“Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo…”

Mom left Dad when I was a baby and we went to live on my grandparents’ farm. But aside from a spell there, and visiting my Uncle Reg’s farm, I haven’t had much to do with moocows. And even less with James Joyce.

I always did like to read though, and the picture above is the one Mom likes of me more than any other. Here’s another intellectual pose:

In this case, I am reading to my lifelong friend Vickie (Milne) Stewart. And on the other side of Vickie is Topsy Turvy, a cockapoo so named because she was always all over the place. She lived to be twenty-two. Whenever her hair was clipped she’d hide under the table for weeks as if she was ashamed of being naked. Vickie’s Mom and my Mom met when my grandparents moved from the farm to Kincardine. Mom taught school there. Vickie’s dad was our doctor, and her mother my
Mom’s best friend. (Later Dr. and Mrs. Milne lived in the Queen Charlotte Islands, Saudi Arabia — everywhere — and now are retired back in Kincardine.)

In this photo Topsy Turvy and I are joined by Buttercup, an orange tabby I got when I was two. I’ve always loved orange tabbies. (See our new one, P2, in the January 1 post.) Without exception they are thick as bricks, but absolute, total purr machines.

Here I am spreading my germs at a birthday party, about age 6. The kid behind the cake is another lifelong friend, Graham Mahood. And to his right, Vickie’s brother Michael. All my life I’ve been blessed with friends I’ve managed to keep in touch with.

Anyway, Mom always made me fancy birthday cakes. In addition to the clown, there was a cake that looked like a pumpkin with a stalk made out of a banana and covered in green icing. And I also remember a carousel cake with the rides being made of Arrowroot cookies shaped like animals. (There were pennies and nickels wrapped in wax paper backed in the cakes as surprises.)

Mom has always been unconditional love. I could be an ax murderer and she’d forgive me. She raised me at a time when being a single parents simply wasn’t done. And she held a job, becoming an inspector of schools, and an assistant to the deputy minister of education in the province — the first female educational ADM outside girls phys ed! And she was the government rep on Laura Sabia’s Council for the Status of Women in the 1970s. She is amazing.

This “Mutual Admiration Society” photo was taken when I was in grade 9. Note the “down” brush cut. It was the sixties. I sure didn’t look like a hippie. Then. Made up for it a few years later. The “down” brush cut, BTW, is a brush cut where the hair that stands up at the front gets cut off too. I had that because my hair was “fine” and it was either that or have it caked with crap to make the front stand up. I looked like a peanut.

The New Year makes some people look forward. Me, I like to look back. If the Internet isn’t working on my island writing retreat (Cayo Largo), my next posts will be from Argentina! Truly an amazing experience!