copyright 2018 (text)
“Mama Anna, why do you go out singing all the time?” Jasmine asked her stepmother. “It’s scary when you’re all gone!”
“Well, you don’t have to worry – you have your Uncle Gabriel and Auntie Leanna here with you. They will keep you safe.”
“But why do you go out singing? Do we get a lot of money from it? Or food?”
Anastasia admitted to herself that they did combine supply runs with gigs, but that was not what Jasmine was asking.
“Well, we do get food and medicines and all kinds of things like that when we go out. You know we always have packed the car and van full when we get home! But no, we don’t get much money from singing. That’s not the point of it.”
She looked straight into the little girl’s inquisitive eight-year-old eyes.
“We sing because it makes people remember. Remember what happened in the past, remember what happened recently, remember the invasion, remember that they are not free like we are here in Frozen Lakes. And because at the same time, we sing to help people forget their troubles, their sadness, the invaders watching their every move. And mostly, we sing because it reminds people that we can still resist, no matter what.”
“Is it dangerous?”
“Well, singing isn’t very dangerous – although I nearly fell off the stage once!”
“But do the invaders like it?”
“They like some of our songs – we try to keep them happy too. But singing is not illegal, especially when we pick old songs. And I’d gladly sing defiantly in their faces! With a big grin on mine.”
“Have you ever been arrested?”
“Not for singing, no. We just sing and occasionally fix a sign or poster. Things that the invaders think are silly and not worth bothering about unless they are really, really angry. And they haven’t been that angry with us yet. We can all pray that they won’t be, ever.”
“But you do illegal things? Like, against the law?”
“Well, we don’t call ourselves the Canuck Pirates for nothing! Sometimes, we do things that are not legal, but not wrong. Like singing a song about defying the government when the government is mean. Sometimes, governments are mean! Especially invaders who take over other peoples’ homes.”
“Like what happened to my Mummy?”
“Yes, like that.”
“And you write things on walls?”
“Just fixing signs – even though it is illegal to spell them that way now. And we have maple leaf tattoos – that symbol itself is illegal too. The government thinks that it is important that these are against the law.”
“Can I get a tattoo? Can I come with you? You know I like to sing. Me and Juno could sing with you!”
“Well, Juno is only three – she would get very tired! But someday, when you’re both bigger, of course you can! You have to ask your dad about the tattoo though.”
“Don’t we always have to follow the law?”
“No, not at all. We sometimes get in trouble, but laws sometimes need to be changed – and certainly challenged. Like how Nicky needs you to play hockey and soccer against him so that he can get better, even though you still win. When he gets bigger, he’ll win sometimes!”
“Are we ever going to win, Mama Anna?”
Anastasia sighed and shrugged, sitting back into the chair.
“I don’t know, sweetheart. We win right now by simply still being here. Whether we win or not will probably be up to you.”
“Can you teach me your songs?”
The minstrel boy to the war has gone,
In the ranks of death you will find him.
His father’s sword he has girded on,
And his wild harp slung behind him.
Land of Song, cried the warrior bard,
Though all the world betrays thee,
One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard,
One faithful harp shall praise thee.
The minstrel fell, but the foeman’s chain
Could not bring that proud soul under.
The harp he loved never spoke again,
For he tore its chords asunder.
And said “No chain shall sully thee,
Thou soul of love and bravery!
Thy songs were made for the pure and free,
They shall never sound in slavery!“