Sunday, November 19, 2017

Rainbow Ice Cream a true story by Leanne Dyck

(I was always a wanderer)

My mom let me go. I'm not sure I would have had I been the mother. I was so young crossing that road--a major highway, semis sped down. But Mom let me go knowing it was a child's rite of passage. I never remember her taking me. I do remember her calling, "Be careful crossing the road."

I headed to a white building with a sign that read:  'Hav-A-Keen Lunch'. Keen was like cool, back then. The business--a mom and pop truck stop--was shared by the Havards and the Keens, hence the name.

A bell rang when the screen door slammed shut behind me.

Sometimes she popped out of the back, where she lived. Sometimes she was wiping the counter. She always greeted me with a smile.

"Hi, Mrs. Havakeen."

Maybe she tried to correct me. Maybe she said, "Just call me Mrs. Keen." Maybe she added a dear to show me she wasn't mad. I don't remember. I do remember her asking, "What'll you have?"

I dumped a handful of coins on the counter--pennies, dimes, nickels, and a quarter. "What will this buy?"

"A chocolate bar, pop, an ice cream cone..."

"A rainbow ice cream cone, please," I said spring, summer, fall--never winter, the road was too slippery.

Mrs. Keen dipped the spoon in a bucket of water and then into the pail. A large box with a child holding a triple scoop cone hung on the wall. She pulled a cone from the box, filled it with ice cream and handed it to me.

Rainbow ice cream:  swirls of chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and mint. Why choose one favour when you can have them all? Rainbow. It was like eating a better tomorrow.

I always made it home safe and sound. Sometimes with rainbow ice cream dripping down my arm--melting under the hot sun.

Did Mrs. Keen know how important she was to me? Did she know how special she made me feel? I like to think she did.

This short story was inspired by something my husband found. Here's what my husband found:  link

Next post:  Published on Sunday, November 26th at approximately 5 PM
Interview with children's picture book author Maxine Sylvester 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Guest Post: A. J. Willetts (my dad) on Remembrance Day

After my dad's death (on December 11, 1999), I searched for his writing. I found one speech and carefully tucked it away in a journal. Just this week, I was hunting for something else and found my dad's words--and I knew I had to share them with you. He delivered this speech on November 11, 1996, to veterans, members of the legion and guests.

My dad wrote...

(my dad giving a speech--circa the 1980s)

The closing words of every legion meeting.

At the going down of the sun
And in the morning we will
Remember them.

We will remember them--for they were our schoolmates. They were the kids we played with--the people we worked with.

After fifty years we remember them and the debt we owe.

We remember not only those who gave their lives but those who came home broken, wounded, scarred--both on the inside and the outside.

We remember our comrades and the price they paid for us and for Canada--

And we remember the thousands and thousands of others who paid--

The mothers and babies
The little kids
The young people
Mothers and fathers
And the old people
the grandparents

All those who died because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They paid--they paid the price for us. They bought our freedom.

Don't think about the horrible price they paid--it's too awful, too terrible.

But remember them we must--and in our remembering let our hate and revulsion for war grow stronger and stronger until we join with all the people of the world to end this terrible curse of war--until that great day dawns may we ever pray

Lord God of Hosts
Be with us yet
Lest we Forget, Lest we Forget

(the radar base in northern Newfoundland where my dad served during WWII)


Please click this link...

Remembering Them on Remembrance Day

to read my Remembrance Day inspired short story as well as more of my dad's writing.

Next post:  Sunday, November 19 at 5 PM PT
Rainbow Ice cream (short story)
Think back to your childhood. Where did you first go all by yourself? What did you spend your allowance on? How did it make you feel? Reminisce along with me.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Book Review: Pride (non-fiction middle grade) by Robin Stevenson

Published by Orca Book Publishers
Published in 2016

Thanks to its colourful book cover design and the skilled author Pride:  Celebrating Diversity & Community sings out loudly about a world-wide community of people who are proud of their history and their future. 

History such as...

When police continued to harass and arrest frequenters of one of New York's popular gay bars--Stonewall--the gay community rose up in protest. The Stonewall Riot occurred on the evening of June 28, 1969. And Robin Stevenson writes:  'Although it wasn't called Pride Day, most people agree that the first Pride parade was held a year after the Stonewall Riots, on June 28, 1970.'

To personalize the history, Robin Stevenson draws on personal insights from those in the LGBTQ community--including her own. 

She points out that:  'For Pride to truly represent all LGBTQ people, Pride events need to take a stand against not just homophobia and heterosexism but against all forms of oppression.'

This is a powerful book that concludes with a call to arms. Robin Stevenson wants us (supports of Pride) to be heard and she offers ways and means to make this happen.

I seldom review non-fiction books, but I'm so glad I made an exception this time. Though written for children, I firmly believe that everyone would benefit from reading Pride.


My interview with the author of Pride:  Robin Stevenson

You may also enjoy reading...

When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid

Next Post:  Sunday, November 12
at approximately 5 PM PT

(my dad giving a speech--circa the 1980s)

Go back in time with me to 1996 and listen (well, actually you'll be reading his words) as my dad (AJ Willetts) gives a Remembrance Day speech.