Posts filed under ‘history’

Christmas Eve Day

We’re nearly there, at a day we celebrate every year. Presents bought and wrapped, cards sent and received, a tree in our living room. Often a Christmas party or two as well.  And the creche on the window ledge.




the stone creche after our story time


I asked my granddaughters who are 4,6 to help me set it up. They were  here for the first two days of the school holiday.

“What’s a creche, Grandma?”

“You’ll see.”
I got out the box and invited them to help me unwrap the figures, but first we took out the stable, and I began to tell the story of a man and woman travelling a long way to a place called Bethlehem.

We unwrapped the other characters and I named the items— the angel, shepherds, Mary the mother and Joseph the father, and of course the baby Jesus. There were shepherds and sheep to unwrap too, but not wise men for they didn’t come to the stable. Also a donkey for travelling and a cow for the stable.

I moved the white stone pieces around as I told about Mary and Joseph travelling a long long way, then how there was no room in the inn, because so many people had come there, but the inn owner said they could stay in the stable out back where they’d be protected from the wind.

I told the girls about the shepherds in the field watching their sheep and how an angel came to tell them the good news of the new special baby, then more angels appeared in the sky and sang to them and about a special star in the sky. It was not an everyday occurrence to see an angel so the shepherds were afraid at first. But then they were excited to see the baby, so some of them went to find the stable while the others watched the sheep.

“What do you think a shepherd would take as a gift for the baby?”

“A toy?” said the six-year-old.

“Might they bring a baby sheep? They can get the wool cut off and make a blanket for the baby.”

They nod their heads.

“The shepherds were really excited about this special baby and they went and told other people before they went back to the fields.”


I stop there and let them ponder this much of the story. Better in smaller parts. Besides they’ll learn more later. I let them play with the figures and move them around.  And the photo is the way they ended up. It’s fitting they’re all there together at the end of the story. Think I’ll leave it as it is for now.




December 24, 2015 at 1:41 pm Leave a comment

Beyond our resources

This morning I posted to The Word Guild professional blog, Canadian Authors who are Christian, as I do once a month.

Today, being Remembrance Day, I wonder how many of the returning or wounded soldiers relied on resources beyond them to get through active duty. It certainly would not be an easy place to be, despite claims of heroism and passion to serve one’s country.

To appreciate their effort and sacrifice, I dedicate my blog piece today to all members of the Canadian military in whatever role they played, whether front line or behind the scenes, such as mechanics and chaplains.


Here’s the opening to that post:

It’s rare that I go to the movies or even watch one on television, but recently I went to see one at the theatre with a friend, 3-D glasses, giant screen—the whole deal, except for the popcorn.

The Martian opens with a group of astronauts on the planet of Mars. The captain decides to abort the mission when a sandstorm comes up, and the team is in agreement—except that one of the six was hit with flying debris, and they believe him to be dead. The remaining crew members leave the planet without him.

On their return to Earth, the chief scientist at NASA announces sombrely that the crew has returned from the mission to Sol except for the sixth member, Watney (played by Mark Damon). They hold a funeral service for him back home and the other members of the crew go back to their duties. Sometime later, as NASA explores the planet by satellite, they discover movement at Sol and discover that Watney is very much alive, proven when he begins sending messages back to Earth.

Read more here.

Photos on this blog are copyright to C. Wilker, unless otherwise noted.

November 11, 2015 at 3:39 pm Leave a comment

One more post for Lang Village

The day at Lang Pioneer Village included a lot of stops. Our next one was the cider mill where people brought apples to be sorted, pressed and made into cider. The girls know about apple picking and they’ve tasted sweet apple cider, but this was interesting.








DSCF9137We saw a big apple peeler and lots of barrels


DSCF9138We walked through an old barn where many piece of equipment were on display. It was a good place to stop and sit for a few minutes.


DSCF9140And a wagon without a horse. The girls climbed  up and had their picture taken.


