Donna tries to co-ordinate her visit to Ste. Anne's with her best friend's trip to the groomer. Donna is a non-stop whirling dirvy - she makes the energizer bunny look like a slow poke. A member of the Winnipeg National Ballet from 1962 to 1970, she still works out with a group of friends for 2 hours every morning. She fills her days running Donna's Country Garden out of her beautiful home overlooking the Trent River in Frankford. If you think the afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel is something special, you haven't been to Donna's place for tea and a tour of her gardens!
Last night Donna had about 100 of her best non-canine friends, customers, and supporters to her house to celebrate the addition of a new sun room to her home, a place where she can serve tea to her guests on rainy days. You see, Donna celebrates every moment in life. The picture shows Donna glowingly surrounded by some of her fans from her Ste. Anne's extended family: starting on the right, my 78 year old mother, who still comes to work at the spa everyday touching up the floral arrangements, checking on the rooms, adding those little touches that make it a home away from home for our guests, Donna, David, a very popular part of our family and friend to many, many guests, (regular long term spa guests rarely leave without asking for him), Rebecca Ryan who ran the spa for 10 years and now operates one of the most creative, warm and loving day spas you will ever experience (just north of Trenton) called Lolly Lodge, and her loving husband Dan. Peeking in from the back between Becky and Dan is my sister-in-law Nancy, our effervescent innkeeper and wife to my youngest brother John. Nancy spreads sunshine through out the spa, and has become a tireless champion of the book "Breaking the Vicious Cycle", offering hope to people suffering from maladies like colitis, I.B.S., and autism, written by another amazing woman, the late Elaine Gottschall.
These are but a few of the men, and mostly women who have in some way become associated with the Ste. Anne's story over the past 16 years. I could name others, politicians, movie stars, musicians, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers, literally thousands of people. I salute all of them for their enduring energy and enthusiasm, zest for life and stamina. No matter what life throws at them they all stand tall and like Donna keep reaching out to those around them with genuine love and affection. Thank you God for yanking that rib out of Adam, and thank you Adam for the rib!