Yearly Archives: 2013

Of Chance and Choice and Christmas

December 22 at 2:40 a.m. my power went out due to the worst ice storm Southern Ontario has seen in years. Tree limbs that lacked resiliency snapped off under the weight of ice, taking power lines with them and landing on a few cars and roofs. Hydro’s initial estimate was that power would be restored within 72 hours. That’s a long time in a society so addicted to gadgets that require electricity to function, but it’s a really long time when temperatures are below freezing and when fridges are packed with perishable holiday fare. It’s a really long time for people trying to travel home for the holidays. Flights in and out of Pearson International are delayed or cancelled.

The ice storm was beautiful--but inconvenient.

The ice storm was beautiful–but inconvenient.

This Christmas won’t be the Christmas a lot of people had planned. A lot of folks won’t be able to get home. Travel plans will be changed at the last minute. A lot of food will spoil or will have to be consumed before it spoils. Barbeques will be fired up out of season. A winter’s worth of wood will be burned in a few days trying to keep pipes from freezing. Kids will spend the holidays camped out on living room floors in sleeping bags trying to stay warm. Strangers will share feasts of homemade cookies in airport lounges. Some will be disappointed. Some will think it’s the worst Christmas ever. Others will be creative and resilient and find ways to improvise. Arriving safely for Christmas is more important than arriving on time for Christmas. Even without power, tomorrow will come.

A low-light Christmas tree decorated in low light.

A low-light Christmas tree decorated in low light.

I’m lucky that my building has a back-up generator, so there is some heat, running water, and enough power for lights in the common areas and to run the elevators. This is a long way from a UN refugee camp, with multi-generational families crammed into unheated tents without adequate food or water. We are so spoiled to have been born into such privilege that we feel entitled to get angry when we don’t have everything we think we need. Yes, there will be hardships, but even if it takes a full week to get everyone’s electricity restored, we will recover very quickly.

I’m enjoying a warm cup of tea made from water heated on my fondue set. The building seems quiet without the hum of industrial systems and almost no traffic outside. It’s a little like being in the university library after exams, after the students have left, on the last day before campus closes for the two-week winter break. An eerie silence. A bit post-apocalyptic.

Monday morning 8:45 a.m. the power is still out. I’ve moved everything from the fridge into a cooler on the balcony. The building across the street from me, and everything southward, has electricity. I wonder if this is a little of what it feels like to live in places that don’t have our advantages, to look across borders and see the wasted resources. Makes me think even more about what we have and how we use it.

I’m enjoying the adventure of using my fondue set for cooking. I was getting tired of cold food, so managed to cook some noodles, as well as a cup of tea. Tried knitting by candle light this evening; it’s difficult to tell the knits from the purls. I rigged up a four-candle powered heater I saw online a couple of weeks ago (I am the child of an engineer; how could I not give it a go?). The air from the chimney was about 34°C / 94°F but I would need several to heat a space this size. The temperature in the apartment had dropped to about 17°C / 64°F and the outside temperature is going down to -10°C. I hauled out extra blankets and one of the cats cuddled up with me. Without the interference of artificial light, my diurnal clock is even louder; by about 4 p.m. it feels like bedtime and I have to struggle to stay awake until 8. It’s cold and bed is the warmest place to be. I settle in for a long night.

I'm the child of an engineer. How could I not try this out?

I’m the child of an engineer. How could I not try this out?

By Tuesday, Christmas Eve, 6:17 p.m. word is that power may not be restored until the weekend, a full week after the outage. I confess to finding a certain pleasure in the absence of the demands of electronic devices. I was seriously considering giving up my land line, but I’m glad I haven’t; it’s the only way I can contact the outside world. And I broke into the Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry. The cause for celebration? We were informed that we could access more heat! It’s been about 15°C / 60°F all day. That doesn’t sound so bad, but when you’re sitting in it, you start to feel it. With another cold night ahead, someone from the building came in and diddled with the radiator override, so now heat is pouring forth! Much relieved and so is my cat. Water and heat—the only convenience missing is electricity for lights and cooking.

Fortunately, a friend invited me to his place for Christmas Day, where I had good company, a hot meal, and was able to cook some perishable food before it spoiled. When I got home later on Christmas Day, the power had been restored, thanks to the efforts of numerous local and visiting Hydro crews. It was out for a couple more hours on the 27th, but generally things seem to be returning to normal.

