Believing in the Possible

Posted on March 15, 2018 under Storytelling with no comments yet


“Our house is a very, very, very fine house.”

Our House. Crosby, Stills and Nash

Most people in this part of the world expect to have a roof over their heads, food on the table and a means of supporting themselves. Most, but not all.  For the poor and the working poor, nothing can be taken for granted. Affordable housing in a university town is particularly challenging.

The Extension Department at St.F.X, in partnership with the Antigonish Affordable Housing Society (AAHS), is hosting a People’s School on Affordable Housing on March 24th at St.Ninian Place from 10-4 and you’re invited.

The Extension Department planted its roots in Antigonish 90 years ago. Throughout its long history, the Extension Department has focused on economic self-reliance and social well-being through adult education and collective action. It is no surprise to see them working in collaboration with AAHS to tackle the thorny issue of affordable housing. The Sisters of St. Martha have shared the journey with Extension from the beginning. These remarkable women have always demonstrated wisdom, generosity, vision, social justice and a “can do” attitude.

The purpose of the People’s School is to build awareness about the current state of affordable housing in Nova Scotia and to initiate a broader conversation about what communities can do collectively to make a real difference in the lives of people living on low incomes.

So, who all is invited? It is expected that people will come from all over the province to share knowledge and experience. This could include educators, researchers, community groups, service providers and people living on low incomes.

People’s Schools are not new. In 1943, the Diocese of Antigonish and St.F.X created CJFX. One of the station’s primary mandates was to broadcast Extension Department messages to the region. Back in 1954, one of the topics was the problem of outmigration. Here we are 64 years later having a similar discussion.

The Extension Department and AAHS want to hear from all the stakeholders in a discussion about affordable housing. Everyone attending the People’s School is welcome to share their expertise and their vision.  Organizers hope that by the end of the day, people will be inspired to take action and that it will stimulate further discussions.

The problem can’t be solved by a handful of dedicated volunteers. This is the responsibility of the broader community. Someone once said that you’re only as strong as your weakest link and there is little doubt that affordable housing is a weak link and must become a priority. From the very beginning, the Extension Department has been committed to fostering local leadership, sharing knowledge and building civil society.

Are you interested? Are you willing to share a day of your life that might help address this chronic problem in our town and in this region?

If you want to attend, you’ll want to register in advance as numbers are limited. Go to and click on “Events Registration.” Registration is free and lunch is provided.

Anything is possible. It starts with believing and finishes with action.


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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on March 12, 2018 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

Yearbook from Antigonish High School – 1970


” We love you AHS, oh yes we do,

We love you AHS, oh yes we do,

When you’re not winning, we’re blue,

Oh AHS, we love you.”

( Popular cheer leading refrain in 1970 )


It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.

We hear this expression quite a bit and it rings true most of the time. But try telling that to a group of young children who may be going to Disney for the first time this March break.

When I look back at my own fleeting running experience, preparing and training for the Boston Marathon was every bit as important and satisfying (most days!) as the big event itself. Speaking of the marathon, I have a lovely framed picture from Boston of myself and Charlene Druhan cheerfully waving and smiling at the camera. A recent guest to our apartment commented on how fresh we looked. I informed them that we were only at the half way point in the race. A picture at the end of the race would not have been nearly as dignified as Charlene literally dragged me across the finish line.

For a group of us, the next destination is a 50th reunion of the last graduating class of the former Antigonish High School in 2020. And why have we started the journey so soon, you ask? First of all, it will take us a considerable amount of time to track down former classmates. The organizing committee has had a few meetings and we have spent the time poring over old yearbooks from AHS. What a trip down memory lane. It seems that just about every grad photo elicits a story which spins into other stories. There is no question that the journey will be every bit as satisfying as the destination with this endeavour.

Sadly, many of our classmates have passed away. Fifty years has a way of doing that.

Secondly, some of us are not as efficient planners as we once were and need double the time to get things done!

Many of the stories from these meeting revolve around former teachers. This is not meant to be a disparaging comment but when I think back to my own educational journey (a Catholic education), we feared the nuns every bit as much as we feared the Creator!

