Previewing “Twitterpated” As We Celebrate Our Wedding Anniversary

Previewing “Twitterpated” As We Celebrate Our Wedding Anniversary

We’ve just closed a nostalgic celebration of our 13th wedding anniversary with a return to the site where we met in June 2003 at Grace Café on north Henderson Highway in Winnipeg. Though we were seniors then, we are even “more senior” today and Ian is no where near as spry nor talkative as he used to be. In fact, due to mild cognitive impairment, he has forgotten so much of our story that we are super grateful that he shared his memories in writing while he still could. Most of his next memoir, Came to Canada, Eh? Continuing a Scottish Immigrant’s Story was written by 2007, but it hasn’t yet been published. Gayle is presently editing the memoir (and embellishing it here and there as she finds gaps and inconsistencies). She is plugging along as fast as her care giving duties permit. In the meantime, she read parts of the memoir’s last chapter to Ian this afternoon before we drove north to have a lovely meal at our “meeting place.”

Perhaps readers of this blog will enjoy a preview of selected excerpts from  Came to Canada, Eh?‘s chapter entitled “Twitterpated.”

To set the scene, Ian who was widowed in 2002, has decided at age 70 not to sit around and mope but to enjoy life and pursue the dating scene again after almost a 50-year hiatus. He joins a senior’s centre and dances up a storm, dates a few women he has met there and finally has a few unsatisfying encounters through an online dating organization. Then things change when Gayle enters into his life.

Then I thought I’d go for broke and sent a smile to a much younger widow (age 60) who was “religious,” had a professional position and was interested in music, reading, writing, travel, good wine, fine dining, history, conversation, and a lot of other things that interested me. We exchanged a few e-mails, thought we’d be quite compatible and then arranged to meet at a place she suggested. I had originally thought her name was Irene, as that was the handle she used on Lavalife. Just before we were to meet she disclosed that “Irene” was her middle name and that she really was called “Gayle.” While I was sitting in Grace Café, a Christian coffee house at the north part of Henderson Highway, I was kidding around with one of the waitresses. I knew right away when “my Gayle” walked in, even though I’d never seen a photo of her. Just as if this were a casual encounter, Gayle joined in on the chit-chat with the waitress and I, just as casually, invited her to join me.

I told Gayle I’d never been in this coffee house before and asked if she had a recommendation for something good that I could order. She replied, “Why don’t you try a chia tea latte?” (I think I could have drunk anything this very good-looking woman suggested and found it delicious!)

During our ensuing non-stop conversation, I found out that she was the editor of a Christian women’s magazine. (Hey, every writer needs his own editor, doesn’t he?) She seemed intrigued with my accent and asked me lots of questions about Scotland, indicating that her heritage on her father’s side was mostly Scottish. She told me that her maiden name was “Moore” but that she knew little about her father’s background as he had pretty much adapted to the Swedish environment of her mother’s side. She was born and raised in North Dakota (was American, in other words), had a bachelor’s degree in psychology and religion and served as a Lutheran parish worker before marrying her husband, Gus, who was a Lutheran pastor. They had lived 18 years in Germany where Gus was in graduate school and then served as a parish pastor. Then they moved to Winnipeg where he served a Lutheran church before taking an early retirement at age 58 due to early onset Alzheimer’s disease. He had died six years previously at age 62. Presently her two children, a daughter, 26, and son, 21, still lived at home with her.

We ended up closing the café and going in search of somewhere else to continue getting acquainted. We did find another one (Salisbury House), and spent more than an hour and a half there.

I asked Gayle if I could see her “tomorrow night,” and heard her say, “Well, I’m busy tomorrow night…” (just what I was expecting), but was delighted to then hear her say, “But I’m free on Friday.”

~*~

Friday couldn’t have come soon enough for me! We went for a walk along a beautiful creek meandering into the Red River, took pictures of each other and then drove to the Forks and had dinner. We continued to talk and talk and talk.

The next night I invited her to my house to watch a film. (I spent the day cleaning things up–my housekeeping hadn’t been the best up to that point!) The movie I chose was one I had recorded some years before, a Scottish film entitled, “The Bridal Path.” This is a film that Gayle loves to watch nowadays but at the time she said she was really in the dark–could hardly understand a word of the Scottish accent!

