Category Archives: Canada

He So Pretty and Righteous

The pretty boy you see in the below YouTube clip is Justin Trudeau, son of Pierre. Pierre was a major political force in Canadian politics in the latter half of the twentieth century and his son, Justin, is hoping for the same place in history.  For any Americans reading this, substitute “Trudeau” with “Kennedy.”

I’m not going to comment on the politics of this 3 minute clip. What struck me most about it is the self-entitlement of a privileged politician. His liberal views MUST BE shared by ALL Canadians. BTW, who talks about himself in the third person?

Another thing that struck me about Justin’s press statement, it came across as a third-rate t.v. movie about a young, principled politician striving to change a corrupt government. Unfortunately the actor, chosen because the producers thought he reminded them of Christian Bale, is as third-rate as the script, strutting to the microphone, chewing the scenery in his overheated “earnestness.” I love the two female reporters flanking Justin; one looks like she’s falling asleep and the other turns her face away (from laughing?). I particularly love the very end when you hear a reporter yell, “Oh, come on!”

That Anne Girl, VIII

Just before Christmas I finished the last Anne book, Rilla of Ingleside. It was a fine book but the characters didn’t draw me in; though I did cry at the death of a certain character. (No Spoilers!!!) I think Montgomery was glad to put her imaginary PEI friends to rest.

Here’s a piece from Rilla of Ingleside:

“Where are you wandering, Anne o’ mine?” asked the doctor, who even yet, after twenty-four years of marriage, occasionally addressed his wife thus when nobody was about. Anne was sitting on the veranda steps, gazing absently over the wonderful bridal world of spring blossom. Beyond the white orchard was a copse of dark young firs and creamy wild cherries, where the robins were whistling madly; for it was evening and the fire of early stars was burning over the maple grove.

Anne came back with a little sigh.

“I was just taking relief from intolerable realities in a dream, Gilbert – a dream that all our children were home again – and all small again – playing in rainbow Valley. It is always so silent now – but I was imagining I heard clear voices and gay, childish sounds coming up as I used to.”

[…]

The doctor did not answer. Sometimes his work tricked him into forgetting for a few moments the western front, but not often. There was a good deal of grey now in his still thick curls that had not been there two years ago. Yet he smiled down into the starry eyes he loved – the eyes that had once been so full of laughter, and now seemed always so full of unshed tears.

That Anne Girl VII

I’m starting the last of the Anne books. But at this point, actually since book 6, Anne of Ingleside, there has been less Anne and more the “Adventures of the Blythe Children.” I suppose that’s all right. Book 7, Rainbow Valley, was a fun read with childhood nostalgia and World War I foreshadowing thrown in for good measure.

Here’s my highlight from Rainbow Valley:

John Meredith was startled by her loveliness and Rosemary was startled by his presence. She had never thought she would find anyone by that remote spring, least of all the recluse of Glen St. Mary manse.

[…]

“I – I came for a drink,” she said, stammering a little in answer to Mr. Meredith’s grave “good evening, Miss West.” She felt that she was an unpardonable goose and she longed to shake herself. […] Her confusion put him at ease and he forgot to be shy; besides, even the shyest of men can sometimes be quite audacious in moonlight.

“Let me get you a cup,” he said smiling. There was a cup near by, if he had only known it, a cracked, handleless blue cup secreted under the maple by the Rainbow Valley children; but he did not know it, so he stepped out to one of the birch-trees and stripped a bit of its white skin away. Deftly he fashioned this into a three-cornered cup, filled it from the spring, and handed it to Rosemary.

Rosemary took it and drank every drop to punish herself for her fib, for she was not in the least thirsty, and to drink a fairly large cupful of water when you are not thirsty is somewhat of an ordeal. Yet the memory of that draught was to be very pleasant to Rosemary. In later years it seemed to her that there was something sacremental about it.

That Anne Girl V

Last week I finished Anne’s House of Dreams. Cried twice, BTW. There is a common thread throughout all the Anne books (currently I’m reading Anne of Ingleside) of change and turning chapters in one’s life. Every life chapter is represented by a place, ie. Green Gables, Peggy’s Place, Windy Poplars, House of Dreams, and now Ingleside.

 There’s a haunting thread of nostalgia whenever Anne revisits these places, especially Avonlea. Lost girlhood? Lost Dreams? Yet, Anne seems to be happy in her present. I thought HoD much better than Anne of Windy Poplars which seemed to drag in sections.

