Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – June 6, 2004
Dragonflies & A Garden Bell
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – June 6, 2004 – I have a yen for a bell for my back yard pergola. I saw an ornate , black iron one last week at Bill’s Garden Centre for $44.99. It was exactly the size I’d envisioned and I thought it was an amazing price. But what do I know about the price of bells in Toronto? As it turns out, very little.
I’m taking a day off, so after breakfast and a quick shower, I set off for The Victorian Shoppe on Kingston Road to see if Chan had any bells. There were a number of nice small ones, and a couple of incredibly ornate brass ones with hefty price tags. I think a bell is a great addition to a garden but at two hundred dollars a pop, brass ones are too rich for my bell budget. Instead I bought another wall mounted lantern and a couple of funky iron dragon flies with green and blue glass bodies. Their tummies hold a tea candle which accents the coloured glass when it’s lit. Such fun for summer evenings in the garden.
As I stood chatting with Chan, the D-Day Commemorative Parade went by on Kingston Road. The Veterans were wearing their medals and marching proudly behind the flag of Canada and the colours of their respective military units. A bagpipe band played and people on the sidewalks stopped and bowed their heads to honour the men and women as they marched past. I watched the ceremony this morning with the laying of the wreaths at The Canadian War Memorial in Ottawa.
Sixty years ago today the Beaches at Normandy were the scene of the Allied Invasion of France. The precursor to the end of the WW11. I thought of my Father today. He was with the Canadian Division which landed on the Beach at Arrowmanchie on July 6, 1945 – a month to the day after the D-Day Invasion. As I watched the War Vets today, I experienced a feeling of tremendous gratitude for their bravery and sacrifice. It’s so important that we never forget.
With the parade finished, my attention returned to my search for a bell and I started to think about how beautiful they sound when they’re ringing. Church bells, sleigh bells, cow bells, tower bells, ship bells and on a much smaller scale – a garden bell. Bells are rung to call people together, to celebrate an occasion, to mark an event, to signal danger and to lead people and animals home.
A ringing bell is also a call for hungry dinner guests to come to the table. I think I shall ring my garden bell in the morning as I leave the house. A little ritual to acknowledge the day and to announce my participation in it. So, having exhausted my perusal of Chan’s store, I left with my dragonfly candles and headed back to Bill’s Garden Centre to pick up the bell that will adorn my pergola.
By supper time I had mounted the black lantern and the dragonfly tea candle holders. One is on the post beside the back door and the other is hanging on my garden gate. The iron bell was the last of my purchases to find a home. It’s mounted on the same pillar as one of the dragonflies. It already has a distressed surface and I imagine it will develop a wonderful patina as the seasons change over the coming years.
I made a white ribbon tassel to hang from the clapper and gave it a test ring as soon as it was securely attached to the pillar. It has a strong, dull gong – gong – gong. There is nothing sophisticated about this garden bell, but it’s solid, predictable, sure and satisfying.
It has a specific purpose and it won’t deviate from its calling. I have a garden bell and quirky, colourful dragonflies. I’m sure they will get along just fine with the gargoyles – Arthur and Roger. I have a busy work schedule tomorrow, but for today my quest on this sunny, spring day is at a happy end.
P.S. – And today as all eyes are on the Beaches of Normandy to acknowledge the 70th anniversary of D-Day – it is sad to think that as a global collective – humanity has learned “nothing”. Young men and women in uniforms still follow self-righteous leaders into battle and certain death.
Will we ever learn to use dialogue to garner peace?