Our snogging after the film certainly convinced me that I was head over heels in love and Gayle seemed just as intrigued with me. (Wow, and she didn’t think I was in kindergarten!!!! Interesting how one can act so naturally with some prospective partners and so awkward with others. )

So “here’s us” (I had to get that Scottishism in), two seniors, both widowed, who felt and acted like teenagers and couldn’t have been more thrilled or surprised by it all. Gayle pronounced us both “twitterpated.” She had to explain that one to me, as I had never seen the movie “Bambi” and so didn’t know the story of the two fauns, Bambi and Fayeleen, completely taken with their newly discovered passion and the rabbit Thumper teasing them about being twitterpated. Later I looked up the word online. Here are the definitions:

“1)to be completely enamored with someone/something. 2) the flighty exciting feeling you get when you think about/see the object of your affection. 3) romantically excited (i.e.: aroused) 4) the ever increasing acceleration of heartbeat and body temperature as a result of being engulfed amidst the exhilaration and joy of being/having a romantic entity in someone’s life.”[1] Whew! I’ll buy that; very appropriate word!

~*~

By Sunday, on our fourth date, I couldn’t wait any longer: I proposed! (We both had quickly realized we’d met our “soul mate” and this was a concept I’d poo-pooed for years. Now I understood what it meant!) Gayle immediately said, “yes! I couldn’t have been happier.

The next day my bubble burst, however. Gayle e-mailed me from work. I had sent her something with an attachment and she e-mailed back that she had just realized we weren’t compatible (no more explanation)! I got on the phone and called her office, completely upset. She then laughed and apologized for upsetting me but said that we weren’t compatible because she couldn’t open my attachment–she had a Mac and I had a PC! Then she said that we’d need to have a serious discussion that night. That left me on pins and needles waiting to see what was up.

That evening she explained that she had confided in a good friend, their secretary at work, who had been appalled that she had agreed to marry me after knowing me for only about a week. Gayle said that her friend felt she had to slow things down and withdraw her acceptance of my proposal “for the time being” as we really needed to take a little more time to get to know each other better.

My reaction was, “Okay, I’m not happy about this but I’ll go along with it if that’s what you want. I have just one thing more to say, however. If you decide you want to marry me in the future, you are going to have to ask me. I won’t do it again!”

I’m happy to say that it only took her another week before she proposed to me! And this is how it happened. We had been talking about our mutual talents for writing. I had told her the story of agonizing over the birthday poem I’d written for Mary for her 60th birthday and that Mary hadn’t really appreciated it. Gayle replied that she dearly would have loved to receive such a poem written just for her. In fact, she said, she’d love to receive a love letter from me.

Well, I pulled out all stops the next day and composed a doozy–most of which is a bit too personal (and steamy) to quote here. I’ll just include the conclusion, “I love you; I love you; I love you. Without you I would be nothing. The one thing I know for certain is that we were meant to be with each other. I’m sure you’ll agree that this love of ours has been manufactured by One who cares for both of us, that it was He who made the introduction, then left it for us to make it work. Till we are together again, from your own WEE (I hope ‘adorable’) Scotsman, who worships the very ground you walk on. IAN XXXXXXX———OH GAYLE, MY DARLING, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH IT HURTS!” And I meant every word of it.

A return e-mail shot back indicating that the love letter had worked its magic. Gayle worded her “proposal” in “code,” however. It was something like, “Would you consider joining our two names when we get married (sooner rather than later) to something like “Moore-Morrans?”

Well, I couldn’t reply quickly enough, “I don’t care what name we use, as long as you’ll marry me!” In retrospect, I’d even have dropped “Morrans” and just taken the last name “Moore.” But I didn’t think of that at the time and, anyway, Gayle likes the double-barreled name, which I still find a bit “highfalutin’!”

~*~

The week after we met Gayle invited me to attend worship services at her Lutheran church where she was actually going to deliver the sermon as part of an Evangelical Lutheran Women’s annual service that was one of the programs that Gayle was responsible for at her job. I was intrigued by her obvious talents and curious about the type of service in her particular denomination. This also gave me a unique glimpse into Gayle’s sense of self confidence and “moxey” when, after the service a woman I had got to know at the seniors’ dances came up to me with a quizzical look on her face saying, “What are you doing here, Ian?” She seemed genuinely surprised to find out I was a guest of Gayle’s. Turning to Gayle, she boldly asked, “How long have you been dating Ian?” Gayle’s answer? “None of your business!” (I loved it!)

We had been together every day for about a month, usually at my house where we would have some privacy as her almost-grown children still lived with her. We reluctantly departed late each night as Gayle returned to her home.. . . .

