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Monday, October 15, 2012

Pictures of her five grandboys hung on the walls.They loved to see her come for visits when she could get there mostly by bus.Once she hitchhiked 200 miles for the easter holiday to be with them.She knew her ways were not theirs.Her ways were gentle now.They were adults all very capable of making wise decisions, she had shown them the way they did not see.They hardened their hearts so as not to be like their elders.They were mistaken.It had nothing to do with her she knew they loved her and were trying to fit into a very fast moving paced world she was moving out of.
She felt the loneliness of night  so deep into her centre that the dark made her feel like she was the only person living on the planet.She liked this odd feeling of obscurity.It brought in a kind of coolness she could think in,not like the sunny days when all she felt was guilt because she had not been more sucessful,more able to hang unto the money,the job, the man, the house, the trappings.The hostage! Now what did she value?Why was the answer ART! always the same answer ART!!!
Sour pictures in her mind came and went of a time when her daughters took advantage of her ability to feel guilt,she being broken in ways her daughters would never suffer.They suffered, yet they were not tormented in ways their mother had been.She sometimes thought of children at Nosowitz during the war.Life had cycled in a calmer warmth to the suffering of her children, as it always does for the next generation.
looking over the kodiak of  her mind the picture was a mere blur of her past.Like a snow storm fille with star dust of memories all wrapped up in a fairies wings and ready to take her to God.
She knew somewhere in herself she could have done better but she could never bring herself to the edge of the fates well enough to fly!!
her voice sounded like cinders under a door.In her eyes was the dimness of the poor!The deep slant of compassion swelled into points at the corners where deep lines lay into their traces.
This homey placid cottage on Ring-Haddy Island off the coast of Ireland spread out like a pancaked spiders web.Sand, field, and rock as far as the eye could see.
She had known all about the ways of betrayal, and for years now the absence of a flowing temperament.
Hadn't it been said once that she had filled a heart with gladness and kindness.For this was all she felt she was worth.
Having,meant living to her even in her humblest moments she never in her wildest dreams or her humblest moments ever imagined or thought she would become poor.She had no strength nor mental settings for it.
day after day and for all the cycles of years she was healthily provided for.
She would never need to be a tavern brat like her mom.She was likes by many and most found her personality charming even charismatic at musical events.She adored music more than anything in life.yet there was a loud brashness in her voice and a jerky false assurance in her laughter and shared joyfulness.
The house, the pool the car all meant she was worthwhile.One could surmise that her order of things, her modesty,and love of life had a structure that focused around abundance.To be left penniless never occurred to her.
There had always been such happiness,order and loving for days weeks years and years,she had always been able to maintain a free and balanced way of life.
Now aging and with her family members sick she wondered how on earth she would make it through another day?
She wore a used nightdress,used slippers and shoes,ate packaged food,then she  felt the cold coming from the floor of the room she paid way to much for out of her disability cheque. One of the deserving poor she used to write small cheques for from time to time: charity dwellers they were.Insects of the earth, leches, and parasites of humanity.
Friends of years and years had written her off now a unworthy as they thought as she had.Lazy, insecure stupid and lost souls.They felt she had not tried hard enough,fast enough when you snooze you lose.
She found money through the system of her ancestors and voters gone by,and they left her to it.Some of them had never known their own worth so to be near her was threatening to their own shells they may topple out of. Scarcity never feels good to the rich.
She would at times slip from her bed now when the whole world was asleep here she watched the cobalt blue starlite nights so far away.This reminded her of the many nights gone into eternity of homey times in her childhood village when she would ride out like the wind for the woods and the hills deep in the snow on her skidoo.Then at the top of Caledonia mountain she would shut off the engine and breath in the deep, still, fresh, cold air to her nostrils,staring dreamlike up into the stars the night the silence the dark mandala of winter.

to be continued:

Some say Love it is a flower.........
Ti's a very lovely fall day Ti's.Today the pots were out and singing on the stove with squash soup golden and shinning off into the storing bottles.Apples were jumping up and down from the pealing dish and then into the pie deep dish for the ready hot oven.Sweet fall smells were wafting up over the Bay  for the sea-gulls and other sky creatures to enjoy .
Had an old friend pass away his name was Shanney to me.We had a lot of fun as hairdressers in the 70"s.Working then for one of the leading hair salon's now worth millions.
Its weird when someone passes away you automatically remember all the laughter and fun you had with them or I do.I see him so intent on giving GOOD services to people and his smile was so warming with a twinkle of tease in his black eyes.he kept his nappy hair cut very short,and would have worn white skin if he could.
He used to walk by me as I was working on a persons head and say "hey not bad for a first haircut", man that used to drive me nuts!!!!and he knew it!!!!!xoxoxoxo
One time his girlfriend and I were doing a perm in her hair (she and I became friends for years)and it all fell out and down the sink!!!!!F___!!!I near shit-me-self!!!!We were crying in our soup and Shanney walks by and says "See that's what happens when you let her do your hair", "OH!! Go!!!AWAY!!! We both screamed it at him.She  had to go to the Ike and Tina concert at the Forum  in a wig that night and wore it for month!!!!She had used a chemical color I didn't know about.Man can I tell some stories from that shoppe.
Sometimes he would tease me saying "I bet I'll be the first black man you sleep with", and shine his white teeth at me and I would blush as he knew I would!!!!and quickly I'd walk back to my station.He was famous for teasing us girls in the shoppe.He hide standing in the dark coat closet one morning and when Margie opened the door he jumped out at her, nearly gave her a heart attack!!!!!LMAO
One time I  was serving a lady who was a local judge's wife.She asked for a non-appointed perm one Saturday morning,so I fit her time goes by; the boss man comes to me saying" how come Edith Manderson's husband Judge Manderson had to wait for her out in his car!!!!!SHIT!!!
So I go to the receptionist "Winnie, you get that woman out of my book OUT OUT!!!!I will not do her next week....So sweet Winnie calls her and I can still hear her innocence "Edith,(laboriously slow and sweet) Kathie regrets that she feels she is not giving you the service you deserve,so we are placing you with a more senior stylist! Hog whash!!
Edith is now being served by Shanny every Saturday morning.Miracles never cease!!
Then after a few months I ask after her from Shanney in the staff room one day."Oh" he say s "I dunno",I haven't seen her since she pulled out her corncob pipe and I asked her if she wanted some wacky tabbacy in it!!!!!!"   "hahahahahahahahahahaha" and slapped his leg!!!!xoxoxoxo
Happy Heaven Trails Shanney      maybe next time you"ll be  the first!!!!! hahahahahahahahaha

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fall is coming in the back-door all so quickly.We here at Red Fern Cottage make its way by getting in the winters harvest.Squash,potatoes onions,cabbage and tomatoes.
The rain is softly forming on the marble table top outside on the terrace.The door is still open the birds chat back and forth and a crow lets off its sharp alert in the background,a train whistle is muffled into the faint distance.
There are often moments in the kitchen when one is comforted by the sweet scent of basil wafting up from the soup pot slow cooker.A cup of tea sweet strong and milky is passed here and there to friends as they drop in for a chat.A dying art chatting is.
Winter approaches.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Bank Tellers Tale

Our story is important.yesterday I was telling tales with the bank teller and she told me this sweet tale I want to share it with you .
For thirty nine years Lila was friends with Nancy they both came from cape Breton but from different areas.The met shortly after they moved to Halifax as young girls do and they shared everything as life unfolded, wives tales children funnies and more.they went on USA Christmas shopping trips for years and saved a pile of money or putting into hotels and gas but they had a ball! 
Then one day Nancy passed away and Lila didn't take the trips with the other girls for awhile.
They all decided to go to Nancy's home town of Sydney for a short vacation.While they were there they went into the local Catholic Church for mass.
Lila sat at the back alone and missing Nancy said a prayer for her.Then out of the corner of her eye she saw a woman coming toward her who sat beside her.They began the usual talk about people places and things.Bridget had lived all her life in Sydney and worked at the local school as a teacher.She disclosed to Lila that not only did she know Lila's old dear friend Nancy but she was her best friend all through grade school and high-school.Both women knew and loved the one who was passed and they both believe their love brought them all together one last time that day together.What a beautiful way to say goodbye and walk into the future through the door of yesterday. 
Thank you Lila for sharing with me this sweet tale .