I hope that this holiday, without reliable power or transportation, causes people to reflect on their good fortune, testing their resiliency in the face of unpredictability, finding faith in themselves and humanity, to make the holidays bright and moving, even if they are not quite as planned.

A good time for quiet reflection.

A good time for quiet reflection.

© Catherine Jenkins 2013

‘Tis the Season for…Conspicuous Consumption

Black Friday, the American phenomenon of greatly slashed prices just after the holiday celebrating the Giving of Thanks, has come to Canada. Fortunately, we do seem to be somewhat more civilized than some of our neighbours to the south. News coverage of the Eaton Centre, which opened its doors at six in the morning for the big event, showed a few dozen empty-handed people sauntering through nearly empty mall space. Meanwhile, in the great US of A, thousands of people breached store entrances before they were fully opened, grabbing stock from shelves, pummelling each other, being forcibly subdued by security, and scrambling for goods as if it was world’s end. But we’re not talking food here; we’re not talking about the necessities of life. We’re talking electronics, TVs and games; that fifth pair of boots or twelfth pair of shoes; that fiftieth towel or toy. adbusters_everything-is-fine-keep-shoppingMarking the beginning of holiday buying, ‘tis indeed the season for conspicuous consumption, and a day I prefer to avoid stores.

In some jurisdictions, the day also marks Buy Nothing Day (BND), conceived by Vancouver comic artist Ted Dave “To return the purchasing power of the marketplace to the consumer.” The notion was subsequently promoted by Ad Busters magazine, with events like a Zombie Walk, in which “The cheerful dead wander around malls, marveling at the blank, comatose expressions on the faces of shoppers” and Whirl Mart, in which “You and nine of your closest friends silently drive your shopping carts around in a long, inexplicable conga line without ever actually buying anything.” In 2011, Adbusters Media Foundation’s production manager, Lauren Bercovitch, started the Occupy Christmas movement, encouraging people to rethink their consumer habits to consider “Being ecologically aware, socially aware, culturally aware, environmentally aware…”

Choosing to participate in BND or to Occupy Christmas doesn’t mean becoming a Scrooge or the Grinch; this is, after all, and regardless of religious affiliation, a season of giving and celebration. Occupying Christmas means thinking about choice, rather than engaging blindly in consumerism, and that might still mean going to the mall for the latest Xbox release, but it doesn’t have to. Zenta 2013For me, it means making gifts. Sometimes I’ve made food items, like baked goods or homemade soups and sauces. This year, I’m trying my hand at hand soaps and bath bombs. Although I don’t have a lot of free time right now, I’ve started working on a sweater for my little nephew; knitting is quietly meditative on these long evenings and something it’s easy to pick up and put down as time allows. I may also buy some locally crafted items (I have a lot of crafty friends). The one place I do spend money this season is on charitable donations made in family members’ names. This is my way of recognizing that, although it’s fun to give and get presents, most of us lead pretty privileged lives and don’t really need very much. For me, this is a season of quiet reflection and celebrating with friends—things money can’t buy.

© Catherine Jenkins 2013

Tempus fugit (or not)

Humans represent a geological blink, yet in the last couple of centuries, we’ve stressed the planet by raping and pillaging that which geological time took millions of years to create. There seems a strange myopia in our notion of progress; we use growing amounts of energy from diminishing sources. Public discourse on pollution started when I was a child, and we discussed alternative energies in high school. Yet this awareness has led to little positive change in the ensuing decades. Sometimes it seems that human animals only progress when prodded by impending disaster.

And while some move slowly, others move with a sense of urgency, but time has a subjective fluidity about it. People with dementia embody subjective time more boldly than most of us, able to conflate days, and seasons, and decades into the same moment; the ultimate sense of flow, but not necessarily desirable. I prefer to get my flow from engaging with work, creative or otherwise. Amazed, as always, to discover that while I’ve been working, the sun has set, the cats want their dinner, and my body is begging for relief. My recent use of dollar-store kitchen timers is helping me break up the day, reminding me of the need for movement.

At some point, and probably for either religious or economic reasons, humans invented clocks, somewhat nullifying our sense of subjective time. Once beyond sundials and clepsydra, early clocks tended to be in church towers or central squares. Although declaring their mechanical sovereignty over each town, they were notoriously fickle. The San Giacomo di Rialto clock, installed in 1410, has never kept reliable time, but it has survived two fires. And of course, there was no consistency of time from town to town. Even if clocks challenged subjective time, each town still had its own temporal identity. But we’ve moved from clockwork clocks into the digital age. At what point will it no longer be viable to ask those being tested for dementia to draw a clock face? And really, who needs to keep time with digital accuracy on a daily basis?

