And the Dark Side's Light (Mystery Blogger Challenge)

The lovely and talented (and fellow Canadian) C. Lynn Richards nominated me for a five-question blog post challenge. I won't nominate anyone, but if you're moved to take on her questions and write your own piece I encourage it ... it was a lot of fun. And feel free to tag me if you share yours, I'd love to read along.

Thanks again C. Lynn! For the nod and the motivation to get some writing done.

First, three things about me:

  1. I'm afraid of heights;
  2. I can't play any musical instruments;
  3. White is my favourite colour, but I almost always wear black. 

Q1.  What is your fondest memory of a place and why?

It's funny but I was just packing the car for a weekend trip the other day and I had the most vivid and sentimental flashback to childhood days when my mother would have the car packed to the roof racks for weekends at our country summer home in Roman Valley. We (she and 4-5 kids loaded into a wood paneled station wagon) would pick Dad up from work and head down the coast to the old pink farm house my parents bought together as a young couple.

It was still 8-Track days and we had a stereo at home which would allow us to record our own tapes. Each kid had their own dedicated song with our name in it, that we'd listen for and sing with patriotic devotion (mine was from Pat Boone).

The house sat on a small plot of our own land, surrounded by expansive fields still owned by the neighbouring farmer. Every day he would drive his cattle up to graze. One summer his eldest son Kevin came home and drove the cattle on his horse. Kevin had become a Mountie and my wide-eyed ten-year-old self would gladly have pasted his pin up on any bedroom wall. All the bedroom walls.

We had full run of all the fields, including for berry picking. My mother tells a story of how when I was very young I made friends with one of his calves and the calf and I would take turns chasing each other, playing tag. I have fleeting memories of that giddy delight, running as hard as I could and looking back over my shoulder to see her barreling behind me.

A brook down the dirt road that led to the house gave cooling joy on hot summer days, and trout fishing with bobbin and worm on early mornings. I got a leech on my foot once which apparently traumatized my younger sister even more than me, as she still talks about it. For my part I still avoid freshwater swimming. Crab apple trees pummeled the ground in the Fall, and the woodlands that bounded the fields became bright crimson and gold quilts.

A charcoal hibachi was all we needed for BBQ dinners, my mother would make a foil wrapped whole chicken dish, a recipe pinched from some homemaker magazine of the day or possibly the Lipton Mushroom Soup box, and still one of my favourites.

Even though as children we did not then truly see the beauty of this place or experience (we preferred the indoor plumbing and TV at home), in retrospect it gave me an exposure to "country" that I now cherish. With my Dad gone years now (and the house sold away in the 80s), the memories of this place and those trips are very precious.

Improvising a bit, same era, different place. 

Q2.  What is your most creative asset and why?

I've been a writer all my life, formally trained when I did my P.R. degree. I love creating pictures with words. Even in my work life, the power to be able to communicate effectively by written word has been invaluable.

I'm going to cheat and add a (b) here in that I've always loved photography as well. I took some lessons on an old manual SLR as a teenager, and even now with only my S8, capturing images and sharing that beauty is my most enjoyable creative pursuit.

Find me on Instagram as BlueyandEllie

Q3. How important is laughter in your life and why?

I know that my mental health is in trouble when I have not laughed in too long. Laughter has carried me through some very difficult times. Even in recent years when my son's father died, my son and I were still able to laugh at our various predicaments trying to cope (what Dad would say/think, etc.) I can't imagine life without a sense of humour. I am blessed to have several online friends that are just brilliantly funny/witty and honestly laugh out loud at least once a day with or because of them (especially my beloved Brits). In "real" life my son is easily the funniest person I know. I have had to pull the car over because he had me laugh-crying at something while I was trying to drive.

Laughter is good medicine.

Just do what the sign says

Q4. Do you have a special recipe? If so, please share it.

When I was married to my son's dad, we had a "Gourmet Food Club" clique of friends who would get together once a month or so to contribute courses to an all-evening dinner party. I learned so much from the chefs of the club, and amassed a library of over 100 cookbooks. I still love to cook for friends, although my home renovations have been holding me back lately (both time and the mess).

For sentiment's sake and to keep with a theme, I will share the famous "Chicken Under Foil" recipe, remembered above. This recipe was copied from my mother's original index card (marked with sauce smears).

Q5. If an animal could talk, what animal would you like to hear say your name? (weird/funny question)

Definitely NOT my cat. That's all I need.



  1. Hiker Bee, I am thrilled that you accepted the challenge and participated. The title of your blog post succinctly articulates its purpose and that's wonderful. I've come over from the dark side into the light. :) As I said in another comment on your site, 'your words twinkle like lights on a starless sky.' How true.

    I am happy that you enjoyed the questions. You can be sure that I and many others are entertained by your answers. I could relate to some things in the memories you shared but mostly I can relate to your ability to tell a story and engage others because you write from a place of honesty.

    Your answer about the importance of laughter even in the face of loss, perhaps most importantly then, is poignant. If we can lean on humour and allow it to lift us up in troublesome or tragic times, then we are the fortunate ones. Laughter gives us strength and perspective. My mother had the best sense of humour. The way you described how your son makes you laugh is exactly how she affected me. There are times I recall specific silly things she said or did that of course only we found funny and I can find myself laughing out loud in a room by myself even years later. She's been gone for almost eight years now, but those happy memories live on. I hope your son has those kinds of good memories of his Dad. The ability to see the funny side of life helps keep us healthy and sane, and like you, I cannot imagine a life without laughter.

    I love the recipe and that you included a hand-written copy of your mother's original version makes it even better.

    I'm not on Instagram but I love seeing your photos and reading your blogs. Your talents are many and I'm happy you have outlets to express them and an audience to appreciate them through your work and your personal pursuits. Oh yeah, and I love your cat and your comment about him/her!

    Thank you again. Happy hiking . . . and writing and taking photographs and cooking and laughing with your son and on and on and on. I wish you happiness wherever your creative paths lead.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Wish you all the SAME! God! What I get for typing on my phone. (Deleted earlier with typo)


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