We’ve just celebrated my father’s 100th birthday. He died in 1999, but 40 of us gathered from around Canada and three other countries in his honour for a sunny week in rural Saskatchewan. I never asked Dad what he considered sacred, but my guess is he would have said land and family.
My sister and brother-in-law, our hosts, planned for months. They’d had outdoor compost toilets built. They drew maps to show where to erect our tents in their spacious yard. They had mapped out the horseshoe pitch, croquet wickets, bollaball court, Crokinole and Scrabble tent. Saskatchewan is called the Land of the Living Skies. Our hosts had even listed times for moon rises and sun sets, and had us out of our sleeping bags to see spectacular Northern Lights at midnight.
Other plans included menus, teams for meal preparation and for a nature-centred scavenger hunt. My team consisted of a four-year-old, a niece just home from three years in Seoul, our Yellowknife nephew and great-nieces from Hong Kong and Mission, B.C. The menus were built on a quintessential 100-mile diet: their own organic garden, with eggs and meat from down the road.
Ed Sullivan would have been impressed with our concert. We sang O Canada in two languages, then the anthems of Korea, Spain and China. Fifteen dazzling performances followed. My brother and a three-year-old told knock-knock jokes. My husband threw caution to the wind and played a harmonica as six-year-olds danced. A Rubik’s Cube was completed in three minutes; the Koreans hilariously danced to the music of Psy. Skits, puppets, songs, whistling, poetry and boxing demonstrations rounded out the show. Fireworks ended the night.
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