This clock has been dysfunctional since it was installed in 1410.

San Giacomo di Rialto, Venice. This clock has been dysfunctional since it was installed in 1410.

I’ve been increasingly intrigued by Steampunk (more on that in a future post). I devoured H.G. Wells’ novels when I was younger, so Steampunk gives me a pleasant sense of reacquainting with the familiar. One supposition is that, by marrying contemporary with Victorian technologies, Steampunk opens the question of whether we took a wrong turn during the industrial revolution. While that may be so, as we generally conceive of it, time only runs in one direction.

Author-physicist Alan Lightman presented a series of alternative conceptions of time in Einstein’s Dreams, and I’m sure there’s one episode in which time does run backward. Italo Calvino tackled notions of time and forms of consciousness in his Cosmicomics. Author-historian Caleb Carr projected ever-so-slightly forward to create the future history of Killing Time, in which events are almost recognizable. Some authors, John Keats for example, had very little time to make their mark, and yet they succeeded. The list of authors who’ve played with time goes on almost ad infinitum, especially once the science fiction wormhole is opened.

As I write the dissertation, I occasionally reflect on how different my PhD research would have been if I’d tackled it earlier in life, as I’d intended. Sometimes life corkscrews and plans are put on hold until the right time. I didn’t want to start the PhD with the threat of parental illness and death still hanging over me like a dark cloud. A downside to people having children later in life is that the kids may have to deal with life-changing adjustments and care giving before they have fully inhabited their own lives. Those earlier years were used in other ways, but I’m glad that I’ve circled back to complete this academic episode; I always knew I would. I do, however, have some hope that time expended caring for others’ lives gets tacked onto the end of my own life, although I doubt that time, or biology, work that way.

October—when the world goes to sleep. Halloween—when the veil between worlds is thinnest, when time momentarily evaporates. Dreamtime allows the dead to cross timelines for nocturnal visits. This month, I had a dream of my Dad and Moon, my first and blackest cat, the three of us climbing across rooftops. I try to find significance in such dreams, but they are only visits. The awareness of loss remains on waking, even if it was lifted for a brief time, even if I am grateful for the dreamed remembrance. As my mental state quickens with work on the dissertation, I am waking too early, in the full darkness of night. Although I am truly diurnal, I find myself embracing some odd sense of being a night creature, of being up and active when the world is in full dark and quiet. In the fall, I become aware of the shortness of days and the coldness of nights. Even as I continue working, I am slipping into hibernation.

© Catherine Jenkins 2013

What I did on my summer vacation (and what gives me nightmares)

I remember dreading this first-day-of-school assignment, because we did the same thing every  summer. We went to the cottage, which I enjoyed on some levels, but it forced me away from my Dad and my friends, which I didn’t enjoy. I loved the daytime, being outside, swimming, lying on my grandmother’s quilts on the lawn reading comics and eating watermelon. But at night, the sheets were clammy with humidity and it was far too dark. Inevitably, I’d wake in the depths of the night, unable to see my hand in front of me, and get so scared I’d start crying. For years, all my nightmares were of being hunted by malicious forces at the cottage. Having spent months up there as an adult, I’m happy to report that the place of the cottage in my dream world has shifted to one of light.

This past summer, for the most part, I stayed in Toronto; the brief time I was at the cottage, my allergies were awful, so I avoided a prolonged stay. This summer’s highlight was certainly the band reunion, and everything leading up to and away from that.

In August, I made my annual foray to the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake (NOTL). I was late booking, so missed one play I wanted to see and was unable to book my usual B & B, although I did have a visit with Lynn, the owner. I had mixed feelings about my last-minute accommodations, but I enjoyed the birds’ nest behind one of the window shutters. The chatty chicks were nearly as big as their parents and beginning to venture into the huge maple a few feet away.

A small part of the Niagara peach harvest.

A small part of the Niagara peach harvest.

