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Cowboy poet publishes book to raise money for MDS

November 18, 2020

Photo caption: Doris Daley 

What are the secrets to baking a good pie? What do angels do? How are grandmothers different from mothers? A garden is good because—why?

And what do those questions have to do with Mennonite Disaster Service? (MDS)

The questions come from a new book by Doris Daley titled That’s a Good Answer: Wise Words from Wonderful People

The book was written and published by Daley as a fundraiser for MDS; it features answers to those questions and more from a wide variety of friends from across North America—musicians, artists, trail riders, truck drivers, lawyers and more.

Daley, a renowned cowboy poet who lives in Black Diamond, Alberta, started the book in April when the pandemic hit and all her appearances were cancelled.

“I embarked on this project as soon as social distancing and isolation became a reality,” she said. “I’m so glad I did. I have wise, witty, thoughtful, creative and opinionated friends.”

The book, which contains answers to 48 questions, was finished by July. Since that time she has sold 150 copies, with the proceeds going to MDS.

“The answers are quirky, creative, wholesome, funny, deep and meaningful,” she said, adding responses to the book have been positive.

“People have told me it is a book for our times, witty, creative, wholesome and entertaining,” she said.

As for why she is supporting MDS, that’s a good question, too—and Daley, a member of Trinity Mennonite Church in nearby De Winton, has two good answers.

The first is how MDS helped her own family following the Pincher Creek grass fire in 1997.

“MDS was one of the first groups on the doorstep of the family ranch,” she said, recalling how volunteers came and replaced all the fenceposts. 

The second is her own experience serving as a volunteer with MDS. This includes the two weeks she and her husband, Al “Doc” Mehl, a singer-songwriter and a stage poet spent at a project in Ukiah, CA in February before the pandemic.

The couple took the time out to volunteer in the middle of a singing and poetry tour of Colorado, Nevada and Washington State.

“It was a highlight of the tour,” said Daley of their service, adding they also played, sang and recited poetry at the project site for other volunteers.

As for the volunteering, “it was a good opportunity to give back,” she said. “We loved our experience in Ukiah. We’d love to do it again.”

Of the book itself, Daley said “it would make a great Christmas gift this year and support a great cause.”

Cost of the book is $20 (CDN and U.S.), with $4 for shipping. The book can be ordered online at www.dorisdaley.com

John Longhurst, MDS Canada Communications Coordinator