Saturday, 31 March 2018

Of Boots, and Bonnets, and Baby Sisters.

I've been rhapsodizing over Easter bonnets quite a bit lately, it seems. On this blog and over on Brenda Ray Coffee's blog 1010 Park Place. Waxing nostalgic over Easter bonnets, new shoes, and other spring finery. It's a perfect year to be sighing over Easter bonnets, since puffed sleeves, frills, and furbellows of all sorts are on trend this spring. 

But I fear my days of frills and fluffiness are long gone. And, as much as I love to remember them fondly, my Easter bonnet years have come and gone too. These days I'm more into jeans, and raincoats, and rubber boots. 

Like today. Hubby and I went for a long walk on the bush trails where we've been skiing all winter. It was beautiful and sunny, and the trails were just muddy and squashy enough to require rubber boots.

woman in rubber boots, sitting on a log in the bush, holding a stick
Our Easter ramble in the bush today in my brother's hat.

Actually getting out in the bush on Easter is a bit of a tradition for Hubby and me, even though our high hopes for spring, especially when Easter falls in March, are frequently dashed. Some years we've driven up the Ottawa Valley and hiked on old logging roads that snake through valleys and up over hillsides, eventually eating our picnic lunch on a fallen log in the sunshine. Other years we've been forced to dine in the cab of the truck waiting for a blizzard to subside. 

That's what happened in 1985. In the weeks leading up to Easter, we'd had sunshine and warm temperatures in Ottawa. Hope springing eternal and all that, we decided to go fishing on Easter weekend. When we parked the truck near Brudenell Creek on a high ridge west of the Ottawa River, and  clambered out, we sank into snow up to our knees. Still, we'd driven all that way, might as well hike down to the creek and try to drop a line in, eh? 

So we struggled down the hill, along the old snow-covered road that lead to the creek, sometimes walking on the crust, sometimes sinking up to our butts in snow. Soon it started to rain, then spit snow, then snow in earnest, and the wind began to blow. We gave up and turned around. It was a blizzard by the time we'd climbed back up to the main road where we were parked, snowing so hard we couldn't see where we were going. But we were in stitches, laughing at how ridiculous we looked, scrambling through three feet of snow in a blizzard, with our fishing rods. We ate our picnic lunch and drank our thermos of tea in the truck. And when the blizzard stopped, Hubby made me climb the snow bank and pose with my fishing rod. The year we tried to fish in a blizzard is one of our favourite fishing stories. 

woman holding a fishing rod, standing on a snow bank
The disappointed fisherman, Brudenell Creek, Easter weekend 1985.
I know I said that I'm more into boots than bonnets at Easter these days, but I couldn't resist showing you this picture, below, of my sister Connie's three children, in their Easter finery, circa 1986. Given the pristine frills and clean faces, one assumes my brother-in-law snapped it after the Easter egg hunt and other chocolate festivities were concluded, and before church. I love how my niece Rebecca, so dignified in her grown up hat, with crossed legs and folded hands, is not amused at her baby sister's hilarity. Becky's big, brown, serious eyes are just like her mother's. And like our mother's, too. I smile every time I look at this shot. 

three children dressed for Easter church service
My nieces and nephew in their Easter finery  Photo courtesy of Connie Lagerlof
I smile because Becky's look seems to say, "As much as we love them, baby sisters can be a trial." Ha. I know my two older sisters can certainly relate to that sentiment. I was a trial, at times, I know. 

Why else, when I was little, did they hoard the green, plastic, squeaky, weirdly creepy to the touch, fake grass that lined our Easter baskets, and on which our Easter eggs nestled? That ickky stuff that freaked me out and forced me to try to snatch my chocolate eggs out of the basket without having to touch it? Why else, except that it came in very handy when they desired some privacy, and they really, really didn't want baby sister to come bursting into their room. A tangle or two of the stuff affixed to the doorknob on the outside of their bedroom door kept me at bay quite effectively. I'm sure that my sisters felt that Easter eggs nestled in a basket lined with that weird fake grass was a win, win situation for them. And who could blame them, after all. 

Baby sisters were cute and everything... but... well... they could be a pain. It was different for older brothers and baby sisters. Older brothers were never expected to babysit, or drag their little sister everywhere they went. Unless they chose to do so. I think that's why older brother-baby sister relationships are so uncomplicated. 

And speaking of older brothers. Check out my Easter bonnet this year. My brother Terry had these hats made up way back when he started his own company in the eighties. I've got one in every colour. I always wear one of his hats fishing, after all he did teach me to fish way back when. Ha. I look like I should be making a guest appearance on Trailer Park Boys, don't you think? 

woman in blue jacket and red peaked hat
Me in my Burpee Drilling Easter bonnet .
So folks, I guess I'm done reflecting on Easter bonnets, and on Easter itself for this year. I'm maybe not quite finished discussing boots for the season. But, I promise nothing with respect to the topic of baby sisters, or sisters in general. There's just so much scope there for future discussion. 