Gayle and I had decided to have a traditional Scottish wedding. Since my Prince Charlie jacket was gone, I needed to get a new formal jacket to go with the kilt. It seemed appropriate to order an Argyll jacket since I’m originally from Country Argyll and the handle I had used when Gayle and I were hooking up on Lava Life was “Argyll.” I located a Scottish-Canadian who had a Scottish shop in the basement of his house. Gayle and I went to his shop so that I could order and be fitted for this jacket which is slightly less formal than the Prince Charlie jacket but which is more versatile, in other words it can be formal, semi-formal or informal depending on the type of shirt, tie and waistcoat one wears with it. It doesn’t have tails and is a longer jacket which has silvery (nickel-plated) Celtic-design buttons on the sleeves and front.

As the shop owner measured me for the jacket he made the remark, “Man, are you ever a Pict!”

Surprised, we both asked, “What do you mean?” I knew that the Morrans family had originally come to Campbeltown from Northern Ireland (my great-great-grandfather). In other words, my family heritage was Celtic. However, they had been in Scotland for several generations so had intermarried with families whose origins might have been in Scotland many centuries. The Picts were the original tribe of people who had populated what eventually became Scotland.

His answer was: “The Celts and the Picts had different body types. You can tell someone of Pictish heritage by the short legs but inproportionately longer torso and arms. That fits you to a tee, Ian.”

So there you have it; I was a Pict more than a Celt. I’m not sure that this has made much difference to me, but it certainly describes why all my trousers have to be shortened to 28 inch-length, but my shirts and jackets are normal length. The Scottish tailor who made my Argyll jacket and mailed it to Canada did a great job. I added a formal tuxedo shirt and black bowtie to complete the outfit. My sealskin sporran, sgian dbuh, green flashes, formal white stockings and black brogues completed the outfit.

Gayle went across from her office on Portage Avenue to a fancy bridal shop. She originally had in mind to buy a red gown to match my red tartan kilt. However, a magnificent, gold lace wedding dress caught her eye. When she insisted I come over to see her in it (and hang tradition), I saw that she was beautiful in it. It suited her to a tee! (I surprised myself by insisting on paying for it; though I still cringe thinking of the thousand dollars it cost! That was pretty painful for this Scotsman!)

We were married on September 7, 2003 at Gayle’s church, Sherwood Park Lutheran, in the East Kildonan area of Winnipeg. Our attendants were friends, Stan  (a Scottish-born Canadian with whom I played in a band at one time) and Alexi  (a lovely friend of Gayle’s). Stan wore a rented kilt and sporran. Alexi wore Gayle’s long kilt skirt and matching cape which she’d bought in Scotland years before.

Gayle likes to relate our preparation for the wedding at her house on Battershill Street. She and Alexi had been treated to a professional make-up session by my oldest granddaughter, Tammy, a makeup artist. Then they got dressed in the master bedroom while Stan and I donned our kilt outfits in the den across the hall. Soon the women heard singing and stomping from the hallway and came out of the bedroom to view a “parade.” Stan and I were marching up and down the hallway singing,

I’ll never forget the day I went and join’d the ‘Ninety third’

The chums I used to run with said they thought I look’d absurd.

As they saluted me, and gather’d round me in a ring,

And as I wagg’d my tartan kilt they a’ began to sing –

He’s a braw braw Hielan’ laddie, Private Jock McDade.

There’s not anither soger like him in the Scotch Brigade.

Rear’d amang the heather, you can see he’s Scottish built,

By the wig, wig, wiggle, wiggle, waggle o’ the kilt.[2]

Calan and Ian, my two grandsons, were ushers; my granddaughters, Tammy and Ainsley were punch servers at the church reception and granddaughter Tiffany presided at the guest book. Our three daughters participated as well. Audrey and Gwynne read the lessons during the church service and Shirley was emcee at the evening reception. All three served as hostesses for the church reception.

We were piped out of the church by a young lass of 15 years to an afternoon reception in the lower church hall with lots of friends and family present. During the festivities, I sang Gayle a Scottish song which she delights to hear any evening we do a little bit of singing.

“Oh, my love is like a red, red rose that’s newly sprung in June.

Oh, my love is like a melody that’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass, so deep in love am I;

And I will love thee still, my Dear, ‘til a’ the seas gang dry.

‘Til all the seas gang dry, my Dear, and the rocks melt wi’ the sun.

And I will love thee still, my Dear, while the sands o’ time shall run.

And fare-thee-weel, my only Love! And fare-thee-weel, a while!

