WHAT HAPPENS ON FACEBOOK….
It was a cold day on January 29, 2013. I was sitting at my desk at home, playing candy crush, while my two orange tabbies Max and Sam fought over who got to sit in my lap, and who got to sit beside my keyboard. I ran out of lives in the game, so switched over to look at my Facebook newsfeed instead. As I was scrolling down, I saw a picture of our then Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who was at home eating breakfast, with a cute kitty named Stanley laying on a chair. I thought it was pretty awesome that Stephen liked cats!
I immediately clicked on the picture, and then continued to scroll through the rest of the pictures that were grouped together. It was called “A Day in the Life of the Prime Minister”. They were amazing pictures! About halfway through the photos, I saw one where Stephen’s wife Laureen was holding their pet chinchilla.
MY GREAT IDEA
Suddenly a light bulb went off in my head. I hatched a plan right there and then that I was going to meet the Prime Minister of Canada, and I knew exactly how to do it. I actually wrote out a post on Facebook about having a secret plan, and that I wasn’t going to tell anyone what the plan was, until it came to pass. Here is a copy of that cryptic post:
The Prime Minister had been in the news a couple of times with stories of how he had played the piano, and another time had sung with a group, while playing the piano. Here is one of the pictures I saw, and was really impressed.
I am a piano composer, and at the time had been composing music for each of my family members. My great idea was that I would write a book of songs all about Stephen Harper, and then give it to him, since he played the piano!
MY COMPOSITION LIST OF IDEAS
I grabbed a blank piece of paper, and started looking through the photos on Facebook again, of Stephen Harper’s “A Day in the Life of”, and I quickly came up with 15 song titles. I immediately started composing the very first song, “Prime Minister No. 22”. After I wrote each song (by hand, in pencil on manuscript), I would then enter it into my music program. After printing it out, I would play it at the piano, until I had added all the phrasings, dynamics, and fingering. Having music without markings would be like reading a book without punctuation. It is a very long process. You have to play it over and over, and over, to get it just right. It took me five months to compose and edit fifteen original songs. I also wrote my own arrangement of O Canada, and God Save The Queen, which I added to the very back.
I NEED A COVER PLEASE!
Once I finished, I had an idea for the cover, but I cannot draw. I contacted one of my old co-workers who is a fantastic artist, and asked if she could help me. She was intrigued, but then told me that her son was an amazing artist as well, and could probably do it for me! I told him what I wanted, and he came up with the design that I used. I was really pleased how it turned out.
UNIVERSITY PRINTERS, LANGLEY, BC
Once I had the cover, I was ready to publish. I took it down to my local printer, University Press (in Langley, who are fabulous by the way) and I had it printed. When I got the call that my books were ready, I rushed down there, and was so thrilled at how it turned out. I had also included some pictures that had been online on Facebook that inspired the book, and it was just perfect. I was so pleased!
MY MOM, MY HELPER
The part of the story I need to jump to now involves my mom. She volunteered at one of Langley’s MLA offices, that of Mark Warawa. And guess what? Mark happened to be very good friends with Stephen Harper! So, my plan now was to ask my mom to get me an appointment with Mark so that I could pass along my music book. You cannot just send the Prime Minister of Canada a gift, he would never receive it! So this was my secret cunning plan of how to get it to him.
MEETING MARK WARAWA, LANGLEY MP
What I didn’t mention was that my mom had been diagnosed a few years earlier with a rare form of cancer, it was stage IV, and her health was deteriorating quickly. That had been a huge impetus for me also to get my book finished quickly. Once my book was ready, my mom made an appointment, and in the summer of 2013, I had my meeting with Mark, along with my mom. It was a very lovely meeting, and Mark was so enthusiastic with my piano book. He is also a musician, (what a terrific voice!) and so he appreciated the work I had done. I had written a letter to Stephen that I had included inside the front cover, and I pointed it out. Mark had a quick scan of it, and said, “Hey! You need to write your address on here! How is he ever going to say thank you if you don’t include your address?” So, I grabbed a pen, and wrote my address down on the bottom of the letter. Mark assured me that he would indeed pass it along to Stephen, but it might be a few months because Parliament was not in session. I thanked him for his time, and then my mom and I left.
Wow! Part 2 of my plan had come together. Now all I had to do was wait!
The only sad part about this story is that my mom succumbed to her cancer, and passed away in October, so she never saw the conclusion to this project. I’m sure God filled her in on the details though!
MY MAILBOX DELIVERS
A month later in November while grabbing the mail out of the mailbox, I noticed a very official looking envelope. It was addressed to me – from the OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA! I ran upstairs as fast as I could, and got a steak knife from the kitchen to open it, so I wouldn’t tear the envelope. Inside was a letter from Stephen Harper, thanking me for the music book. I read it over, and then re-read it a few more times! When my son came home from school, I eagerly showed him my letter, and he was impressed. Then my hubby came home and I showed him as well. He was also thrilled for me. I was dancing around the house on air! The Prime Minister of Canada had gotten my piano composition book and had loved it. WOOHOO!
THE LAST PART OF THE PLAN
Now, for part 3 of the plan. I asked Mark if I could be invited to any events when the Prime Minister ever came to BC, and he promised me he would add me to the list of attendees. Well, that finally came to pass (but over a year later) when I received an invitation to attend an event in Surrey, BC as Stephen was coming through BC on his campaign trail. It was months in advance, but that’s okay – I was so pumped!
I also then made a call to Mark Warawa’s office, and thanked him for giving Stephen my book. He shared with me that Stephen had looked through every single page slowly, and then looked through it for the second time, and was really impressed. It gave me the warm fuzzies. Mr. Harper is an excellent piano player, he has his own rock’n’roll band! Cool!
THE SHORT STORY
Now, I’m going to go for the short story here, as it would take me too long to describe the chain of events of what happened when I finally got to meet him! I will write out that story, just not here.
The short story is I met Stephen Harper, he signed a copy of my piano book, and I even took a selfie of us together!! (posted at the top of the page)
It started January, 2013, and ended on Sept 3, 2015. I had an idea, made it my goal, and worked towards accomplishing that goal. See? If you put your mind to it, you can do anything! It has been one of my favorite achievements in life so far, although publishing my first novel was pretty exciting as well.
Never, EVER give up on your dreams!