Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Village of Many Hats: Final Excerpt

 Here is the final excerpt from the book, which includes a good number of the generous New Denverines who bid for roles in the book, auctioned off by my good friend and former Mayor of New Denver, Gary Wright. Strangely enough, a community-minded Mayor appears in the village of Silverado, a patient fellow by the name of Dewey Wright.... no relation, I'm sure! I am also happy to say that the launch of The Village of Many Hats will take place in the Bosun Hall in New Denver on Saturday, May 26th from 3:30-5 pm. All ages are welcome and there will be a special presentation to the brave souls who have offered their names to this book, which is dedicated to the good citizens of all ages in New Denver and Silverton. Admission is free and fun is guaranteed!
Likewise, Arrowvale Farm in Port Alberni will be sponsoring a reading beneath a giant maple tree (if fine weather; a barn or someplace dry if not!) on Saturday, June 2nd in the afternoon as well. Check out my website or Facebook for further details of these and other readings as they are confirmed. 
 Ms. Freeman and Madame D’Oiseaux taught people to make lanterns during the second week of December. We made them out of plastic milk jugs, tuna fish cans, willow branches and all kinds of paper and candles.   
          We met at the park just before dark on New Year’s Eve and lit our homemade lanterns. We formed a long line to make a parade of bobbing lights. One lantern was a big salmon with pale orange rice paper and three lights inside. Mine was a bright yellow sun face on one side and a full silver moon on the other side. Mom brought her dad’s old brass mining lamp all shined up and gleaming, to honor the days when Silverado had lots of silver mines in the mountains.
Our parade went past the Friendship Gardens on the lakeshore and then to the Silverado Seniors Lodge. All the nurses and patients were waving at us from their windows. We saw our very sick neighbor, Grant Golightly, waving from his wheelchair with his white hair shining like a halo. We all stopped and waved and waved at him and bobbed our lanterns at him some more.
The snow fell in fluffy clumps as big as loonies, so thick and fast it felt we were all inside a big snow globe. It was pitch dark by the time we got back to the park where two giant bonfires were blazing.   
          Teenagers sold hot chocolate and soup from the park’s log kitchen to raise money for their teen centre, with Ms. Harlock helping them out, as usual. A team of big white horses pulled a sleigh to give people sleigh rides around the park. Ms. Fox organized a snow obstacle course for dogs to jump through. The yellow dog smiled and floated over all the jumps with ease. Ms. Gardiner was in charge of snowball bocce. Dr. Barber supervised the snow sculptures and the nearby maple tree where a group of kids whacked at a polar bear piñata. People danced in the snow near the bleachers with music blasting from the speakers. Mom and I walked around the whole park while the snow fell softly, changing from fluffy clumps as the night air cooled to big silver diamonds from the sky.
Lars Goodman, the Fire Chief, and Serge Bonhomme, the RCMP
officer, strolled around chatting with people. Mr. Hanks used the microphone to let people know when different events were starting and when the sleigh was ready to take on new passengers.
          Everywhere there were people, young, and old and in between, wearing parkas, felt pack boots, mukluks, tuques and hats.
Dozens and dozens of people were wearing Madame D’Oiseaux’ hats on their heads at the New Year’s Party: Paperboy hats with their brims tilted just so to suit each person wearing one. Deerstalker hats like Sherlock Holmes liked to wear but on this snowy night, everyone had their earflaps tied down for the sake of warm ears. And Shepherd Bonnets with wide brims to keep the snow away. They were a big favourite of those wearing glasses.


  1. Thanks for letting us read the excerpts, Caroline. I have the May 26th launch marked in my Polestar Family Calendar. Love the imagery of all the hats people wear to make a village work, and the idea that young and old can make it all happen together. Lovely and fun!
    Rita Moir

    1. Thank you for emailing your comments, Rita, and sorry about the hassles with technology. Stay tuned for hat fashion updates at the Bosun Hall launch!