Thursday Tidbits

Posted on May 31, 2018 under Thursday Tidbits with no comments yet

 

James MacPherson left us on November 8th, 2017, but he will not be forgotten.

Besides being recognized by the Antigonish Highland Society at this year’s Highland Games, James will be honored as St. Ninian’s Parish will be hosting a concert at the Cathedral on Saturday, July 7th at 8:00 p.m. “Pastoral Airs. A Concert in Memory of James MacPherson,” will feature an impressive lineup of musicians, many of whom performed with James over the years. These include Margaret MacGregor MacDonald, John Pellerin, Scott Williams, Phillip Cooper, Ranke DeVries, Thea Huard, Michael Aucoin, Emery VandeWiel, Audrey Cochrane and the St. Ninian’s Senior Choir. We are awaiting confirmation from a few other performers.

Tickets are $20 advance and $25 at the door. We expect the concert to be a sell out so you might want to get your tickets early. Tickets are available now at 5 to $1.00, MacKinnon Pharmasave and St.Ninian Parish office. For those of you reading this in far flung parts of the world, you can also order them online by going to the Antigonish Highland Society website beginning next week. https://www.antigonishhighlandsociety.ca/

James was the organist at St. Ninian’s for close to 50 years and a mainstay at the Highland Games for decades. He was passionate about St.Ninian’s Cathedral. He was particularly enamored with the restoration work being done on the Saints that adorn the walls of the cathedral. Please take a few minutes and look at this video which explains the historical significance of the paintings and the work being done to preserve them. http://www.saintninian.ca/history/artrestore.mp4

All of the proceeds of this concert will go to the continued restoration work.

The first Saint to be given a facelift was St. Cecelia and she is the patroness of musicians. She overlooks the choir loft and brought enormous joy to James when the restoration of her figure was completed.

Also, at the concert, we will be displaying copies of a stretched canvass print of the Anna Syperek painting of James at the organ which many of you would have seen on James’ memorial card. These will be available for purchase at Antigonish 5 to $1.00.

I will be the Emcee for the event and promise not to sing any solos! I can’t promise that there won’t be a few laughs as we celebrate the life of a gifted musician and great friend.

Hope to see you there. Get your tickets early.

Have a great weekend.

P.S. Please SHARE if you would.Tx.

 

 

 

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on May 28, 2018 under Monday Morning Musings with 2 comments

A walk on the wild side.

(Photo by Pete MacDonald)

Walking. It’s good for the heart and the soul.

I’ve done a lot of walking lately. Walking and thinking of many things including my good fortune. This time of year is very special as everything in nature comes alive. You can actually smell the earth below your feet as you walk along wooded trails. Ditto for flowers and trees. After lying dormant for the winter, the leaves on the trees are busting out all over and grass is ready for the cutting. There must be at least 50 shades of green. The birds are obviously pleased as they begin their lovely melodies in the wee hours of the morning. To hear them, you must be an early riser. That’s when they get the worm!

Is there anything more heavenly and serene than a solo walk on one of our area beaches? Late one evening last week, I strolled along Bayfield Beach. I could almost taste the salt in the air. It was chilly but my hoody provided warmth. I could hear the gentle lapping of the waves as a solitary gull soared in the fading light. Off in the distance, I could hear trucks at the wharf loading precious cargo of crustaceans destined for far way shores. The pungent smell of seaweed was ever present. I sat in an Adirondack chair, pondering the scene in front of me. It was a sensory buffet.

The walk the next morning provided a very different landscape. It was one of my frequent town jaunts. The campus of St.F.X. continues to be one of my favourite spots. It seems that the campus is always in a state of renewal with several infrastructure projects on the go. It is exciting to see the new grandstands at Oland Stadium and know that Canada’s top Special Olympians will descend on Antigonish later this summer. It’s not too late to volunteer.

I pass the various coffee establishments on James Street and notice small groups of retirees. No doubt they are talking about sports, politics, or their various aches and pains.

Along the way, I think about the El Camino trail in Spain. I know several people who have completed this pilgrimage and some more who plan to do it soon. This is definitely on my ‘to do’ list, maybe next year.

Lots of people are out with their dogs at this time of day. If your doctor recommends walking, get a dog. They’ll force you outdoors when nature comes calling.

At the end of an hour, I make the turn onto Pleasant Street. On one side is a nursing home and directly across the street is a funeral home, a reminder that fragility and mortality awaits us all. I think of the residents of the ‘RK’ especially those who are wheelchair bound. You know that they would all love to experience the simple joy of walking again, unencumbered. It is at times like this that I feel an incredible sense of gratitude. I never take my health for granted.

Before taking the last few steps on Court Street, I stop by the gas station on the corner to pick up the Saturday Chronicle Herald. I always try and complete the New York Times crossword puzzle, try being the operative word as I am rarely able to finish it.

All the while, I am thinking about the woman who was the hub of our family wheel.

Have a great week.

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Thursday Tidbits

Posted on May 24, 2018 under Thursday Tidbits with one comment

 

Pearls of wisdom.

With shocking regularity, we are witnessing the end of an era as many well-known Antigonish area women have completed their earthly toil. And oh, how they toiled.

I wasn’t the only one thinking about mothers last week when I wrote about my mom’s death. Besides words of comfort, many of you took the time to speak about your own mothers, many praising them effusively. I have culled some of your comments to give you a flavour of what came across my computer.

“I was also blessed with a warm and caring mom and was lucky that I could sit beside her bed when she died, nine days before her 100th birthday. But mothers like that never really leave you. They stay with you as long as you live. So, in a sense, they never die but live on in our memories and stay with us all of our lives.”

Someone chose a nautical metaphor. A ship leaves the harbor under full sail. “I stand and watch her at length until she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says: “There, she is gone!” “Gone where?” “Gone from my sight.” The ship disappears over the horizon but it hasn’t gone forever. We just can’t see it. It’s sort of like losing a loved one. We can’t see them but we know they’re with us. They’re just beyond the horizon.

The next one struck me hard as well. Why is it that mothers are revered and often there is nary a mention of our fathers? “On reading the tribute to your mom, I couldn’t help thinking this too sounds so much like my mom, ladies of a generation who despite all that may have been hard, their character, grace, humour, and prayerful gratitude, made them such unique mamas. Sometimes I’ll offer a silent apology to dad (who died some time ago) that he doesn’t jump into my thoughts the way mom does.”

The past week brought about a lot of reminiscing. If you’re over 65, take a look at this list and put a check mark beside everyone you recognize:

Hot poultices for boils; Lestoil; cod liver oil pills; sunlight soap; iron on patches on the knees of blue jeans; 30 pound turkey in the oven at Christmas; cardboard boxes of meat from John D’s Meat Market; shoes lined up on newspaper the night before mass and polished with Scuff Coat; rinso; starlac; margarine with a belly button; choco; Perry Como; JFK; cherry blossoms; the electric hot plate on the floor with Friar’s balsam simmering away in a steel pot; sifting bugs out of the flour bin; Radio brand green peas; Lenten decades of the rosary; Lowney’s pail of hard candy that would stick together inside your Christmas stocking; the diaper pail; the wringer washer; Vince the milkman; Angus “the beard”; three digit telephone number; having a diaper wrapped around your neck with over a healthy dose of Vick’s vapo rub to ease the pain in your throat.

This is just a partial list.

So there, not a single creative thought from me. I stole all these things from you.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Mark Twain that was sent to me as well:

“My mother had a slender, small body but a large heart; a heart so large that everybody’s joys found welcome in it, and hospitable accommodation.”

Have a great weekend.

 

 

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