Archive for the ‘Creative Writing’ Category

My Hair

When I was a child, my hair was long
My mother made braids, tight and strong.
My hair was straight and really quite dark,
Those two braids were my trademark.

But after grade six, my hair was shorn;
And then how would those locks ever be worn?
Off to the beauty parlor I went for a perm
Under the wires and heat I did squirm.
How I wished for hair that was curly,
Not needing a perm once or twice yearly!

In high school I did pin curls; I fought with my hair
I longed for a ’do that really had flair;
But straight and fine was ever my lot,
Whatever I wanted, it was not what I got.

When motherhood came I had no time for curls
But still wanting to be one of the girls
I had hairdos on Saturdays every week
My hair was expensive but ever so sleek!
I slept in a hairnet and never got messed;
If caught in a rainstorm I was ever so fussed.

Then came the 70s and tight fuzzy perms.
My afros were kinky, purchased and firm
They gave me the Brillo award for my tresses
So then I decided, “enough of these messes.”
I’d probably curled my locks to excesses,
It was time to quit all these salon processes.

So I gradually cut my hair to the bone
Grew out its colour, and as I had known
My grey hair appeared in numbers profuse.
Now my locks see only gel or some mousse.
My hair has always been the bane of my life
At last I’m relaxed: goodbye to “hair strife!”

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We make this family recipe only once a year, for Christmas.
Cookies are rich, “short” and delicious!

2012: Alas, I can’t make them this year (no oven!) but if I am lucky, a daughter will make them.



1 lb of butter
⅓ cup of lard
1¼ cup fruit or white sugar
about 4 cups of bread (regular) flour
¾ cup rice flour

Cream softened butter and lard (do not use food processor; but a mixmaster is OK; I prefer to mix by hand)
Add sugar gradually
Add mixed flour
Mix and knead as bread
Roll out ⅓ ” thick
Cut with cookie cutters (bells, Christmas trees, wreaths) and decorate (coloured sugar, silver balls known as dragées or dragoons)
Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes until very pale yellow.

Then hide them, or they will grow legs and walk away (two-legged “mice” in the cookie tin)

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – — –
It’s the lard and the rice flour that make these shortbreads really ‘short’ and tasting better than any shortbread you have ever eaten.
This recipe makes approx. 60 cookies, depending on the size of the cookies that you bake.
Unbaked dough can be refrigerated a few days, or may also be saved as a roll and frozen.
Just make sure that if it is chilled or frozen, you let it warm to room temperature before you roll out the dough.
A chilled roll may be sliced into cookies (similar to “refrigerator cookies.”) They will taste great, but won’t look as festive.

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We make our first visit of the year to the lake in spring. There’s always a thrill to getting back to the lake after the long winter’s absence, and we smell the lake before we see it. Before the gravel road deposits us in the lodge parking lot, we are sniffing the wonderful watery smell, and reveling in the scent of green growing things. The children race from the car to the water’s edge, testing the frigid water. The lake is awakening from the long winter’s dormancy, and in the forest which marches down to the shore, the returning songbirds are everywhere.

In midsummer, our holiday at the lodge centres upon the lake. We spend long hours either in it or on it.  A quiet paddle to the creek at the head of the lake may reward the adventuresome with a glimpse of the moose family. Coming back down the lake, gently floating in the canoe, quietly listening to the far-off cries of swimmers at the dock, we are peace with the lake. Suddenly a loon pops up beside the canoe: it’s a perfect Canadian moment

Early morning at the lodge

A favourite time to savour the lake is after supper, watching the sun set as we drink coffee on the porch. Canoes slip silently along the shore, as the vacationers take the evening air.

There’s a thrilling show over the lake every August. To witness the Perseid meteor shower with the children, we dress up in warm clothes, and go down to lie on the dock. We marvel at the Milky Way reflected in the midnight lake. Bundled up in blankets against the chilly August night, we see the shooting stars, and hear the call of the loon….the children never forget this moment. Later, there is loon laughter in the dark as we lie in bed, sensing that exciting combination of the unknown north just beyond our cozy bedroom wall.

A return visit to the lake in fall rewards us with a show of colour. Our lake is surrounded with blazing hardwood trees during the height of the autumn season. During the day, we drift quietly in the canoe. The loons have migrated now, and the lake is silent in the golden October light.

"The lake is smoking"

As darkness falls, the lake throws off clouds of steam in the autumn dusk. The cook comes down the path, heading for the kitchen: “The lake is smoking,” he observes, and so it is. The lake is getting ready for winter. Soon no human voice will be heard across its frozen expanse. Later, in the city, we sleep and dream of the lake in summer, of canoes and loons, and of swimming freely in the dark brown water.

©2010 spikeymom@gmail.com

Photos courtesy of Beach Command Post, ©2010

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Slipping sideways along the shore
We silently stalk a loon.
Whispering pines slide by,
Speaking of wildflowers.

Gold and russet, yellow and sere,
Autumn leaves drift gently
In the September noon.
Sweet wood smoke hangs in the air.

Sudden in the fading sunshine
Comes a visitor to the water’s edge.
Slowly lumbering into the lake,
Moose takes his territory.

Wordlessly we admire
His gangly beauty; then
Rewarded, well satisfied,
We skim the calm waters home.

©1998 spikeymom@gmail.com

Photo courtesy of Beach Command Post, ©2010

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