Lögberg-Heimskringla - 07.07.2000, Blaðsíða 7

Lögberg-Heimskringla - 07.07.2000, Blaðsíða 7
Lögberg-Heimskringla • Föstudagur 7. júlí 2000 • 7 Islensk kona: Portrait of Ásdís Anderson Continued from the previous issue. Katrina Anderson Koven TORONTO, ON Little Jacob's partner was a tall, gruff, older man with a coarse white beard who kept mostly to himself. The two of them made quite a comical pair. Each time they headed out for their next stop in Selkirk, we would gather in silence at the frost-cövered window to watch the fish-packed sleighs disappear over the horizon. Mairima once broke our silent spell with, "The one with the beard talks as if his mouth were full of oatmeal." The camp itself offered no conven- iences at all. It was no more than a two- room lumber and tar-paper shack heated with a kitchen cook-stove and one small wood-burning tin heater. Each morning Birgitta and I would walk down to the lake and dip metal pails through a hole in the ice to collect cooking and drink- ing water. Some days we'd scoop up a few tiny fish and take them home to play 'with, but before handing the water to Mamma for boiling, we'd pour our fish into smaller play-buckets. We would laugh at the thought of these wee fish being poured into the boiling pot by mistake and ending up in Pabbi's kaffi (coffee) cup. The lard-pail fish seemed even smaller the day Pabbi caught a ninety-eight-pound sturgeon. Before sending it to the frying pan, he let me hold the ugly creature while he took a photograph, a rare occasion, as Pabbi rarely used his camera during those years. Our shack was confining at times, especially during December and January. Nonetheless, we all managed to get along. Mamma spent more and more time indoors. She was pregnant again and so appreciated those mild days when she could send Birgitta and me outside to play in the snow, giving her time to rest. Birgitta and I were only too happy to spend the day outside making secret forts and snow angels in the high prairie snow drifts. Mamma would often send Birgitta and me through the bush to a neigh- bour's place to borrow things like sugar, flour, milk, etc. One day, we were sent to borrow a bar of soap. On our way back, we came across a bush of wild Catherine Johan (Kay) Eliason Dec. 27, 1918—May 19, 2000 ALTHOUGH REASON tells US that living four score years is a fair share, our feelings see it differently. Time with those we love is always too short. When Kay became seriously ill this last winter it was of deep concern to Magnus, her husband, and to her extended family. To those of us who knew Kay, but stood at a dis- tance, it seemed like all of a sudden she was gone from our midst. She died peacefully at home with fami- ly around her on Friday, May 19, aged 81 years. Kay was born on December 27, 1918 in Faulkner, Manitoba. Her parents were Murdo and Catherine Macfarlane. She lived in Faulkner and Winnipeg before moving to Scotland in 1934. She trained as a nurse at Stobhill Hospital in Glasgow and graduated in 1940. Kay nursed in Scotland until she returned to Canada in 1948 and lived in Montreal and Toronto. In the early 50s she came to Winnipeg where she worked at the Winnipeg General, the Victoria, and St. Boniface Hospitals. She was a Head Nurse of the Eye and Ear Ward at the General Hospital. On February 27, 1965, she married Magnus Eliason. Following her retirement from nursing she joined her husband's insurance business, retiring in 1985. Kay grew up in the Presbyterian Free Church, where her father was a lay preacher. She was only 16 years old when she lost her mother and at that time she took responsibility for her three younger brothers, the youngest, Malcolm, being only four years old. At the funeral I saw some old pictures the family had brought to share with us, her friends. There was a picture of Kay when she was about 16 years old. On that picture you see a young woman matured far beyond her years, a person of determination and calm compe- tence. Though Kay did not have children of her own, she became a mofher to her younger brothers and a grandmother to the younger gen- eration in her family. At her grave I saw tears in the eyes of people she had stood by with her considerable strength. She was very supportive of her niece Wanda Opanubi and her family. Kay had a lasting and deep interest in both religion and poli- tics. Brought up in the Presbyterian Free Church she later joined the Unitarian Church. She was a mem- ber of the Unitarian Service Committee for many years, serving as treasurer and was deeply com- mitted to their work throughout the world. Later she attended at the United Church and in the 1980s she joined First Lutheran Church and has been an active member and a strong supporter of that church since. She was a member of the First Lutheran Church Women, and she missed no opportunity to take part in any classes that were offered in the church. In the political field Kay was a social activist. Along with her hus- band she was active in the NDP, a member of the Winnipeg North Centre Ladies Organization and a delegate to many Provincial and Federal Conventions in the 1960s and 1970s. Kay enjoyed political discussions and although she had her own strong opinions encour- aged others in their diverse views. Kay was an active member of the League for Life. She