So, if you graduated from AHS in 1970, or were a grade 11 student in 1969 who chose to go to University from grade 11 ( an option back then ), work or elsewhere or were a grade 11 student in 1970 who did not go on to the new Regional High School ,we’re looking for you. You can sign up on our Facebook page ( AHS 50 year reunion: or get in touch with any one of the following committee members: Debbie (Cameron) MacDonald; Robert Sers;  Anne (Gillis) Moeller; Ann (Hatchette) MacDonald;  Bruce MacDonald;Eleanor (MacDonald) Brosha; and yours truly.

Retirement is amazing but if you’re anything like me, some days you wonder if it wouldn’t be less hectic to go back to work. It’s pretty bad when you have trouble trying to schedule a coffee with a friend. I think I need an Administrative Assistant! But truly, it is good to be healthy and busy. At the end of the day, I think most of us would like to “empty the tank” before calling it a day.

I will be enjoying the company of Katherine Reed for lunch sometime soon as she is the winner of the most recent Week45 contest. She identified the link between one of my new advertisers, MacIsaac Funeral Home and the line “it is a new undertaking for me…”

Have a great week.

P.S. On Saturday, I watched the drama unfold on television. No. I’m not talking about the amazing comeback of golfer, Tiger Woods. I’m talking about the debacle known as the Conservative leadership convention in Ontario. Looks like Christine Elliot is not “going gently into that good night.”

Donald Trump and now Doug Ford. How did we get here?

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Thursday Tidbits

Posted on March 8, 2018 under Thursday Tidbits with no comments yet

” The hills are alive…”


Did you watch the Academy Awards last Sunday? Neither did I.

It’s not that I don’t like movies although I could hardly be accused of being a movie fanatic seeing that one of the last movies I’ve seen on the big screen was ET… not a rerun but when the movie was first released in 1982. That’s a slight exaggeration of course. Don’t ever choose me as a partner in a trivia game to answer questions about Hollywood, unless it’s about Frederick’s, the naughty lingerie store!

I have a fundamental distaste for the Academy Awards and most other award shows as they are usually displays of glitz, glitter and self -aggrandizement. Many celebrities have mistakenly taken the hashtag #Metoo as meaning, “the spotlight is on me.” All this and the incredible display of wealth. It would be safe to say that tens of millions of dollars are spent on the Academy Awards show and the wardrobe budgets alone could feed a small impoverished country for a year.

I do have a couple of favorite movies from a bygone day: The Sound of Music and The Shawshank Redemption. These days, I choose to watch movies and television series in the comfort of my own home using Netflix. And we have a popcorn maker. I’m a pretty cheap date.

How about you? What are your favorite all time movies?

In the past couple of years, I have become a big fan of the local Antigonish International Film Festival. Trivago recently rated it as the second most popular attraction in Antigonish next to the Highland Games. How big a fan? Surely you remember the famous ad from 1979 when Victor Kiam proudly announced that he liked the Remington shaver so much that he bought the company. Well, I like AIFF so much that I’ve joined the organization.

The films screened by AIFF are educational and cause one to think. The topics are wide ranging and there is something for just about everyone’s taste. Last season’s lineup was sensational. I think I saw close to a dozen movies over a couple of days. With the cost of a pass ($20), that works out to about $1.65 per show… cheaper than a half a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

Planning the Film Festival is a year round endeavour. Of course, the Festival could not be held without financial support. It has a long list of supporters including businesses, government and individual donors. And every year, these entities need to be approached to renew their commitment for this first rate event.

So…. Are you at loose ends? Are you looking for a bit of money to finance your next vacation? AIFF is looking for someone to be in charge of sponsorships. Most of the legwork takes place in May and June. If you are interested, give me a shout and I’ll give you the details.

How many of you saw the 1993 blockbuster, “Free Willy?”

There’s a sequel coming up called “Free Lennie: The Story of a Man’s Escape from a Vegan Posse.” If you haven’t read my last two posts, you won’t have a clue what I’m talking about.

And to encourage you to do just that, I have a new contest. In my most recent Monday Morning Musings post (March 5th.), I made note of my new advertisers. Somewhere in that post, there is a reference to one of the advertisers. Did you pick this up? Message me. If you’re correct, we’ll go and have lunch. If you live in Calgary, you’ll have to fly me out but I’ll still buy you lunch!

(For those of you who subscribe by e-mail, you’ll have to visit my website at too see the ads.)

Have a great weekend.


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