Sunday in Paris with George

My purpose is to portray the impression of an American visitor in Paris, as he strolls about the city and listens to various street noises and absorbs the French atmosphere. 

This quote from George Gershwin comes from an interview in Musical America that was published in August 1928. He was speaking, of course, of his masterpiece “An American in Paris”, which was still a work in progress. But the end goal for this particular piece was in sight. Two weeks from today marks 90 years since he completed the orchestration of his tribute to the City of Light. It premiered at Carnegie Hall on December 13, 1928, conducted by Walter Damrosch, who had commissioned the work. You can read more about the history of the piece here. And, if you’ve never heard the full piece, take a listen here to this performance by the Moscow City Symphony-Russian Philharmonic. It’s about 20 minutes long.

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A read-letter day

I was pleasantly surprised to learn this morning that the Ottawa Citizen published my letter to the editor today!

It’s regarding the closure of an Ottawa fixture: Dunn’s deli on Elgin Street, a favourite place of mine. I had written about it earlier this year as part of a writing exercise, so I adapted it into a short tribute.

I was especially thrilled that it’s the first letter on the page and it’s accompanied by a photo by Wayne Cuddington.

I will still miss Dunn’s a lot though. 🙁

You can read it here. Enjoy!

(In case it’s not obvious, the title for this post comes from the joke “what is black and white and read all over”)

 

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Appreciating Jean Little

In a previous post, I mentioned Jean Little, one of Canada’s most notable children’s authors. She was a favourite of mine growing up, and so I decided to revisit her life and work and write about it here.

About Jean

Jean Little was born in 1932 in Japanese-occupied Taiwan.  Her parents Gorrie (Flora) and Llew were both doctors working as missionaries with the United Church of Canada. Gorrie herself grew up in a missionary family, which often meant a life of long-distance relationships, ably described in Jean’s His Banner over Me (2008).

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Cracking the recipe

I am baking on a Tuesday evening. This is unusual for me. Normally my Tuesday evenings are tied up with choir practice or volunteer work, but in the summer, these things are on hiatus. And even though we have central air, baking isn’t something I do much of in the summer. But this evening is different as it’ll only come once. It is the 100th anniversary of my paternal grandmother’s birthday, and so I’m marking the occasion by attempting her signature cookie recipe once more. This time, I hope to get it right.

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Exactly as you are

The other day, we went to pay homage to an old friend of mine. I hadn’t seen him in many years, and he died some time ago, but he left an impression on me. It’s only now that I’m really starting to comprehend and appreciate the unique soul known as Fred Rogers.

When I was a very young child, I visited him every weekday. I would wait for him to come through the door, give a cheery greeting, and come down the steps to the front closet. He’d take off his jacket and pull out and put on a cardigan. Then he’d sit down and change out of his outdoor shoes for a pair of sneakers, singing all the while, asking if I would be his neighbour, or announcing that it was a such a good feeling to know we were friends.  

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