Thursday, April 14, 2011

A DAY AT THE WILLOWS


The day dawned bright and chilly with the promise of a beautiful warm day before me. for my reading of Wee Three, a bit of storytelling and then the sharing of memories with the residents at The Willows.
It was a beautiful day and with any presentation sometimes all the planning falls by the wayside as you need to tailor your program to the particular crowd. This was no exception; I arrived a bit early to set up, to a room full of about 25 men and women between the ages of 70 and 85. I was greeted with a big hug from the director of activities. Apparently the woman who arranged the event had it planned at 2pm and had told me 2:30pm.
A good start to what could have been a difficult beginning with many smiling faces waiting to see if I could entertain them and bring something different into their day. It was a heartwarming afternoon as I read to them and told the stories behind the verses of Wee Three. In between we discussed different things that they had done as children, that brought them joy growing up.
Armand described how he and his friends had built their own skating rink up in a small farming community in Canada. Taking boards and building a circle, then filling it with water. In the cold Canadian air in the middle of winter the water quickly froze into a smooth skating rink that they used all winter. He told me of building a huge ball of snow about 5’ round to use to move various things around the farm that couldn’t be moved through the snow. Almost like making wheels out of snow, they would tie a rope around it and roll it pulling a sled filled with feed for the animals behind it.
He taught me that in the old days the reason for bells on the horse sleighs was to warn others coming from the opposite direction so someone could move over as the roads were too narrow for two sleighs to travel together.
Mary Jane told me of how she knew every nook and cranny of the woods, how she would find every type of flower, bringing home huge bouquets. She also told me she never shared where her secret places were. She taught me that if you took a lady’s slipper apart it would float like a duck. This was something that had never occurred to me, especially since lady slippers are very rare now and considered an endangered flower.
Deb the activities director told me they were a quiet group and it wasn’t till the end that many of them spoke though all laughed at many of the verses in Wee Three and the joy and happiness was evident on their faces.
At the end of the day, when they began clapping I felt like I should curtsy or bow and said so. Instead I made my way around the room to thank each and every one of the wonderful group of people I had been blessed to meet, read to, share Wee Three with.

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Wee Three Book Trailer voice over Marta Moran Bishop