Here’s my selection from Anne’s House of Dreams:

The Green Gables folk went home after Christmas. Marilla under solemn covenant to return for a month in the spring. More snow came before New Year’s, and the harbour froze over, but the gulf still was free, beyond the white, imprisoned fields. The last day of the year was one of those bright, cold dazzling winter days, which bombard us with their brilliancy, and command our admiration but never our love.

[…]

“The old year is going away beautifully,” said Anne. She and Leslie and Gilbert were on their way to the Four Winds Point, having plotted with Captain Jim to watch the New Year in at the light. The sun had set and in the southwestern sky hung Venus, glorious and golden, having drawn as near to her earth-sister as is possible for her. For the first time Anne and Gilbert saw the shadow cast by that brilliant star of evening, that faint, mysterious shadow, never seen save when there is white snow to reveal it, and then only with averted vision, vanishing when you gaze at it directly.

“It’s like the spirit of a shadow, isn’t it?” whispered Anne. “You can see it so plainly haunting your side when you look ahead; but when you turn and look at it – it’s gone.”

That Anne Girl III

If only there were more Gilbert Blythes and Anne Shirleys in the world. From “Anne of Avonlea:”

Gilbert stretched himself out on the ferns beside the Bubble and looked approvingly at Anne. If Gilbert had been asked to describe his ideal woman the description would have answered point for point to Anne, even to those seven tiny freckles whose obnoxious presence still continued to vex her soul. Gilbert was as yet little more than a boy; but a boy has his dreams as have others, and in Gilbert’s future there was always a girl with big, limpid gray eyes, and a face as fine and delicate as a flower. He had made up his mind, also, that his future must be worthy of its goddess. Even in quiet Avonlea there were temptations to be met and faced. White Sands youth were a rather “fast” set, and Gilbert was popular wherever he went. But he meant to keep himself worthy of Anne’s friendship and perhaps some distant day her love; and he watched over word and thought and deed as jealously as if her clear eyes were to pass in judgement on it. She held over him the unconscious influence that every girl, whose ideals are high and pure, wields over her friends; an influence which would endure as long as she was faithful to those ideals and which she would as certainly lose, if she were ever false to them. In Gilbert’s eyes Anne’s greatest charm was the fact that she never stooped to the small jealousies, the little deceits and rivalries, the palpable bids for favor.  Anne held herself apart from all this, not consciously or of design, but simply because anything of the sort was utterly foreign to her transparent, impulsive nature, crystal clear in its motives and aspirations.

That Anne Girl II

I read this passage one week after attending a June funeral in Massachusetts. The dearly departed in the Bay State was in her late 70’s, Ruby Gillis in “Anne of the Island” was approx. 19 years old. What a striking passage from  a piece of “children’s literature:”

Mrs. Rachel Lynde said emphatically after the funeral that Ruby Gillis was the handsomest corpse she ever laid eyes on. Her loveliness, as she lay, white-clad, among the delicate flowers that Anne had placed about her, was remembered and talked of for years in Avonlea. Ruby had always been beautiful; but her beauty had been of the earth, earthy; it had had a certain insolent quality in it, as if it flaunted through it, intellect had never refined it. But death had touched it and consecrated it, bringing out delicate modelings and purity of outline never seen before – doing what life and love and great sorrow and deep womanhood joys mights have done for Ruby. Anne, looking down through a mist of tears, at her old playfellow, thought she saw the face of God had meant Ruby to have, and remembered it so always.

That Anne Girl

This summer my goal is to read all eight Anne of Green Gables books. So far I’ve finished the third, “Anne of the Island.” I’ll admit, I watched and loved the Canadian t.v. movies first. Even though the movies TOTALLY mixed things up (if I had read the books first, I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed the movies.), but the screenwriter(s), faithfully translated the spirit of the books.

Each book has some nugget of wisdom. Enjoy this nugget from “Anne of the Island”:

I shall leave here my fancies and dreams to bless the next comer, said Anne, looking around the blue room wistfully – her pretty blue room where she had spent three such happy years. She had knelt at the window to pray and had bent from it to watch the sunset behind the pines. She had heard the autumn raindrops beating against it and had welcomed the spring robins at its sill. She wondered if old dreams could haunt rooms – if, when one left forever the room where she had joyed and suffered and laughed and wept, something of here, intangible and invisible, yet nonetheless real, did not remain behind like a voiceful memory.