Where are you Craig First Rider?

We had just stepped out of the M. C. Escher exhibit and Buzz Elroy was entertaining the crowd down at the Olympic Plaza. It was the weekend for the 6th Annual Spaghetti Western Festival. Sitting under the awning, the three of us were just taking in the goings-on when I was certain I recognized a man, dressed in First Nations dance regalia.  I spoke out loud to my friends, “I think that’s a former student of Holy Cross, Craig First Rider.”

Sure enough, once introduced by the MC, I heard his name.

I met Craig back in the days when I taught at Holy Cross School in Calgary.  I saw him as a young boy, dancing the Fancy Dance for our school population and community.  I was big on coordinating huge festivals in the day, given our huge multicultural population.

When I met him down at Calgary’s sixth annual Spaghetti Western Festival, I was in awe of the man he has become and impressed that he has now danced for over 35 years.  This was a fantastic addition to Calgary’s Spaghetti Western Festival and we enjoyed three demonstrations after Maddison Krebs (excellent and very entertaining for a sixteen year old) and Buzz Elroy (dawning a great hat) and before Angela Harris.

I’m very proud of you, Craig and hope that we can speak again and I can be updated on your accomplishments over the years.

 

Craig First Rider and Keegan Buffalo

Craig First Rider and Keegan Buffalo

Craig First Rider

Craig First Rider

Craig First Rider and Keegan and Kasha Buffalo

Craig First Rider and Keegan and Kasha Buffalo

 

 

1979

You Are My Sister

My sister defended her comprehensive papers this morning…this part is done…now forward she goes.  I’m proud of you and love you.

You are My Sister
by Antony and the Johnsons

You are my sister, we were born
So innocent, so full of need
There were times we were friends but times I was so cruel
Each night I’d ask for you to watch me as I sleep
I was so afraid of the night
You seemed to move through the places that I feared
You lived inside my world so softly
Protected only by the kindness of your nature
You are my sister
And I love you
May all of your dreams come true
We felt so differently then
So similar over the years
The way we laugh the way we experience pain
So many memories
But theres nothing left to gain from remembering
Faces and worlds that no one else will ever know
You are my sister
And I love you
May all of your dreams come true
I want this for you
They’re gonna come true (gonna come true)

Oh, Canada!

Mom and Dad

There we were, traveling late on the highway, white lines racing hypnotically toward us.  My chin leaned on the back seat of the station wagon, a burgundy Rambler, as I lay stretched in hot dog fashion alongside the oldest and youngest, in the back.  My parents voices were a hush.  Every now and then there was the sound of my father humming a few notes of this or that song, usually melodic at this hour, better to keep everyone calm and quiet.

I have no recollections beyond that and the sound of the windshield wipers in the dark…then sleep.

In the morning, we met another landscape.  I don’t remember ever seeing a sky so open or so welcoming.  Honestly, there was a huge purple canopy stretched over that sky.  There was the threat of rain.  At this point, it seemed the miles flew by; there was a wild energy in the air and yet, we remained still and calm.  When we saw what rose up off the horizon, it seemed an alien world.

Dad, with voice cracking, said, “Kids, there they are!”

We had no notion of what he might be talking about until we scanned every portion of the landscape stretched out before us.  And then I saw them and my eyes opened wider than ever before!  I called out, “THE MOUNTAINS!”  Mauve, deep violet, edging the entire world, I saw the Rockies for the first time.

My brothers, in unison, called out, “We are close to Grandpa’s!  We are almost there!”

I love those same mountains this morning…those set out for me on the horizon!  What an awesome thing, to have been born Canadian and to be given the opportunity to love this country…to have been the daughter of a man who would have given everything in defense of this everything that I love!