May 22, 2006

Happy Victoria Day

Today is Victoria Day, which in Canada means that this is the long weekend known as the gateway to the summer, much like Memorial Day in the US. Also like Memorial Day in the US, the reason behind the long weekend has been pretty much forgotten. Not only is the occasion now known mostly as "the May long weekend" but many folks at least in Alberta, apparently too tired from making all that oil money, have taken to referring is as "The May long," which makes me shudder.

Victoria's birthday was in fact 24 May 1819, but Canada appropriates the penultimate Monday in order to make a three-day holiday. We Albertans owe her much, not least our province's name, after her daughter, Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, herself named after Victoria's beloved Albert.

While most of our family and friends have run off to their cabins at the lake, or their rattletrap tin-can campers near someone else's cabin at the lake, we stayed put to enjoy the creature comforts of a well-stocked pantry and fridge and our own beds. All of which were much enjoyed last night after a long day of gardening (transplanting, weeding, pruning, accompanied by mama meadowlark bringing worms to her newly-hatched babies) and farming (cleaning last year's wheat for this year's seed, hooking up the air seeder). I'm off shortly to do some watering and load up the truck with all the branches and other detritus from yesterday's efforts, and then to plant potatoes, if it's not too muddy in the potato patch. We're in a race to get the seeding done before the forecasted rain for the rest of week starts.

Almost forgot Saturday, which wasn't a very pleasant day at all weatherwise -- rainy (but which our little trees enjoyed and which softened up the ground for me considerably yesterday) and exceedingly windy. But not a problem as we spent most of the day indoors at the local museum's grand opening for the summer. Laura wore her c1900 dress, charmed all of the adults, did a marvelous job cutting the cake ("I was nervous, could you tell, Mom?") decorated with dozens of tiny icing wild roses.

And I was gifted with some lovely compliments, not just how sweet the children looked (Laura in her dress and the boys as cowboys complete with Stetsons) but how well-behaved they kids were. These last started coming so thick and fast that after some thought on the way home I realized what everyone really meant -- that three kids under the age of nine were interested, cheerful, polite, and made themselves very useful, throughout three hours at a history museum in the company of mostly adults, and senior citizens at that. A good lesson in the practical power of lots of sunshine, water, diligent weeding and patience, not to mention delighting in the dandelions as well as the roses.

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