Saturday, December 26th, 2020

Girls & Boys

Mom (a.k.a. Gramma) found some hair rollers in among her things. They’re probably from the 1950s or 60s. I remember she used them once in the 1980s. I don’t believe that she has used them since, so I suggested that she did not need to keep them anymore if she wanted to increase the quantity of space in her house. To prove me wrong, she put rollers in her hair and in Iris’s hair.




Here they laze on the bed

reading glossy magazines about one of my mother’s many, many hobbies: construction and renovation.




My mother is snacking on matzoh. Bert famously told Ernie not to eat cookies in bed. He told Ernie not to eat cookies in bed because then he would get crumbs in the sheets and then the crumbs would get in his pyjamas and then he would itch and then he wouldn’t be able to sleep. To circumvent this issue, Ernie went to Bert’s bed to eat his cookies. Earnie was quite creative! My mother is also creative. To avoid crumbs in her bed, she puts plenty of butter on her matzoh.




I take over 100 photos before Mom tells me that I likely have enough.




I don’t agree with her.




I think I should take more.




Isn’t that silly?




Eventually, they go to the vintage 1950s time-capsule bathroom

to take the vintage 1960s rollers out of their hair. Mom looks dashing with her curlers out!




She isn’t smiling at herself in the mirrorβ€”




She is smiling at Iris’s smile.




The rollers went back in the drawer, but Mom’s not going to use those rollers again.Some day when Iris is tall and lovely, we’ll be going through her grandmother’s stuff deciding where to donate it all. We’ll find the rollers. I’ll remind her of the last time her grandmother used them. She’ll remember, of course, because she’s seen some photos, but what she won’t know is that, unlike most photoshoots where I’m able to get rid of up to 90% of the photos, I had a really hard time getting rid of any of these photos.



♦  ♦  ♦



Akiva, meanwhile, is in his uncle Dan’s room.




His absolute favorite thing to do while visiting, when he isn’t zipping slot-cars around a track,

is to go through Dan’s old Matchbox cars.




Now and again Akiva checks to make sure that Dan adds enough cars to his drawings

or to see if he is looking up photos of old-fashioned cars on the computer.




Now and again Dan checks to make sure

that there is still a little boy happily playing with cars in his room.







Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020

Why did the turkey cross the border?

Preparation of the stuffing: the slicing of the loaves.





There are no photos to prove the tale, but I will tell it to you anyhow. The second turkey, wrapped in insulative material, made it to the US port of entry at the Thousand Islands Crossing late on the evening of December 18, 2020. Arriving at the closed border after a week of isolation to limit the spread of COVID 19, we were asked the usual questions. It was then that I declared the turkey.


“Is it of Canadian origin?” asked the man.

“Yes,” I replied, tho I had not ever procured a passport for the turkey.

“Like, a Walmart turkey?” asked the man.

I thought about it. Yes, a broad-breasted white turkey raised in my back yard had many things in common with a Walmart turkey. Therefore, it was like a Walmart turkey.

“Yes,” I said, honestly.

“Well, I’ll need to inspect it to be sure it has a ‘Canada’ stamp. I need to be sure it’s of Canadian origin.”

I wondered why I hadn’t thought of writing “Canada” on the turkey. It would have been a simple thing.

“There is no ‘Canada’ stamp on the turkey,” I replied.

“Well, then, I’ll have to confiscate the turkey,” said the man. “If there is no stamp, there is no way to be sure that it is a Canadian turkey.”

My eyes blurred. “Can you give it to someone who needs a Christmas dinner?” I asked.

“All items confiscated at the border are disposed of immediately,” he replied.


In my mind I remembered the bright day when we took the turkeys for a walk in the field behind the house. They were big by then, and they had a hard time holding up their breasts. I am certain they enjoyed the bugs, but I felt for them, their weak hearts beating furiously in their chests. They rested frequently. After walking the length of three back yards, they were exhausted. The children and I returned home followed by two brilliant, comical white birds in a field of flowers and green. Despite the fact that the ultimate journey of the birds was toward dinner, we really, truly loved them.


“Well,” I said. “I am certain it is a Canadian turkey. Would you like me to tell you how I know it is a Canadian turkey?”

“Yes,” said the man. “I’m sure you know. Why don’t you tell me how you are so certain it is a Canadian turkey.”

“Well,” I said, not really crying, “we had two turkeys in our back yard all summer. One was for Thanksgiving, the other for Christmas. This Christmas turkey grew up in our back yard.”

“I’ll have to take your turkey,” said the man. “I’m just following the law. If you want to plead your case, you can go inside.”

“I’ll go inside,” I said, and followed his directions to the proper door.


After a good amount of waiting with one extremely tired, whiny child and one extremely anxious, crying child, someone finally came to speak to me.

“So, tell me about the turkey,” he said.

“Well,” I began, “We raised two turkeys in our back yard over the summerβ€””

“What condition is the turkey in?” he interrupted.

“I killed it and plucked it and gutted it and put it in the freezer back in October,” I replied.

“It’s a frozen turkey?” asked the man.

“Yes,” I said, “It’s a frozen turkey.”

The man turned around to his co-workers. “Guys! It’s a frozen turkey!” He turned back to me and smiled. “Take your turkey and enjoy your stay in the US.”

As we left, I could hear him repeating to his co-workersβ€” “Frozen turkey, guys. It’s a frozen turkey. Frozen turkey…”

Aah, the border.