This year, I didn’t visit as many stores or spend much money, and I think I enjoyed NOTL even more as a result. For the first time, I was there during Peach Festival and I think that’s something I’d like to repeat. Three blocks of the main drag, Queen Street, were closed to traffic, allowing vendors to sell locally grown peaches and peach baked goods. In the evening, tables were set up along the street for gourmet dining and local wine sampling. The festival was alive with music; folk, rock, jazz, salsa—even bagpipes. The street felt very different, more relaxed, in part because I could wander back and forth as things caught my attention. The weather was fantastic, beautiful, clear and sunny. At one point, the local biker gang buzzed through town, about thirty of them, so hard not to notice. An interesting contrast. Lots of people were out enjoying the weekend; I even saw Shaw Festival actor Patrick Gallaghan out with his wife buying baked goods.

I’d intentionally left my Saturday evening free, thinking I might indulge in a gourmet meal. But I didn’t feel like it, so instead, I went on a Ghost Walk of NOTL with Lady Cassandra. This was a significant year for such a walk, as it’s the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. For six months during 1813, the Americans occupied this small, but strategic, town, then called Newark. This summer, NOTL flew the vintage fifteen-star American flag alongside the Canadian flag, to mark the anniversary. Historically, there’s a lot of pain in this soil. When the Americans left, they razed the town, leaving about 400 residents, mostly women, children and the elderly, without shelter in December. Many froze to death. This cruel civilian attack was condemned by both the British and Americans. It also laid the course for reprisals, including the burning of the original White House. While the town was rebuilt, many lives were lost, some brutally, during the war years. And the losses didn’t end with the conclusion of that war. The room I stayed in is occasionally haunted by its former occupant, a young woman who committed suicide after her American husband was killed at the Battle of Gettysburg in the summer of 1863 during the American Civil War. Abagail reportedly doesn’t haunt romantics, so I was left in peace, however, those of you who know me well know that I’m highly impressionable when it comes to spooky stuff. I don’t do horror movies because the images haunt me for weeks or even months. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep well and yes, I had to check under the bed a couple of times because I kept getting flashes from an Evil Dead movie trailer.

Self-portrait in Abagail's Rest. Spooky.

Self-portrait in Abagail’s Rest. Spooky.

And, oh yeah, I went to three plays. With the number of actor friends I have, I’m embarrassed to admit that I’d never seen the classic, Guys and Dolls. I was surprised that I knew at least half the score. Although I’d heard Bugs Bunny described as a Damon Runyon-esque character, I’d never understood the parallel until seeing this play. Wow. Talk about a culturally influential show! Peace in Our Time, a later Shaw play, wasn’t, in my opinion, one of his best. Although full of social and anti-war comment, it lacked the level of wit I generally associate with GBS. It felt very heavy handed and static. Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan, on the other hand, was lovely. A thrilling satire that skewers Victorian morals, it contains such immortal lines as: “I can resist everything except temptation” and “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” I really enjoyed the acting, staging and costumes in this production. The music choices between acts were…unexpected: Velvet Underground’s “All Tomorrow’s Parties,” Rufus Wainwright’s “Art Teacher” and Katy Perry’s “Firework.” While I kind of understood the significance of the first two, the final choice seemed to overwhelm the play’s finale, but that is a minor complaint. If you want to visit Shawfest, all three plays continue into mid-October or early November.

This was the second time I took transit to NOTL and it just doesn’t work well, so I’ll probably go back to renting a car. The GO schedule doesn’t take curtain time into consideration, so play-goers may have to cab it from either St Catharines or Niagara Falls. Of course, the  other advantage of a car is that I can stock up on local fruit and wine before heading back to the city.

Morning Glory

Morning Glory

At home, my balcony garden really took off this year. As well as violas, morning glories, marigolds, portulaca, begonias, impatiens, and sweet potato vines, I tried a gerbera daisy for the first time. It’s been sending up bright new blossoms all summer. The quality and range of floral colours have been lovely and it’s been really gratifying to have bees visiting my sixth-floor balcony. Additionally, I tried growing vegetables this year. I started them indoors from seed, probably a little late. I have about a dozen tomatoes, half-a-dozen cucumbers, and an uncertain number of peppers coming along. It was more successful than my previous attempt at a balcony vegetable garden, and I learned a few things, so plan to try again next year.

