Monday Morning Musings

Posted on July 16, 2018 under Monday Morning Musings with 4 comments

 

I passed a milestone of sorts on the weekend. My story about camping was the 900th story I’ve posted on my website. What started out as an accident seven years ago has turned into a passion.  At this rate, I will eclipse the 1000 mark sometime next summer. From the reaction to “Hard Top Horrors” just about everyone has a camping story. Thanks for all your comments. The beauty of writing is that there’s never a shortage of material. Chance conversations on the street lead me down some peculiar roads!

On a more serious note. There’s a woman who works at Sobey’s here in Antigonish and she’s having a rough go with cancer. Her friends are trying to raise some money for the family. I’m going to do my part by donating 100 of my books with all of the proceeds going to them. Sobey’s will be selling them for the next few weeks ($10 each) and I hope to spend some time at the store autographing them. I plan to be there this coming Friday (20th) so why don’t you come by and say hello and support a good cause. If you already have my books, buy one for a friend.

“On the road again. I just can’t wait to get on the road again”. ( Johnny Cash/Willie Nelson) Early in September, I’ll be flying to Victoria where I’ll meet up with a friend who’s relocating to Halifax. We’re going to drive across Canada, something I’ve done on several occasions. Canada is a very big country and you really get a sense of this when you drive coast to coast. No doubt the trip will generate some stories.

I also have the El Camino in my sights. If I can whip myself into shape, I hope to walk the El Camino trail in Spain next May. It’s approximately 800 kilometres long and from all accounts, a terrific experience.

For the first time, I will be taking part in the Big Bike Ride in support of the Heart and Stroke Foundation. I have been recruited to be on the team from the RK MacDonald Nursing Home. If you’d like to support this worthy cause and help me reach my goal of $1000, you can make a tax deductible contribution by going to my page with the Heart and Stroke by following this link: http://support.heartandstroke.ca/site/TR/BigBike2018/BB_General_2018?px=2165881&pg=personal&fr_id=5878 Anybody who matches my personal donation  ($100) will get a set of my books (autographed) and if you’re in the area, I’ll hand deliver them to you and we’ll have a coffee and swap lies.

The National Special Olympics is just around the corner. Antigonish will be in the spotlight. Let’s go out of our way to make everyone feel welcome.

Have a great week.

 

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on July 9, 2018 under Monday Morning Musings with 3 comments

The unveiling

 

They came from Moncton and Amherst. They came from Sherbrook and P.E.I. They came from Halifax, Quebec and the United States. They came from Cape Breton.

A large crowd packed St. Ninian’s Cathedral on Saturday night to pay homage to James MacPherson. The lineup of musicians  for the Pastoral Airs concert was impressive and would have made for a great concert, anytime anywhere. But there was no mistaking that there was an additional element in the room that added another dynamic to the event.

James MacPherson was amongst us. There was a lot of raw emotion on display as musicians and speakers honored his memory.

This part of the world is blessed with so much talent which was on full display on Saturday. There were vocalists, pianists, a flautist, organist, bagpipers, violinists and guitar players. And James’ beloved Senior Choir who poured their souls into every piece they performed.

I don’t think I would offend any of the performers by singling out the stunning vocals of Michael Aucoin who brought the crowd to its feet with his masterful tenor voice performing “The Holy City”.

The highlight of the evening was the formal tribute to James with the unveiling of the Anna Syperek portrait.

We provided a special surprise with a taped performance of Danny Boy sung by none other than James MacPherson. I don’t think that I was the only one shedding a tear.

No concert is without its challenges. There were the usual last minute issues as organizers tried to get everything in place so that the show could start on time and run smoothly.

The 800+ who attended the concert were treated to music which was a blend of the sacred and secular in perfect harmony, in a house of worship.

Thanks to the MacPherson and Painter MacDonald families for giving us an opportunity to publicly acknowledge the 48 years of blood, sweat and tears that James gave to his church and his community.

He will not be forgotten.

 

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on July 2, 2018 under Monday Morning Musings with 4 comments

Quintessentially Canadian

 

We live in the best country in the world.

Making this statement did not require an extensive government funded survey. I have felt this to be the case for a long time. I have traveled the country from coast to coast on many occasions so I have a pretty good feel for its vastness and its people. I have quaffed a few ale at the bar at the Empress Hotel in Victoria and have been “screeched in” in St.John’s Newfoundland. I have traveled by car, plane, boat and bus and even hitchhiked the highways and byways in my youth.

On Saturday, I performed at a Canada day singsong at the RK MacDonald Nursing home. I tried to play as many Canadian songs as possible. I opted not to sing Gord Lightfoot’s Canadian Railroad Trilogy or Stan’s Barrett’s Privateers. I only had so much time and if I had sung all the lyrics to these, I would have used up half of the time. At the end, we of course heartily and proudly sang our national anthem.

When I polled the audience of folks mostly in their 80s and 90s about the greatest country in the world, it was unanimous that Canada was number 1 in their hearts. They heartily applauded, none more so than a Dutch couple who have a pride in Canada that is unparalleled. Our new Syrian friends are starting to feel this way too.

It is easy to list the reasons why I feel Canada is the best place to live and raise a family. We are a pretty easy going lot and enjoy wide open spaces and freedom of speech. We are blessed with plenty of natural resources and an abundance of water. Many countries around the world are drying up in front of our eyes. We work hard but generally are not obsessed with accumulating wealth. We accept newcomers and exhibit tolerance to those who are different from us, most of the time. Our air is clean and we feel safe. While we don’t all share the same politics, we are respectful of democracy and when governments change hands, it is done without bloodshed. We are charitable to those who are in need.

But Canada is far from perfect. Just check your news feed and read about the MMIWG inquiry. ( Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls). Our treatment of First Nations people has been less than stellar. Just speak to a family who has experienced heartache with residential schools. We’re trying to do better, especially locally where several exciting initiatives are unfolding on our doorstep in Pat’tnkek.

We love our sports teams, a singsong around a campfire and a feed of lobsters. Our farmer’s markets are places to buy locally produced goods and a chance to get caught up with our neighbours. It is the favored spot for a politician to appear on the eve of an election! Everyone goes to the farmer’s market.

Did I mention strawberries? One of my favourite pastimes is to take my granddaughters to one of the local u-picks. They generally eat more than they pick but who’s counting.

We enjoy the simple pleasures of life like a cup of good tea.

We love to tell stories.

We stop and say hello to strangers and smile. Possibly our best tourism strategy.

And we’re obsessed with the weather, always a great conversation starter.

We mustn’t take Canada for granted and think that it will always be this way. We need to be mindful of what is going on around us. We need to demonstrate tolerance.

Oh, Canada.

 

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