Sunday, May 5, 2013

Fundy Library Region Book Sale

One of the great things about living in Saint John is the ability to add to my collection of Nova Scotia related items inexpensively.  Nobody here seems to want Nova Scotia stuff.  May 3rd and 4th marks the Fundy Library Region's 26th annual book sale and I stopped by after closing the studio Friday evening.

I am already enjoying one of my finds - A Basket of Apples: Recollections of Historic Nova Scotia, a reminiscent hard cover with choice photos.  Harry Bruce provides the musings while Chic Harris shows his photography skills, and both are excellent so far.

The inscription on the first page sold me though, "To Dad, Top o' the morning to you.  Love Josie, Randy & Jon.  March 17, 1983," written in blue ballpoint with clean, plain, round feminine letters.  I'm guessing Josie wrote this.  Perhaps dad was from Nova Scotia and had moved here, to the most Irish city in Canada, and started a family and this book caught Josie's eye in a book store back in 1983.

Yesterday's adventures also included a dreaded, but necessary trip to the emergency department.  Thankfully, we were in and out quickly, but with a couple prescriptions to fill, so we headed for the only pharmacy we knew was open after 9pm, albeit only to 10pm.

While waiting for Holly's drugs, I took my blood pressure then browsed the aisles for sales.  After finding a big 100g  chocolate bar on sale for $1.39, with a dollar off coupon attached - a 39¢ bar of chocolate! - I checked the price for low dose aspirin.

Turning the corner, there was only one other person in the aisle, a small boy - looking intently at the assortment of pain killers.  He was sturdy - not fat - with short dark hair and dark features and didn't seem to come up to my waste in height.  Seeing nothing on sale, I noticed in my peripheral vision that he had turned to look at me, staring without reservation the way only small children can.

"I saw you at the hospital," he stated confidently when he saw I took notice of him.

"You did?" I replied, smiling, trying to generate some degree of interest in the tone of my voice, still working on getting through a long day.

"I had to see the doctor and get some medicine for my ear," he told me, pointing out the hospital bracelet around his wrist.

"Well, I'm glad you'll be feeling better soon," I told him, and as I headed back toward the pharmacy counter I recognized his mother speaking with the pharmacist.  She seemed young, but a little more pulled together than most young mothers that can be found at the hospital so often.

"He's 41 or 42 pounds," she responded to the druggist's inquiry, looking back to see that her son had returned from his foray.

Life doesn't always happened as planned, but gems can be found when you need to detour.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Cardinal

You silently requested a cardinal
So many years ago, so it came.
I heard you and, as soon as you were ready, I came.
I listened.  And for as long as you recognize that,
You'll see cardinals and robins and jays.

When I was little - we're talking seven or eight - I wanted a desk.  A big, wooden desk, not unlike the one my teacher sat behind.  One day I came home from school to find one in the spare bedroom that my father had adopted from the Power Commission.  It was huge and heavy, solidly constructed of oak, just like those desks you see people giving away online or for cheap prices at used furniture stores because they weigh too much to move.  I loved it.  Not long after it was left behind because it was too big for the truck carrying our fleeing family to Halifax.  I cried for many losses that day.

My favourite colour has always been red - excepting a brief flirtation with pink when I was just learning the subtleties of childhood rebellion.  I asked my mother to make me red pants when I was little, and she did.  I coloured dinosaurs red, until I was told they should be brown or grey.  I tried to make the Montreal Canadiens my favourite team because I loved the way the uniforms popped on the hockey cards I collected - I couldn't do it though, there's no reasonable justification for liking that team, even for a six year old.

I noticed, really noticed, my first blue jay when I was a young adult and stood outside the apartment building door marveling at the colour.  It wasn't brown or grey or white.  It was spectacular.  Then I wondered why there aren't red birds.  The orange on a robin is wonderful, but they are often so haggled looking, having braved a Maritime winter and orange isn't red.  Why weren't there cardinals in Nova Scotia?  I supposed cardinals only lived in exotic locales, such as St. Louis.

In 2010 I met my soul mate, someone I've been looking for, knowing full well she existed somewhere, since I was born and it wasn't long after that I moved to Saint John.  One day, while standing at the kitchen window doing the dishes, a chore with whom I have a strange relationship, I saw red in the tree.  There was my cardinal.  He had a mate.

I hadn't seen this pair for a couple weeks, they seemed to have been replaced by robins, but this morning I noticed the missus as she coquetted shamelessly with the tiny window on our neighbour's garage, a behaviour she has become known for, as her man waited patiently nearby.  I was glad to see them.

In the animal world, I have learned, red is a dangerous colour.  It is actually a defense.  It warns predators that this is not a meal that will sit well if digested.  I wonder how this applies to my attraction to this chroma.

Now I know that if I truly want something, it will come.  When I'm ready to see that I really do want it, it will be there for me.  And, as long as I know this, it will stay for as long as I need.  I have always wanted a Canadian 1921 five cent piece, but with my newfound knowledge, I think I'll aim even higher.