That is the first house I remember.
These are the woods where I played.
(They seemed enormous when I was 5 years old.)
This is the farm where I grew up, and the second house I remember.
It was bought by some Mennonites who filled in the swimming pool. When they sold it a few weeks ago to a baker, he asked them to tear down the greenhouses, and the horse and chicken barns that used to surround the house.
This is where we sold the stuff we grew on the farm.
This is my father.
One time a cow gave birth on the farm. It was her first calf, and she didn’t know what to do. She waded into a small stream that circled the farm to give birth. My dad wanted to assist, but he had thrown out his back, and couldn’t walk. We carried him in a chair to the creek, where he told my mom, my Uncle Donald, and us kids how to help the cow give birth, carry the calf out of the stream, and rub it with grain to help the mother bond with it.
This is the creek.
This is my mother.
We miss her very much.
This is my grandmother.
She is 92. She is sassy.
This is my brother.
He is an architect. He is also a Republican, which is the only strain on our friendship. But he is an artist too.
This is my sister-in-law.
This is my niece and my husband.
This is my nephew.
He is Alliance.
These are my people.
We’re Québécois French-Canadians, except for my sister-in-law, who is Italian. We come from poor working-class people who encouraged us to become more educated and more successful than themselves. My people work hard, drink beer, & tell dirty jokes. One of my ancestors went over Niagra Falls in a barrel, and survived. His name was Jean Lussier, and he was a genius in the field of going-over-the-falls. That’s the sort of genius that runs through my family, a genius that doesn’t make us rich but makes life richer for those around us.