had seen much hardship and poverty among the early settlers and took great interest in the plight of the poor and less privileged in society. Kay was well read, particular- ly in history and biblical studies, constantly seeking deeper under- standing of life to the very end. She attended various courses at the University of Winnipeg. She had travelled widely, including trips to her beloved Scotland and to Israel and she loved to stay at the cottage at Brimnes in the Ames District, built on the original Eliason farm. Kay leaves to mourn her hus- band and best friend, Magnus, her sister Ann Large and her husband Don of London, Ontario; her broth- ers John Macfarlane and his wife Ena of Oakville, Ontario, and Murdo Macfarlane and his wife Diana of St. Albert, Alberta; her sister-in-law Dawn Macfarlane of Selkirk, Manitoba, as well as nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews, great-grand- nephews and well loved family and friends both in Scotland and in Canada. She was predeceased by her parents and her brothers, Donald, killed in action during World War II in 1942 and Malcolm in 1990. During the years I knew Kay I had observed in her a quiet determination and inner strength and dedication to her family. She came acróss to me as a person of no half measures. She was firm in her convictions, yet open to learn and discuss. Her knowledge and under- standing of the Bible and the Christian faith was far above aver- age. The words written by the Apostle James (James 1:22) applied to Kay: "...be doers of the word, and not hearers only..." She took to heart the challenge of the apostle and sought to live out her faith. The apostle was of course reminding us that Jesus taught us to use our lives well to serve one another faithfully in love, to care about the poor and the sick. Such actions would speak louder than a flood of words. As a child Kay was brought up on the Word of God, and she received the blessing of God who accepts us as his children. In her adult life she responded by seeking to live an honest life in service for others, and she supported family, her community, and her church. That was her witness to the faith. We remember Kay not just as a lis- tener to the Word of God, but a doer, who made an effort to put the high ideals of the Christian faith into practice. When it came to serv- ing and supporting others and thus giving of herself, whether within her family, through her political involvement or through the church, Kay drew strength from the deep well of faith in her Risen Lord. Kay will be fondly remem- bered by her family and many friends and by all who found in her a person of empathy and strength. But above all, her husband Magnus, will miss her and honour her mem- ory. berries. We put the soap down on the ground while stuffing ourselves with the fresh berries, but then couldn't find the soap again amongst the tall grasses and weeds. When we arrived home, we stood side-by-side facing Mamma, our knees shaking nervously, and tried to explain that the soap had disappeared. Without saying a word, Mamma turned around, walked out of the house, and went to look for the soap herself. She found it, and that was that. Evenings at the fish camp were wonderful—sometimes silent and cosy, other times filled with violin music and laughter. Pabbi and Bjarni, his brother and fishing partner, shared a tremendous passion for music. Everyone in the area knew about the talented Guttormson brothers. The Metis men fishing near our camp called them "the little fid- dlers." As far as I know, neither Pabbi nor Uncle Bjarni had ever taken music lessons. Their talent must have been passed down to them from their father Guttormur, who could sing and play guitar and used to perform at weddings in Iceland. Apparently, after a few glass- es of wine, Guttormur would entertain the guests with both music and his com- ical wit. It always amazed me that Pabbi taught himself to play so many different jigs, waltzes, and reels; "The Red River Jig," "Big John McNeil," "Over the Waves," and so forth. Uncle Bjarni pre- ferred playing the classics. He owned a collection of records by famous violin- ists and could play almost any piece after listening just once. I remember sit- ting on uncle Bjarni's lap listening to him tell the story about going all the way to Winnipeg just to hear the Symphony. n ON THE MORNING OF October 26,1917, while riding the streetcar to work, Afi Jonas suffered a heart attack. He died that day. He was only sixty years old. Immediately after she received the telegram, Mamma took the train to Winnipeg. It was the first time she had taken a trip by herself and the first time she had to leave her children. Right after the burial at the Brookside Cemetery, she returned home and rarely spoke to us about our Afi again, but we could sense that there was a deep sad- ness that she kept inside herself. Years later, when Birgitta and I were old enough to start asking questions, Mamma finally told us the story of Afi Jonas' death. We were fascinated by the drama of her telling. To be continued in the next issue. Published with the pemússion of Katrina Koven. Not to be copied or reproduced without herper- mission. <m ir unn* mn um &nr wwm mri u nmw mvmm « rmt \ rin WMfcinnh



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