Friday, October 24, 2014

Nothing Solved, Nothing Gained!

Highway of Heroes - The Trews

Canada lost it's innocence this week. In fact I think the multitude of cemeteries and war memorials across the nation and the globe are proof that innocence was lost long ago.

On Wednesday, a soldier standing ceremonial guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa Ontario was shot point blank and killed. It wasn't random. It was intentional. The shooter went on to the nations house of democracy and started a gun battle there. Canada fought back and Canada won.

Backing up in time a bit, on Monday October 20 two soldiers walking through a parking lot were deliberately run over.  Both men were in uniform. Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent died of his injuries. The other sustained non life threatening injuries. The car fled the scene and police began to pursue him. There was a crash, a confrontation and gun shots that ended in the perpetrators death. 

It was a small town 20 km (25 miles southeast of Montreal) called Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Less than 100,000 residents called it home but some very prominent families made it there home, including the Formula One racing family the Villeneuves' and NHL player and inventor of the slap-shot Boom Boom Geoffrion. The startling thing about the town for me was not prominence of certain citizens but the fact that the town is also home to 2 military colleges. There would have been soldiers in uniform wandering around town routinely. There was no reason to believe that these men were targets until the gunman was identified. 

I don't claim to be a member of the press or even understand how and why they decide what to report and what is not revealed. I'm sure that there are some standards. But having said that, what really bothered me about this case is that the public very quickly became familiar with the gunman. We started to hear the word radicalized and we knew what it meant. We knew he had facebook and had his passport taken away and that he was under the radar of the police. But it took 2 days before we heard the name of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent. He served nearly 30 years with the Canadian Military and was due to retire shortly. He died because he wore his uniform proudly. 

There was whisperings that this wasn't a random accident but a planned out terrorist attack on Canadian soil. Most of us were incredulous and held the belief that it was a "one of" crazy person. And then the gun shots rang out in Ottawa on Wednesday the 22nd.  

Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent

Wednesday morning was crazy. I was sitting in the dentist chair watching the tv above me and trying to read the closed captioning without seeing those evil instruments :) Were it not for that, I wouldn't have known at all. But when I got back home I made it my business to turn on the TV and try to make some sense of the senseless. 

A gunman shot a ceremonial guard standing post at the Tomb for the Unknown Soldier. Sacred ground of its' own. He then went into the house of Parliament shooting his gun (and fortunately missing his targets) before he was gunned down himself. The city of Ottawa was effectively in lock-down as the police didn't know if they were dealing with one or more gunmen. There were reports of other incidents within the downtown core. It was chaos and panic reigned and it was scary to even watch. 

I've been in a lockdown situation a couple of times. None that lasted as long as this one but I do have some understanding of the fear. Five years ago, there was more anxiety because we didn't have phones to try and communicate. In one case it was a high school, a portable on the school grounds. Little more than a tinfoil box, we could hear people running around outside (we hoped police), we heard helicopters flying above, we heard noises we couldn't identify and we didn't know how serious it was or what it was. In the end it was a gun that was seen in the school. After hours of cowering in fear with high school students who were restive, even the staff was anxious we were finally permitted to leave. Scared, we were terrified and the SWAT team bursting in with guns drawn didn't calm us down any. It was within the first month of school and we sure got to know each other quickly being holed up like that.

Halifax editorial cartoonist - Bruce MacKinnon
Back to Ottawa, with the day coming to a close it was revealed that the young soldier had died of his injuries and that the murderer was dead at the hand of the Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers. The former RCMP officer was one of few who had access to a weapon for defence. As eager as I was for news on the safety of the injured and the safety of the people in the city of Ottawa, I could not bear to watch even one more time the footage of the gun battle that took place in the hallowed halls of the Centre Block of Canada's Parliament Buildings. It became sensationalized in my opinion. People were hurt, people were scared. Armed forces installations in the Maritimes began to send people home to safety. 

