Sunday, May 17, 2009

Firecracker tales

Self portrait
Sharpie on bond paper
8 x 10 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009
(I'm taking part in a self portrait paint off
this month, so yesterday drew myself when
I'd just got up, tired, no makeup. The
real me (except I only wear glasses
reading and at the computer).

Firecracker day, otherwise known as Victoria Day, because
it used to be celebrated on the 24th of May in Canada,
is the long weekend holiday in May. This year it's early,
and the temperature outside is zero, or freezing. There's a
frost warning, and we had to turn the furnace back on!
Now for those of you in warmer climates, this is pretty
standard fare for this weekend, whenever they hold it.
Still it does seem too early this year, and I have to go and
bring my pansies I haven't planted yet inside!

My Mother told me a funny firecracker day story today.
When she was a kid, her uncle in Ottawa owned a big
concession store, and her family bought their firecrackers
from him. Back then children carried around lots of small
firecrackers and let them off all over the place. This was
true when I was a kid too, but now people are much more

But my mother's family of girls lived next door
to another family of girls in Rockcliffe, a lovely neighbourhood
in Ottawa. Dori, 14, one of the girls next door, had a plan to
scare my mother's older sister, Marnie. So...before she went to bed,
she tied a string to her big toe, and let the string trail out the second
story window to the ground. At seven o'clock in the morning on
Victoria Day, (early for a holiday in a quiet suburb) my mother
who was about 10, snuck out of her house and pulled on the string
waking Dori up. Dori left her house quietly, met my mother outside
mom's sister Marnie's window, and they let off some loud firecrackers.
"Did it wake your sister up?" I asked. "Oh yes, she was pretty mad,"
laughed my mother. It was the part about the girl sleeping with
a long string tied around her toe that cracked me up. Don't let this story
give you any ideas.

Our dog hates firecracker day, and shivers and shakes at
every bang. Our kids used to light sparklers, and we'd go to
a local park and watch. In recent years we've gone down
to the lake (Ontario) to see the big, public displays.

Have a super-fireworks-impressive-glorious-Victoria Day!


Laurel Daniel said...

Cute YOU! You are fearless with that sharpie! Firecracker Day sounds fun... but it's crazy that it was zero again! Brrrrrrrrrrr!
Happy Firecracker Day! XOXO

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laurel,

Thanks. Actually on Firecracker Day it was a bit above zero, but ski jacket weather at night for sure.
But tomorrow it's going up into the high 20's celsius, which is almost 90 Farhenheit. Crazy.


eldon warren said...

Warm? Cold? Doesn't matter. Spring has sprung!Firecracker day sounds like fun!

Liza Hirst said...

Another great drawing, Barbara! I find it amazing that you can even capture the tiredness with just those few lines - bravo!

Portrait Artist

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at:
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!