Monday Morning Musings

Posted on December 10, 2018 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet


(Mary Farrell photo)


“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” Warren Bennis.

The community of Antigonish gathered last Saturday to say thank you and good bye to David Miller. David passed away recently after a lengthy battle with cancer. He never complained about the hand he was dealt. He wasn’t afraid to die. He was afraid of not living and he kept going full speed right up until the end.

In the common vernacular, David and his wife, Aida Arnold were CFA’s, or “Come From Aways.”  People who are insular and protective of their own turf occasionally view CFA’s as outsiders and a threat.  David and Aida didn’t come to Antigonish to take from the community. They came to share their immense energy and talents to make us better. As someone said at the celebration of life on Saturday, David and Aida were ABC’s: Antigonishers  By Choice”.

Of all the traits with which David was imbued, curiosity may have been the greatest. Martin Luther King famously said, “I have a dream.”  David’s epitaph should read, “I have an idea.”

One only had to scan the Art House to see the wide swath that David cut in Antigonish. He touched people from every walk of life. Someone jokingly said that everyone thought that THEY were David’s best friend, a testament to his warm, gracious and caring personality. While he had lots of opinions, he valued other points of view with dignity and respect. One of the most touching speeches at the event was from a former employee who praised David for giving him confidence. He never felt that he was working for David and Aida but with them.

Many leaders lead from the front but David “often led from the middle or back of the pack” according to one of his eulogists. He led by example. No task was too small and he wouldn’t expect anybody to do something that he wouldn’t do himself. I witnessed this on many, many occasions first hand.

I had the honour of being asked to sing a song at the memorial. I was intrigued by the choice of music, Don Mclean’s “American Pie.” I chatted briefly with Aida a few minutes before the celebration began. She told me that when she and David met in the early 70s, American Pie was a chart topper. Aida being an American, David demonstrated his charm by referring to her as his “American Sweetie Pie.” I confessed to the audience that I had rarely sung this song in broad daylight or without a supporting cast of well lubricated friends (including myself). In order to keep the event on schedule I chose not to sing every verse! Kudos to the audience who sang their hearts out.

David will be sorely missed but he has left a deep footprint. We can honour his memory by being inquisitive and looking for opportunities when problems present themselves as David did numerous times during a long, distinguished life.

David will be honoured by the Town of Antigonish with a bench in his name being placed at his beloved Chisholm Park.

David’s Dream continues.

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