• James Parry

Parrywinkle, October 13, 2016

Now as regular readers of this column almost certainly know, I don't usually report on weddings. But when I learned that a dynamic and most creative young couple – Jenna Kroon and Jean-François Gagné - featured on the front page of Your Local Journal three years ago - tied the knot in a fairy tale setting at their St. Lazare home and garden recently, well how could I resist?


Why the front page, you are asking? Because to the total surprise of Jenna, JF actually went down on one knee to propose atop Machu Picchu in Peru during a hiking vacation there. And why has it taken so long to actually marry after nine years of being a couple? - not that it was really any of my business - I asked Jenna this week.

“Because we returned home to plunge myself full time into my Kroon Designs upcycling business while JF continued his work as a consultant for Apple, and we were saving up money towards the purchase of our first home,” she told me. “And, in November of last year, we finally found our sweet nest in St. Lazare. It is a darling tin-roofed farm house almost 100 years old, full of charm on two acres before the land turns into horse trails, and it’s our wee sanctuary and we couldn't be happier.”


Definitely one for the photo album at the recent fairytale wedding of Jenna Kroon and Jean-Francois Gagné at their new dream home in St. Lazare.

Not that it was exactly a perfect walk-in property, she laughed. “The preparation of an old home is all the work you can imagine added to all the tasks that emerge as you start the daunting lists. We had to pour foundation, raise the beautiful sinking barn, route power to the barn, install walls, move landfill, repair the drive, as well as groom the garden trails and land. And that was just the tip of the iceberg. But it was a family affair with our friends and mates joining in the challenge and excitement. Evenings and weekends as our dreams come together.”

And what a magical, fairy tale wedding it was. With every detail for the vintage farm house theme hand-made and orchestrated by Jenna and all the suppliers and contributors all from within our region. Including Tim Walsh who sang them down the tree-lined 'aisle'. That theme, by the way, included tables adorned with rustic elements such as Underwood typewriters, vintage sewing machines, rusty tool chests, candelabras, old scales, wooden cheese boxes, bird cages, and countless candles.

What's more, throughout the gardens there were lawn games to enjoy including horse shoes, bean bag toss, giant Jenga, and croquet, plus an epic photo booth in the chandelier-lit barn with props, wing backed chairs, and the silliest of friends filling the camera all evening!

And the evening wrapped up with a stunning tipi fire pit, gigantic marshmallows, dancing and assorted shenanigans, topped off with midnight poutine from Sauvé’s Restaurant in Hudson. Said Jenna, “It was a true showcase of the golden talents that can be found in our town. I will never forget the resounding joy and fun every single person was having. Blessed with incredible weather and the best neighbours we could ask for. To the love of my life, JF, we have shared in the most tremendous adventures and on this next one, as husband and wife, I couldn't be more proud and excited!

Well, you certainly got me excited guys. Even if I wasn't actually there in person. But please do invite me to your 1st Anniversary celebration, and every one after that!


BON APPETIT & CHEERS - Meanwhile, together with my beautiful Sunshine, and always in search of something new, I was delighted to join another couple at their St. Lazare home recently together with a whole bunch of other people who love food and wine. Namely Zeina Abdulkarim and her hubby, Robert Aboud.


Robert Aboud (centre) and his wife, Zeina Abdulkarim, to his right, welcomed foodies and wine lovers alike to their St. Lazare home recently for the launch of their new courses running through April next year.

The occasion? The launch of their new Zeina's Kitchen cooking classes and his wine courses running from now through June next year. And what a most entertaining and informative evening it was.

Now many readers almost certainly know Zeina as a haidresser working in the Hudson-St. Lazare region for over 20 years and now at Salon Odyssey on Harwood. Fascinated to learn that before starting her classes, she did some catering for a few years and, more recently, a video series called How To Energize Your Life In 8 Weeks with Joanna McDonald of Soul Food fame.

Says Zeina, now in her second season of giving classes, “My passion for food has followed me since a very young age and I feel the most comfortable behind my kitchen counter. Now in my 40s, I have become even more aware of the importance of eating healthy. And I look forward to having the opportunity to inspire others to make delicious homemade food, understand the importance of good nutrition, and have fun at the same time.”


CALLING ALL OENOPHILES - As for Robert, he tells me that his 'wine journey' began quite organically when he and a group of colleagues at work decided to organize wine tastings in each other’s kitchen and dining rooms. “This led to me seeking out a formal education program that could satisfy my rapidly growing obsession with all things wine. I sought out the best program I could find and enrolled with the internationally acclaimed Wine and Spirit Education Trust and was awarded a Pass with Distinction in 2007 for the level 3 Advanced Certificate.”

Adds Robert, “One of my greatest pleasures is sharing and talking wine with other oenophiles who want to further their knowledge and share their experiences. And I'm really looking forward to providing them with the tools to expand their world of wine as we explore different wine producing regions, grape varietals, and learn tasting techniques once a month in Zeina's Kitchen.”

For further info, check out zeinaskitchen.weebly.com. And who knows? I might very well meet you there. But now I have to try and boil a couple of eggs, and not burn the toast, for breakfast!


LAUDABLE LEXOPHILIA - During which - and just food for thought - I shall be having a jolly good chuckle over these laughable Lexophilia observations e-mailed to me this week by my favourite YLJ wagster, Jane Kirkwood.

Venison for dinner again? Oh deer! How does Moses make tea? Hebrews it. England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool. They told me I had type-A blood, but it was a Typo. Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.

I know a guy who's addicted to brake fluid, but he says he can stop any time. I stayed up all night to see where the sun went, and then it dawned on me. This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I'd never met herbivore. I'm reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can't put it down. I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words. I didn't like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.

When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble. Broken pencils are pointless. What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus. I dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx. I got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough. Velcro - what a rip off! Don’t worry about old age; it doesn’t last.

Who on earth dreams these up? Why a lexophile, of course!

And that's a wrap!

E-mail: creation@videotron.ca

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