I felt vulnerable.  I also felt resentment and anger. I get that the Muslim religion is supposed to be a peaceful one and that these people are extremists. I don't understand how murdering innocent Canadians in their own country is going to further whatever twisted cause is on their agenda. But how do I tell the difference? How do I know I am safe? How do I protect my family and my country? It's one thing to stay away from areas in the world of conflict but I want to spend my days thanking the people in uniform that I pass daily on the street and not say RIP! 

When the name of the Ottawa's executioner became known. There was the usual digging into the background. His picture was posted and it was believed that he had become radicalized and was trying to secure a passport for passage to the middle east. Splashed all over social media was a picture of the man half-covered by a kerchief and holding a rifle - with the caption "Mother cries for victims of shooting and not her son." Well didn't that get some rousing sympathy for her! I get it, I can't imagine what I would feel as a mother knowing my child was capable of such heinous acts. But rather than feeling my typical empathy for her I was frustrated. I would hope that the family, if no one else would notice such a dramatic and troubling change in the behaviour of their child and try and deal with it so that others would not suffer needlessly. Even RCMP officer, Bob Paulson said that "people need to be on alert for changes in behaviour in people and significant changes in motivations of people." 

Someone was aware when these young men changed for typical Canadian boys to young men with radical ideas and desires to fight and kill. Radicalizing was defined as a form of brain-washing. If it can be done, it can be undone. But someone needs to know about it. One man fell under the radar of the police - the other slipped under it. Four deaths, none necessary. Nothing solved, nothing gained.

Military bases across the region here were put under restricted access. Provincial building had heightened security. And at 8:30 in the morning the first report came in of a man concealing a rifle under a blanket in downtown Halifax. The Citadel which proudly stands towering about the city was forced into lockdown - not to protect the citizens of the city but the personnel inside. A man was arrested without incident after leaving a sawed-off shotgun on a city bus. The only sense of relief came from seeing that the man arrested may be troubled but didn't appear radicalized and his weapon was not considered to be a terrorist preference. Good news? The best news is no injuries. 

Ottawa Shooting - Rex Murphy Point of View

So well said! And for the second time today I have heard the phrase "let's not mention his name" when referring to the gunman. For years I have been bothered by the fact that we forget the names of the victims but can't get the name of the perpetrators out of our heads. I will do my best to remember the good people. The ones who were slaughtered, not just this week in Canada - but throughout history. Sometimes it is hard to keep the numbers of many victims in our heads when the single name of demon is constantly repeated on the news and social media. But please on this occasion can we all please try to remember not just Nathan Cirillo but Patrice Vincent. They had different executioners but they both died before their time and they didn't deserve it. They died because of the clothes they wore and nothing more. 

A final thought, once, just once I want one of these gun-toting cowards to be brought before the public to be meted out a justice that goes on like torture day after day. I don't want them to die in a hail of gunfire, I don't want there to be a hero that cuts them down. Shoot them in the knee cap, in the balls, somewhere that won't kill them but they will suffer forever. Bring them before the people so they know how disliked they are, how they are loathed, how they are not martyrs. Let them see the justice from the court of public opinion. Let their croonies know what fate awaits them. Throw them in jail. I'm thinking of the old days when the notion of prison justice was something that you hoped would befall some of the scum we sent behind the stone walls. 

Or send them to a facility up north and chain-gang style tell them the driveway needs to be plowed. 

Halifax Editorial cartoonist - Bruce MacKinnon

RCMP Bob Paulson
CBC news television
Rex Murphy on CBC News
Bruce MacKinnon - editorial cartoonist
Halifax Chronicle Herald

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cuddy Sandwich - a Halifax delicacy!

Home - The Devin Cuddy Band

The highly anticipated return of the Devin Cuddy Band to the east coast this past week was worth the anxiety and the wait. You know you are real excited for an event when you start scheduling your other activities around it - just to make sure that nothing can stand in your way.

