Sunday, May 12, 2013

Here I am sitting in my lift and toss - me - out chair in Montreal. This exercise is called "prime the pump" since I have lost the habit of contributing to this old man's biography.  I have had lots of encouragement from the best people in the world.  Catherine just sits me down, reregisters me in my blog spot and puts a picture of me up on the screen, and says, "Type two words so we can check that you can really get into your e-mail and will have limbered up your fingers enough to tell a bit of what is going on."

It has been a lovely Mother's day, starting with a great celebration among church friends and family, followed by Happy Mother's Day phone calls to the daughters and daughters-in-law, and by Happy Birthday calls to the clustered May family group: Richard, Arta, Alex.

There will now be a temporary pause.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

my Life at the Shuswap - Part 2

Befor I continue this saga of love and Marriage, let me highlight this day which Arta initiated by laying out some chores while I still lay in bed thinking about getting up. Re-attach the handrails removed and repainted yesterday; get my new glasses; do my daily assignent of blogging my memoirs; go to supper at Mirandas. All have been attended to and I am now doing my Blogging. As I got set up to blog I ran across Richards last post to Larch Haven. That was just great, especially the pictures: Grandpa Miles Johnson worked on the rigs when they were drilling the Taber Oil fields. Drove an old madel A Ford Pickup with a passenger cabin on the back for fellow rig helpers. They didnt do any dietional drilling in those days however. I learned so much from your post Rich that I had not had explained to me before. Thanks for sharing!

As I was eating my breakfast before doing my chores I watches a TV show about icebreakers. It turned out to be one that dealt with the northwestern Arctic where I cooked for geologists and airport builders. Since I ended part one of my blog in this very same part of the arctic - Inuvik and Sachs Harbour - I excused myself for taking an hour watching it since it was a pefect way to re-enthuse myself for today's blogging chore. As Arta drove me to the optometrists to take care of my "glasses", I told her how much the documentary on the Arctic had enthused me about my blog for the day; she mentioned that today's Globe and Mail had an article on the arctic, and I promised to read it. I did; it was a brief essay called "The Arctic imprints itself on your Heart." I loved it so much that I was willing to type the whole thing into my blog for everyone to enjoy: it was so beautifully expressive of my own experience. Arta wisely said write your own essay, so I will just refer to it as published on August 13, 2011 page T4, Written by David P Silcox.

I had a wonderfull visit with Chris, Joan, Andrew and Miranda, but especially with Chris who shared so many touching experiences of his life, and I can see why Richard loves to go hunting with him: what a wonderfully genuine person he is.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Life at the Shuswap

Life for Mormons is inextricably connected with the concept of Eternal Life. I spent the first thirty years of my mortal life with the myth embodied in the Mormon classic tale called “Added Upon” as the guide for how to look for a wife. I looked hard and prayed hard but seemed unsuccessful for the most part. I had a friend Kenneth Anderson who also took a long time to find his soul mate. He told my mother that he was looking for the perfect woman. Mother’s rejoinder was, “What if when you find her, she is looking for the perfect man?” Well, I thought, Ken was as perfect as mortals can get. That kept me quiet in such discussions lest Mother might ask me what was taking me so long.

When I met Arta I knew that she was as perfect as women get, and the last fifty years have verified that opinion. But they have also taught me the grim answer to my mothers question. It is terrifying to have your imperfections found out by the best because her virtues strip you of pretense and leave you face to face with the shallowness of your own character. You can’t go back and do it all over again: that is not the way reality unfolds. If, on the other hand, life were a Broadway Play, an actor could humbly say, “Tomorrow is another performance: I’ll do better.” And that is a hope that requires a long run in the Theater to nourish it. For Mormons, that nourishment is called the doctrine of the Atonement, and coupled with it the sobering truth: you must endure to the end …. of the theater run.

When I fell in love, I thought that this will be forever, and so we were married in the temple for all eternity; but to me the phrase “for time” was only a theological chastisement of non-Mormon outsiders. The reality, it turns out, is that “time” is the only part of immortality that we will ever know: knowing is the essence of now; but immortality is promised to all, good bad or indifferent. The ideal “now,” that is the desired reality of being married, is for two knowing time travellers to be intent on making their “now” eternal, that is, Godly. Furthermore, the success of the play is a joint venture. For many it takes hard work and a long theatre run to achieve the knowing that is a group’s best achievement.

Falling in love with Arta brought with it life that was centered in the Shuswap. It began shortly after we met. I went to the arctic for the summer, and she went to camp with her family at the lake. She spent much of that time in the rain, and I spent it in the nightless days of northern light.

End Part One

The retirement Grande Tour

I have so many memories of life at the lake, the Shuswap of course. When I retired from teaching, I travelled down East to visit my daughters. Spent time first in Ottawa, becoming a new Canadian. I was baptised into the feeling of being at the center of a great country. Wyona and Greg were so hospitable. I had rented a car to drive to Ottawa and on to Montreal. On my way I was able to stop in Kingston to visit with our friends Spring and Clyde Foresberg. Then it was off to see Cath and Eric. I had been to Montreal earlier on one of my trips to the Arctic, to Resolute Bay, I believe, to cook for a geological exploration company. In any event, this visit was fun because it was with family. I remember Catherine taking me down town. We saw the oldest part of the city and its churches. Walked the cobblestone streets, visited the huge cathedral on the top of Mount Royal, and sampled some of the famous French cuisines, French fries and gravy—poutine if I remember, and of course those tourist’s staple, the beef sandwitches at that little cafĂ©.