Sunday, December 20th, 2020

Do golf courses ever change?

β€”I wonder, looking at the photograph. I don’t think so.




The whole course looks nearly identical to how it looked 40 years ago. They had made the sledding hill un-sleddable when they changed the retention pond and the structures nearby, but that was in the late 1980s. A decade later, a ferocious storm blew down some treesβ€” but not as many as it blew down elsewhere. The falling down storage barn is still falling down. Most notably, there is significantly less snow. I’m so struck by the sameness of the grounds that I decide to look to see if anyone has done a series of photographs documenting change on a golf course. I find some studies. Although the changes are measured in yards over decades, golf courses do change. Yet, the ultimate question remains unansweredβ€” Why do people watch golf on television?Β 

Saturday, December 19th, 2020

Gramps Reads “Rapunzel”

My father has become quite adept at reading to his grand children in his old age.

It makes me happy.


Friday, November 13th, 2020

Mont Ham, Parc RΓ©gional du Quebec

For my birthday I took the kids out of school. I do this every year because, as far as my kids are concerned, my birthday is more important than any national or religious holiday. It’s true for them, of course. They’d be fine if Christ never rose or fell or if Quebec was still a French colony or if women never got the right to vote. But if I had not birthed them? Woe! My children are realists. Martin is the most likely (read: only) candidate for father, but, again, without the advent of genetic testing in the 1950s (and you can celebrate National DNA Day on April 25th!) there’d never be any proof of this. Therefore, despite his unconditional love and utter devotion to their health and well-being and his wonderful presence, he’s just simply not quite as important as I am. Yes, here I am, the most important person on planet Earth, a densely-peopled planet three rocks out from the Sun. I don’t actually do anything to encourage this feeling in my kids. In fact, I think all kids feel this way about their moms.


So, for my birthday, I took advantage of the fact that I’m an important person. I took my children up Mont Ham. We went up the steepest wayβ€” the red trail on the map (below)β€” and it was wonderfully steep. Due to the steepness, I had planned on taking another trail down. However, due to the late start, we were still on the mountain side when the sun began to set in the late-afternoon, mid-November way it does. For this reason, we also went down the not-as-wonderful-on-the-way-down-extremely-steep red trail. We were, in fact, still on a quite steep part of the mountain side when the sun was well over the horizon. That’s when I turned on my head lamp and gave profuse thanks to whomever it was who decided to mark the trail with reflective trail markers. That was probably the best surprise of my birthday. In fact, I’d say that reflective trail markers were the best surprise of the entire year. Heck, reflective trail markers were quite possibly the best surprise of the decade. What a wonderful, wonderful birthday present.


Here are my two side-kicks at the summit. It was quite windy, as summits are.

There was a lot of snow blowing around, but it didn’t seem to land on anything.






Mont Ham Quebec

Sunday, November 8th, 2020

Weasel in the wabbit house, go weasel, go! We don’t want a weasel here, no no no!

A weasel got in. First ate attacked some small round bunnies. After that, it ate an entire litter of babies. When it got a large rabbit, leaving a hole at the back of the neck and leaving the rabbit intact inside the fence, we knew it was a weasel. There is no way of weasel-proofing the colony. Most of the largest buns went off to freezer camp. Tucker is now a single papa of seven small porch rabbits. Clover and one female rabbit remain down below, to be taken in to a secure location at night and let out during the day. I don’t know what we’ll do next year. We shall see what happens when the time comes.



Thursday, November 5th, 2020

House of the Candy Faerie

It was dark by the time Iris located the perfect place:

west down rue King, through the woods, across the creek where the bones were,

up the ravine, over the field, into a ditch, and under the root of a fallen tree.

Perfect. It was perfect. The lollipop lamps illuminated when we pushed them in the earth.





Previous Candy Faerie Houses:




Sunday, November 1st, 2020

Whatever became of Iris’s turkeys, anyhow?*



In the above photo,

the little girl has a look upon her face that suggests she has just learned, mid-mouthful,

that she eating a friend of hers.


In the original 46-year-old photo, below,

the expression on the face of the little girl shows that she is completely oblivious

to the fact that her mother may have just fed her the leg of one of her playmates.






*Due to a series of unfortunate events, this year’s American Thanksgiving Turkey was, instead, consumed the day after Halloween, making it a Day of the Dead Turkey.

Thursday, October 29th, 2020

Waterville Skate Park









Friday, October 23rd, 2020

Autumn, L’Île du Marais

When we get there, we walk across the boardwalk to the island. On the west side of the boardwalk, turtles bask in the setting sun. I did not buy my camera for the purpose of photographing far-away turtles. I chose my camera for the purpose of photographing children. The binoculars are for the turtles. If there are still turtles when my children are grown, they will still look like turtles. We will still see them with binoculars in that future. If there are no turtles when my children are grown, we will look at photographs of turtles that other people have taken. We will say, “Remember when there were turtles in the ponds? They sat on logs in the sun and we looked at them.” A world with turtles is a happier place than a world without turtles.



In the middle of the island there are rocks with moss on them. There are trees. If there is a time in the future when there are no turtles and no people, at least for a while there will be rocks with moss. For a while, there will be trees. Everyone will wish they could be there.



My favorite part of the walk, at least at the moment, is around the back side of the island. There is the edge of the island. There is the still water, the marsh, the hill, the silver steeple of Canton-de-Hatley. There is the sky. There is the moon. The world is everywhere we look.