Prince Albert Voice
In early March of 2020 Leah Dorion taught a group of about ten people at the Mann Art Gallery. The pandemic hadn’t become the focus of our attention but we were cautiously aware that if we weren’t feeling well, we should stay home and all of us were washing our hands more than usual. The weekend was what we needed to take our minds off of the daily grind of life and we didn’t even understand yet how much our lives would change over the next few months. Instead, a group of women sat in a circle talking about the history of moss bags and how historically important they were to Métis women who used them. On the floor lay a ‘baby’ in a moss bag, surrounded by circles of paper. By the time our learning discussion was over, we had absorbed the different teachings surrounding the moss bag and how they not only gave security to the new born, but even the way the moss bag was laced drew a more profound relationship between the new born and their mother/care giver.
As I go through my medicine cabinet, the drawer in the refrigerator and my vitamins, tossing out the things that have expired and rearranging items that need to be used up over those that have a longer shelf life, I am reminded of a time when the end of a year and the beginning of a new one usually had me resolving to make change. A few years back I remember writing on social media that 2017 was “my year” and that changes were coming that would only bring positive results. Little did I know how my life WOULD change as just six short months later my health challenges had begun. By the end of the year I had news I refused to accept with a defeatist attitude and by the time we were a few months into 2018, life as I knew it had been irrevocably changed and I barely recognized myself anymore. Now I see myself coming through it and out the other side, forever changed, bearing some battle scars that will remind me of the fight I had but also cautiously optimistic that the worst of the challenges are behind me. And as my confidence in my own strength and my health improves, I believe I will be able to look back with wonder and awe at all that I’ve gone through and have been able to accomplish. Although I am tired right now, and I’m feeling beaten up by the daily fight that comes with chronic pain and other challenges that have flared up, I am grateful to be alive. And from this sense of gratitude those claims I made at the beginning of 2017 have been the last resolutions I’ve made. Now I’m okay with living each day as it comes and the only resolve I have, if I would even call it a ‘resolve’, is to live without regret. Every day I ask my children if they are happy, I make sure we spend time together as a family but also just the two of us for some ‘one-on-one’ time. I make sure they know I like them, I ask them if they know I love them and I tell them they are the centre of my universe, unconditionally. And I know this would be important to me even if I hadn’t had to face my own mortality. I think each of us has a way of dealing with challenges that are unique to us and our personality.
My family and I had a long day of medical appointments in Saskatoon so we decided we would go to a local nursery and check out the plants. Instead, we ended up at a little strip mall and decided we’d enjoy an early lunch. Both children were “starving!” and I wondered if we should try something new. The children were open to it and I thought we should take advantage of their adventurous palettes while we could. I should add this isn’t an advertisement for this restaurant – I really liked how my family and I were treated and I wanted to share our experience with you.
I often hear about the fabulous Sunday dinners my grandmother had. Any family still living within the vicinity of her home ended up going to her place for dinner. The dinner may vary but the welcome, good conversation and great food didn’t disappoint. My Grandmother and her family immigrated to Canada when she was ten years old. I am familiar with British cuisine. It’s not particularly spicy and garlic doesn’t seem to be used very much in traditional meals. In my own family, my Mother never used garlic since she reacted adversely to it. In my own meals, I use garlic and ensure it is well cooked, which seems to help as sometimes she doesn’t even know garlic has been used in the recipe.
Over the weekend, our family designated shopper left the house with a grocery list and two stops to make. Five hours later she returned home and was disgusted with how she hadn’t found the outing a simple, convenient or enjoyable one. She cited long lineups, crowded shopping areas and empty shelves as reasons why it had taken so long to complete her tasks. In addition, rather than only visiting the two stores she’d planned on, she’d ended up having to stop at four and still hadn’t been able to find everything on her list. Perhaps the weekend is the wrong time to shop and especially as more people are out and about in anticipation of the upcoming holiday season. There are things to buy, gifts to wrap, parcels to mail, food to make and celebrations to be had all within the confines of restrictions deterring the spread of COVID 19.