And I will come again, my Love, tho’ ‘twere ten thousand mile!”[3]

This was followed by a smaller reception for family and a few close friends in the Scandinavian Centre. (Gayle likes to keep her Scandinavian roots alive!) That night was a howling success. We had a delicious smörgåsbord (gotta get in those Swedish vowels or Gayle will correct me!) meal and then lots of music provided by friends and family.

To Gayle I sang, “Cailinn Mo Ruin-sa,” a beautiful Gaelic song. Some of the verses (in English) go like this:

“Dearest my own one, oh won’t you be mine,

Full of devotion, so modest and kind,

My heart’s full of longing and yearning for you,

Come close to me darling, you know I’ll be true.”

(I rewrote and combined parts of the next verses to reflect “our story”)

Do you remember when in Grace Cafe

I made your acquaintance on that perfect day,

Since then you are mine dear, the choice of my heart,

My promise I give you that we’ll never part.”[4]

 

Gayle and I concluded the reception by singing a duet, “September Song:”

“Oh, it’s a long, long while from May to December,

But the days grow short when you reach September.

As the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame,

One hasn’t got time for the waiting game.

Oh the days dwindle down, to a precious few–September, November.

And these few precious days, I’ll spend with you.

These precious days, I’ll spend with you.”[5]

This seemed appropriate because we were both “seniors” and Gayle had eventually come around to accept the fact that I was ten and a half years older. She said her late husband had been eight years older than her and she had always said if she ever married again it would be to someone younger than her! Then along came Ian, aged 71 to her 60 years. I made a promise to her then and there that I would live to be 100. I said when my 100th birthday came and I was interviewed by the press as to the secret of my longevity, I’d reply, while leaning on my cane, “SEX, every day; twice on Sunday!”

[1] Definition of “twitterpated” from the Urban Dictionary.

[2] First verse and chorus of Harry Lauder’s “Waggle o’ the Kilt,” written in 1917.

[3] “My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose” was written by the Scottish bard, Robbie Burns, over two hundred and fifty years ago.

[4] Traditional Gaelic song to a waltz tempo.

[5] “September Song” composed by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Maxwell Anderson. Wikipedia describes it as “an older person’s plea to a younger potential lover that the courting activities of younger suitors and the objects of their desire are transient and time-wasting. As an older suitor, the speaker hasn’t ‘got time for the waiting game.’”

–Previews from Came to Canada, Eh? Continuing a Scottish Immigrant’s Story by Ian Moore-Morrans with Gayle Moore-Morrans, ©2016

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September 7, 2003

Am I a Co-Author or Just the Editor?

This is Gayle Moore-Morrans blogging. We previewed most of the chapters of Ian’s children’s chapter book, “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie” on this site last year and asked for some feedback from others as well as asking two of our great-grandchildren for input prior to publication – — Now-13-year-old Leland for consultation on the appropriateness of the book’s contents for his age group and now-8-year-old Hannah for some drawings to illustrate the book. In our post of March 21, 2013 I blogged Leland’s review entitled: “Wow!” A Recommendation for Ian’s blogged book, “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie.” I’m now ready to re-scan Hannah’s illustrations for the book as I’ve edited them on Microsoft Paint. Our new printer – an HP OfficeJet Pro 8600 is finally installed and ready for me to do the layout. Here is a preview of the book’s cover illustration showing the boy Jake, and, on his shoulders, his BFFs, Little Jimmy the budgie and Big Louie, the raven.

000-Cover Photo

I’ve usually been identified as Ian’s editor, blogger, publishing and marketing person. How should we recognize my role in this children’s book that has evolved over the years it has been in the making? Am I just the editor or am I also the co-author? In our previous post I re-blogged a very helpful post by Francis Guenette on how she is writing with her mother even though her mother is no longer living. That prompted me to reply to her my thanks for answering a question that my husband Ian and I have been mulling over the past months.

Here are my comments on Francis Guennette’s blog post “Writing with My Mom.”

               Wow, did your blog post on writing with your mother ever resonate with me, Fran! In fact, I feel it has answered a few questions I’ve had in the past year. As you know, our blog is mostly about my husband Ian’s writings. When I started out editing his stories about nine years ago I had just retired from my editing job, we had only been married a year and soon headed for Mexico in our motor home to explore retirement there. I relished getting to know him better through his writings, especially becoming familiar with his impoverished upbringing in Scotland during the depression and war years, his military service with the RAF in Egypt and his early marriage and fatherhood and then immigration to Canada. Editing that book was a true editing job in that I took his words and only changed them for grammatical reasons when necessary but then rearranged large chunks in a much more logical sequence as he had pretty much written it in a “stream of consciousness” fashion. When I found there were gaps or inconsistencies I returned the manuscript to him for additions and clarification. Though Ian was in his early 70s then, he was in robust health and had energy to burn. When he wasn’t writing he was entertaining by performing Scottish songs or teaching me his repertoire so that we could sing and perform together.

