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Photo Beth Girdler
Open prairie skies

Photo David Francey
Gloomy day, Beth with her toes in Lake Superior

Photo Beth Girdler
Geoff, David and Dave, Summerfolk

Photo Beth Girdler
David, Mainstage. Summerfolk

Photo Beth Girdler
Geoff, David and Dave, Mainstage in the rain. Summerfolk



On the Monday after the Edmonton festival Beth, Colin and I prepared to depart for points East. All things considered, we had an amazingly civilized start to our day. The previous evening (or early that morning to be more precise) Dugg Simpson and I had made a bleary pact to visit the Alberta Aviation Museum, a five minute drive down the road. For myself, walking through the museum was like living a "Boys Own" story. I like planes. I love World War Two planes. Doug has the same interest and a similar knowledge of and appreciation for them. Time stood still as we wandered in complete contentment. We had the place to ourselves. Colin was thoroughly indoctrinated in the lore and attraction of these splendid machines. Probably the enthusiasm of the bigger boys rubbed off on him. Beth was, as always, bemused but patient. All and all, the two hours spent there proved to be one of the most relaxing and quietly enjoyable times of our journey. I highly recommend starting your day in such a manner. Doug and I have a rendez vous at the National Aviation Museum in Ottawa in October. I can't wait.
As you can imagine, we didn't put too many miles on that day. We did well to reach Saskatoon. The journey was beautiful though, the weather warm and inviting and the landscape stunningly beautiful in its own bountiful way. Big sky, resplendent fields and a warm strong wind. The prairie at it's most beautiful.

One thing I noticed. In front of one field, there was a plain green and white sign that read "WHEAT". Further along there was another sign reading "CANOLA". Further yet the exact same style of sign reading "CATS". I laughed for miles.

Late that evening we pulled up to Sam Baardman and Susan Israel's house, near the Red River. It was good to visit again with these friends, both performers, who accomplish so much in life in such a gracious manner. Listening to a new song of Sam's made a splendid close to the day. Many thanks to them for welcoming us into their home.

The next day saw us leave under a sullen sky that did not change its mood the entire day. A steady rain followed us all the way to Thunderbay, where we took our rest in the Airport Travelodge, which I think was actually constructed on the runway. We slept like logs.

Morning dawned and the sullenness of the clouds resolved into outright anger on the way to the Soo. "Torrential" fairly springs to mind. It remain thus all the way to Sudbury, and yet another late arrival at yet another Travelodge. It struck me as inconceivable that we had returned to Sudbury already, with the west behind us, when the memory and anticipation during our outward visit to the city was so fresh and clear in my mind. Time and tide, for no man bide. Still, I wondered where the summer had gone.

Owen Sound on the shores of Lake Huron was the following day's destination. It looked so close on the mapů.

Summerfolk has a beautiful site on the edge of Georgian Bay, with a stone amphitheater facing the main stage and lovely grounds to wander through to get to the workshops and crafts. The organizers provide the perfect opportunity to get aquatinted or reacquainted with other artists at the performer parties. A wonderful time to play late into the night, with various permutations arising as members of different bands coalesced and reformed in the parking lot out side the hospitality suite. The parties rate near the top of my musical memories for the summer. I'm not likely to forget singing harmony with the likes of Melwood Cutlery, Bill Bourne, Scruj MacDuhk and the Jenny Whitely Band. Not bad for a carpenter! Many thanks to Don Bird for the invite and the excellent hospitality. He put together a wonderful line-up and for me the Mainstage collaboration between Colin Hay and Madagascar Slim on "Land Down Under" was magical. Singing harmony to Martina Sorbera's rendition of John Prine's "Bruised Orange" is yet another special memory for me.

From all of us to all of you, look after yourselves and take care,

Saturday, September 8

David Francey appearing next week:

September 29
Vital Spark Folk Club
Whitby, Ontario

Click here for the complete summer schedule...

Photo Beth Girdler
Grain Elevators