DSCF9142We walked down the lane and across the bridge to reach the flour mill




Here we are inside the mill with the guide showing us how the wheat is ground into flour. I was impressed how the young man there showed the girls the process on a level they could understand. He talked about and showed how the flour was ground, what flour was more valuable, and about all the equipment and what it did. We went up to the top floor of this large stone structure, looked at all the hoppers and tools, and looked out the window at the water below, then back down all those stairs and outdoors again.

We enjoyed the day and the girls were very interested in many aspects of this place. I’m sure we’ll be back again another year.

Thank you so much to all the guides and volunteers for telling us about the village and the people who lived in these places and worked at these jobs. Thank you for taking special interest in the way children understand might view the place and time. You made it a special day for them and us.


August 13, 2015 at 1:20 pm Leave a comment

Back to holidays–Lang Pioneer Village



This year when we toured Lang Pioneer Village, we were there with our daughter and her two young children. Seen and experienced from an almost-4 to a nearly-6 year-old’s perspective, we would understandably travel through the village at a different pace than we did a year ago.

We started our tour with the animal pen next to the Milburn House, where pigs were snuffling in their pen and coming to see who was looking in at them.



Next we went to the Hastie Carpenter Shop where the volunteer said they made things of wood, and especially wheels for the buggies and wagons. Then the tinsmith shop to see what was there.


Outside of the Fife cabin (shown above) was  a guide using a single spindle to get her yarn ready for knitting. A fire was going in the pit nearby where she would cook her meal or dye her yarn. We looked inside the cabin. It was quite dark compared to other buildings. The bed was a box on the floor with blankets in it and a fireplace at the end for warmth and cooking. The girls were interested to see how things looked there.
We crossed the road to the Fitzpatrick House where the guide told us about the family gathering in the main room. They would eat there and sit around the table for it was the only heated space in the house. We trudged up the narrow winding steps,  holding on to the handrail, to the upstairs to see where the family slept. Here they had beds and a quilt rack was set against a wall showing a project the mother might be working on. The beds were much different than the girls were used to and I wondered what they were thinking about it.


See the dried herbs hanging above the fireplace. Those were often the medicines that the parents used to treat illness because the doctor lived a long distance away.



On to the Register where the two young men told us about what they do. They showed us how they printed things, including newspaper, for the businesses in the village. It took a lot longer than with our computers and fast printing presses.


It would take a long time to produce a newspaper with these pieces of equipment


We stopped at the Keene Hotel where a guide told us a little bit about the family who lived there and provided meals and a bed for travellers. We took our own tour of the building, but I did get to say hello to Sophie who gave us our tour last year and served tea and cookies. I thought we might come back for tea and cookies this time, but we didn’t.


On to the Menie General Store. It’s a bit like our stores that sell all kinds of things under one roof.


The girls were interested in the toys on the counter and the little books.



Here’s their Papa talking to one of the guides in the store.


DSCF9103Ana thought the lady’s blouse was pretty. Or was it the necklace and the hat she was commenting on? Anyway, there were many pretty things there for a lady or little girl at the time.


DSCF9105People gathered outside the Fitzpatrick  house, and we stopped along the way to see what was happening. There was a young woman doing laundry. She invited the girls to give it a try on the washboard. Ana wanted to try it so the guide helped her push up her sleeves so they wouldn’t get wet, and then showed her how to put the soap on the board first…

DSCF9107and then get both hands working on scrubbing a piece of clothing so it would be nice and clean. Different than Mommy and Daddy’s washing machine.

On our way to the car for our picnic lunch they stopped off to see the pigs again and then the Centennial commemoration rock out front.


I was impressed with how the guides geared their talks to include our youngsters. Thank you, all.



Off to get our picnic lunch. Taking a break until tomorrow when we’ll continue our tour of the village

August 5, 2015 at 4:29 pm Leave a comment

Black History Month Celebration


display of books, artifacts and head dress relating to  African heritage

(S. Fletcher)


the program

(S. Fletcher)

A week ago, members of St Philip Lutheran and the Black community in Waterloo region attended the Black History Month celebration hosted by Maranatha Lutheran congregation. As their home is at St. Philip, that’s where the events were held.