                That way of working cooperatively continued after our move back to Canada two and a half years later. But it lasted only for a little over a year when a sudden illness brought him to death’s door and a long hospitalization, much of it while he was in an induced coma. Recovery from the near-fatal illness was a slow process. He was kept alive and healed by over five years’ treatment with prednisone; however, it is basically a poison which wrecked havoc on the rest of his body. A heart attack in 2010 necessitated five stents in his arteries and another regimen of medication, exercise and diet changes. Now at 81, he is pretty much a recluse, rarely sings, no longer writes and rarely even reads. He sleeps a lot and is lucid mostly late afternoons and evenings but doesn’t have the energy to do much with his pile of writings which still need to be published, nor has he been able to do anything about promoting those which have already been published.

               That’s where I come in. I’ve put aside the pile of writing I’ve done over the years, mostly on spiritual insights and family history and feel it is my “labor of love” to try to get the rest of Ian’s writings edited and published. However, as you’ve found with your mother’s writings I have been grappling with the fact that I no longer can ask Ian to do re-writes when I feel they are warranted. Like you said with your mother’s work, “I began to make changes and what I was doing was much more than editing.” Ian and I have discussed how to address the authorship of the next book which I hope will be coming out soon. Granted, he is the main author. He originally wrote the children’s story, nursed it through a number of revisions over the years and had sent it to several publishers even before I met him. It was hung up on the need for editing though. I now have done the editing but have also made a number of changes in the story and added a spiritual component to it which I felt was lacking and needed. It no longer is just the story that Ian wrote. I’ve also recruited our 8-year-old great-granddaughter to do the illustrations for the book and have extensively adjusted those illustrations using Microsoft Paint to make them more consistent and the characters more uniform. So how do we identify the authorship of the book? Ian and I have discussed this and have tossed around listing a co-authorship or a “with” authorship such as “by Ian Moore-Morrans with Gayle Moore-Morrans.” We’ve thought that perhaps the former gives too much credit to me and perhaps the latter makes it look as if Ian had a ghost writer (which certainly isn’t the case).

               I found your remarks helpful when you stated, “I will put the book out in both our names and claim co-authorship for my mom’s stories – though her name will appear first. No matter the work I’ve done, the one who came up with the ideas and the characters deserves first billing.” So I’m feeling more at peace with the “by author with another author” claim.

               What a great legacy your mother has left you and how wonderful that you can keep her memory so alive by working with her writings. I have the added advantage of still having Ian here with me so I can toss ideas and solutions around with him even though he can no longer physically do the re-writes and adjustments. I can even do future book readings and promotions for him without having to take along videos of him reading from the particular book. (Something I did twice in 2012 when I was able to travel to the States to do book readings/sales for Ian when he was unable to travel there because he couldn’t get travel insurance to go out of Canada.)  In addition, Ian has added an addendum to his will granting me full ownership of his writings, both published and unpublished and free rein in pursuing publication of any as-yet unpublished writings of his.

               I wish you well with your co-authorship adventure with your mother and plan to re-blog this latest post of yours on our blog at ianmooremorrans.com. Thanks for your insights.

Gayle Moore-Morrans

Collaborating with a 4-year Old

Gayle’s Comments on this blog post:

Your post was wonderful. I am at present enhancing/editing some illustrations for my husband’s new children’s book( “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie” about a boy and two birds) that I have edited. Our illustrator is our eight-year-old great-granddaughter. We don’t have the luxury of living in the same place but Hannah’s grandmother (our daughter) has read through the draft chapters with her and then oversees her drawings for each chapter, scans them in and sends us the JPGs. Sometimes the main characters look different from picture to picture so I am now using Microsoft Paint to adjust them for a uniformity of sorts without losing that special child’s perspective. What fun! I will then rescan the edited pictures at a resolution high enough for printing in the book. I also blogged most of the chapters little by little as they were being edited (leaving out the last chapter). The ensuing comments were helpful We will blog news on the future publication.