Uh oh... I can hear my sisters saying. She's going to get us back for that trick with the fake grass. 

Nah. Don't worry, girls. It will all be good. 




I hope you have a Happy Easter, my friends, if you celebrate Easter. And if you don't, well, happy spring, or happy whatever festival, or seasonal observation you do celebrate. 


Of course, any comments on bonnets, boots, or baby sisters you wish to share with us are most welcome. Or maybe you just want to say hello.









26 comments:

  1. I'm so relieved you included an explanation of the red cap - for a moment there I thought you were trying to make America great again.

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    1. Oh. My. Goodness. Hubby and I can't stop laughing.

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  2. LiaMac, I thought the same thing at first! Hahahaha. She is way too smart for that.

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    1. Ha. Maybe I'd better put a disclaimer on that first photo.

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  3. While the 'new' Easter hat is not quite the same as the ones we wore as children since there isn't a ruffle, bow or flower in sight, it is cheerful and carries memories of your brother...funny how red caps are now so associated with a certain person south of the border. I am a big sister and can identify with keeping a younger one at bay...I loved her but she could certainly mess up plans and my quiet time with a book! At the moment we are in the midst of an Arctic freeze for the next week so it certainly doesn't feel or look like spring in Winnipeg for a bit yet....can't control Mother Nature so we are pulling on toques and winter parkas for a walk to Assinboine Park Zoo to visit the polar bears...at least the polar bears will feel at home! Happy Easter to you!

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    1. After I read Liamac's comment, I said to Hubby that I probably should have worn the pink hat instead of the red one. Ha. Happy Easter to you too.

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  4. Happy Easter. Love that photo of your nieces and nephew, their expressions are perfect!
    Suz from Vancouver

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  5. Happy Easter Sue ... and to Stu as well.
    Great post, I love how you tell a story ... and I always enjoy reading your family and travel ones. Especially when they include a bit of adventure, such as heading off to fish in the snow!
    Re the red cap ... my first thought was how much you suit it! Interesting to see red creeping into your outfits!
    Rosie
    No idea why, but sometimes I can comment as myself from my phone and other times not!! :) So here I am as “Anonymous”

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    1. Thanks, Rosie. Funny how one item can spawn a whole new colour palette in our wardrobes. Over the years I've had some memorable (to me anyway) red pieces... but it's never been my "go to" colour.

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  6. That look on Rebecca’s face is very like your ‘ look ‘ in that awful Aussie room you stayed in . Must be the family look ? Fearsome . No spring here yet & the weather man says tomorrow , Easter Monday , we will have snow . Good job I’ve got some Easter chocolates to cheer me up . Hope you have some too .
    Wendy in York

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    1. Ha. I know. It's my look and my mum's look too. I don't have any chocolate this Easter. But we did have cupcakes:) I found a great cupcake place and we've been rationing them... one each per evening after dinner.

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  7. I'm the youngest of four sisters.

    Have just read
    Eve Chase - The vanishing of Audrey Wilde.

    As she says - when one sister goes - it's like a table tipping without one of its legs.

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    1. It seems that way, too, when one sibling of four is gone... even if it is a brother.

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  8. I laugh at the pictures I have of my sister and I when we were toddlers at Easter. So many frills and ruffles! And the hats! Now, no one could get me into frilly things if they paid me. Love this post and your memories!

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  9. For the most part, the population in the U.S. dressed too casually, but I thought Easter Sunday at church would be different. It wasn't. From what I could see, I was one of the few women who dressed for church. I found it kind of sad. Love your "fishing in a blizzard" photo, but then you can't take a bad photo! xoxox, Brenda

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    1. Thanks, Brenda. But you haven't seen the shots Hubby has taken of me over the years. I'm sad, too, that we seem to have stopped dressing up. Except for "club wear" which is a whole other thing:(

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  10. Belated Happy Easter,Sue!
    Family look- completely agree with Wendy,it was also my first thought indeed! Your family stories are always beautiful! And travel stories,book stories,fashion stories.....as well!
    Dottoressa

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    1. THanks, Dottoressa. Btw... inspired by your mention of your white cotton sweater... I bought one myself. I've always loved a white cotton knit sweater for spring. Can't think why I haven't had one in years.

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  11. Susan, A fun post but I doubt it kept you warm . You must be sick of the snow , or are you still enjoying the cross country skiing? Thanks for linking up to our first Continental Drift adventure.

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    1. It was s warm the day we walked (+5) I didn't need a toque. Sooo sick of snow... and we've just had 5 cm of fresh snow overnight. Thanks for hosting the link-up. Great idea.

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  12. Happy Easter and love the story behind your cap!

    SSG xxx

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All comments, ideas, commiserations, questions, complaints... are most welcome.