And that was me with this particular show. I knew that a CD release was coming and hence a tour - I really wanted to be part of the release party that was held at the Horseshoe in Toronto. Logistically that was not plausible so I had to patiently wait my turn. I thought I might wait and buy my CD at the show but I wasn't that patient :) I was hearing snippets of songs and just couldn't stand it any longer. Great investment however you come to possess it though.

My enthusiasm spilled into my social circle and I began to form a little group of people who would join me to experience the talent that is the Devin Cuddy Band. One friends' childcare fell through at the last minute so she brought her kids to the bar so she could meet the band and try and get some sense of why I raved about this music so much. I think she gets it :) The others - if they didn't come they supported the band anyways. 

The anticipation for the evening started very early. I couldn't shake this feeling that this night was gonna be like no other. There wasn't a crowd to fight through but I walked to the Carleton Music Bar like I was late and my feet were on fire. I had to get the perfect seat. In fact I tried out 3 different tables before I finally settled on the one next to the stage with a 180 view of everything going on - I was in for a long wait and watching the comings and goings in a bar is a bit like reality TV. 

The Carleton Music Bar is one of my very favourite venues in this city. It is small enough to be personal and despite being a bar - the stipulation is that when an artist is on stage, they are to be respected and talking is whispered at best. It's a historic place that has hosted many fine musicians and is ranked as the oldest still standing building in Halifax (aside from a few really well built churches). Built in 1760 this former private home, then hotel and now apartments and bar is 254 years old!  

We were deep in conversation about this and that when I looked up to see an unassuming young man carrying equipment. Walking with a purpose, locks of wavy hair poking out from beneath the ball cap - I knew it had to be Devin, himself. Later my table mates told me that they didn't know who's face lite up brighter when they walked into the bar - mine, Devin's or Zach's but it was like a reunion of old friends. Yeah I get it - I am really old lol! 

Honestly, that is what it feels like to see these talented young men. Like an old friend that you admire and respect. There is so much talent on that little stage the four young men fill up with their gear! I did allow them to unburden themselves of the equipment before I enveloped Devin and Zach in a hug. Long-awaited and much-anticipated reunion for sure. When your friends from away come to visit, there is an excitement and pride that swells you heart and has you beaming.

One of the last items to be brought into the bar was deposited on my table. It was a poster that ironically Devin had in his possession for longer than I did. In the words of one Jim Cuddy "It was hanging around the house forever". "IT" was a poster in a cardboard tube.

Debra and her prized possession at the Cameron
House in Toronto :)
The Poster was the limited edition Molson Amphitheatre poster. My best Blue Rodeo buddy/friend Debra had bought it for me to cheer me up after a very stressful time in my life. I told Devin about it when I saw him opening for Blue Rodeo in January 2014. I expressed the desire of having his band and Blue Rodeo sign it for me. He couldn't get it done that night and the two bands were parting to do some solo shows, but he said that if I could get it to Toronto - he would get it signed. A lot of people came together to help make it happen, including the transportation to Toronto, then to the Cameron House and into Devins' hands including my son who was instrumental in making it happen. When it started coming together, I told Debra of the plan that was brewing. She got her poster to my boy and these paper treasures got to the Cameron House safely. 

Me and my prize! At the Carleton Music
Bar and Grill in Halifax. :)
We figured that the show in Ontario that had Devin Cuddy Band opening for Blue Rodeo and that both Debra and I had intended on being at would be a good time line to get them back. But poor Devin had had surgery on his wrist the day before the show and was somewhat affected by the medication lol. Not getting the posters was fine for I will never forget the puppy dog eyes when he said to me, "Liz I effed up." You just can't make memories like that up. God bless his heart for worrying about me. My uppermost concern was the wrist he had broken playing hockey. He looked so lost on the stage that night not sitting at his NoNo piano. 

After all that and the journey that poster travelled, it was all the better when Devin himself put in my hands on this night. I immediately pulled it out and had some pics taken as the boys were behind me setting up their equipment. Debra picked hers up at the Cameron House the night before - and she was beaming. It was so worth it and we have an amazing story to tell of it's journey. Icing on the cake...they are personally addressed!  

