Grandma Gertie always said there's not a savory dish that can't be made tastier by just a touch of tarragon.

Tsunami and Me

Tsunami and Me
too big to escape now....

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Canadian Cowboys and Ken Wilson

For one who never crossed our northern border until my late spouse, Ken Wilson, and I were house shopping in northeast Washington in 2004, I'm getting some attention in Canada...and it's thrilling because it's from academia.

Several months ago I submitted a story about my late spouse's fascination with cowboy heroes for consideration for a collection, Cowboy Love, even though I doubted it was what the publisher, a university press, sought. Today I got this amazing response:

Dear Theresa: I'm writing to ask you for permission to publish "All of His Heroes" in an online quarterly, the quint, that I'm editing at University College of the North (The Pas, Canada). It's such a fine piece of writing I'd really like to see it get "out there" to readers (our readership is growing--it's a young journal--I'm afraid we can't pay, but we have some very fine creative writers publishing with us and we have an international readership). Would you be interested? As you noted, the Cowboy Love collection is too academically oriented for your piece to fit. Anyways, here's the link below (I'm not sure why they titled the URL the way they did, I'm always apologizing for it). Just paste it into your browser and you should be taken right to the quint's archives. Our June issue is about to go into production and I thought of your piece. My apologies for it being such a long time between you sending "All of His Heroes" in and this response--we've been so busy up here.
I hope things are going well for you down South and this note finds you healthy and happy.
Best wishes,
Sue Matheson

Of course, I gave permission. I think Ken would have been delighted to know that students at a university 400 miles above Winnipeg, Manitoba, at the University College of the North, will be reading about his fondness for western movies. I too was delighted, once I'd had a chance to browse the archives of this beautiful literary journal. Though the June issue will be available on the Internet, hard copies can be requested, and the editor has agreed to send me a few.

Additionally, Chicken Soup for the Soul informed me several weeks ago that my story, "Three Bowls of Borscht," about Ken and me in Grand Forks, BC, is a finalist for its upcoming O Canada. In this tale I managed to combine Ken's admiration of Paladin with Sasquatch mythology connected to Kokanee beer. Plus I reminisced about a couple of anniversaries, our fifth which we spent in Grand Forks together, and our tenth, when I drove up there alone, a year after Ken's death.

I'm keeping my maple leaves crossed.

So tonight I'll probably dream about Canada. Maybe I'll hear Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald singing "Indian Love Call" and see Ken's reaction as I tell him that those scenes in Rose Marie, where they sang together across the Canadian wilderness were actually filmed at Lake Tahoe, where Ken worked as a bartender when he first moved from Modesto, CA to Nevada.

He'd grin at that, just as he grinned when he asked me if "borscht" were somehow connected to "horscht" or "chickenscht." That was Ken...a man worthy of celebration in the frozen north!

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