An uneasy wish list

With my 50th birthday approaching on 18 November, I’ve had some notes from folks asking what I might like as a gift.  This is always a difficult thing for me, so I put some thought into it.
I mean, heck, come to the art show – there, that’s a gift to me.
Be my friends.  Love me, love each other, be kind, all those things.

So rather than making a specific list, I thought I’d put some places I love to shop and I’d enjoy having a gift certificate to them.  As many of you know, being a disabled poet and funeral celebrant doesn’t leave one wealthy beyond all measure of avarice, so gift certificates are like gold to me.  I’m famously careful about using them, but once I get into it, I find it a pretty simply job.

A friend gave me a wonderful gift certificate to Chapters/Indigo last Christmas, and of course their stores are like a toy-filled Christmas dreams for a geeky adult like me.  When I needed a new book for my funeral notes and services, it was great to be able to show up, pick the one I love, and buy it without worrying, “Will there be enough in the ol’ account (or overdraft)?” And inside my new book I put, “Bought with a gift certificate from Pat Johnson, 2017.”  The book before that says, “A gift from Shirley and John Naismith.”

I’ve always liked to notate such things when possible.  Mom had a great memory for, “This was Uncle Jimmy’s plate that he bought Grandma before he left for WWI.”  He never came home, so the plate is much treasured.  So I’ve learned to put a story to many things.

Now, as I find my brain failing me sometimes, I keep a list of things and stories when and where I can.  It helps me.

I tried to put as few big businessesses on the list, because I believe in small businesses and artisans and those kinds of things.  On the list is the privately owned Bulk Warehouse on Plains Rd in Burlington, but I also included the Bulk Barn, which I love.  You know, one tries to do one’s best but in the end, when you need Big Feet and fancy liquorice allsorts, you  need ’em, or I do.

Joanne and I
Joanne Babcock and Paul Chappel at a party held in my honour, September 2016

Thank you for the love you all share with me every day, my dear ones. x

Art Show Open House & Party

The fifth of November we’ll have an open house for my third solo show at St. James in Dundas, but this open house has a twist; we’re also celebrating my 50th birthday. So I hope lots of  new and old friends will come and visit with us, take some time to enjoy the energetic and very artistic feel of the church, and also have some fun.  Laughter is of course always welcome.

The art show will include photographs printed on paper and on canvas, and other pieces including a six-piece set made of wire, minerals, and beads.  To be honest, I’m still working on this one, so I’m trying to buckle down on it.  Two of the six are totally finished and the other four are well more than half way done.

I’m very excited about all of this and am so looking forward to seeing all of you who can come.  If you can’t come on the fifth, the show is open during St. James’ office hours for the month of November. stjamesdundas.ca

More Marmot Information

Well, folks in this area will be able to hear me reading from the Marmot stories at an event called Vinyl Church at St. James in Dundas. We’ll have a hip jazz combo with a sultry singer (Sara. my wife) and I’ll do some readings from the Marmot canon.

Now, I know you’re thinking that it sounds like a rather popular CBC radio show, nothing could be further from the truth, in fact, I’ve never heard of Vinyl Cafe – oops – what I meant to say was, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”  Yes, that’s it! 

The date in late February will be announced here on the blog shortly.

Anne Stuttaford

Granny I

Granny, as I call her, is of course Sara’s Granny, but I love her as if she were my own grandmother.  Here are two pictures of her that I love.  One was taken two years ago and one about two weeks ago in the last days of December 2009.  The older photo won a ribbon at Rockton Fair Photography Competition in the portraits department.

Granny II

 

I’m planning to share some of Granny’s stories here in the blog, too.  She grew up in Kirkcaldy on the Firth of Forth in the Kingdom of Fife, then after her marriage moved to Rhodesia, where my Mum-in-law and Uncle George were born.  The family in time moved back to Kirkcaldy and then to Canada.