The equipment got set up, Zach assembled his drums. After a 20 hour drive, there were no roadies to help tune the guitars and lug those amps. Once the sound-check was completed - man they can set that gear up fast - we had a chance for a chat. A very dear friend was very excited to meet and hear the band that I had ranted and raved about for so long. When her childcare fell through she came with the rugrats and the most she heard was the sound check. But even if just for that to hear the magical fingers of Nichol Robertson on the electric guitar. What a treat, he is so talented. Not a real song in its entirety but the whole band got a chance to prove to her that they were more than just pretty and friendly faces. For the record, meeting Devin was the highlight the young girls life - after a Disney Cruise. We love you Devin but you aren't a princess :) 

Work done, it was time for the boys to have some space and time to eat and relax a bit before the show. In their absence Dave Borins took the stage. Not even 10 years in the business, Dave is a professional and consummate guitarist and songwriter with a comedic flair. I would strongly suggest that you give him a listen if he is in your neighbourhood or at least check out Dave Borins Sound Cloud account. Normally with a band behind him, we enjoyed the solo acoustic version of his music. I was impressed. It was a bit like two shows for the price of one, for in between tunes (and tuning) we got some comedy relief along with the back story behind the man and song. Hailing from Toronto, it's not hard to find him playing the music scene there.

Keep It To Yourself - Devin Cuddy Band

With that, Devin Cuddy, Nichol Robertson, Devon Richardson and Zach Sutton were back in the house and ready to make some beautiful noise. They started the first set off right with "She Ain't Crying Over Me". Never a set list, the bandmates decide on the fly what song is going to be played. A couple of notes or chords on the piano from Devin and everyone knows what to play. That's talent in itself. Making it look easy as Devon Richardson on the bass does is genius. His long and slender fingers pluck at those heavy strings like they are flimsy thread. I'm reminded of walking ones fingers along the desk at school when we were bored. Stop for a moment and try that again right now. Got it? Okay now go backwards? Now try a vertical climb? Suddenly my fake legs are disabled and I can appreciate even more how hard it is to play bass and how effortless Devon makes it look. Vocally he has perfect harmony with Devin. It's a melodic treat for the ears. 

Nichol Robertson is someone who I think is talented beyond his years. Nichol lets his fingers sing on the electric and acoustic guitars. And he does it with style and flair. You get a sense of the passion for the craft that he has with an underlying intensity that demands perfection from himself. He touches that guitar and I know I'm in for a real treat. I am grateful that there is often at least a little Nichol showcase in each song. As someone who has tried and failed to play the guitar - I appreciate the talent and ability that Nichol so easily demonstrates. Love to watch him play!

Zach Sutton - the very name makes me smile. He has the kindest heart and sweetest soul in someone so young. He is the drummer for the group and grabbed my attention from the first moment I saw him perform on stage. I had never seen anything like him. His style was like no other...except for maybe Animal from the Muppets show. For that was the image that came to my mind as I watched Zach that first time. Unlike Animal, Zach did not his head on the snare too many times but rather it is the expressive intensity that kindles the similarity notion. Watching Zach play is like watching a show on TV, you can't look away because you will miss one of those endearing expressions on his face. Either that or he is eating one of his drumsticks lol. I think I saw tooth marks in the drum stick he gave me :) 

But just for fun - if Zach is Animal then Devin is Fozzie Bear. Cute and cuddly, his hair flops around and over his eyes like Fozzie ears. But the similarities stop there for Devin is tall and lanky. His eyes tell you that he has deep passion for music, (well when you can see his eyes lol) and there is a wisdom that reaches far beyond his tender years. He's all class and talent - he doesn't have the over-inflated ego and abrasiveness as some of the younger musicians I have come across. I have been following Devin and his career for several years now and he never ceases to amaze me. His long nimble fingers are a pianists dream and he uses them well. It would have been easier to follow in the footsteps of the path his dad had already carved out and become a second generation Blue Rodeo. But it seems that from a very young age, Devin had a preferred style already in his mind. Mainstream pop isn't his style.

