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posted May 3, 2003

May 2003, A quilt of nationalities

This morning the park was pretty wet from the all-night rain. There was some fog too. Various people were doing tai chi, off by themselves in different parts of the misty park, or sometimes in groups of two or three. On the basketball court an older Chinese man was teaching a young Chinese woman how to wield a sword as part of their tai chi (or whatever the exceedingly graceful movements were, that he was doing and she was imitating). Across from the park on Havelock Street one of the young university students who are back for the summer, Tom Mills, came out on his porch and began to play his trumpet. (He's studying music in Montreal.) The mist seemed to carry the notes all over the park...

I was there because I had to light a fire for the Portuguese church women who were planning to come later and cook their meat and vegetables for their church supper. They came in the afternoon, with the task of cooking food for eighty people. They like to use the ovens because that way they can cook those huge amounts all at once, instead of having to divvy up the food for everyone to cook in small amounts in their home ovens. Plus, they say, they're used to the taste of food cooked in a brick oven, from back home in the Azores, and it tastes better to them.

At the end of the afternoon these women came back to pick up the finished trays of beef and roast potatoes, with a young nephew to help carry. Then as I was leaving the park, three Sri Lankan men approached me and asked again if we could put in a cricket pitch. I've tried in the past to persuade those folks to set up a meeting with the councillor, to impress their desires on him. But meetings just don't seem to come together for them. However they were keen enough that they said they could get a big list of signatures. We'll see. The Jamaican guys from the basketball court said they'd be interested too, and the two groups tried to explain the spread of cricket to me: "wherever the British were, that's where we love cricket." There was a pride to it, a different way of talking about roots than going back to the pre-colonial period. But roots nevertheless. I hope we can get them what they want.

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