I urge you to use at least some of your wonderful collaborations in a children’s book that perhaps you can write together. What a terrific contribution to children’s literature that could be!

busy mockingbird

IMG_5499

One day, while my daughter was happily distracted in her own marker drawings, I decided to risk pulling out a new sketchbook I had special ordered.  It had dark paper, and was perfect for adding highlights to.  I had only drawn a little in it, and was anxious to try it again, but knowing our daughter’s love of art supplies, it meant that if I wasn’t sly enough, I might have to share.  (Note:  I’m all about kid’s crafts, but when it comes to my own art projects, I don’t like to share.)  Since she was engrossed in her own project, I thought I might be able to pull it off.

Ahhh, I should’ve known better.  No longer had I drawn my first face (I love drawing from old black & white movie stills) had she swooped over to me with an intense look.  “OOOH!  Is that a NEW…

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Installment 9 of “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie,” a Children’s Chapter Book

The last installment of this Children’s Chapter Book that we are blogging for our great-grandchildren, Installment 8, “Louie Takes Off” was posted on April 16th! Yicks – I didn’t realize it had been almost two and a half month’s since I had posted a chapter. So here is Chapter 9, “A Happy Homecoming.” If you followed the story through Chapter 8 you will know that Big Louie had finally flown away and Jake was of a mixed mind whether he was happy that Louie had finally decided to become independent or whether he was sad to see him go. As Louie flew out of sight, Jake became quite emotional. Little Jimmy was sitting on Jake’s shoulder as Jake almost whispered his goodbyes. The clip art I’ve included gives our would-be artist, great-granddaughter Hannah, an idea of how to draw a bird sitting on a boy’s shoulder. Only the parrot in this picture is more the size of Big Louie. The little budgie, Jimmy, would be much smaller.

“Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie”boy with bird on shoulder 001

by Ian Moore-Morrans

Edited by Gayle Moore-Morrans

Copyright © 2012

CHAPTER NINE

A Happy Homecoming

            Tears rolled down Jake’s cheeks as he watched Louie fly away, heading for a bunch of trees far in the distance. The huge lump was back in his throat again!

 (The rest of the chapter’s content has been deleted prior to publication.)

Picture suggestion: Jake standing with a big grin on his face while Jimmy sits on Jake’s left shoulder and Louie sits on Jake’s right shoulder. All three should be facing forward.

Vernon Writers Festival and Installment 8 of “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie,” a Children’s Chapter Book

I, Gayle, have been busy at a terrifically successful and information-packed Vernon Writer’s Festival April 11-14; but unfortunately the neuropathy and arthritis in Ian’s feet have meant that he had to stay home. Those evenings I reluctantly skipped the book readings and open mic to go through my workshop notes with Ian, filling him in on some of the highlights. Thanks to Markella Mildenberger, our coordinator, and all the writers who participated, especially those who led the workshops: Ben Nuttall-Smith on “Dynamic Presenter,” “From Memoir to Novel,” and “From Scribbles to Publication”; George Opacic on “Using Your Corpus Callosum,” “E Publishing and E Readers,” and “Script-Writing”; Laisha Rosnau on “Story Structure”; Stella Harvey on “How A Novel Comes Together”; Patricia Donahue on “Character Development”; and Shawn Bird on “Blogging and Social Media”. I learned a lot, enjoyed selling some of our books and trading some for books by other authors present, as well as buying a few. Now I have a stack of great books to read by some of our talented British Columbia authors.

Here, then, is the next installment of the children’s chapter book we have been blogging: “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie.” We welcome any comments, suggestions for improvements or constructive criticism readers may wish to give us. If you have such, please comment below or email us at gayleian@gmail.com. And to our great-grandchildren, Leland and Hannah, who are consultants on this book, we eagerly await some more comments and pictures from you. Thanks!

“JAKE, LITTLE JIMMY AND BIG LOUIE”   raven flying 2

by Ian Moore-Morrans

edited by Gayle Moore-Morrans

Copyright © 2012

CHAPTER EIGHT

Louie Takes Off

You can’t really talk to a bird, whether it’s a little budgie or a very large parrot, and ask it questions, or have a conversation with it. It works something like a tape recorder, not nearly as efficient, but a lot more fun. You have to repeat the same thing over and over and over again and someday (maybe), the bird might repeat what you say, although it wouldn’t know what the words meant.

(The rest of the chapter’s content has been deleted prior to the book’s publication.)

Picture suggestions: Louie and Jimmy “beak-clicking.”   Louie flying away.