 caithleen carter steeves 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer On The Arm

Summer breezes move the trees behind me with a softly sun filtered glow of yellow on green,as a blue sky hovers close by.I'm having breakfast at 2pm the singers/entertainers standard time zone.Breakfast with the birds in the background and the smell of the sea, here on The Arm in Armdale Nova Scotia.Off in the distance I can see the sailing boats clip over the tides or just lazily float on the back harbour of Halifax .Children are squealing off in the next street to mine where some kind of summer game is in full swing.A dog barks.The wind picks up into the trees again and JO JO the long and lanky Turkish Angora lays languid across the terrace floor five stories up.He gave up on the Monarch butterfly he was fascinated with earlier.Lilies,nastirchins,pansies,snow pea flowers are awake and fluttering in the warm afternoon breezes.
The terrace looks off to the south of the Arm into the hills of Spry's feild and the waters off the Purcell's cove Road.Traffic is slow today and not at all noisy here in the back garden of the apartment.
This is my first year on the Arm and after living in the country for four years it is refreshing to have a lake near by,just what one would want when entertaining two grandchildren,boys, who love to swim.choclate Lake has been a family favorite for almost 30 years living in this area.Boats are not allowed and the swimming area is well suited for children.on very hot days we head out in the mornings earlier before the pavement gives off its rude hot summer rays.To hot at times for walking, here there is a roundabout and three roads all merge into one.Armdale is picturesque and very busy traffic wise.There are however nice resturants and parks near by.The day is on now so Im off to the Job bank to use the computer there.
Hope you are having a great time at the place you live and can come to visit halifax someday and see the beauty of the sea in Armdale Nova Scotia. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Palm

Sometime in 1994 We re situated our family into the West Indies for a couple of years,just outside Bridgetown in Hastings Barbados.Warm breezes all the 24/7,sunshine all the time  sand all the time ,and bugs in winter.We went in swimming on a whim the sea was at our backyard, palm trees monkeys,crabs and beach worm.(that's another story).
Now on a small Island garbage accumulates easily in the yards,garbage comes up with the tide from MacDonald s restaurant  next door as well as the old limbs off the palms,dead sea grass,and other debris.If there was a beach-party the night before you could have a lot of garbage.
Once a week we burned our garbage.We were lucky if our neighbor who lived in New England nine months of the year ever saw the pile growing and expanding in her yard.She had a house keeper man, living in most of the time and he had no time for burning garbage.
So I decided to be a good neighbor and take it on myself to burn her pile.Rats were beginning to gather to near my backdoor for my comfort.
I decide to go to the service station at 5a.m. and get an early start just as the sun was coming up.I had never burned a pile before so I just asked the attendant for whatever you do this procedure with.I took my can and off I trotted determined to get rid of the pile.The pile was about 16feet wide and 8 feet high.
A few days before I checked out a concern I had with the women who came to pull out all the grass off our lawn by hand and put it into burlap sacks."Hi do you think that green palm branch over there would start a fire if it was lit?" "No mam it to green"one replied.
Anyway this morning I set to spreading my little liquid up over the pile of crap,stepped way off and lite a Kleenex and threw her on! BOOOOM!!! GASOLINE!!!! what a shock. I thought I had kerosene!!They had given me gasoline.Good job I had stepped away!!!!
The flame shot up, blue,yellow fire went  upwards, the palm branch caught a fire bolt running up its branch all the way to the top and there it froze in blue flame for about thirty seconds!!!blue flame shot off the top of the new palms at the top of the tree.Blue flame,green tree ans blue sky!
I look up and at that  same moment my neighbor who had just came home from the hospital after a heart-attack, had decided to wheel his oxygen tank and I.V. cord out to his deck, for a smoke,luckily about 13 yards away.He did't catch fire, but his eyes nearly popped out of his head and his neck nearly broke with the jolting  shock the BOOM sound and the sight of blue flame glittering up out of the top of the tree gave him from over on the beach about 13 yards away!!!From where I was standing, he could not see me.All he saw was this tree with the top in flames!!HE SHOOK HIS HEAD IN DISBELIEF!!
I shook for about 10 minutes I had to go sit down on the ground my knees were weak!!!I was laughing so hard at the sight of his face and the fright was clearly so deep in me I was useless!!!
Never did get that pile burned rightly but we blew a great big hole into the side of it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Working night shift,taking calls from cocaine addict, drunks and pot smokers.Night life as a worker in Detox.Its dark outside its deathly quiet on  the inside all have settled into their beds finally,Its like day care with no training..Adult children are up until the first light vomiting and crying in remorse and sadness at the cruelty they have endured.The dope dot work any more to shut off the head and warp the heart.
A call comes in my night nurse is on the call Im standing just between her and the staff bathroom."How many of them are there"?"What is he throwing them with"? "Are you safe do you need protection:? The call takes about 10 minutes.
We have learned that a man is throwing his 4day old puppies up against the wall in hi house while he is tripping out of his mind on cocaine!!We document this in our staff log book and decide to meet  back at the hospital early to place a report in with the director asap.We do so.
We enter the directors office together and then proceed to inform her of the event the night before and what we learned on the phone.We are expecting to be asked to fill out an incident report and then for a call to be made to animal rights or the SPCA.
"Oh we cannot get involved in any thing like that", is what I hear come out of the directors mouth!!Im thinking to myself NO YOU! cannot get involved in anything like this!!!
I made the report from home the next day.

