A Lesson In Blackfoot GraceSunday, April 15, 2012
One of the frustrations of my current Red Shawl Project, where I photograph mostly my friends in my mother’s red Mexican rebozo, is that rarely do any of them ever write in their essay who they are or what they do. Unless you look up a recent project subject of mine, Patrick Reid you will not know of all his many contributions to Canada or learn that not only was he the youngest tank commander in the British North African campaign in World War II but since he was the tallest he kept hitting his head with the tank hatches.
I do not believe that I would be letting the cat out of the bag by placing here a picture of my latest subject dancer/choreographer/actor Byron Chief-Moon before he writes his accompanying essay.
For one what you see here is not the actual Kodak Echtachrome 100G transparency which I use in the series. It is a preliminary Fuji FP-100 C Professional Instant color film which most of us who use it call, simply, Fujiroid.
Byron and partner friend Shanon (a mine of information on the Big Bang Theory and on climbing mountains in Costa Rica) came mid afternoon yesterday and we spent time in the garden (it was sunny) after I had snapped my pictures of Byron. Byron was so easy to photograph that I took only four.
A roll has ten exposures. The other six included one spent one in which I had forgotten to connect my flash to camera while taking pictures on Friday afternoon of my family doctor, Colin Horricks.
When I snapped that first picture of Dr. Horricks something was not right. I immediately caught on. The sound of my camera was different. That morning I had gone to the Doctor’s to have my ear pipes “pressure washed”. This painless procedure removes all ear wax and my keen sense of hearing came back!
Dr. Horricks in my living room was a pleasure that would be compounded next day by Byron and Shanon. It had to do with conversation and how rare it is these days. It is about the delights of sitting down to chat (without thumbs!). While one may see one’s doctor for years, what one knows about the doctor’s personal life is not usually known. Dr. Horricks looked at all my books and told me that he had many, too, but mostly on the topic that is his passion, all things Carl Jung. Who would have known? And who would have known that my Jungian doctor was keen to go home (we lingered for a while swirling our Calvados that we cradled in our hand) to see the second Canucks game?
When Byron Chief-Moon sat at our table, with Shanon, Rebecca, Lauren, Hilary, Rosemary and my son-in-law Bruce Stewart out of the blue I asked Byron to say grace. He said this in his native language, Blackfoot and the only world I recognized in the melodious language was my name.
Shanon pontificated on the Bing Bang while she and I both indulged in several helpings of turmeric rice and the barbecued flank steak. The evening was long, in a nice way with lots of sobremesa which is a delightful word in Spanish that has to do with polite conversation at the dinner table, after dinner has been consumed.
Since most had tea and my teapot is not large enough for all I made two batches of tea in two different teapots. One had an Ahmad Tea Aromatic Earl Grey, the other and Ahmad Tea Barooti Assam. The idea felt quite civilized and we drank both.
When Bryon and Shanon left on their way to the house that they have built in Bella Coola I realized how lucky Rosemary and I are to know such a variety of people, a variety that has brought a richness to our life.
I hope that this is something my granddaughters will absorb and that they will learn grace and manners. Grace and manners have to be learned (taught) and I do believe that one has no choice in this. My mother taught me, not always gently.
The proof that manners are important is Byron’s email this morning:
Good Morning, Alex and Rosemary. Thanks for a wonderful dinner and a chance to meet the family. Both Shanon and I are honoured to have met your family members. Wish you both the best, with your garden and safe travels when on the road. We are heading off this week to our place in Bella Coola, to transfer our 300 seedlings of veggies into the garden and to start another batch. Look forward to seeing the photo you choose for your project. Thanks again, hugs to you all. cheers byron and shanon. OXOX....