ALL ABOUT THE “REAL” JIMMY, AN EXCERPT FROM “CAME TO CANADA, EH?”

As I (Gayle) am preparing chapters of Ian’s children’s chapter book “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie” to blog, I’m also working on my second (and I hope final) edit of the sequel to Ian’s already published memoir: “From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada.” I’ve already blogged an excerpt from the sequel which we have named” “Came to Canada, Eh? Continuing a Scottish Immigrant’s Story.” Today I’ve just completed editing a section in which Ian describes receiving his real-life bird, a cockatiel he also named “Jimmy.” I thought it might be appropriate to blog this section to give readers an insight into some of the things Ian learned about raising a bird and teaching it to speak and whistle. He later added some of these ideas to the children’s story that is now “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie.” You will notice that certain things Ian experienced with his cockatiel Jimmy later were used in the characterizations of Little Jimmy and also of Big Louie. I’m also including a 1998 photo of Ian and Jimmy, the cockatiel.

Ian and Jimmy

Excerpt from “Came to Canada, Eh? Continuing a Scottish Immigrant’s Story”

by Ian Moore-Morrans

edited by Gayle Moore-Morrans

Copyright © 2013

“Mary and I went down to Winnipeg to spend Christmas with Audrey and Eugene and our three grandchildren, Tammy, Calan and Ainsley in 1997. Then, since Mary and I had been married on the 29th of December, we returned home to Creighton to celebrate our anniversary. We were at Shirley and Brien’s house for a quiet evening on our wedding anniversary when Shirley suddenly appeared carrying a great big bird cage.

” Inside was a beautiful, young cockatiel. He and the lovely cage were being presented to us from our two daughters, their husbands and all five grandchildren, including young Ian and Tiffany. I was invited to take the bird out of its cage and hold him on my hand. He came with no bother and Shirley asked me what I was going to call him (it). Without any hesitation I said ‘Jimmy’ (after the little budgie in my unpublished children’s book, not caring what sex the bird was!). He was such a lovely surprise gift for both of us. And he really was a ‘he’, we found out later.

“Jimmy took quite a lot of looking after, for I had to feed him egg almost continuously, and clean his cage almost continuously, too! He was on the egg diet a long time, longer than he should have been. Brien had obtained Jimmy from a friend at work who bred them. From what Brien learned, Jimmy should have been on seed when he was still enjoying his egg. I had bought some seed for him, but he didn’t seem ready for it. When I was cooking for him, I would generally put two, sometimes three eggs in the pot and boil them hard, storing them in the fridge, for Jimmy seemed to be always hungry. I would cut off a little bit and wrap the remainder for later, making sure that Jimmy also got some of the yolk (that is what he went for first) along with some white.  In the beginning I’d chop the egg up for him, but I soon found that doing so was a complete waste of time, for his little sharp beak would slice through the soft egg just like butter.

“Soon I set about teaching the bird things to say and whistle. Being a musician, I don’t think it is bragging to say that I’m a pretty good whistler as I’m able to do quite a bit of fancy stuff like grace notes, triplets, warbles and different things—a lot of stuff that I did on the trumpet.  Soon our bird was saying ‘Jimmy’s a good boy’ (just like in my little story), ‘Hi Ian, wot’s up?’, ‘Hello, Mary’, ‘I love Shirley’ and so forth. He also started whistling the verse of “Bonnie Jean” from Brigadoon that I was rehearsing for my solo at our upcoming concert in Flin Flon. (I didn’t teach him this, he just picked it up while I was whistling it around the house and going through the words in my head.) In addition, I taught him to whistle the first part of ‘The Mexican Hat Dance’; the bugle call that goes, ‘You gotta get up, you gotta get up, you gotta get up in the morning’; a series of notes from a ‘custom’ car horn, and a silly something we used to sing in Scotland when I was a wee boy that ended with ‘Wee Bobby Geachy’s……white drawers.’ The latter bit used the popular rhythm that everyone knows: ‘Dah Dahdah  DAH  DAH…dah dah!’ However, what I taught Jimmy varied in that I substituted a wolf whistle for the last two notes (the last ‘dah dah’). Jimmy really did it superbly. (Sometimes I would whistle the first bit and he would answer with the wolf whistle and other times it would be reversed, with Jimmy starting it off.)

