It's a heavy, wet, snowy morning here at Peekaboo at 4:00 am. It's that time if year, when the beautiful Fall colours gave way to incessant leaf raking, then we had a bit of summer back for a few days, and now, we're into the cold and white stuff. And with COVID19 happening, that in and of itself is a huge distraction. I hope and pray that all my family, friends and everyone, are okay and safe, and that the community spread stays low. We have 19 cases in Penetanguishene as of today but the virus is certainly all around us. Barrie, and the Alliston area (not to mention the hot spots of Toronto, Ottawa, Peel region) are climbing with schools becoming an issue. I don't think teenagers really get it yet, until they lose someone in their family. So we must all be vigilant with mask wearing, social distancing and keeping our circles small. And we need some luck. Another lockdown may be coming and it's all so hard. Almost like a bad dream really. But when we think it's so hard, that we have it so bad, (and I'm not saying its not bad!) but think back to what they had to endure in 1917-1919 when they had the killer, Spanish Flu hit the world just after the calamity of the First World War. They didn't have modern medicine, computers, the internet, Netflicks, iphones, etc. But everything is relative I know.
The weather has been terrible for morning pictures lately and that's been a good thing for writing Book 3 of my Hildegard series. I've made excellent progress these last few weeks and I've been really pushing hard, (as Sue can attest!) So much happened in the late 1970s and 1980s in the world. There is so much story to develop with twists and turns in Penetanguishene, Midland, Toronto, New Mexico, New York City, Ethiopia, Philadelphia, Gloucester-Ottawa, Moscow, Poland! Whew! Peter's life sure takes some turns! On the downside, that's the slow part about writing historical-fiction, there's so much history to research and weave into the story. And boy, with the virus and events of these last few years south of the border, Book 4 & 5 are sure going to be amazing, with a lot of stuff in them! The files I've created are burgeoning you can imagine!
So, I'm hoping to finish the first draft by the end of the year and then I'll be into editing. We'll truth be known, I've been editing, rewriting and rewriting as I go. It's hard not to. That does tend to slow down the process. Then I have to decide on the cover, title, (I'm tossing a few titles around in my head). At the moment I'm thinking Book 3 will be named, "Of Grace & Of Deception." I could change my mind as per the unprofessional mock-up you see here.
Death has been around a lot lately and I've heard of the passing of a few people around my age who I knew or went to school with. It makes one think. We are all finite. I hope and pray I'm allowed to finish this series. It seems that my life, my experiences and writing development has led up to this point in my life to be creating this series. It's not a series, more like a journey. I can't imagine God (nor Hildegard) were going to let me develop everything in my life and experiences, to get to this story, and not to allow me to finish it.
Through a NetGalley reading service I signed up for, reviews are coming in from around the world and I'm glad to say they've been overwhelmingly positive! My two friends Pat & Ken have read the first 250 pages and both feel Book 3 is the best of the series so far, saying there were some powerful, emotional moments in it. Us writers always need vindication and encouragement.
I think I'm still on track for a spring/summer release.
Today, I'm wishing my brother Alvin AND his wife Francie, my sister-in-law, a happy birthday. Vin lucked out that way, it was easy for him to never forget his wife's birthday. They share the same day.
Alvin worked as an Registered Nurse and later a nursing supervisor at the Penetanguishene Mental Health Center (now called Waypoint) for well over 30 years. As I worked there as well, I was always identified as "Vin's brother." And I constantly heard: "I loved working with him!" "I loved working for him!" "What a great guy!" "Vin was a great supervisor!" "Such a nice guy!" "Such a good staff!" "Great to work with!" Surely the greatest compliments one could receive. I was always proud of hearing that. My mom and dad would have been proud. I'm sure they are.
A great joke teller, he had the uncanny ability of hearing a joke once and remembering it. I can still picture our late brother Pat starting to laugh at a Vin joke even before Vin even started telling it. Pat just had to look at him, especially when he started into "Rindercella." My favourite Vin joke was the skit which he acted out, was of the drunk, smoking, 100 year-old-looking lady who in actuality was only 23. Vin was so funny that when the legendary fiddler, Cindy Thompson, saw him perform once at a BBQ, she asked Vin to perform for 15 minutes between her sets at a Kings Wharf Theatre Show. He was that funny.
And how often would Francie feed him the name of a joke or a song to keep him going with his large repertoire of both. She was the ying to his yang. Certainly the life of any party he was at, Vin could also belt out a country song. Mom loved Vin singing, "My woman, my woman, my wife" by Marty Robbins. Her eyes always sparkled with pride. He and Pat singing together, accompanied by our sister Anne on the piano, was priceless and them laughing together, ensured entertainment at many a Dupuis function.
As a big brother, he introduced me to chess and fishing. Once we were fishing in a small plywood boat while he had a cast on a broken leg. He caught a big pike and stopped its flopping around in the bottom of the boat by yes, clomping it with his leg cast. Plunk. Too funny! A good and natural curler, he organized many Penetang Curling Club fishing trips to Cognashene and for many years organized an informal men's softball night and got the town to clear the first field which is now Phil Marchildon Park. And yes, he can cook and make pie dough and bread like nobody's business. Not to be outdone, Fran is a great cook in her own right. He'll suggest something for supper and she'll quickly have it on the go. Like I said, ying and yang.
The father and mother of four, he and Fran have been blessed with fourteen grandchildren. It's a treat to see how much love their family have for both of them. Vin and Francie have needless to say done a lot of babysitting but with a lot of love given and even more received. Their grandchildren adore them. Its vice versa I know.
Vin's claim to fame was once being tripped on a breakaway by Parry Sound's own Bobby Orr in a minor hockey bantam game. The other day, I told Vin, who is not a Donald Trump fan, that his hockey idol and hero, Bobby Orr, had taken out a full page add in support of Trump for President. I could feel his disappointment. Sorry about that. Anyway, Happy Birthday big brother and sister-in-law! Here's to many more! Love ya! In tribute I'll fry up a can of Klik!