Many people have asked me, "What kind of music does he play?" I say that you can't pigeon-hole him. There is a sense of Louisiana style blues, some pop, some comedy, some country, some folk, some gospel blues. Now the last bit was mostly prevalent in this latest album and I suspect that his fine producer Greg Keelor had some influence there. That man can belt out a gospel song that'll have the atheists kneeling. Okay maybe that is an exaggeration - but not much :) 

One of the very first songs I heard by the Devin Cuddy Band was My Son's a Queer. I thought it was fabulous and brave to write about a sensitive subject like that and put a positive beat on it. It's a catchy tune and a fun sing-a-long. Just recently I came across someone who complained about the offensive nature of the song. My jaw dropped. Now I don't claim to know what goes through the artist mind when they pen a particular song and although knowing a back story adds more meaning to the song for the listener, I don't generally analyse the words of a song. My feeling when I hear a song is my feeling. The song is often open to personal interpretation. I don't believe that the tender soul behind Devin Cuddy would have a song with hate towards anyone or anything in his heart to come out on staff paper.

I'm not gonna say that I go to the Carleton a lot, but there are some there who know my name. I'm just an enthusiastic fan and enjoy sharing my love of music. I can't remember how the conversation came about, or even exactly what point of the night but an employee did make a point of coming to our table to share a bit of news. Jim Cuddy was in town and may be stopping by. Well not even the Jim Cuddy could tear me away from the Devin Cuddy Band...but when they went on break between sets I was on high eagle eye alert. 

I needed a break too! And it was on my way back that I very nearly bumped into Jim. I took a quick step back and started pointing in his direction to alert my official photographer for the night to grab the camera and come hither. I was waiting right for him to finish with the group he was chatting with and then tapped his right shoulder to ask for a picture. Jim is so gracious to his fans! The picture was taken and I introduced myself and thanked him. He laughed when he said that Devin had the posters for months hanging around the house. I thanked him again on behalf of Debra and myself for everything that he and Devin had done for us and said that I would see him again in Truro. 

I almost let him go, and then saw Devin walking towards. I hope not too enthusiastically, but I reached for Devin and begged for a photograph with my two favourite musicians. And there I was, in the middle of both Jim and Devin Cuddy. A Cuddy sandwich it was called on the internet. My photographer did indeed get the million dollar shot! 

I have been asked, if Jim stayed for the second set and I have no idea. I know that I invited him to sit with us :) and he didn't. The thing is when the second set started it was all about Devin and his band. That's what I was there for. I hope that Jim was able to stay and listen to his boy, for being a typical parent he is proud of his son. 

Zach had asked me what I wanted to hear - Sidewalk in the South from Volume One has always been a fave. Listening to Zach count it down has always made me smile. Zach didn't know if it was set to be played but he said he'd suggest it if he could. And he came through for, two, three, four! Love it. The strong piano, the beat of the bass strumming, the crash of the cymbals and the guitar solo about halfway through it's magic to my ears. Add the vocals with a hint of a drawl and and the harmonizing just bring the whole thing up to another level. 

After the show I had some more signage for the boys to do. The Kitchen Knife CD and the Carleton advertising poster. There is a decor theme going on here at home. Pink Panther meets musicians lol!

"It was a magical night in Halifax. The stars aligned and the Cuddy's were in town. I am over the moon with excitement. At the Carleton to see Devin Cuddy Band and Jim showed up." (facebook post)

From the bottom of my heart I wish to thank all the members of the Devin Cuddy Band for your music and for your friendship. You guys are the best! I would also like to thank everybody who was involved in getting the poster signed and especially the members of Blue Rodeo who made every part of this night what it was. For it is all the moments in my life that Blue Rodeo were musically a part of that pulled me through and kept me going or smile just a little broader for the past 25+ years. The Devin Cuddy Band is one of many bands I learned to appreciate through my Blue Love.