” Jimmy really performed to perfection the day I was dressed in my kilt just prior to leaving the house for the dress rehearsal of the show I was in. Jimmy’s cage was in the dining room and as I passed the door opening that would allow him to see me, he went, “Wheeet-wheeoo”—a perfect, long, wolf whistle.  I burst out laughing. It was like he did it intentionally, his timing was so right. My answer was, ‘Hey, funny guy. You’ve never seen a Scotsman in a kilt before?'”

Installment 7 of “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie,” a Children’s Chapter Book

Thanks to everyone who has contacted us through WordPress or email saying that they are enjoying our blogging of Ian’s children’s chapter book, “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie.”  We’re still glowing from our great-grandson’s very positive endorsement of the book so far. I, Gayle, will try to be more diligent in getting the rest of the book’s chapters blogged (now that I am off crutches and my new hip is healing nicely) so that we will be able to get into production of the children’s book, hopefully by late spring.

At the same time as this book is being blogged, I’m deep into editing the next volume of Ian’s memoir or autobiographical stories which we are calling “Came to Canada, Eh? (Continuing a Scottish Emigrant’s Story.)” Those of you reading this blog would perhaps be interested in reading an excerpt from that as-yet-unpublished book which tells of Ian’s beginnings as a writer. He began with this very children’s book that we are now blogging.

To set the scene, Ian and his late wife have just moved back to Winnipeg (again). Ian is 63 years old and deciding to finally do what he has always wanted to do but never before found time for. Here’s a excerpt from “Came to Canada, Eh?”

“My whole life I had always wanted to write stories, but the situation was never the way I wanted it to be. Whenever, for example, I wrote a letter to anyone in the Old Country, I would end up sending about 14-16 pages—and I would get one page in reply. Finally, at age 63, I said to myself, ‘Ian, if you don’t start to write now, then you’ll never do it.’ So I sat down and, over a period of three evenings, wrote ‘My Friend Jimmy’. It was a children’s story about a budgie that had no wings—just 16 pages. But I had to write everything longhand. I asked Audrey [our daughter] to keep her eyes open for an old, cheap electric typewriter for me.

“’What do you want an electric typewriter for, Dad? You’ll be wasting your time. Why don’t you get a cheap computer; that’ll do the same thing only better for you?’

“Oh, that was a terrible word to use in front of an old codger like me—a computer? Sudden terror at the thought of even having one in front of me! Well, she eventually managed to convince me that that is what I should get. ‘You can pick one up dirt cheap, Dad. Do you want me to look for one for you?’

“It was a 286, black and white monitor, no hard drive, just two 3.5” floppy disks; but it was a start. I then became a little more ambitious—going to the library and getting out one of those foldout learn-to-type books that stands upright on edge (like a pyramid) and I started to learn to touch type. Me, an old . . . well, something. And I was improving too—starting to type simple sentences without looking at the keyboard. Pretty soon I got myself a 386 computer, then later it was up to a 486, and then a Pentium! Hey, who was that guy who said that the 286 was all he would ever need? I got the Mavis Beacon typing course (on a CD) and was able to calculate that I was up to more than 20 words a minute, even allowing for errors! ‘Not bad for an oldie,’ I thought.

“While I was improving on my typing, I rewrote my children’s story, and kept editing it until it started to look a lot better. I changed some of the contents and then sent it away to a publisher, knowing full well that he would grab it and tell me that it was the very best children’s story he had ever read. … Some hope! Soon I could just about paper the wall with rejections. ‘Never mind,’ I thought, ‘where there’s life, there’s hope.’ I put the story on file and went on to write other stories, thinking that I’d give “My Friend Jimmy” a try again at a later date. (Little was I to know that the later date would be lots later—about 17 years!)”

Much has happened since the years those words were written. Since then Ian was widowed, then remarried – this time to me (an editor). So we’ve now published three books and hope to have this children’s book finally published before long. Below is our blog of Chapter 7 plus two drawings we found on the computer of an “adolescent” raven whom Louie might have resembled.

Raven 1 Raven 2

“JAKE, LITTLE JIMMY AND BIG LOUIE”

by Ian Moore-Morrans

edited by Gayle Moore-Morrans

Copyright © 2012

CHAPTER SEVEN

Louie Gives Jake a BIG Problem

The next day was Saturday. Jake was at his local library first thing in the morning, waiting for the doors to open. Once inside, one of the staff helped him look for books about birds.

(The rest of the chapter’s content has been deleted prior to publication.)

* ~ * ~ *

Picture suggestions:  Louie standing on the ground and “talking” while looking up at Jake and Jimmy, who is on Jake’s shoulder.

Louie flapping his wings.