Feis [pronouced [fʲɛʃ] [it rhymes with “meas” in measure]. It’s a Gaelic word for a traditional arts and culture festival.
My Dear Wife (DW) works for a literacy council. Every November they hold a huge fundraiser and invite two authors to speak. They also hold a silent auction (where I won a DeWalt drill) and offer a delicious catered, buffet meal. Since DW has come to work for this council three years ago, I have looked forward to Feis.
It counts as date night, too. We don’t get many of those.
Thanks to this event I have now met 5 Canadian greats.
- Sheree Fitch
- Graham Steele
- Lesley Crew
- Bette MacDonald
- Ami McKay
Ami Mckay was the speaker this year and I think I was as excited to meet her as I was to meet Sheree Fitch. She was invited along with David Muise. However, Mr. Muise had to cancel last minute. He’s been battling prostate cancer for the past three years. On the day of the event doctors discovered a second strain of cancer and he immediately underwent a dose of chemo and was instructed to go home to bed. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.
Ami is the author a best seller, “The Birth House”. It’s on my to read list.
The Birth House is the story of Dora Rare, the first daughter to be born in five generations of the Rare family. As a child in an isolated village in Nova Scotia, she is drawn to Miss Babineau, an outspoken Acadian midwife with a gift for healing and a kitchen filled with herbs and folk remedies. During the turbulent years of World War I, Dora becomes the midwife’s apprentice. Together, they help the women of Scots Bay through infertility, difficult labors, breech births, unwanted pregnancies and even unfulfilling sex lives.
Mrs. McKay gave us a bit of a backstory (I love those) about the book. It’s certainly a house with so much history. I believe she told us that the midwife of the house, Mrs.Rebecca Steele, had just one child whom she adopted. When a mother came to the birth house Mrs. Steele would make the mother and baby stay in the house for a week afterwards. It is the house the author now lives in. Her second son was born in that house.
Ami was great to listen to. She has three published books: The Birth House, The Virgin Cure, and The Witches of New York. We received some tangent stories on those books, too. My favorite was about a blue marble. In her book a marble appears to a character. This blue marble has some significance and meaning to it. The character knows this marble was placed for her to find. After writing this part of her story, Ami was out for a walk with her husband in freshly fallen snow. Not a track to be seen in the white stuff and what does Ami find in the snow? A blue marble.
She read a bit to us from The Virgin Cure and The Witches of New York. Afterwards, I bought them both and she signed them (I already have The Birth House). DW has already finished The Virgin Cure. Ami was even gracious enough to have her picture taken with me! You can check out her blog, too!
Did I mention she’s an American (just like me) who married an amazing Canadian (just like me) then moved to Nova Scotia (just like me)? How awesome!