Flossie at School
– Alden Nowlan
Five laths in a cotton dress
was christened Flossie
and learned how to cry,
her eyes like wet daisies
behind thick glasses.
She was six grades ahead of me
and wore bangs; the big boys
called her “The Martian,”
they snowballed her home,
splashed her with their bicycles,
left horse dung in her coat pockets.
She jerked when anyone spoke to her,
and when I was ten
I caught up with her one day
on the way home from school,
and said, Flossie I really like you
but don’t let the other kids know I told you,
they’d pick on me, but I do like you,
I really do, but don’t tell anybody.
And afterwards I was ashamed
for crying when she cried.
For more about Alden Nowlan, click here.
Alison’s Facebook page.
Photograph by Dave Vanderkop
Photo by Dave.
This is the view from the balcony in Vernassa, Cinque Terre, Italy. The little restaurant below is called Ristorante Gambero Rosso which you can see if you really squint your eyes and focus carefully on the awning. It serves amazing stuffed mussels and delicious local wine. We stood under their awning watching the craziest thunder and lightning storm until we decided to go in and enjoy their hospitality.They even helped us find a room on a dark and rainy Sunday night.
Picture by Dave.
Photograph by Dave Vanderkop
On Dollarton Highway in North Vancouver there’s a beautiful, rustic little chapel. Every day I look at it and feel transported to another time. It helps me breath a sigh of relief when I come over the bridge from work to my quiet little part of the world near the water. It’s small white self feels like the centre of another time and it signals to me “I am home”. I asked Dave to take a photo of it and he asked whether I preferred the black and white version or the colour one. Truthfully, the difference in colour renders the picture in such a different way, it’s hard to say. Thanks to Dave here is a picture of my little chapel – both in black & white and colour.
Church on Dollarton Hwy – North Vancouver
Johnny & Tessa
I had been counting down the days at work. “One more month.” I would scream from my office. “Two and half weeks. That’s 14 phone calls and several texts.” “Guess what? Now 19 more hours.” “Until what?” they finally asked. “Until my brother and his wife come.” “That’s it?”they asked. “Yes, that’s it.” “Awww.” I heard my one co-worker say. I couldn’t tell if he was charmed or disturbed. But my excitement was (is real). You see, my brother and his family live on the other side of the country. And even though we manage to talk a few times a week, the day to day living that closely knits relationships together is absent.
And I feel that absence. I always have even though I chose to live on the opposite side of the country. It’s what I refer to as the ‘hole’ in my existence. But we work hard at knitting closeness over distance. And it is ok because we have a natural affinity for closeness. For the knowingness of each other – our foibles, our loves, our idiosyncrasies – how each of us is a part of the other – in looks – in memory – in tastes – in family culture. It’s like fitting into a puzzle.
It’s fair to say that my anticipation is equal to the sadness I know I will feel when it all ends. On the first day of our visit we went to a pub and Dave was explaining that I was already incredibly sad at having to say goodbye – at which my sister-in-law exclaimed ‘No?!” (likely with some alarm). And like an actress on set, I said “YES” and the inevitable march towards tears began as if on cue. But I managed to stop (mainly because I was told to:) but also because I didn’t want to ruin the vacation by not completely enjoying the moment – the kind of moment I wish I could have much more of.
That was the start of a two week vacation that melted the years and the distance away. Great friendships with brothers and old girlfriends (my brother married my best friend from high school) don’t fade away. They just need to be tended to once in awhile. And that’s what we did. We laughed, sang, (drank), danced our asses off, napped, read, ate like kings, giggled and took everything that life had to offer.
Was I sad when my brother and Alison left? Yes. Did I cry? Yes. But something happened that I didn’t expect. And that is that our visit made me feel hopeful – like the four of us have many more adventures in us and for that I am thankful.
The fine picture attached was taken by Dave who caught almost all of the best moments with his incredible eye for life.