Saturday, September 29, 2012

I Heart a Parade!

I love parades. 

And today was the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival Parade!

The theme this year was "War of 1812".

Grapes are big business here.

This giant wine keg was left outside the American encampment at Queenston Heights in 1813. 

Just as the Americans were getting ready to uncork it, a brave battalion of Canadian Militia plus Laura Secord and Tecumpseh jumped out of it and killed every last one of them.

And that is how we won that war.   In case you were wondering.

Here is one of the descendants of our Six Nation allies.

Red coats and plumed hats! 

Very 19th century!

Of course everyone remembers the brave ladies who rode horses into battle with stars stuck to their rumps during the war of 1812!   

Nobody remembered what side they were on so we just cheered and pointed.

There was a large 2012 police presence at this year's parade for some reason.

And the fire fighters were also out in full force. 

Here they are taking donations for Community Cares and the food bank.

All the little girls wanted a princess hat!

Did I mention there were lots of horses in the parade this year?

This was my favourite part of the parade. 

These guys put on quite  show!

And they were "mature'! 

I told my friend Nadine that if we were lucky we might get a date!

I liked them, okay?


These fellas were just beautiful!

This is a replica of the plane WestJet flew during the War of 1812.

Now here is something that they never tell you in history class.

Apparently after he fell during the War of 1812, General Isaac Brock started a rock and roll band.

But he still finds time to keep the Americans on their side of the Niagara River with his trusty cannon.

A great many Irish and Scots fought in the War of 1812.

Then they all moved to Grimsby.

As I was taking all of this in, I felt someone tickling my foot.

He looked up at me and laughed.

This is the latest in grape harvesting machines. 

It's beautiful, all shiny and new!

 This was the best parade I've seen in years! 

 Rather than fight Our way upstream we followed the crowd to Montebello Park.

Because that's where the food was.

I had a piece of pizza.

All of the local wineries were there - serving and selling.

Next I tried a rice ball.

It was a 5 YUM experience.  I hadn't had one before and was pleasantly surprised by the cheesy centre.

Then I had a local vegetable tostada.

And little piggy that I am I finished with an apple kirchen with caramel.

Then we sat and watched the Six Nations Dancers.

They invited some people to go up on the stage and join them but by this time I weighed 2,567 pounds so I just watched.

It was a great day for a parade and a picnic in the park.

I can't wait for next year!
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The New American Normal

Moby Dick (2010 film)
Moby Dick (2010 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes I despair for our American friends.

Watching them go through their painful election process is like being forced to stand by and watch the death throes of Moby Dick.   Except that this Moby Dick never dies - just keeps on suffering for months and months and months every four years.


I don't usually blog about television shows, definitely not American ones, but last night by happenstance I watched a show called "The New Normal". 

Probably everybody in the world knows about it but me, but just in case you haven't seen it I can tell you that it is about a gay couple, (not sure if they are married), who have hired a surrogate mom to have their child.

Last night episode had a lot to say about American politics. 

Don't get me wrong - it is a sitcom, but underlying it all there was a serious message.


On the surface the 'good' characters were mostly young Democrats. (In Canada this would be like the Liberal Party with maybe the NDP thrown in for good measure).   

The audience was set up to dislike the Republican, rich old lady who spoke in a nasty, strident voice. (Think Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party).


The problem is that she spoke some truths that many of us left leaning types don't want to hear.


It was a bit heavy handed, but I haven't seen a decent show that dealt with current issues this well since "All in the Family".


It helped me get a better grasp of what this election means to Americans. 

(I just wish they could do it faster.)


Anyway I'm going to try to remember to watch it next week.

PS Just so I don't feel compelled to do a second blog on TV shows, I must tell you that I've become hooked on "The Murdoch Mysteries." Set in Toronto in the 1890's it is wonderful and in its own way deals with some interesting issues such as women's right, religion and abortion. 

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Looking Bon Here In TROC, M. Charest

English: Quebec premier, Jean Charest
English: Quebec premier, Jean Charest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So there I was, innocently drinking my morning coffee, curled up on the couch catching the news out of Toronto this morning.

It was an early Fall morning like any other in Troc, (i.e.,The Rest of Canada, as in 'Quebec and the Rest of Canada'), coolish and rainyish. 

The television pumped out the usual news: Armageddon in the middle east; election Armageddon in the USA; more nude pictures of the Duchess, etc. etc. 

Nothing that would prepare me for what was to come.


Suddenly the camera cut to Alberta.

Edmonton, Alberta to be exact.


Peter Loughheed's funeral to be even more exact.

