Weekend Visit

For the Labour Day weekend, my daughter and her family came for a visit. The weather was gorgeous, so we spent most of our time outside walking sandbars, trails and beaches in the area.

I wish I could take credit for the photography, but these were among the pics my daughter took.

Then and now: J on our backyard beach showing a tiny crab. Age 3 vs. age 11.
Walking the sandbar between Newtown and  Bennett Island
Hermit crab on Bennett Island
A walk on Cape Island Beach in Cape Freels along the Random Passage Trail
Beautiful Cape Island Beach
Sunset on Perry’s Point
Of course, Maisie and Vivian swooped in on their favourite spot. Who cares if someone else owns it?

We had a fantastic weekend together,
but I’m greedily hoping for nice weather all month.
I’m not ready for summer to end! Are you?

Roma

Flashback to eight years ago this week: Beautiful Rome, the first destination of our 3-week trip to Italy and France. We hope to return to Europe within the next few years–the UK this time–and I can hardly wait.

The Colosseum was only a few minutes from our hotel. Notice the workers upon the ledge!

A little verse I wrote in Rome:

Roma

The click on terracotta tile
a welcoming staccato beat
quick-sure heels on cobblestone
we join the rhythm on the street.

Mellifluous foreign banter
fill sidewalk cafes and bars
laughter tinkling, glasses clinking
under the Italian stars.

Heady scent of sweet ambrosia
lips stained red with deep dark wine
swarthy locals’ smiling faces
lovers with their arms entwined.

Tastes and smells are all around us
food and drink beyond compare
warm night air drapes on our shoulders
sated, sleepy, not a care.

Street musicians serenade us
as we stroll our way back home
memories to last a lifetime
summer nights in downtown Rome.

***

Travellers:
What has been your best-loved destination?

Photographs and Memories

New Melbourne Point
New Melbourne Point

Back in late January, I accompanied my husband Paul on a work trip to Old Perlican. This Newfoundland community is where my children attended elementary school and is very close to the tiny outport where they grew up. My son was born in the cottage hospital there during a January blizzard.

On the way home from the work trip, I snapped a picture of New Melbourne Point, shown above.

This view brings back a torrent of vivid memories. It’s so familiar and dear to me because my parents lived there for many years, also while my children were small. Their house, which Dad built when they moved from the city, is hidden behind the trees in the center of the photo. It is now someone’s summer home.

Once a week, this scene came into view as I drove up the shore to visit Mom and Dad, and whenever I shopped – or worked – in Mom’s little store in New Melbourne, Carrie’s Grocery and Confectionery.

❤ My babies, way back when ❤

No matter how many years go by,
I still miss those treasured visits.
Happy Heavenly Mother’s Day, Mom.
– Has it really been seven years?

Sending Mother’s Day wishes out to all the lovely moms today!

To All the Cats

To all the cats we’ve loved before
you beautify our wall decor
both with us and long gone
our love goes on and on
to all the cats we’ve loved before.

Our cat wall includes several images of Maisie and Vivian, our grandkitties Moochie, Ginger and Joey, as well as Padmé, Smoki, Sandy, Mitzi, and Timmy.

Missing from collection: Puff, Jinx and Tiger. Sorry, my kitties, I couldn’t find any photos of you!

Happy Sunday, everyone,
and Happy Thanksgiving
to my Canadian friends and followers! 

Forever in my Heart

My dad in his younger days. Always missed and forever in my heart.

 “That’s my father.”  … Seemingly an innocent and offhand remark made by the youngest of his three children, those three little words meant much more to our dad. I know it made him feel proud and happy to be that father, that figure of authority and loving protector of his family.
It was a responsibility he took seriously, a role that only he could execute with his unique brand of friendship, understanding and humour…” 

~ excerpt from That’s My Father, 03/21/13

I’m thinking of relatives and friends who lost their fathers very recently.
My heart goes out to them today.

   Wishing all the wonderful dads
a Happy Father’s Day
❤ ❤ ❤

Throwback Thursday: She Writes

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Here’s a throwback to July 2013, when I was in the thick of creating the first draft for Calmer Girls. At the time I was also blogging twice a week, but hey, when your muse is whispering in your ear to pen a poem and she won’t shut up, you pen a poem. There’s no getting out of it.