CNE midway at dusk

CNE midway at dusk

My friend James and I made our annual pilgrimage to the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) and did some of the usual things and a few new things. We saw an intimate performance of the Flying Wallendas’ high-wire act. We missed the Super Dogs, so we checked out the miniature horses instead. We also walked through the cat show, which consisted of a variety of over-bred felines, mostly sleeping in their carriers. I was really taken with the Savannah cats, until I found out that they’re a cross between a wild serval and a domestic cat, only recently accepted as a new breed. Although a striking and affectionate cat, I don’t know why people can’t just leave wild cats alone to do what they do in their natural habitat. I was also really glad to see a large booth for Ninth Life Cat Rescue, an organization that rescues cats from death row in shelters, housing them until they can be adopted. If you’re considering feline companionship, personally, I think adopting from a shelter is a more responsible way to go. We wandered through the international pavilion, watched people on midway rides, and, after much consideration, I ate a deep fried Mars Bar, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

In other news, I completed the revised draft of Pairs & Artichoke Hearts. I got some great feedback from one of my first readers, and there’s some further work I’d like to do before sending out queries. I was also able to get back to writing my PhD dissertation; last year’s car accident did a number on my cognitive abilities, among other things, but I feel like my head is finally fully back in the game. I drove for the first time since the accident, even at night and in the rain, and nothing bad happened. I attended four funerals and a wedding, the ratio perhaps a sign of age. I did some non-academic reading, including Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 (all 925 pages), as well as some hybrid hardboiled science fiction, and some comic books. I went to a few movies, notably Red 2, Iron Man 3, and Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing.

I took more time off than I’d intended, but the upside of that is now I’m eager to get back to schoolwork! And that’s a good thing.

© Catherine Jenkins 2013

One Mind Band Reunion!

“We’re getting the band back together. Really.” That was the message I got from Ian in April. (Where would we be without The Blues Brothers and Face Book?) One Mind hadn’t played together in (gulp) 28 years! A gig was booked at the Hunter Street Caribbean Festival, a Jamaica Self-Help fundraiser in Peterborough, and most of the other band members had already been tracked down; some of the guys were travelling from Bermuda and Calgary, as well as Peterborough and Toronto. In spite of a certain trepidation (When was the last time I played on stage? When was the last time I even played?) I jumped at the chance. The idea was to keep it simple, make it fun. Dub-reggae with two basses was definitely going to be fun!

Ian and me together gives a whole new meaning to double bass. Rob on the kit in the background. Special thank to Loren.

Ian and me together gives a whole new meaning to double bass. Rob on the kit in the background. Special thank to Loren for most of these photos!

I’ve been a closeted musician for years now, essentially since I left Peterborough. With the impending gig, I pulled out my bass and my flute, and started trying to sing again. I discovered that I’d forgotten how to tune a guitar. My fingers were stiff and clumsy, with nothing of the speed I remembered having. To my surprise, I got sound out of my flute on the first try! I practiced a little each day and everything started to come back, kind of like opening the lid on a past life.


With eight of us scattered across Canada and beyond, the reunion proved to be a positive test of technology. Ian posted a bunch of old songs online, and after I figured out how to digitize my wonky old cassette tapes, I posted a few more. We’d never written anything down; it was all done by ear, so having and sharing the recordings was essential. We voted on our favourites and came up with a set list. Old-school reggae never gets old and Chet’s poetry is still surprisingly relevant. While it’s good that the words aren’t particularly dated, it shows how few social injustices and inequalities have been addressed in all this time.

Chet on lead vocals at the Toronto gig.

Chet on lead vocals at the Toronto gig. Parts of John and Rob in the background.

The week before the gig, those of us in Toronto got together for a half-band practice. Ian and I doubled up on bass, with me also doing a bit of flute and vocals, and Ian sometimes playing with percussion toys. Rico pulled out his percussion instruments, and John, who’d just flown in from Bermuda with some rum, supplied guitar chops. And yeah, we did practice, but some of us hadn’t seen each other in decades, so it was also a chance to catch up on life. Then we trekked up to Peterborough to join the rest of the band for two more rehearsals. Rob, the only one of us still gigging regularly, has been playing guitar with Dub Trinity, a fabulous Peterborough-based ska band. Chet, our intrepid lead vocalist, has recorded four CDs in the last few years, continuing to write politically charged lyrics addressing existing and new political situations. Tim, joining Rico on percussion, flew in from Calgary, and so did David, complete with his keyboard in a substantial travel case. (There was some conjecture that perhaps some of the smaller band members, i.e., me, might be transported safely to out-of-country gigs in a such a travel case.) Rob negotiated rehearsal space for us at Artspace and the set came together surprisingly smoothly.

August 1, I came in from the cottage early to check out my old stomping ground of Peterborough. They’d closed the street between George and Water for the Festival, making way for vendor and food tents, as well as the stage, and people were beginning to drift in. The guys started to arrive, several with partners and kids. There was entertainment throughout the late afternoon and evening, with One Mind taking the stage at 7:45.