My Date Vomits

Its Christmas 1988,the hotel is booked for pre-dinning drinks and ordurves `set to start at 7:pm sharp.Dinner is to be served at The Clipper Cay 's top floor at 8 pm, reserved for the Board of Directors to Halifax Housing Development where I have served two terms on said board.We look over the maintainable applications of a two million dollar public housing project.I used to live in the project.My date is a professor at one of the local Universities.Lets call him Vincent.
We arrive at the cot-tail party just exactly on cue; we are both in a great mood or so I thought.We are mixing well and enjoying each other immensely as we usually have over our thirty year friendship.Then Vincent asks one of the very pretty red headed elderly women where her daughter is.The lady had bragged that she was attending with her son-in law. Vincent's tone implies "does she know of the arrangement"?? I'm very subtly aware of an off coloured undertone in his manner but not to be concerned as he is somewhat high strung at times and as if on cue I joke us along out of target and off to the bar.We resume our party tet a tet.
I did notice he had a few shots of Irish whiskey his favourite drink especially when they're on the house.We then proceeded through the courtyard to the Clipper Cay for dinner.Upon arrival there was a band playing and so we flowed out over the dance floor. Vincent floats when he dances I swear he took lessons he says no. Vincent is very warm charming and a delight to be with and I adore him. Folks from the dining room up stairs are calling us to come eat.They had begun the five course Christmas Annual Board of Directors meal.
When we arrive at the table there are only two huge arm chairs at the head of the table left.So we as King and Queen seat ourselves there.The wine is served and Vincent has a glass.I opt for a cup of tea. Vincent is wearing a woolen worsted tailored suit a beautifully Irish tweed jacket,he has long flowing curls and I very well structured face, equidistantly handsome, his skin has a natural glow from a well tuned body he keeps in top shape playing squash.
The waiter comes again for the second time to fill our glasses with red wine.
I finish my soup and notice from the corner of my eye that Vincent was falling asleep just as the steaks are arriving.So i politely lean in to him on my left  and suggest he eat up.As I pulled away his head came up and followed me as if to kiss me then passing me  it reached table level his mouth opened in WHOOSH FLUSH BARFF!!!VOMIT hit the table!!!Red and clear!!
HOLY  SHIT!!! To say I was astonished or shocked is an understatement. DENIAL is a clever animal in us all, the women all leaned out to say "is he alright"? The men all raised their heads to the ceiling becoming very still, then all looking at the women for a lead mood!!
I stood slowly and very carefully put him on my arm and said we are going to be going home ""Vincent is not well".We were red faced in tearfull fits of laughter when we hit the cold outdoors.It was hilarious for me!However Old Vincent was to far gone to be in any sense of humor for long, he vomited for what seemed like hours out the car on the way home.I felt so sorry for him..He apologized the next day proficiently.I assured him all was well,and the incident was left alone for eternity.Today he is one of my best friends whom I love very much.Now in fond memory I reflect on the night my date up chucked his whiskey and,Irish at that he is!!!  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I remember when her womanhood started to blossom.I first heard it in her voice like the sky had turned up her volume and set a stark Venus sensuality in its texture. The sweetness of her Spirit engaged outrageously with the bountifulness of her soul!It was bewitching like you wanted to hear its infectious depths over and over again!I cocked my head sideways at her furor the first time her maturity hit me!I looked at this new fated person somewhat quizzically.