 (pictures and words are the property of the photographer/author/camera owner and may not be reproduced without permission)
Zach Sutton builds his drums!

The set and the no no piano

Dave Borins warms up the crowds with songs and laughter

And we wait with baited breath

Devin Cuddy

Nichol Robertson, Zach Sutton, Devin Richardson

Zach Sutton

Nichol Robertson, Zach Sutton, Devin Richardson

Me and Jim Cuddy in Halifax

"Cuddy Sandwich" - Devin, Me, Jim

Nichol Robertson, Devon Richardson

Devin Cuddy 

I feel it but I don't see it so clearly
Re-do Zach?
Carleton House poster

The Travelling Poster :)

Dave Borins
Carleton Music Bar and Grill
Devin Cuddy, Zach Sutton, Nichol Robertson, Devon Richardson
Blue Rodeo - Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor

First Set list*: 
She Ain't Crying Over Me - DCB Volume One
Johnny from the Mountain - DCB Volume One
Forty Four - DCB Kitchen Knife
How the Other Half Lives - Jack Marks release Blues Like These
I Got a Girl - DCB Volume One
Jambalaya (On the Bayou) - Hank Williams release
Home - DCB Kitchen Knife
Take Me Back To Tulsa - Bob Wills release
Prelude - DCB Volume One
Maybe I'm Doing It Wrong - Randy Newman release
East Coast Bred - DCB Volume One
My Sons a Queer - DCB Volume One
Dancing - DCB Volume One

Second Set list*:
Town - DCB Kitchen Knife
Afghanistan - DCB Volume One
Jelly Roll
Chug-a-Lug - Roger Miller release
Maggies Hardware Store - Jack Marks release Blues Like These
Kitchen Knife - DCB Kitchen Knife
Ode to a Gypsy's Daughter - DCB Kitchen Knife
Town - DCB Kitchen Knife
When the Ship Hit the Sand - Jimmy Dickens release
Sidewalk in the South - DCB Volume One
Keep It To Yourself - Sonny Boy Williamson release
Lie To Me - DCB Kitchen Knife
Walking - DCB Volume One
Catfish Blues - DCB Kitchen Knife

*Not an official set list and subject to errors

Friday, October 03, 2014

Leaving by choice...or not

Hard Road - Sam Roberts Band

Loss is a different feeling for everyone. Everyone feels loss in a different intensity. And there are just as many types of loss too. In less than a week I have been moved by two very different types of losses in very diverse ways. Leaving by choice and leaving with no choice.

Loss of a loved one is probably one of the most profound. In this case, loss can refer to death, divorce or missing. There can be some measure of hope in the case of missing but the pain of that loss can go for a lifetime if no answers are ever found, if no questions are ever answered. 

I have experienced more than my fair share of death of family members and can speak with some credibility there. And in my humble opinion, divorce is much harder to cope with than death. Death is a finality and with that lack of hope, we can process the grief and move on with our lives. The pain never goes but we learn to live with it and without those we love. 

In a divorce situation the loss can impact our life in similar ways. A person we love is no longer with us. We will always wonder if it was us, if maybe we had done things differently, if we had said, if we hadn't said. Ex-partner bashing is not something I personally engaged in, nor did I sugar-coat the truth. The fact of the matter is that if I consistently undermine and belittle an ex-partner, what does that say about me and my choices. If a childs parent is so unworthy that you can't say anything nice about them what does that say about the child that is half of that alleged so called waste of space. 

Whatever came of a once important relationship, it is crucial to remember that you did once see some goodness in that person. And your children have inherited some of that as well. Just because they aren't right for you anymore doesn't mean that they aren't okay for someone else. And they can have them ;) I divorced for a reason and I respect the decision I made. I hope that my children have been able to come to terms with their sense of loss in the least impactful way possible.