Me belting out lead vocals on one number. David on keys.

Me belting out lead vocals on one number. David on keys.

Was it perfect? Well, no. Was it fun? Hell yeah!! We had a great time and had overwhelmingly positive feedback. We saw people we hadn’t seen in decades. Part of the magic of reggae is that even when the message is critical, the music makes you move. A cluster of little kids danced in front of the stage and Ian’s Mum, in her 80s, was there, dancing and smoking in front of her chair, a little smile on her face. When I tried to introduce myself to her later, she said, “I know exactly who you are!” She actually remembered me, which was a surprise. Dub Trinity came on right after us, so Rob immediately switched from the drum kit to his guitar, something he said was a bit of a relief. We get used to doing what we’re doing now and it’s challenging to try something one hasn’t done in a long time. Eventually, we all ended up at Rob and Sarah’s seated around the table in their backyard, talking well into the night.

The next day, we all made our way to Toronto, for the second, more intimate gig, in Patti’s garage. Rico and his partner William hosted another barbeque (the first was at Rob and Sarah’s on one of the rehearsal nights) and so, yeah, we were definitely running on Caribbean time for set up! It was a smaller audience, again with some family, some folks who drove down from Peterborough and some Toronto friends.

Left to right, me, Ian, Rico and Tim at the Toronto gig.

From left to right, me, Ian, Rico and Tim at the Toronto gig.


Rico’s Mum commented afterwards: “What a wonderful group of people you all are and you all looked happy playing music. You are all good people and good friends.” No one wanted it to end, the goodbyes hanging on. People said their goodnights, but only made it as far as the walkway. I kept thinking of the little character at the end of Just for Laughs who cries, “Mommy, it’s over!”

I woke up at five the next morning, around the time a couple of the guys would’ve been leaving for the airport to head to their respective homes. One Mind indeed. And now I’ve had a couple weeks to reflect on something so special that it’s difficult to articulate. As Rob noted, there wasn’t any of the “back in the good old days” which sometimes pervades reunions; maybe because we’re all feeling pretty happy in our lives, “these are the good old days” (to quote Carly Simon). When Tim told me “You look exactly the same!” I said thanks, then suggested that he’d better not look too closely, but essentially, we do all look pretty much the same—except for Rico, who looks even better! David noted that none of us have gained weight; in fact, in spite of a few accidents, a couple considerably more catastrophic than mine last fall, we’re all in pretty good shape.

From left to right, John, Chet, David, Rico and Rob enjoying the barbeque before the Toronto gig.

From left to right, John, Chet, David, Rico and Rob enjoying the barbeque before the Toronto gig.

I love these guys. I feel really fortunate to have been part of this band, then and now. This feels like a reconnection, a lost link regained. Amazing how quickly the connections come back together, how fast we were back in synch; only a couple of full band rehearsals and we were reading each other like old paperbacks. This is the way people play together, through the transmission of body cues, even if most of us haven’t played with anyone in years. And getting back together again supercharged a creative energy in me that had been running kind of low. After trying for several years, I’m finally back into the music. It revealed some things to me about my youth, about how, in spite of some external criticisms, I was on a positive path. We’ve all made it to middle age with most of our youthful ideals, ethics and humour intact. I mean sure, we’ve grown up, most are happily partnered, some with kids, most have bought houses and cars, and some have lost parents, but all of us seem to have settled into lives we enjoy, doing things we value and feel positively about. There’s no sense of resignation common to middle age, no jaded cynicism. And when we play, it’s like we’re twenty-something again, with that same spirit and energy. If we’ve made it through to the middle years with our youthful hearts intact, I think we’ve got a good shot at making it into old age the same way; I think we’ll help keep each other young in all the right ways.

It was fun before, but it feels like so much more fun now. A reunion of something so positive and affirming, that no one wanted it to end. And it won’t. We’ve been sharing photos, videos and sound recordings of the gigs online (links coming!). There’s already talk about another reunion again soon, maybe in Calgary or Bermuda, where some of the other band members live. There’s talk of not waiting another 30 years until next time, or there won’t be room onstage for all eight of us with our walkers.

Thank you all. Blessed be. Safe journeys (“life is a journey”). One Love.

Me and the boys after the Toronto gig.

Me and the boys after the Toronto gig.

© Catherine Jenkins, 2013