Pipe Organ Thoughts

Easter Organ Pipes
I have, in many ways, dedicated my life to the organ. As a small child I pointed towards the organist at our church and said, “I want to do that.”  Although there have been some bumps in the roads, I have done just that.
I’m playing a little these days, but basically I’m retired from active playing due to physical problems, but my attention to the pipe organ hasn’t diminished.  Having a small studio of students, I can watch their progess with great care. Some of my former students are doing great things in the organ world, even as their training stage continues.
As you read this blog, I will refer to the organ often, no doubt.  I have published compositions (and several as yet unpublished) for the organ, and I continue to write about the organ.  Indeed, if it weren’t for the organ, I’d not have met my wife Sara.
For a few years, I served as Archivist and Historian to the Royal Canadian College of Organists.  During that time, Sara was hired as a summer intern for the College’s office in Toronto. We got to know each other as friends, and in due course of time, were married. (This was the Reader’s Digest version of the story)
Our wedding was described by Muriel Gidley Stafford, the Grand Dame of the College  as an RCCO royal wedding. So many friends and colleagues came to sing loudly and wish us well.  My best friend Paul Grimwood played for us and conducted the choir.
In 2005, the College (RCCO) granted me one of its highest honors – the Honorary Life Membership, of which I’m rather proud. Also, as I was under 40 when I got it, I intend to have free membership for many years to come!
RCCO Crest

Hymn for Elmvale Presbyterian Church

The Decades of our Mission 

 1. We hear our praises echo with love felt round the Earth,

We are renewed, forgiven – God validates our worth!

We’re changed because we’ve been here, profoundly made anew!

We see the world with vision that God’s love filters through.

2. The decades of our mission fulfilling God’s command,

Have changed our singing spirits just as our Maker planned.

The faithful generations have taught in this great land:

“Seek first God’s holy wisdom (kingdom) and righteous, healing hand.”

3. We’ve learned of one who helped on the road to Jericho,

‘Samaritan’ – a watchword for how we love and grow.

We seek to help a stranger, and walk the narrow way –

This place has shown God’s love that we live through ev’ry day!

 4. Our babies are baptised here, the young , they hear the call,

And many blesséd unions shine God’s great love for all.

As we remember loved ones whose final prayers were here,

We know that countless people found God’s compassion near.

5. God’s love is still creating, around us every day,

And Jesus calls us closer in words we sing and pray,

We feel the Spirit moving, our hearts and souls ablaze,

Where all our Alleluias sing universal praise!

 for the tune Aurelia 7676D

Elmvale Presbyterian Church

This hymn was commissioned by Anne Stuttaford (my wife Sara’s Granny, whom I love very much) to honour her friend Ellen MacLean, and Elmvale Presbyterian Church’s Sesquicentennial.

Elmvale is a beautiful little town and the Presbyterian church is a wonderful red-brick structure.  Ellen has been a great friend to Granny – always so kind and she often goes over and above the call of duty.

Granny stayed with Ellen for a while in early 2009 and I talked to Granny about being commissioned to write another hymn, and she thought of this as a thank-you gift for her chum.  I thoroughly enjoyed writing it, and, using the well-known tune Aurelia, I think most congregations could sing it easily.

If you wish to use this hymn, please seek permission from me at loonsong@cogeco.ca.  Everyone one in a while on this blog I’ll offer free hymns for churches to use.  Please do let me know, though, so I can keep track of their use.  If you want to see more of my hymns, check the Hope Publishing web site for their online hymnody section.

Foodie Photographs

Peter's Christmas Olives
Party toothpicks

These pictures were taken at Sara’s Dad’s party, 20 December 2009. I continue to look for small things to photograph and study. Sitting beside the table full of food (where else would I be?) I saw how beautiful these things were, especially before the party began.

The shine of the silver against the matte of the olives appeals to me greatly. Such beauty in such simple things is always wonderful.

At Dad’s party, the food is always wonderful. Dad’s partner, Mary, bought some Spanish cheese “not Manchego” and I continue to search for it. The rind looked like Manchego, but it was a richer cheese, although about the same texture. I’d better drive the whole five minutes to the cheese shop in Dundas, which is an amazing place full of the smells and sights of the cheese world!