I don’t have any Irish blood in me, being solidly Canadian and reaching through ancestry back into the English countryside. But sometimes, I feel an elfin spirit pushing me to be outlandish, and occasionally I sense a lilt in the air. I must have Irish roots somewhere in the past.
This past Wednesday, I attended the Castlegar library’s annual general meeting at the legion hall and, lo and behold, the tables were decorated with green and there were bowler-style green top hats to wear for the evening. Even the speeches had a bit of green about them — not from envy, but from the perspective of luck.
There certainly were four-leaf clovers in the library board’s decision to hire Sandra Smith, retired librarian from Pitt Meadows, to fill in for Heather Maisel, our head librarian who is on maternity leave. Watching Sandra greet people and listening to her pleasant commentary, I knew for certain she’d brought a bit of the green Fraser Valley with her to her part-time posting.
Somehow I anticipated the St. Patrick’s theme and wore my pale green shirt and my four-leaf clover tie. I only get to wear my green ties for a week or so prior to March 17, and in doing so for the library AGM, I fit the theme and the decor perfectly. Also, I took away a forest-green container with a greenish potted plant topped with purple flowers — as did everyone who went to the AGM.
This year I have been waiting for green for a long time. I can’t believe winter has lasted so long and I’ve still got half a metre of snow covering my lawn.
This time last year, friends of mine were already golfing at Birchbank Golf Course. I don’t even know whether we will see any green when we arrive at the Castlegar Golf Course for the members’ get-together on March 27.
This past Saturday, I attended the Kootenay School of the Arts instructors and students’ show at the Kootenay Gallery. It was a scintillating display of new art work from painting to sculpture to ceramics. However, as I looked at the work on display, I realized there were a lot of browns — not much green at all. I thought perhaps the browns and greys of winter must have got to the artists as they were creating. But the exhibition has been in the works for two years, so other seasons were definitely involved.
I decided the freshness and the greenness were lodged in the imaginations that shaped the remarkable items on view. At one point, the KSA committee dedicated the exhibition to Tom Lynn, an incredible sculptor and art teacher who lost his life to cancer in 2008. Then I knew where the green came in.
The green emanated from the Tom Lynn I knew during the 1990s when his wife Shelly was on the Kootenay Gallery board with me. I remember interviewing Tom for an article I wrote at that time, and I still recall his vitality and keenness for his art and the art of others. There was a fresh quality about Tom and his projects such as the Revelstoke bears.
Indeed, the elan he brought to teaching others how to be creative was admired by many. He was like a green light appearing in the midst of darkness, and apparently he was like that from the moment he arrived from California in 1969.
So I didn’t feel bad that I was the only one at the gallery wearing a green shirt. And I didn’t feel awkward wearing my green Van Gogh tie with the blue irises emblazoned on it.
I simply dedicated my verdant apparel to the memory of Tom Lynn.