From Montreal by airplane it was off to Fredericon New Brunswick to visit Steve and Rebecca and Alex, whose idylic childhood and surprising ingenuity filled our lives with laughter. Of course he was our first grandson, and his mother’s letters had been full of the amazing events told in the most delightful style of a great writer, his hiding in the cupboards and popping out to surprise his mother just to mention one. Rebecca’s tours of the oldest university in Canada and sitting in the desks once warmed by founding fathers who carved their names thereon. One of the highlight was to go with Rebecca to a meeting of an Native Indian band who were protesting the violation of one of their grave yards. It was chaired by a native lawyer who was so brilliant . These were a tribe of Indians who were here when the first Europeans almost starved to death, saved by the natives who taught them how to live in this new world. How connected I felt having just had my Canadian Idenity confirmed in Ottawa, and connected to Elizabethan culture and Shakespeare through university studies in English Literature. Here I was with a people who saw the beginings of Canada, and in a place where European Empire building got such an early toe-hold. How proud I was that Rebecca was able to start her career in such a place.

My last flight was of to the heart and head-ache land of early Mormon history: Kansas City Missouri where Bonnie was doing her Doctors Degree in Child Language Development. It was an unexpected surprise to find myself there. I had read the history of the persecutions of my great grand parents and the Prophet Joseph and his early Restoration band of pioneers, but I had never grounded it in geography. I found my self going to Independence where the Centre Stake of Zion was to be. Visiting the Reorganized Church’s temple, reading the extermination order of Governor Boggs, and a copy of the appology of the current Governor to the reorganized Mormons for the injustices the state had perpetrated on the Mormons. Bonnie let me make trips to famous spots. To the dungeon where the Prophet spent the winter, and penned some of the most moving passages in the D. & C. A visitor’s centre had been built around the dungeon. A senior Misionary couple were hosting. I had an informative visit about the political events. The elderly gentleman had worked for ZCMI, had worked closely with many of the General Authorities, and gave an excellent analysis of early American history. I thought of the printing press that the Missouri mobs destroyed. It seemed ironic that printing presses became a kind of liet motif of Mormon history, and keeping records a preoccupation of Mormon practice.

Visits with Bonnie and her friends were intereting. Her boyfriend at the time invited us to have dinner with his mother. Some other friends also came. In conversation with one friendly chap of whom I wondered how long his people had lived in this area. “We’ve lived here for many generations,” he cheerfully noted. “Then some of them were here when the Mormons were being chased around in these woods?” “Yes,” he proudly replied, “We helped encourage them to keep moving West.” What a nice light touch there was to his history.

Friday, July 22, 2011

reconnection experience

I awoke this morning to Rebecca's first use of her London telephone. Flailing around for my new phone I at first thought it was Sharon. However R's high level of enthusiasm made me say: (to Sharon) You are sure high! After R's denial that she was not on drugs, I recognized her voice and then we had a good laugh and a wondeful report on her new phone and beating Steve to its first use. Her updated report on starting her London Blog and helping Duncan do his first blog, was so interesting that I had to get up and get to my computer(?). What a wonderful read I had, both of Arta's blogs, and of Duncan's and Rebecca's blogs.

In my efforts to do my second blog of this new series, I mostly just discovered how much review and additional tutoring I need from DP. So now, having practiced a little more, I am going to get some breakfast and organize the coming week.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Back to the land of the Bloggers

Thanks to Doral and the inspiraion of Arta's and Bonnie's posts, I have committed my self to doing some blogging tonight, if not some every day from now on. Thanks for directing my attention to your latest blogs, and your posting of Elizabeth Davies' lovely post about your parents. I was so thrilled with the way her memories jogged mine and I was flooded with memories of our youth together, and our memories of raising our family in those happiness-packed times at the lake.

Moti came home from his lab about 8:oo and we have spent a couple of hours visiting and having our "appetiser" (ice-cream) before Moti was to go up stairs and make his main course. He kept putting it off by saying he needed another appetiser to increase his appetite. When he finally went up he had decided it was bed time, and that he was too tired to deal with the entre.

This whole evening began with my reading your blog Bonnie and writing a comment. I couldn't get it posted, had to call Doral to help me figure out what I had done wrong, and D and I spent an hour in tutorial. My profuse gratitude turned into a trap. Sticking my neck out like that found it in a noose, which Doral smartly tightened into, "You can repay me by writing in your blog tonight before going to bed." Moti offered to type for me but I told him to take another"appetizer" and go to bed. I didn't think that his typing was what Doral's contract entailed.

Your cure for the problem we Started with hadn't worked so Moti showed me how to solve it another way and left me to do my chores honestly.

I love the writing of all my children, but today especially yours Bonnie. Thank you!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

How I got my first harmonica

Thomas asked me how I got my first harmonica when I came to visit him in August 2010.

Catherine ran the video machine while I talked.

The story begins.

The story continues.

The end of the story.