Sunday, June 3, 2018

Short Story: CBC radio and me (1 of 2) by Leanne Dyck

This short story was written about an event that happened in 2005.

A radio with silver knobs and in a brown vinyl case sat on a shelf beside a potted plant in my parents' kitchen. It was permanently tuned to CBC radio. As a result, my parents raised a CBC radio devotee. And so it's not surprising that I heard the call. Something like...

"my radio" ldyck

"BC is a multi-ethnic province. Nowhere is this more evident than in Vancouver. In celebration, we, your broadcasting network, are writing a cookbook--Flavours of Vancouver. Please send us your family recipes along with a brief antidote."

But, as I've never felt at home in front of a stove, it was surprising that I heeded the call.

What can I say? I was called to represent Icelandic-Canadians. If only to honour my mom. My round-faced, fair-haired mother had been a talented cook, a skilled baker.

A tin box held index card recipes. I'd inherited the collection from Mom. And I knew among the cards I'd find Vinaterta--a seven-layer prune cake. My husband entered mid-search.

He used the same tone you'd use with a serial killer who was searching for a knife. "What are you doing?"

I told him about CBC's plan to write a cookbook--Flavours of Vancouver--and my plan to send them a recipe and a story.

And he said, "The title is Flavours of Vancouver and we live on Mayne Island. See the problem?"

I thought about it for a few minutes. "They'll notice my return address. I'll let them decide. And besides, they want me to write a story. A publisher will read my writing. It could be my big break." I clicked my pen and wrote...

When I was growing up, Christmas was a joyous time of family gatherings, traditions, good cheer and food. Delicious smells poured forth from Mom's kitchen. This was her opportunity to showcase mouth-watering talent. Two desserts were at the centre of these festivities:  English Pud to celebrate my dad's heritage, and my mom's recipe for Icelandic Vinaterta. Not surprisingly, Mom had been given the roots of her recipe from her mother, Grandma Olafson. Grandma's recipe loudly proclaimed its Icelandic heritage with its strong ethnic taste. Mom slightly toned down the recipe to make it more palatable for her husband. I, too, far preferred Mom's recipe. Years passed and I fell in love. Christmas was the test for my Mennonite boyfriend. How would he react to my large extended family? To Vinaterta? To my delight, he seemed at home in the company of my family. Next, he was served a piece of Vinaterta. The first bite was foreign to him. He turned the tastes around in his mouth. Would he finish his piece?

"It's okay if you don't finish it. It's a unique taste," my mom offered.

"Oh no, I like it." He finished it. "May I have another piece, please?"

Later that year we were married. Vinaterta was our wedding cake.

I put my story in an envelope along with Mom's recipe and affixed a stamp...

photo by bdyck

Part two of CBC radio and me

"Abby the beachcomber" ldyck

Sharing my author journey...

Each year I start the summer with a list of writing projects.
This year's list...
-a middle novel 
-3 short story collections--in various stages of completion
and I will leave myself open to inspiration