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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.

An unauthorized biography

If I was able to write anyone’s biography, it would be tempting to seek out Harper Lee and find out the little details of her very short but amazing writing career.

I’d like to ask Nelson Mandela how he kept positive while he was confined in prison and bumping up against the absence of humanity. I would ask the Dalai Lama about his smile.

I easily could fill a book on how my daughters amaze me, but then you might shake your heads and wince.

Long-awaited Canada Day dream fulfilled

I went to Charlottetown, P.E.I., the birthplace of Confederation, to celebrate Canada Day this year.

I was very excited. It felt like an act of patriotism; something I’ve wanted to do since 1967.

That year was a big deal for me and, of course, most Canadians. At age 12, the idea of our country being exactly 100 old was almost impossible to grasp.

Our school, Alberton Central, led by my mother the principal, saw no end of ways to celebrate the magic of being Canadian. We dressed in period costumes and studied the details of what a hundred years of Canada looked like.

On being a patient

Hearing your name called in a walk-in clinic waiting room feels somewhat like winning the lottery or an Oscar.

Having experienced neither of those events, I can only guess, but I’m reasonably sure the sensation is somewhat similar.

You feel like blushing as you stand, looking at the poor souls left behind you, their wait still ongoing.

You smile apologetically, shrugging your shoulders to confirm you had no control over any of this, but internally you are shrieking, “They picked me, they picked me.”

The madness of professional sport

I like sports.

I can be obsessive in my “watching” and if I had to categorize from favourite down, I’m not sure I could.

Instead, I shall just put all my favourites in an alphabetical hat: baseball, curling, golf, show jumping, tennis. That’s a good start anyway.

I used to watch hockey, not religiously but certainly during Stanley Cup playoffs. Not any more.

The game has become one of thugs. That’s another debate and one I am not likely to win.

Marking another year without him

With Father’s Day having just passed, I’m sometimes annoyed by these Hallmark-type occasions that have us pulling out our wallets because the calendar says we should for planning outings in the name of a certain day.

Other times I like that we are reminded to think of others; to remember that one day is set aside to pause and honour.

I, however, never need a reminder to remember my father. Not a single day goes by without some thought of him, some memory, a longing, a wish that he was still here.

Lacking indoor gardening gene

I’ve been known as a plant-killer—a reputation that has spanned a good many years and one that is fairly well-earned.

A shortcoming, if you prefer, and one that I share with my mother.

Her plants always looked a tad beaten, neglected, misfortunate. Her life was busy; perhaps I will use that excuse—I mean reason.

As a result of my inability to remember to water my houseplants, I quit acquiring them. But still I admire plants. I imagine green life up on my shelves and hanging down from my cupboard tops, waving at me in a friendly manner.

Lime green socks my top favourite things

It’s Sunday morning when I am writing my column.

It’s early. No one else is awake—not even the puppy. It’s quiet and the sun is delicious, but not hot. The air has a crispness to it and it makes me glad because I know it is going to warm up.

I started thinking about all the things I like as I looked over the backyard where the grass is all green and freshly-mowed, and the pony came to the fence and whinnied at me; wanting his breakfast, wanting attention, just wanting.

The glory of the road trip

I recently did a road trip with Laurie (Daughter #3) from Owen Sound, Ont. to Wolfville, N.S., covering the 2,000-plus kilometres in two days.

Although the marathon of driving was a bit tedious, sitting in that small space with my daughter took my heart and gave it a complete overhaul. I kept looking over at her and wondered if I was dreaming.

I see the whole world at Laurie’s feet—ready for her to discover. She is intelligent and talented, has finished her education in a tough male-dominated field. She survived when she wasn’t sure she would, but I knew it would be so.

Time to re-write rulebook on naps

To nap is to sleep lightly, especially during the day. I looked up the definition just to be sure.

Although a nap sounds like a lovely treat, I only nap when I no longer can walk; when I am almost falling down with fatigue.

I find “nap entry,” like re-entry into the atmosphere when on a space mission, problematic. Why is that? I’ll tell you. The reason I cannot nap is because of guilt; that dreadful quality of human nature, or more specifically female human nature.