvious once you follow these links and read the poems.
Now, which one person, in particular, comes to mind as you read these poems?

I'm not following the unwritten rules of Blogland, am I? But I couldn't resist. Who of us could resist linking our childhood and school years with something that overwhelmingly affects the world in which we now live?

Note: I am a Canadian, and have little or no stake in the outcome of any of this (one hopes).
I am not fond of cockroaches or toads, but I am fond of cats.

I am sharing today's post with Our World Tuesday, with many thanks to Lady Fiona for her wonderful meme.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The never-say-die Davies brothers

The baby on my mother's lap is my sister Ann at her christening, with grandparents, aunts and uncles. On the floor, very bored,  my brother Clint's face shows how he feels about it, while I played with a toy.
I have two brothers, the one who grew up alongside me, and the one whom I helped raise, and I'm very proud of both of them.
My high school grad photo.
Clinton Fraser Davies was the class clown before he ever entered a classroom. Entertaining people was his goal in life, and he tried hard, to say the least.
His escapades probably reached the pinnacle of success when he climbed out his bedroom window onto the porch roof, and from there up onto the peak of the house roof, in order to carve his initials into it with a butcher knife, but it would be wrong to say Clint's life was all downhill from there. He continued to entertain, eventually learning to do it by playing trumpet, but he always preferred making people laugh.
Now, many decades later, Clint is still almost as old as I am, and should be enjoying retirement alongside his lovely wife Maria, but his ever-nimble ever-surprising ever-enterprising mind has him embarking on yet another business venture now, even as I write this.
Can't keep a good man down, I know...
And as for me, well, I was something of a lowbrow poet, and now I'm lucky if I can manage to visit Facebook every couple of days, and to post something for Our World Tuesday on my blog here at least two weeks a month (while aiming at once a week if I can).
My much-younger brother, Rob (aka Roberto) was also the clown of his class, whether it was in Canada at the beginning and end of the school year, or November-through-April in Mexico.
Our parents had planned their retirement to the Baja Peninsula without ever planning on a new baby, but there he was.
Our poor father was terrified when Robbie was born, because he thought he might lose Mom, whom he adored. They had been high school sweethearts, and were engaged before Dad left to go overseas with the Canadian Army Show, where he was a scenery-painter as well as a musician. When he returned to Canada after his years spent keeping up the morale of Canadian troops in Britain, he and Mom were married.
Clint and Dad. Clint was  in
the Royal Canadian Navy
when Rob was born. While stationed in
Victoria, BC, he pawned his trumpet
so he could buy a motorcycle, but
it wasn't long before he wrecked the
motorcycle. His reaction was a
typically Canadian "C'est la vie."
Then I arrived, followed by Clint, then our sister Ann, as well as another baby girl, Barbara, who only lived a few days.
Years went by, and no one gave thought to another sibling.
But Robbie Davies was determined to make his mark on the world. He was born into the intensive care nursery in a hospital in Vancouver, BC. I was working and living in the city, so was able to visit him every day, reporting his progress to my worried mother who had to stay in the troublesome-mothers ward, without even seeing him, until they finally let her get up to visit him, before she and Dad were able to take him home some weeks later.
Assured that his beloved wife would be okay, Dad turned his attention to the wonderful little mite who had surprised them in what they thought was the beginning of their old age.
By the time Rob was two years old, he let us all know he was talented, beginning slowly by drawing a row of short vertical lines right across the bottom of a blackboard.
"What's that, Robbie?" asked Mom. "Grass," he replied. Mom immediately phoned Dad at the family printing shop and said, "Bring home paper. This one's an artist."
And so he was, and still is.
Rob as a young man
When he reached high school, Rob was told he couldn't keep disappearing to Mexico every winter because the school was on the semester system, so he stayed behind while Mom and Dad went south, living first with our sister for one winter, and then with me for several more while he finished high school and attended college...taking every art class he could find.
My townhouse was close to the high school and, for the most part, I enjoyed having a steady stream of boys coming in and out, saying, "Hi, sis," and hoping I'd prepare them a snack when I got home from work.
I'm very proud of Rob, to say the least, and although I was able to travel to New York to witness him receiving an Emmy Award when he was working for Warner Bros. in Los Angeles, and although he came home when the Warner Bros. studios were sold, and established Atomic Cartoons with three friends, I am proudest of him for his accomplishments other than art:
Robbie Davies, to my great relief and joy, has been a proven survivor from his birth onward. He has survived cancer not once, but twice now, both times feeling there was something wrong in his body, and taking himself off to get medical help immediately.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if every cancer patient could self-diagnose like that? Survival was his goal from the very beginning, starting in an intensive care nursery, and onward.
I am intensely proud of him.
I am thankful, also, to our wonderful parents for allowing me to take an active part on "the committee that raised Rob." I assumed, because he was born when I was 21, that I would some day have children of my fact, I used to drive from the city to the suburbs every weekend, in order to learn how to bathe him despite my innate clumsiness. Nature proved otherwise, however, but I was more than compensated by my part in the raising of Rob.
Posting for Lady Fi's wonderful meme Our World Tuesday