Sunday, 15 November 2009

Steeped in tradition

Yesterday afternoon was spent doing something that I don't often do.  Go to a "social", a fund raiser put on by a Sorority and it was a Fashion Show to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Society of Ottawa.  It was held in a small town church about an hour from my place. 

The invitation came to me from one of the Wooo Hooo's, saying that a friend was part of the show and would I be interested in going.  As mentioned I don't often do the girly - girl thing so I thought it would be a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and spend the afternoon admiring some of the latest fashions, rather than spending it in either running or cycling clothes.  So yes, I donned a pair of panty hose and put on a skirt and sweater and off I went.

The church hall had been beautifully decorated with a Christmas theme, the podium had a huge spray of fresh cedar boughs and red "swamp" twigs and long stemmed white roses, each table had a hand made centre piece made from freshly cut pine boughs, spray painted "snow" pine cones and a single white rose.  The tables had a place setting for eight people and it was beautifully appointed with fine bone china teacups, plates and silver cutlery.  All memories of my childhood growing up with very traditional Scottish and English grandparents.

You couldn't have put any more ladies in the hall, it was jammed packed.  At the back of the hall was a table laden with fresh baked goods, ranging from Christmas puddings, cakes, squares, pies and more, all of which had been festively wrapped and adorned in decoration for the bake sale.  Door prizes, have I mentioned the door prizes? WOW, unbelievable, they were ALL lovely and beautifully gift wrapped or gift bagged (oh I won one by the way).     Ladies, you put on an amazing afternoon, thank you all so very much.

The guest speaker had been or still is a radio personality from the Ottawa area known as "The General", he spoke eloquently of the horror of watching a loved one suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s, he spoke of first hand experiences...quite an eye opener.

As I looked around the hall there were women young and old, from all walks of life, but what impressed me the most was the excitement of the afternoon event and what deep traditions that hold a small town together.  I have friends here in the Ottawa Valley who live that life, I've been to their homes where you walk in and and you wonder how an event could be taking place, only to have the side door open and flurry of women arrive with pans of hot food, freshly baked bread, bowls of salads, the table is set and laden with food.  And a word I had never heard of until I moved here, 'SQUARES'.  Yes, church lady squares of fabulous looking desserts easily (I assume) baked in one pan.

Having left home for the big old world when I was young and always been a bit of a vagabond and never having a traditional life, it always amazes me the women who have stayed where they grew up, had families, know their neighbours and attend church on a regular basis.

How exciting it would have been to have had a "normal" life I suppose, but then I can not regret my life.  It has been pretty exciting at times, have those ladies ridden a camel across the desert in Giza?  Have they cycled past windmills in Holland?  Have they woken up on train that was stopped at the East German boarder being patrolled by the East German Army and armed with rifles?

Well, we all have been steeped in tradition, from our ancestors before us, no matter how far we roam from “home”, we are all made of what our parents and grandparents have taught us....

Life's fun if you don't weaken,



Anonymous said...

yep... I grew up exactly like that going to curch bazaars and doing stuff - not quite pot lucky type but definitely in a community.

Sounds like a great afternoon. What did you win? Go out and buy a lottery ticket eh?

teacherwoman said...

Sounds like a good time!

Wendy said...

Very nice!

Groover said...

Our neighbours are over 80. They've lived here all their lives. They always tell us how things looked or who lived where in 1950 or 1970. I love history and always listen in amazement.

Oh, and talking about traditional things: My parents will visit us in December and stay over Christmas so we will have some German traditional Christmas celebrations such as the Advent, Stollen and ... gasp ... a Christmas Tree. :-)

Anne said...

Sounds like it was a wonderful event and that you come from a wonderful place.

MrDaveyGie said...

That was well said. That food LQQKs to dainty for the way I chow down. :-)

Aka Alice said...

Wait a put on hose?


I think the life you've described is a different kind of normal. The stay-in-one-town-your-whole-life "norm" isn't for everyone. It certainly wasn't for me, but I get what you're saying about wondering..."what would THAT have been like?"

Marlene said...

Sounds like a wonderful afternoon, different from "the everyday."

I have a feeling you have many great stories to tell. Hope I have the opportunity to hear some of them!

Runner Leana said...

It sounds like such a fun event! I've thought a lot about growing up in the same place versus moving around extensively. You either get it one way or the other. I personally wouldn't have traded my "vagabond" ways for anything else though!

Yum, I'm hungry for some baked goods!

Jess said...

Yes, I think you've led a very exciting life! How fun.

bluecolnago said...

great post, lily. :)

Wes said...

normal is a matter of perspective :-)