She Writes

She wakes tangled in themes
through a cobweb of dreams
with gossamer remnants
that linger and tease,
pushes back dusty curtains
and on a page blank and white
she writes.

 She deletes the clichéd
yesterday she okayed
and contemplates words
like ephemeral and moonglade
they taste like confections
with her tangerine sections
and jolts of black coffee
she writes.

She’s reminded of chores
she keeps trying to ignore
with the scatter of crumbs
that litter the floor,
shrugs her shoulders and thinks
it will be there tomorrow
she writes.

The bills wait, unpaid
And the bed’s still not made
There’s this blog post to write
and it can’t be delayed
her novel must wait
it’s a musing or rhyme that
she writes.

She reaches again
for the manuscript when
her mind can’t break free
from the plot line within
and it makes him uptight
there’s no dinner tonight
but he digests her flaws.
After all, it’s because
she writes.

***

photo by pexels

First published here.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Friday Fiction: Reunion*

pexels-photo-1097387

– Reunion –

He sees her
at the edge

of the crowded soiree
and knows her instantly.

It is a blow.

The first time
in thirteen years
Fate has brought them
together
years for her
he’d heard
were far from kind.

He thinks
how dramatic
change can be from
Life’s random cruelties
and how no one
can prepare.

A nervous voyeur
he peeks into her eyes
smudged windows
at the brink
of unimaginable pain.

It frightens him
makes him wish
he hadn’t heard the rumors
the images evoked
and now the proof.

Her face
the same yet injured
from the inside of her trauma
haunted eyes far too mature
for her years
aspect stamped with the hurt
she tries to hide.

And he wonders
when she finds his broken smile
how it was ever possible
that once
she swarmed his secret dreams.

She turns away.

It occurs to him
she read it in his heart
and knows
the Muse has passed.

***

*First published here.

Jennifer’s Friday Fiction

Thanks for reading!

Friday Fiction appears on random Fridays as a place to share my writing in the form of short stories, flash fiction, poetry and vignettes.

Thanks, Mom!

Mom cut my bangs

Dear Mom,

Thank you for the many, many things you’ve ever done for me. As it is for most mothers, they are far too numerous to list here.

An endless list, actually. Hey, you even took it upon yourself to trim my bangs from time to time. Why would we bother driving to the beauty parlor when you were there, eager and happy to do it? How hard could it be? And naturally, your other daughter’s bangs didn’t escape your butchery expertise either.

Now Mom, I understand we were a one-income household at the time and you liked saving money wherever possible, but don’t you think your scissors-happy ways may have been a tad aggressive, especially for a school photo, recorded for posterity?

This practice of yours was nearly as darling as your penchant for dressing up my sister and me as twins. Never mind that I was two and a half years older than her.

And yet, as I flip through this old family album, my heart swells.

I see your smile.

I hear your laughter.

I feel the love.

I see my happy childhood, personified, in all of these snaps of captured memories.

And you know what, Mom? It makes me realize I wouldn’t change a single thing.

– Love your daughter,
Jennifer

Wishing a Happy Mother’s Day to all the loving moms out there!

Pages From The Past: Moving to Newtown

Moving to Newtown, Newfoundland in 2010

These are a few excerpts from my private journal in September 2010, shortly before I started this blog.  We were living in Mike Perry’s summer house here in Newtown, while our future home’s interior was being renovated on Perry’s Point by Paul’s two handy cousins and by Paul himself.  

Of note, this excerpt was written during Hurricane Igor and its aftermath.  Also of note is my poem at the end.

Very slowly, the old house on the point is undergoing its planned metamorphosis. My emotions are mixed. To see the rot exposed, the peeling paint and wallpaper, the ancient cobwebs hanging from the now-bare and blackened rafters, the unbelievable mess in the yard created by demolition, and now reconstruction – all of this plays havoc with my need for cleanliness and order. Are we really going to live here, in this two-storey house on a piece of rock jutting out into the cold North Atlantic? And are we ever going to find carpenters to install the new windows and clapboard while the rest of the work is done?

