It was a magical thing to be a guest teacher where David Bouchard was doing an author’s presentation for the students at Cardinal Newman School here in Calgary. As a classroom teacher for 35 years, I had a love for books that contain life lessons and that hold the narratives of ordinary people. I wasn’t very satisfied with the movies I captured on my small camera, given that his presentation took place in a gymnasium. However, here at home, I’ve discovered some clear and representative videos.
David Bouchard’s short biography is available on his extensive website and most of David’s titles are listed here. We received two stories yesterday morning, Rainbow Raven and Papa Lost His Lucky. Amazing stuff.
I treasure listening to stories…always have. A polished presentation, David’s stories captivated the very young audience seated before him and they contained rich histories for the adults in the room as well.
My Auntie Ruth is a force not to be reckoned with! She is a very strong woman who has a sharp memory and a very particular type of wit. Ruth holds strong opinions about most things (it runs in the family) and articulates them with emotion and power. A woman who puts family first, she loved spending extended periods of time in both Peace River and New Zealand. With fondness, she talks about branches of her/our family who are separated by a huge physical distance as though they could not possibly be held any closer in her heart.
This week she shared some of her narratives and I treasured every moment of the time we spent together. As I delved deeper into the paternal side of my family history, I wanted to hear, first hand, the recollections of two of the matriarchs of the family, my Auntie Ruth and Auntie Eleanor. It is with great fondness that I recall visits out west while my own military-family seemed to be, every couple of years, on an east-west migration. Auntie Ruth and her family were a big part of what it meant to be ‘a Moors’.
Many hours were spent in friendship and family…teasing one another…complaining…and typically, exploding into laughter. I am so happy for the previous interviews that my second cousin, Danielle, has worked on and the beautiful family album that contributed so much to our chats early in the week. Several of these photographs are borrowed from this treasured resource.
St. Mary’s Dam…Ruth swimming with friends…
Family Reunion St. Mary’s Dam…cousin, Linda in foreground…Gramma Florence Elliott Moors with her back to us, likely late 1960s. My own mother’s face, just slightly above Linda’s arm…
I am so grateful for our conversations, dear Ruth…and look forward to connecting some of these narratives with the research I have already documented. I love you.
A portrait that I painted for Auntie on her 90th birthday appears at the bottom of this post.
Ted blessed us with his music…with his art…and with his life. He was such a huge support to me. He was such a huge person. He was not timid about the way he lived his life. While I consider a few very special female artists…Bev Tosh, Joane Cardinal Schubert and most especially, Laurel Cormack, to be my mentors…Ted was my Einstein. He was so generous with his wisdom about making art, shipping art…sharing good music in his studio…laughing through a gregarious conversation at an opening…offering advice about pretty much everything. Ted blessed us with a very long history of Canadian art that will resonate with us always.
I recommend Ted’s books. I received my copy of Lower Bow: A Celebration Of Wilderness, Art and Fishing at the Canadian Art Galleries opening of The Lower Bow exhibit in March of 1992. Reading that book, changed my way of thinking about life and death as he described his visits with his family on the river. I never saw the river in quite the same way. In fact, his passing this morning, has inspired the Christmas card that I have not yet sent. It is almost as though I have waited for that inspiration.
We will miss you, Ted.
Photo Credit : Museum of Contemporary Art Calgary (MOCA Calgary)
I think that the last time I feasted my eyes upon William Kurelek work was when I entered the St. Thomas More College chapel on campus in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I was so overwhelmed by the exquisite detail and the content of the work that I could do nothing but stand still and take it all in. Because of lighting, photography wasn’t an option…but, I will do my best to locate other writers/visitors who might have succeeded. In the end, I located an image here.
Brigid More writes…William Kurelek was struck with inspiration by the chapel itself. “He walked in and said: ‘I’d like to paint that wall,’ ” says Sanche. The Basilian Fathers had raised funds to commission an artwork from the painter, but had not enough to pay for a mural of those proportions. Kurelek offered instead to paint as a donation, provided that the funds raised be sent to a mission in India. At that time, the Basilian Fathers lived at the college, and Kurelek, through the two weeks that he worked on the mural, stayed as their guest, fasting and attending mass every morning.
1976 Photograph of Mural in St. Thomas More/ Saskatoon
I retrieved a photograph of this Kurelek self-portrait from Archbishop Terry’s blog. I am particularly fond of this one because of my own interest in ephemera. Kurelek is surrounded by some of the bits that meant something to him in life.
This past weekend I decided to drive up to Forestburg to spend time with my dear friend, Bill Webb. Heading up, I wandered north and east for miles on various Range roads and enjoyed the serendipitous events that took place along those roads. For example, I stopped the van and watched a rancher’s wife chase a skipping brown calf the entire length of a fence, in order to return it to its mother who was bawling on the other side of the fence. A three hour drive easily transformed into five hours. I had a plate of homemade liver and onions in the small hamlet of Trochu and explored an extensive collection in their historical museum. What a tremendous resource. Their archives are exquisite! So, doddle, I DID! And what fun! Arriving at the W.H.Webb studio, just outside of Forestburg, I then took in the beauty of air and light, friendship and conversation. There is nothing better than sipping a glass of french wine…or a morning coffee…while gazing out at the horizon. The only sounds; frogs in the creek…birds…and the seeders driving up and down their long rows for miles. I felt as though I had stepped into a Kurelek painting.
I am so grateful for the time away from the city…reading, reflecting, sketching and playing with Max. He definitely loved being on the farm!
The following image was collected from the Salt and Light blog. The author explores connections between the scripture found in Matthew 14:13-21 and what life must have been like for the missionaries out on the open Canadian prairies. It is definitely an interesting comparison.
So, another trip is in the works. We grew up making this trip on Mom and Dad’s airforce-moves and there is something absolutely magical about revisiting that west->east migration. The artist Rene Derouin has been captivated by a lifetime migration north^south, from his home along the St. Lawrence River to Mexico City and back again. (I LOVE HIS WORK !) My life journey, the one that comes naturally to me, has been west ->east and west again. Not many will tell you that they love the Trans Canada highway, but for me, it’s a beautiful place. Every province offers its particular beauty.
I’ve decided to share the planning of this journey because ultimately the writing and research will get me excited. And I AM truly excited! I will be minimalist camping, as per usual and am seeking out new and wonderful places to see along the way. Two years ago, departing from Raymond, Alberta, I made it to Buffalo Pound Provincial Park, just north of Moose Jaw, for my first night. It was exquisite and nothing could be better than the grilled chicken and fresh vegetables my daughter prepared for us, while we sipped on cold Coronas!
So, this summer, the first leg of the journey will be Calgary to Moose Jaw OR beyond. I had earlier invited your thoughts and suggestions, but of course I’ve just realized that you don’t read this blog, so this is really for me to explore alone. Alright…a few minutes of searching the web! Gillian, your thoughts about your husband’s thoughts on blogging were ‘magical’! I’m still wearing a smile over it!