|Mary Walsh was our master of ceremonies at the Park opening.|
Yesterday I enjoyed a Father's Day like no other in my experience. My father has long since past away and there is no other paternal figure in my life. However, Bannerman Park was being reopened on the Sunday and I was looking forward to the celebrations. It was a genuine feel good event that brought together all walks of St. John's life. Generations, genders and social strata knit together seamlessly by sunshine, park designers and the hard work of fundraisers. My favourite moment was stopping by one of the fountains and being permeated by the strains of a live harpist with the ambient sounds of falling water. A toddler played in the spray and sunshine– doing what I call the belly button dance. That's when you hold your skirt high above your head and twirl about, preferably within a spray of water.
Playfully high jacked by friends I wound up next at The Friendship Centre; someplace I always wanted to go but never did. Father's Day, in addition to being the Summer Solstice, Universal Yoga Day, and St. John's Day was Aboriginal Day. And so I participated in drum dances, played Inuit games, had the option to bead, etc and in a grand culmination of celebration was treated to an all out feast of moose stew, arctic char, seal flipper pie, blueberry jam, biscuits plus some of the more European standards at a BBQ of burgers, potato salad and chocolate treats.
Next was a short drive in the country to be shown a friend's new digs: horses on one side, tennis courts on the other. I am told the apartment was advertised as "an executive loft". Who knew St. John's had such things? And ten minutes from the Avalon Mall no less. But the day–now evening– was not over.
The final activity of the day would be an evening of jubilant chanting and dancing with The Walking Monk at The Lotus Centre belonging to Miranda Squires. For me this was a blast from the past. When I was the ripe old age of sixteen, I spent several months at the Hari Krishna Temple on Park and Pine in Montreal. I joke that I studied Sanskrit, how to cook curry and learned everything I know about marketing. But in all honesty that is absolutely true. The monk came in the standard saffron robes but this swami's style was very different than the Hindu strictness I had once experienced. He was jovial, inclusive and had a clear relish for music. I swear I danced off every calorie I had eaten that day and discovered I remember far more Sanskrit than I would have given myself credit for. All in all, it was an extraordinary Father's Day.