(Peter Loughheed was a giant among Canadian politicians.  A former premier of Alberta and admired right across the country.)


But who the heck was speaking at the podium - in English, right here in Troc, and looking all rested and Prime Ministerial??????

None other than the former Premier of la belle province, M. Jean Charest!! 


And I must say that  after years of only seeing him in grainy photos smuggled out of Quebec by Peter Mansbridge, he was looking good.


Now it isn't for backwoods Troclanders like me to wonder why. 

Ours is but to do and die and speculate along the way.



A seasoned bilingual Liberal politician is on the loose.

One with deep Quebec roots and experience at the Federal level.

The Federal Liberal Leadership campaign is coming up.

Does anybody else add it up and get an answer that might scare Justin Trudeau?



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Thursday, September 20, 2012

3 Cheers For The Star Spangled Maple Leaf

Evidently the Brits are behind us 100% in our campaign to become
the next president of the USA.

In case you missed it here is the Queen endorsing our bid:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Honk if You Still Love Quebec

Canadian Flag
Canadian Flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


They are at it again.

Yes the Parti Quebecois no sooner took power than they got rid of the Canadian flag in their legislature.

(Where it oughta stayed.)


I've blogged about this before and I haven't changed my mind.

I can't see why, in our wireless, computerized world, it would matter if Quebec goes or stays.


Figuratively speaking. 

Literally they aren't going anyplace.


Suppose ten years down the line, they have another referendum, as they are promising that they will, and that time, the unthinkable happens.


What are we going to do?

Send in the army?

Put tanks on the streets of Montreal?
I can't imagine anyone wanting that.


We need to get over our hurt feelings. 

If they decide to go, so be it.

And, my sorrowful, somewhat bitter friends,
that means making sure that they are financially able to manage independence. 


I wish I cared more.

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Grave Faces IX

Time has turned a mass produced painted statue of the Holy Mother into an extraordinary image of endurance.


She might not open her eyes and shake her fist at Heaven shouting, "As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again!" like Scarlet O'Hara in Gone With the Wind

but she will persevere.

As women have done all through history.



I've taken her picture before, but when I came across this angel a few days ago I was once again was struck by her delicate beauty.

But how strong the angels are.

To remain immobile, praying for all eternity.

There is something jaunty about this young fellow.

He's all decked out in a bright ribbon and he's playing a happy song.

I hear him playing the old Shaker hymn, "I Am the Lord of the Dance".


Dance, dance, wherever you may be
I am the lord of the dance, said he
And I lead you all, wherever you may be
And I lead you all in the dance, said he.

This is not an angel.

It is a little girl.

She is smiling to herself remembering some happy moment that she shared with the person whose grave she is tending.

In a moment she will lean down and place the roses by the headstone.

No grief here, just love.

As soon as I spotted this tiny angel I reached down to brush the weeds away and as you can see from the look on her face I woke her up.




Grief doesn't appear to be something that goes away. 

Even after we've trained our minds to think of other things, there's a layer of sorrow beneath the surface of every thought, every action. 


But like the tiny angel above I feel as if I am waking up after a difficult year.


I'll leave you with this version of "Lord of the Dance".



Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Ghosts of 1812 Walk Among Us


Some people believe that when a traumatic event happens
it sends ripples into time
the way a stone dropped into water
sends ripples in all directions.

They believe that is why some people know about a future event
before it happens and
why other people see ghosts from the past.


War is a traumatic event.
It certainly rocked Niagara 200 years ago.

And maybe it's because 2012 is the bicentennial of the War of 1812
that so many spirits of the people
who lived though it
and are buried in Victoria Lawn Cemetery in St. Catharines, 
have been walking  lately.


Last night someone reported seeing a journalist

from the 1912 St. Catharines Daily Standard
interviewing a local militia man from 1812.

Others insist the journalist was talking to an officer.

I personally witnessed a woman in a mob hat 
holding up her lantern and peering at the names on each tombstone.
I listened to her tell stories of the cruel
war and occupation of Niagara
from a woman's perspective


and I saw a boy,

actually the youngest person to serve in the War of 1812

sleeping under a tree.

Such stories of 1812 he told when he was awakened!

Everyone who was in the cemetery last night

was astonished by these unusual goings on.

The spirits however, 

being Canadian,

politely bade us farewell at the cemetery gates.

But they promised they'll be back!

 And you can see them on the

Victoria Lawn Cemetery
Guided Spirit Walk

Sept. 8.  5 and 7 pm
Sept. 14,  7pm
Sept. 15, 5 and 7 pm

by registration only

905-984-8880 (St. Catharines Museum)
$8 per person
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