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Wendi Stewart - Wendi with an 'eye'

Wendi lives in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, but the farm on Rainy River in Crozier will always be her home. MEADOWLARK, her debut novel released September 15, is published by NeWest Press of Edmonton. She is the mother of four daughters who did the unforgivable: they grew up.

Crickets are only charming in poetry

Do you remember being eight or nine years old and reciting Walter De la Mare’s poem, “Some One?” It was one of my favourite poems.

Someone came knocking at my wee small door;

Someone came knocking I’m sure sure sure.

Ringing any bells? I clearly recall standing at the front of the class, my knees knocking together, my head down, my voice most certainly something less than a whisper.

It’s quite a ride

I’m not a fan of midway rides.

Ferris wheels make me want to vomit—just at the top when you come over the edge and the world disappears. Roller-coasters are just too hard on my equilibrium, now especially but even when I was young.

I pretended to enjoy the “Round Up” at the Emo Fair and stood in my space with the grip of death on the bars on either side of me and attempted to look cool, but I wasn’t fooling anyone.

If only you knew ‘Stinky’

You didn’t know “Stinky.” You may have known “a” Stinky but not “the” Stinky.

You would have been better for having known him.

Samantha found Stinky in Guelph, in between the front doors of her apartment building. One of the heavy doors had closed on his tail, breaking the end of it and giving him a forever hook in his tail—a bit monkey-like.

He was an adolescent cat then, of no fixed address, starving, filthy, and sporting a dreadful odour. Hence, his dignified name.

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If I were rich (well, not even rich, just richer, but quite a bit richer), I would go to the hairdresser every other day to have my hair washed.

I would lie back in the special chair and she (because I prefer a she rather than a he, but I’m sure a he hairdresser is equally as gifted with magic fingers) would get the water temperature just right, use the perfect coconut-smelling shampoo or citrus (I’m a fan of citrus), and massage my scalp, without rushing, no hurrying at all.

Any troubles that I might have had would vanish—evaporate into thin air or wash down the drain.

Not a fan of August

At first glance, I am not a fan of August. In fact, August may be my least favourite month, though February may run a close second.

August feels like a month of shifting; the heat seems less intense, the bugs less vigorous, the days begin to shrink more noticeably, and I can feel a sadness creep up my spine that says summer is trying to get away—trying to sneak out the back door—even though I called out to August asking it to stay.

Voices my cure for a bad day

I was having a bad day—the kind of bad day that you know is going to settle in like an all-day rain, with not a single chance of sunshine; the sky all dark and grey and pressing in.

The day started out with a bad tone and chances were it was going to end badly. I was suffering from daughter-withdrawal and though it is a regular affliction, something from which I suffer with dreadful regularity, I still haven’t figured out the antidote aside of getting in my car and driving like a fiend until I find a daughter and hug her until she begs me to stop.

Reflecting on the ‘if only’

I was thinking of the definition of family the other day, wondering why it seems limited to “a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household; a group related by blood or marriage.”

That seems a stark definition to me—lacking the soul and depth that the mere word family conjures up.

Family is the place where you lie your head when you rest, the place where you limp to when your heart is broken, the place you run to with exciting news, and it is the place where you slide into a hammock and breathe quiet.

Young people need our help

Oh, to be young again.

How often do those of us over 50 utter those words when our backs are aching, when our hair is thinning, when our eyesight is dimming, and when our memory is . . . ummm, I can’t remember what I was going to say about my memory.

We don’t mean it, though, because none of us with any good sense would want the struggles young people have today.

There are roadblocks at every turn. Unless you have unlimited cash resources, getting ahead is a bit of tricky business.

I need answers

Why? Why?

If I were able to list three questions that I could pose to whomever is in charge, given the opportunity, I would not have to ponder said collection of questions very long before arriving at three—with a whole line-up of questions on stand-by.

I would inquire as to the sanity of car racing and the use of leaded fossil fuels. This seems a no-brainer to me, the arguments stacked against the sport, though I’m certain car racing fans would strongly argue the contrary.

The promise of gardening

Gardening is a promise. I can’t think of a better way to describe it.

I don’t know if anyone else has said that before me, but I’m saying it now.

We scour seed catalogues in early spring and examine seed racks at every second store. We start seeds inside, making little incubators for them and watching for their tiny green heads to rise out of the soil.

And all this is based on hope—no matter how green our thumbs are and no matter how deep our pedigree is in gardening, it is all about hope and promise.