But then on one occasion when I visited the point last week, I saw something. I caught an encouraging glimpse of what could be. Of what that old house could become. My eye is drawn to the sun shining in through the multi-coloured glass of the windows we are not replacing. I see promise in their dazzling jewel tones of green, pink and yellow.

I get a mental picture of the rooms, devoid of junk and sawdust. Instead, they are neatly decorated, warm and comfortable, the kitchen filled with welcoming smells, music playing, Paul laughing at our cat Vivian as she skitters across the floor after a pop bottle stopper. I see Paul in his home office working on design plans, and I see me typing another page in my new novel. I welcome a visitor, put the kettle on…

I pretty much wish we were already there, playing house. Patience has never been my strongest virtue, so time drags on.

Sept. 21

So the house in Paradise didn’t close yesterday as planned. The buyers require a survey of the land…why did they wait until the last minute??

And now we are back in Newtown, enduring the wrath of Hurricane Igor as he sweeps over the province, the likes of which we have never witnessed. There’s a leak in the living-room here at Mike’s that started since Paul left to go out on the point. The wind is howling, the rain is hitting the windows in sheets. Mother Nature is showing her teeth today and she means business! The radio assures me that this storm is a record breaker, and I feel like I have three houses to worry about: this one, the one on the point, and our biggest investment up to now, the one in Paradise that is almost sold.

Even Maisie and Vivian look worried.

Sept. 23

Everyone I love now has their power back. My sister Lynn got hers at 1 yesterday, my mother-in-law last evening, and daughter Denise at 4 this morning (no other family lost theirs). We had it gone for about seven minutes on the night of the storm. So I breathe a great sigh of relief that all is well once again. I smile to realize that many have no cable TV or internet access right now – just like us!

Of course, we still wait for a phone call from our real estate agent or our lawyer as to when the house will close. I pray the walk-thru goes well. We wait to see if the Trans Canada Highway will open later today. And we wait for our new windows to be delivered. Sometimes life feels like a long drawn-out waiting game.

I love cooking and baking. Sometimes it feels downright therapeutic. As I made cod au gratin and a strawberry-apple crumble yesterday, a feeling of such peace and contentment enveloped me, it made me think of the book Simple Abundance and how much truth is in it. Whenever I cook and there is lots of time to do it right, I adore it. Thinking of living on the point and cooking and baking in my brand new kitchen fills me with happiness. I taped some loose recipes into my personal cookbook just this morning, in anticipation of using them soon.

The only thing that hurts is to read the recipes that Mom dictated to me over the phone not that long ago.

And I wait for a call from Lynn to see if they have a new placement for Mom. I don’t think I will get over the hurt of her Alzheimer’s disease for a very long time, and the worst is yet to come. Right on the heels of Dad’s ALS and death in 2003, the dreaded condition swooped in on my precious mother and changed her forever. Why has this double whammy hit our family, I wonder. I fear that the knowledge of it and the pain of its aftermath have changed me forever too.

As a way of dealing with these feelings, I wrote a poem this morning.

God, give me back my mom, I beg you and I plead

we’ve lost her much too early, the pain will not recede

First we lose our father to a death no one should know

too young he was to leave us–my God! I miss him so..

The grief it proved a burden our mother couldn’t bear

her sadness turned to illness with a name I’ve always feared

I know not how her soul survives as her mind and body waste

she lives and yet she doesn’t;  a stranger took her place

Where is my mother’s heart?  Where is her winsome smile?

I miss the wisdom of her words, her gentle, caring style

God, give me back my mom, if it’s only in a dream

let her put her arms around me;  let her hold me as she sings

Then please take her up to heaven, let her suffering be gone

reunite my precious parents–maybe then I can go on.

***

Way Back When

I cheated a bit today by sharing two photos.

That’s my mom in St. John’s, May 1968.

The other  is her older brother Jack and his son Paul in 1950’s Grates Cove, NL.

“Each photograph is a story captured in a single moment.” – M. Lopez