(S. Fletcher)


Beginning with a service of celebration, we gathered in the sanctuary, with members of the Starlite Steel Band providing the music.

(S. Fletcher)


Such enthusiasm and life in their music.

(C. Wilker)


And the altar flanked by beautiful flowers

(S. Fletcher)


Emmanuel George, rep from Faith Life Financial, greets Pastor Claudine Carlson, guest preacher for the service.

(C. Wilker)

Peter Braid, MP for the Kitchener area, shared a few words of celebration as well. He spoke of having been among the Canadian delegation to go to South Africa to attend the funeral service of Nelson Mandela.  In 1995, the first official Black History month was celebrated and January was the first month to  officially celebrate Lincoln Alexander, who has provided a good deal of leadership to Canadians.

Pastor Claudine spoke of humanity’s  quest to reach perfection, and how we humans want to be like God. We want power and “do not succumb easily to God’s power.” God wants none of his people to be enslaved and his call is to liberate those who have been enslaved.  How easy it is for us to despair, yet “in Christ we are all one” and Jesus promises never to leave us.

We can celebrate the tremendous strides that have been made regarding injustice, yet we still have a long way to go. Our call is to pray, work and write letters. Pastor Claudine reminded us of the definition of God’s grace: “that you cannot do anything to make God love you more and you cannot do anything to make God love you less.”


The service included communion.

(S. Fletcher)


Hugs for Sharon, Maranatha Council Chair, on the way out of the service

(S. Fletcher)


The ladies, ready to serve the lunch

(C. Wilker)


Serving the lunch

(S. Fletcher)


Three long tables and only a couple of empty chairs. Well attended and the food was yummy.

(S. Fletcher)



A few colourful hats

(S. Fletcher)


(Photo: S. Fletcher)

Then after the tasty lunch, a speaker, Rosemary Sadlier, representing Ontario Black History Society (OBHS), who spoke on the History of the Black people in Canada. She is a recipient of the Order of Ontario for her work promoting Black History. She is the author of six books on Black History.

“Canada was the promised land. Canada was Canaan and the North Star.”

According to the OBHS website, on the Black people’s contribution to Canada:

As a people, with roots dating back to 1603, African-Canadians have defended, cleared, built and farmed this country; our presence is well established, but not well-known.

Rosemary created more of a dialogue with people in attendance, and answered questions with grace. It was a most interesting presentation .


(Photo: S. Fletcher)

Indeed there is much to celebrate, such as our past Governor General Michaelle Jean, and of course the achievements of Lincoln Alexander, the first Black Canadian elected to the House of Commons and who was also a Governor General.

In all it was a good celebration of important milestones of our fellow Canadians.

Appreciation to S. Fletcher of Link Picnic Festival, for graciously sharing her photos. The others are my own.

March 1, 2015 at 9:50 pm Leave a comment

A Homer Watson Tradition and a New Display

The Homer Watson Gallery in Kitchener is bursting with new exhibits again. This month and until early November, artists Deborah Pryce, Diane Young and Anita Kunz have their work displayed in the various rooms. Deborah’s work is hung in the Calley room, Diane’s in the adjoining room, and Anita’s in the Homer Watson Gallery.










In Sacred Cows, Anita looks at social situations in which we give far more prominence to people in society than perhaps they are worth.


In an article in Waterloo Region Record, we learn that Anita’s art work has been printed in many “prominent magazines such as Time, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, GQ, New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek and Atlantic Monthly, among others. Or you have on your personal library shelf one of the 50 book jackets she has illustrated.
In addition to magazines and book publishers, the acclaimed freelancer has worked for record companies, design firms and advertising agencies.”

From Anita’s artist statement:

I’ve always been fascinated by social issues and how we react to certain people in our culture. The subject of celebrity is endlessly fascinating to me, especially how we elevate some arguably questionable people to a higher status…




Another of Anita’s works of social commentary, Elvis’s Sneer, but after all  he’s only flossing his teeth just like we’re meant to do.

The Waterloo Region Record’s article in the Saturday paper,  titled “International Illustrator Returns Home with Exhibition at Homer Watson Gallery,” focuses on Anita’s work but also mentioned the other two artists.






