Punta Cana

We went because we were tired.   My father had just passed away at the age of 91 years, and while he lived a full rich life, it is never easy to say good bye to someone you love.  And winter didn't seem to be letting up at all.  It has been a cold hard winter and we were grateful to have the opportunity to escape the last week of winter in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.  

It would be a beach holiday, as I wanted to reflect  and come to terms with not having my dear father around anymore.  I often wonder if the dead can communicate with us afterwards and I suspect they can because I've noticed after the passing of my mother and my aunt that I would hear a piece of music over and over that would remind me of them.  I wondered how I would recognize my father after he passed because he wasn't very musical.  And I never asked him.  However, I was responsible for putting together his slide show for his funeral and I chose an instrumental version of the theme song Titanic as I would be fitting to his career in the Royal Canadian Navy.  I listened to that song over and over while getting his slideshow ready.

It was very late when we arrived in Punta Cana and we just had time to have a quick meal at the buffet before it closed.  We did notice on our way to the buffet a nice piano bar called Hemingway's and so we decided to stop in after dinner, which we did.  We sat down, ordered a glass of wine and within five minutes the piano player started playing.  Tears came to my eyes as I realized the very first song he played was the theme song for the Titanic.  I couldn't believe it.  It is as if Dad let me choose the song and was communicating with me :)  (Anyway, I don't know whether it is true or not, but I am comforted by it.)

The Piano Player, Hemingway's Bar 

The Piano Player, Hemingway's Bar 

Anyway, for me that was the highlight of our trip.  I also enjoyed being on the beach and practising some long exposure photography.  For the most part I photographed using my Fuji 18-55 lens but on occasion did try out the 14mm F2.8.  Here are some favourites. 

Photo walk in Almonte

Yesterday, my dear friend Nancy invited me out for a photo walk in nearby Almonte, Ontario.  I hadn't been there in quite some time, but she talked about having lunch at this adorable tearoom that she knew I would love.  I discovered yesterday that often one doesn't have to travel very far to in search of the perfect photo opportunity.  Sure, Paris is lovely but I'd have to argue Almonte is too.  Here are some of my favourites from yesterday.  

First from the Robin's Nest Tea Room.  While everything was absolutely delicious, the highlight was the Maple Blueberry Creme Brûlée.  It was amazing.  

And I loved how many interesting shops and cafe's there were.  The town had a quaint feeling very unlike Barrhaven where I currently reside. 

And finally, I couldn't help but make an environmental portrait of a couple of charming shop owners.  

Sanjeev Sivarulrasa, Artist and Gallerist.  He does amazing 6.5 hr exposures of Nebulas!  

Sanjeev Sivarulrasa, Artist and Gallerist.  He does amazing 6.5 hr exposures of Nebulas!  

And this is Donna Cook from Avenir Designs.    I loved her smile and blue hair!

And this is Donna Cook from Avenir Designs.    I loved her smile and blue hair!

All photos shot with Fuji XT1 16-55mm F2.8

 

Nordstrom Gala Opening - Ottawa

On March 6th, 2015, Nordstrom opened the doors to its new store in Ottawa, Ontario.  Fashionistas and the Who's who of Ottawa were out in full force that evening having paid over $100 per ticket to be the first to shop at Nordstrom's.  They were treated to food, drink and entertainment.  Models were dressed and posed as mannequins.  I heard one guest claim that she felt like she was in New York!   Click here for the full story and photos published by Hello Canada magazine.

All photos taken with Fujifilm XT1 and 16-50 F2.8 lens.

The Navy Man

A poem written by my sister Julie Wilson as her tribute to our Father at his funeral.

The Navy Man

A sailors saying came true,

Red sky by morning,

Sailors take warning!

WW2 is declared. 

It was 1942. A young man who was called Jack, (fondly by his mother), a mere 19 years old, enlists in the Canadian Navy. He was a typical 19 yr old. Fully thinking himself to be a grown man, but he had not get reached his physical prime.  That he would do while he would be on board a Navy ship, fighting for the free world. 

12 crossings of the Atlantic. 

Guarding merchant vessels. 

Firing depth charges. 

Chasing down subs. 

Dodging torpedoes. 

Chipping off ice that clung to the vessel, to keep her afloat. 

Cold wet ocean spray beating against the face. 

Getting knocked down on the deck from a rogue wave, spilling his mates dinners. 

Hoping that every time the ship was cast sideways that she would right herself again. (She always did.) Good ole girl! The corvette, A most seaworthy vessel. A pride of every captain. She may have been small, but she was fierce. 

Every depth charge would make the ship shake and shudder at the end of a heavy combat, she would limp back into harbor. Get into drydock. Get repaired. It was in this setting, The boy became a man. 

Jack, who was now called "tug" (fondly by his shipmates.),was on a journey that shapes a man. 

It instils good character, an iron will, a steadfastness. 

Honour, respect and a love for life. 

It was in this setting that he met his first love. 

Then, The war was over. And his first child was born. A son. What a pride and joy!  And he was called Jack, (fondly by his wife) and Dad by his son. 

Now The time came to be come a leader. 

Tug, who was now called "Sir", (respectfully by those under him,) became an officer. This now too this will shape him. Manners, etiquette, gentlemanly behavior. Tactics, leadership, navigating the waters. Chain of command. Bigger vessels, practicing maneuvers, sea trials, endless training ops.  The man matures. 

Then all too soon, Going to sea days are over. On to the mainland. 

Three daughters are born. This journey also shapes a man. He learns love, partiality, innovation, humility, forgiveness. 

Running the home like a ship, not quite the same. 

A different way of life. Yet all the character traits remain. 

The man now called Jack (fondly by his wife) and Dad by his children. Navigate their lives together. Sometimes on calm waters, Sometimes over rough seas. Always staying afloat.  

Then family life as he knows it, changes The kids have grown up and moved out on their own. One has joined the Military now too!  A return to Cornwallis for the graduation drums up a lot of memories for he man of his own training there. 

And as her career changes course, donning his formal navy uniform once more, he attends the RCMP graduation of his youngest daughter. Her heart swells to see her handsome Dad in his finest Navy attire. Adorned with his war medals. That's MY Dad she thinks. Never so proud of him. 

Then There were then Many years of navigating the Bonnie 2, untold adventures with his best shipmate,... Then sadly her passing......

The end of an era. 

Heart broken,...

Onto bachelorhood once again. 

Chip that ice off!

right yourself,

keep your iron will. 

Limp back to safe Harbour. Get into drydock. Get repairs. 

The man who is now called Papa. (Fondly by his grandchildren) Full of love for for all his kin. Summer time barbecues, golf tournaments, loving and doting daughters, beautiful grand and great grandchildren. . Handsome son in laws and daughter in laws. 

It is in this setting, He meets his new love. And he is called "Jack" again. (Fondly by his wife) He is Now able to lavish on her all of his good qualities learned over all these years. They turned into; Friendship Companionship Courtship Relationship Partnership Fellowship A fully mature "loveship."

It was however to be the last part of his journey. Then came some hardship.  And the years had caught up with his body. He was not able to right himself.

It was in this setting that, he passed away peacefully and went to heaven. 

And Jack was now called "my Son" (fondly by His Lord and Saviour. )

And The sailors saying came true. "Red sky at night. Sailors delight. "

And now a navy farewell. 

Weigh the anchor Dad

Set sail for sea. 

Your new journey is,

Eternity.

© Julie Feilberg (poem) © Dyanne Wilson (photo)