Please Don't Bury Me - John Allan Cameron
(this version includes an introduction
song starts at about 1 minute mark)

Back to the experience of loss in the form of death. Although five immediate family members have died on me at various times, I was either two young to remember or unable to attend a funeral. People just assume that I am familiar with the customs and practises. But I am not. The one funeral I attended impacted me in ways that I struggled to cope with and in some sense still haunts me. At 22 it was not my desire to pick my brothers casket. Nothing in your life prepares you for that. 

I feel loss and a most overwhelming sense of compassion and empathy for someone I know that has lost a loved one. It's not because I necessarily know the person who has passed but I know a relative. I don't pretend that I understand their pain but I do feel their pain. And I feel it most profoundly.

But what is the right thing to do? When it is a friend or acquaintance and you don't know the family at all. I want to show support but I struggle with funerals and traditional services. I don't completely agree with the modern day burial practises that have become more business and less necessity. Environmentally I would prefer alternatives. 

If I don't attend a funeral, please don't take it to mean anything more than I would like to show support but need support myself to get through it. I can't think of anyplace that I feel more alone than in the middle of a funeral gathering. Sorry.

Maybe it was enduring so much death when I was young, but it's never been a topic I shy away from. Many sunny summer days were spent at the graveyard planting flowers and tending the mausoleum. There was some comfort found there. The only time that my family was together. Death is a part of life and when your time comes if you have preferences, you must communicate them.

I did that when my children were about 8 and 9 years old and we were on a family car trip. They were all that was left of my family. They had to know. A story on the news radio was a perfect segue to begin to share my choices. Keeping it age appropriate, I told my kids that I was not to be buried but cremated instead. They couldn't keep my ashes because I didn't want to be halved or fought over. So they promised that they would go to my hometown of Thunder Bay and sprinkle my ashes on the nose of the Sleeping Giant and see if he sneezes. They laughed and never forgot their Mom's strange request. Of course now that they are older we were able to discuss more details like costs of services and spending money on a celebration of life. Party! 

How Many Miles - Kim Stockwood
How many miles from home are you? Leaving home (your birthplace) is a loss in itself. Everything you knew and counted on was at home. Stability and security. You had friends all over because you had to meet and interact with so many different people during school and activities. 

If you lived in a community for most of your years growing up and then moved quite far away you will understand when I say that it is like ripping a piece of your heart out. Everything you encounter is suddenly strange and unfamiliar - the comforts of home, the friendly faces, all left behind. I did that exact thing (as many do to pursue higher education) however I never again returned. The closest I have lived to my hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario since high school was 1000 miles. Milton, Oakville, Georgetown in Ontario and Bridgetown, Coldbrook and Halifax, Nova Scotia. It took me 30 years of moving about before I finally felt like I was really home - here in Halifax. Why? I don't have a good explanation for that.

But I do understand the need for being on the move. Just recently a friend I met recently decided to move back home. After 10 years on the east coast she is headed for the opposite coast. A place that she still calls home. She was feeling a loss for that home she left and the only way to ease her pain was to return. Her departure is a loss for this neck of the woods for she was instrumental in engaging people in the community and introducing them to local cultural events. 

I hope she finds happiness wherever she may land. It's not easy to intentionally lose everything that is of comfort to you. To pull yourself up by the roots and go to where nobody knows your name and everything is different from when you were there before. I know...I did it. Too many times. But sometimes you have to try on a lot of pairs of shoes before you find the ones that you can live in and with! :) 

Hometown for me represents loss and with all the loss there is nothing there for me anymore. My friend is going to family she left when she wanted to pursue higher education. Now its time for her to return. 

I have found my "home" in the heart and soul of the people of the beautiful city of Halifax in Nova Scotia. Someday I may understand what my innate drive is that brought me here in the first place or I may not. I have found peace and I have found kindred spirits and I can always go back to visit the pieces of my heart that I left behind.