I've been away for the past couple of days- mostly in the jahnt zeed area of Manitoba. (That's german for "the other side of the Red River" for those Anglisch amongst you). And I never had to leave the house.
"I Am Hutterite" by Mary Ann Kirkby transported me to the beautiful Manitoba prairies and into a lifestyle that has always held a certain intrigue for me. Her writing is easily read, and tears fell unbidden as I read about her lifetime of joys, losses, hopes, and the loneliness of life off the colony. I thought about human nature being ubiquitous, regardless of culture. I thought about the endurance of the human spirit. And I thought about all the many immigrants we have right under our noses that we probably snub and discount without a second thought. It's easier to feel regret when the account is told by someone with such mastery of our familiar English language, and an understanding of our more mainstream culture. But that doesn't discount the reality that people know when they are perceived as second class citizens, and that naturally they feel the sting and inferiority of rejection. Something to be mindful of in my interactions with people who cross my path.
"Almost Eden" by Anita Horrocks settled me into life of a younger, smaller Winkler. I remember as a child hearing whispers about Eden Mental Health Centers; about shock treatments, and drug therapies. This book is written from the perspective of a twelve year old child whose mother struggles with depression. Another easy read. (It's written for a young audience). I loved all the low German colloquialisms and the direct translation of grammer from that gutteral language. It was easy to relate to the story, having grown up in an extended family basted and marinated in all manner of mental illness challenges.
My head will be in yahnt zeed for a few days yet, anyways.