Prince Albert Voice
I have diligently been collecting seeds. Each time my family enjoyed “seedless” watermelon, grapes, peppers, cantaloupe, bananas, strawberries, tomatoes, avocado, sweet potatoes, pineapple and pit fruits we have saved and planted it all. Part of keeping organized has been labeling everything so we know which seeds are which. This helps us to know the colour, flavour profile and size of whatever we are growing. Things were going very well. My seeds were meticulously labelled and placed on a moist paper towel inside a clear plastic container I had recycled from some mixed fruit we’d purchased. Everything was going so well. The seeds were germinating – I had tiny red and yellow tomatoes, strawberry seeds and banana seeds as well as some peppers and one black watermelon seed we’d discovered in a seedless watermelon. Life was good and I couldn’t wait to have the seeds grow into their second stage of leaf development and transplant them into individual pots.
We made it! Somehow this past winter seemed a lot colder and more harsh than it actually was. Maybe my perception is a bit jaded since I had some things weighing on my mind and I was having a tough time seeing a silver lining no matter how I looked at the situation. Finally I just put my faith to the test and believed that everything would work out. Trusting in God is a powerful tool in helping maintain a level of sanity and order in my life. It is where I find happiness and joy. And as life’s load got lighter, I found my mood and outlook has improved as well. I felt the bounce in my step on the first day of Spring. I’ve started cloud gazing while taking my daily dose of Vitamin D while sitting in a sunbeam or outside on the deck. I’m learning to stop taking myself so seriously and to laugh instead of become upset when I do silly things like spill a gallon of milk on the floor. Seriously. The whole gallon - and I only managed to save half of it. But now the cats come running every time I open the fridge. They must think I’m going to make a habit of dropping things on the floor. The truth is my arthritic hands and wrists couldn’t hold the gallon, so now I know to use both hands when the gallon is full. I’m also in the process of learning to become less critical and more forgiving of myself. I think my children need to see more of this side of me. Over the last few years I’ve forgotten how to tap into my inner child... but I’m beginning to remember.
I was doing a little retail therapy online the other day and found someone selling vintage Pyrex mugs that took me back in time. The picture on my computer screen had my mind racing backwards to when I was a little girl living at Candle Lake. By that time I was a third generation DePeel living in the small resort village and some of my best memories were made while we lived there.
I’m in a bit of a quandary at the moment. The bind I’m in stems from my Great, great, great grandparents. I have reasons to believe they lied about their birth place when they participated in the Canadian census as they purchased land, homesteaded it and raised their family. You see, until the age of 15, my mother shared stories of her American born mother who disappeared after my grandparent’s (her Mom and Dad) divorced. She shared all that she could of her mother in part to keep her few memories she had left from when she last saw her mother at the age of three fresh in her mind. But she also wanted to share her roots with us children. She wanted us to understand where we came from, how we resembled some members of the family and not others and even how some sicknesses, allergies and diseases affected us and future generations. And then there were things she couldn’t share with us as she’d been sworn to keep the information to herself. Things like the fact we weren’t just Canadian, we were actually a unique mix of European and Aboriginal ancestry known as “Halfbreeds”, the “Flower Beadwork People”, or, as we are commonly referred to today, as the Métis. This group of people is unique to Canada’s fur trade history and the early European settlers who came to this country from European countries such as France, Britain and Scotland. There were also Spanish and Norwegian explorers who came and, for various reasons, didn’t make lasting, permanent, long-term settlements. Prior to learning of my Métis ancestry, my Mother’s family insisted their heritage was “Spanish” and they refused to entertain any other explanation for the reasons why some of us had very dark skin and others of us were incredibly fair, covered in freckles that connected with a light summer burn that never turned to a tan and fire-y red hair. My mother was one of the latter and managed to produce her very own “mini me” with one of her daughters. The rest of her children range from dark to fair skin but they bear no resemblance to the “Spanish” ancestors my Aunts and Uncle insist we come from. I can’t blame them for denying our blood quantum and country of origin. They were taught to deny their heritage by their father, my grandfather, my mother’s father.
I saw a beautiful picture of Daffodils the other day. They are cheerful, and the bright yellow petals remind me of smiling faces so I immediately felt a surge of hope. Here was proof we have made it through the worst of winter and spring is sure to arrive soon. If I needed further proof, I only need step outside to see the puddles, the mud, the green grass coming in areas where there is no snow and I can hear the geese calling (even at four in the morning!) and the familiar “caw” of the crow. It’s wonderful! And then in the back of my mind I hear a familiar tune from the Canadian Cancer Society ad ... “That’s what Daffodils do...” and I’m reminded that it’s time for some self-care. I promised myself that this year I would take my self-care a step further with a mammogram. Although breast cancer affects women significantly more than men, both genders can get it. All of us carry genes that could potentially turn to cancer. But for some reason some of us have a genetic predisposition to developing it, particularly if it runs in your family, as it does in mine. My first introduction to the threat of breast cancer came when I was eight - one of my older brothers had to go in for further testing to determine what was happening with his health. Thankfully, it wasn’t cancer, which a biopsy later confirmed. But I remember the concern that lay over our family as we waited for test results. So as April approaches, I’m setting aside a bit of money to support the Canadian Cancer society’s Daffodil campaign. And I thought I’d walk you through the process of going for a mammogram.