A Growing Tribute

A tale of beautiful hearts still blooming despite the dead hearts. Great story Rita!


I’ve always loved sunflowers since I was a youngster. The towering yellow flowers make me smile. Dad wouldn’t plant them in the front yard like I requested back then. However, in later years, he always planted a row of sunflowers at the edge of his vegetable garden right up until his last summer.


This year, Mom and I noticed a row of sunflowers coming up at the garden’s edge once more. Mom hadn’t asked any of us to plant them. She wanted to keep it simple, being almost 91. Just tomatoes, cukes and zucchini. Another sister snuck in some squash or gourds—I’m not sure which—but the vine is humongous!


It ends up my brother was responsible for planting the sunflowers. To keep the tradition going or growing, you could say! In memory of Dad. Dad’s sunflowers always were bigger than mine and this year “his” sunflowers bloomed earlier and are…

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The tale of grandfather carrot

I’m certain grandfather carrot grimaced as I pulled him out of the plastic bag; the one from the grocery store that identified he and his fellow carrots were “organic”.


I examined grandfather carrot closely, noting the white gnarly loopy hair that covered him, head to toe.

A raspy voice boomed out of grandfather carrot, “What are ya lookin at? You’d think you never saw hair on a carrot before.” As a matter of fact, I’ve never seen old-man-white-hair on a carrot before and I didn’t hesitate to retort that truth to grandfather carrot.

He rattled an asthmatic sounding cough, and I said, “You are not presenting yourself as edible. I may have to reconsider chopping you up for my chicken stew. Grandfather carrot laughed and said, “Go ahead brave lady. Give an old carrot a shave and I’ll show you what I’m made of!”


Grandfather carrot, after his shave and chopped to perfect bite-sized bits looked as marvellous as his fellow carrots from the bag. “Grandfather carrot, beneath your wizened old skin and copious aged white hair, you truly remained a wonderful addition for my stew.”

Of course Grandfather carrot did not respond to me, I’d chopped him up you see?

Perplexing percentages

My friend Sarah and I went to the LCBO yesterday and we made a fun discovery – chocolate flavoured vodka! Not only did this vodka entice us but it advertised they are “dedicated to protecting the environment and cutting down on unnecessary waste”!

Two girls who love chocolate and environmentally friendly companies, along with the temptation of a sip of vodka – we grabbed up that little bottle of 360 Double Chocolate Vodka and headed toward the cash register. Sarah said, with the special twinkle in her eye that appears each time she is feeling mischievous, “We will do our best to help this company to protect the environment – I know I will not be unnecessarily wasting this vodka!”

As Sarah backed the car out of the parking lot I asked her to take me to the grocery store. We needed to purchase the ingredients to make the drink Sarah had sampled on New Years Eve – chocolate milk and chocolate ice cream.

I decided to go with the frozen yogurt – we wouldn’t consume the container with a mere drink each and I would enjoy the frozen yogurt on its own at a later time. Sarah thought that was a great idea and she assured me the taste of the Chocolate, chocolate and chocolate vodka shake would not be affected.

I noticed something odd – the Beatrice 1% chocolate milk advertised 1% fat content while Chapman’s Dutch Chocolate yogurt advertised 97% fat-free. I asked Sarah, “Doesn’t that mean the yogurt has 3% fat?” Sarah shook her head in agreement.

I was reminded of the reports I had to file when we had government funding for our charity. We were obligated to file our monthly reports with various forms of percentages. For example I could report that during the previous month we had a 27% success rate in helping our clients find housing and on another report sheet I could fill in 73% of our clientele remained unhoused. In the manner the numbers are used the smaller or larger number are chosen for effectiveness. I pondered the effectiveness of this disparity in dairy product percentages.

At the Windsor apartment – our temporary home away from home – I spooned out a good clump of chocolate yogurt, added a good pour of chocolate milk and topped off the Magic Bullet individual shaker cup with a precious ounce of the chocolate flavoured vodka. I served Sarah her shake first which she held on to as I duplicated the process for my drink.

My shake blended I held my cup up to Sarah’s and said, “Homogenized whole milk is 3.5% fat and these shakes dairy products total 4% fat.” Sarah giggled and said, “I’m not sure about that. Wouldn’t the 1%, when added to the 3% decrease the overall percentage?” I love when Sarah shows off how smart she is – I replied, “I guess you would be right, and the percentage would be lowered yet by the addition of the 35% alcohol content vodka.”