Diane’s  interactive display of busts invites the visitor to try to figure out what the expression says, then to flip up the small sign and see what the artist was thinking. I loved that feature of her exhibit.



DSCF8059Dianne with one of her expressive creations, but I will let you go there and figure it out for yourself

In her display, Robert Reid of the Record says,

Diane Young’s 11 bronze-coloured, naturalist, clay busts are commissioned portraits, encompassing male and female, spanning the spectrum of ages from young to old and bridging cultures.



From Diane’s artist statement:

From the moment I first held clay in my hands, I knew that I had found my life’s passion. I have always been fascinated by the human face and it has become the sole source of my inspiration…


DSCF8078                                                                                                  Another of Diane’s creations and I didn’t guess what she was thinking. I had an entirely different idea.



DSCF8081An interesting juxtaposition that Deborah noticed when we looked around the gallery a separate day from the opening. We can see into the Calley Room and view one of her pieces.




DSCF8036Deborah arranging a bouquet of flowers that were delivered for her on opening day.


DSCF8035 A more abstract look at how change affects people.







Opening of her artist’s statement “There’s a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.” -Leonard Cohen, Anthem. And more:

The difficult stuff in life has a way of tarnishing our lustre, hardening us or pulling us into our cocoons. So, too, the creative spirit easily gets crusted over from neglect, fear of failing, disappointments, or even by the safety of the tried and true.




DSCF8043At the opening reception, Deborah talks with Darlene. Supporters included family, friends, fellow choir members and others from the church community.





Introductions at the opening reception. Stephen Woodworth, Conservative MP for Kitchener Centre (Ontario), congratulating the artists and offering a few words to guests




Faith Heiplinger, Executive Director at the gallery, introduces each of the artists and asks them to describe the focus and meaning of their works in the exhibit


My friends Deb and Lorraine, and I went out to lunch a few days after the opening, then at the gallery afterwards we  had more opportunity to look around and ask Deb about the work involved in her exhibits and the meaning that went into those creations.


I am so proud of  you, Deb, and the incredible display of your artistic expression. And I was pleased to meet Diane and Anita and see their amazing work as well.






Photos by L. and C. Wilker, and this last one by L. Ballard.

September 19, 2014 at 12:09 am Leave a comment

Canadian Canoe Museum –Part 2


As mentioned in Part 1 of Canadian Canoe Museum, there’s so much to see and learn here that one could spend most of a day here.



DSCF7608 This sign says, in part,

Missionaries, beginning with the Jesuits in the 1600s, regularly used canoes to reach the remote parts of Canada… they cheerfully accepted the rigours of life on the trail.



DSCF7609A canoe that folds. Imagine that! I suppose it would help where there is limited storage space.




Here’s a closed-in canoe, somewhat like a kayak in appearance. See the wooden seat, like a lawn chair,  and the attached oar. Perhaps only for leisure and not a working canoe.




DSCF7611 A canoe, with not one, but two sails. The sails would catch the wind and it looks like they could be moved to do just that.


DSCF7612A courting canoe, with cushy pillows for the pair, and music too. See the on-board Victrola?



DSCF7613A close-up of the music machine. I think the courting couple would want to go out on calm waters, otherwise the record player and cushions could get wet. Imagine the courting couple out on the water of a calm lake and they’re listening to their favourite music as they paddle.




In another canoe, a similar type of record player, without the amplifier. We had records like this in a black box gramophone.



Look at this sleek canoe with the cushioned seat. Pretty classy.



DSCF7618 And the very last canoe we saw named for someone special– it’s a good name.


There we are at the end of the canoe museum.  I stopped at the gift shop to look around. I came home with two books, one to read to my granddaughters and one about storytelling. Love the children’s picture book story, One Dog Canoe, by Mary Casanova, illustrated by Ard Hoyt. I also discovered that one story in the book, Mugged by a Moose, ed.  Matt Jackson, was written by a Waterloo Region author, Leslie Bamford, whom I happen to know.


September 2, 2014 at 12:49 am Leave a comment

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