Her hair had always been rich auburn wavy like a Dorothy La Moore;her eyes were lightly set in Irish Green full of sweet sunshine,as if their every movement would follow and not expose her purpose,like placing a cigarette in an ashtray, or moving a man with the curving motion of her hips and shoulders.Their graceful dance made you feel an inner smile as she empowered and maintained your best interest while in her presence .
She would give herself days in her duality of mind working her way through hidden feelings and complex issues always ever mindful of others feelings then arriving at the most simplest and profound common sense ever delivered from the notorious human female wit.
Every moment in her presence her eyes would stay you gently as she carried through her humble intentions.Sometimes she would stop in mid air quickening a smile and a toss of her head to get the point across on a very important daily task.her obscure mind opening and closing on many issues ideas approaches and actions.
She is liked by many,even re veneered by a few.She genuinely cares about you.She is not sure why or why not its juts her way.People can always be nice as they discover the world in her way of thinking.
Some things are not to be talked over too much they are too precious and we are not at all as smart as we like to think we are.This is her greatest gift - humility.
This day was no different that any other.I sat there home from some Ithacan adventure and very tired and probably somewhat hungover.Then out of her mouth came this tubular throaty red laughter.I looked quick to see who it was.She sounded and acted so alive more vibrant,and alive than I had ever seen her.I asked if she had a new lover.I felt jealous.
Where was my sweet smiling non verbal girl who walked so close to my heels in childhood?She is here -- she is there-- she is sweet she is mature free and artistic.
I went to the table with my tea she had poured me, hoping she would laugh again.The sweetness of her laugh was there yet today it had a very throaty undertone of an Egyptian flesh pot, without condemnation and reproach.No phony specifications.
Now many years later I want to  say thank you to me sister for a most profound experience of witnessing a miracle of life being born into a new cycle.My lady as come forth and herald a great welcome to the Queen of her own lands. Her self-hood had come home to a new phase of human development set out onto a stage where  performed joys of later years appear simply and naturally arriving  on Que when one puts away the old worn out ways of childhood.
Life has such meaning to me today because I have shared my time with Gerrie my sister, my friend, my weird and wonderful friend.

Caithleen Carter Steeves.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sunday Jack

There I stood in the full days sun in my Sunday best go to church clothes,with chest out all exalted with great courage and pride as Granddad steadied the horse Old Jack, tucked in the bridle and firmed my stirrups with his strong hands.  I chimmyed  the arm swung my hip and swooped my leg up over the huge black back.
We meandered over to the field for a bit of a stroll, heading for Jacks usual daily watering hole.I had asked if we could take the field way instead of the road way so I could get a longer ride.Then we would meet Granddad on the road later.
Grandpa took the short path off through the field, to the road then along to the brook spring.
Me and Jack came along slowly to the road,the rocks clattering, clattering under his hoofs,until he stopped trained in his head ,lowering his neck to get a drink of the cool cold waters off the spring.
"Ease back Caithleen ease back". Herman would say in his calm voice.
That seemed easier said than done to a 10 years old.I held on tight with my thighs and eased my neck further back up over the long black slide of Jacks neck.We laughed as we both imagined me sliding off the horse and into the brook!!.
What a fond memory of Sunday walks on Jack the horse at my Granddads farm,in Hopewell Cape New Brunswick.