Sarah smiled her coy smile and said, “Drink up sister!”



Such a moving story. Everyone should read this!!

The Writers Desk

I lay in the hospital bed at Columbia Presbyterian in New York. It is ten thirty pm., and the nurses continue to give me enemas to clean out my colon. I can barely walk at this point and tell the nurse this is the last one. I feel like my legs won’t last another trip to the bathroom. The enemas stop and I am left with my thoughts about tomorrow morning. Will it be the last morning for me, will I never see my children again or my family for that matter. I left instructions with my husband and my sisters, they were trying to encourage me but with tears in their eyes. My children were four, nine and eleven. They needed me. I was only thirty nine and Cancer was my enemy. I prayed again that night to my God, please let me make it through this nightmare and…

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Original sin

One of these packages of Sponge Toffee was handed to me today and it took me back to a time when I thought I was innocent. I recalled my original sin, stealing one of these from a variety store. Another young girl from the new school had challenged me to do it, and I was stupid enough to follow her lead.

I was telling this story to our volunteer food bank lady at our homeless shelter today when the truth dawned on me. This was not my original sin at all! Nope, I was only 5 when I broke into a neighbours house to steal the cookies in her beautiful cookie jar. Instead I found a fist full of money! More dollars and coins than made any sense to me. In her kitchen cupboards I finally located a box of store bought cookies. I was disappointed as my mom, when finances allowed her to access the ingredients, baked sweet confections for her babes.

I had gone home and sat in a kitchen chair gobbling up the store bought cookies. My mom came into the room and snatched the box of treats out of my hand. “Where did you get these?” She demanded, and I obediently told her about the break in, the cookies I found in the cupboard and my final accomplishment of the acquisition of much needed funds.

My mom was in shock and took the money from me. She scolded me that I was a criminal and she was ashamed of me. Hearing that broke the little tiny heart in my chest. I thought I’d never recover from such a scolding.

Many years later, as a woman in my 30’s and a mom myself, I told my mom how I remembered when I stole the neighbours money. My mom laughed and said, “You don’t know the half of it. I couldn’t very well tell the lady one of my kids was a burglar so I kept the money and never said a word.”

I laughed so hard I almost peed. My poor mom, so mortified by the actions of one of her little brats that she was forced to become a partner in the crime! I asked if she recalled what she did with the money. Mom told me, “Well, I probably spent it on groceries!” I mused on this for a moment and said, “Perhaps you bought the ingredients to bake your own fantastic cookies!” Mom said, “You remember my baking?” I smiled at her and answered her, “I remember much more. Do your recall how you made us chicken and dumplings every Sunday after church?”

My mom nodded her head, her eyes glistening with tears. She said, “I would never have thought you kids would have remembered my cooking. You were taken away from me when you were all so young.” I said, “Us kids never forgot the love you put into the meals you made for us. The three oldest of us have talked often about our memories of the food you placed before us.”

Love is like that, isn’t it?

When I almost died from sex

I became frantic as the legs of the bed, all four one after another began to gallop like a wild stallion. At least that is what I thought a wild stallion must gallop like. Cul-a-lump, cul-a-lump, cul-a-lump, lump, lump and on and on that stallion raced. My hands clung to the sides of my mattress as I desperately prayed to survive the earthquake above me. Silently, I plead “Oh God, please don’t let me die from sex!”

Then it happened, the scream of horror escaped from me. I lay drenched in panicked sweat fear enveloping me like a cold, black cape of death. A face appeared from the top bunk of the bed demanding, “What the hell is wrong with you? Do you want us to get caught?” I couldn’t do more than stare at the angry face of the teen boy, while agile as a cat the older foster sister Lolita leapt to the painted green hardwood floor.

I’m still amazed that Lolita could leap, as though inhuman, off the top bunk. Lolita sneered her best sneer, wrinkled her oversized nose and hissed, “You’re a virgin loser. At least the boys want to do me.” I turned away and held back a desire to hug the now still wall. The top bunk hadn’t fallen to crush me to death. Thankful, I closed my 13 year old eyes and ignored Lolita and her latest ride as they sucked on each others faces, their goodnight, or maybe goodbye kiss.