Vivian… Volunteer Extraordinaire

17 Jan

I don’t know what you were doing last Sunday, but I suspect it involved spending as little time outdoors as possible. Which made perfect sense, given the Antarctic-like temperatures.

However, I know that one hearty individual — Dunvegan Recreation volunteer, Vivian Franklin — threw all caution to the wind on that bone-chilling day. Ignoring the dire frostbite warnings, Viv trudged through snow banks to update the DRA’s Community Bulletin Board outside the hall. A thankless task at the best of times, sliding new letters into the sign’s tracks is a special kind of hell when even roosters on weathervanes are shivering. It’s not a job that lends itself to wearing mittens.

Nevertheless, like postal carriers of old, neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays Vivian from keeping the hamlet apprised of upcoming events. And this dedication prompted DRA president, Ben Williams, to remark that she is truly “a volunteer extraordinaire.” I concur.

Sign of the times?

A while ago, the DRA dragged the heating control system in their community hall kicking and screaming into the 21st century. They swapped out the building’s old mercury-switch thermostat with one of those neat, web-based climate control units. Now, instead of having to physically go to the hall to turn up the heat for an upcoming event, one can adjust the temperature from one’s smart phone from anywhere in Glengarry, or the world for that matter.

I’d like to see this same approach taken with the hall’s Community Bulletin Board. When the DRA’s finances allow, I propose that it be replaced with an electronic one. I’m not suggesting a gaudy behemoth that displays full-colour announcements and ads. A simple electronic changeable copy board (eCCB) that has two or three lines of monochromatic scrolling text would work just fine. There’s a sign on Boundary Road in Cornwall near Second that incorporates an eCCB, if you’d like to see one in action.

An eCCB offers a number of advantages. First of all, is its impact. As multiple events would be on a timed scroll, each one uses the entire display surface and, consequently, gets equal billing. The second is immediacy. The messages can be changed or updated at a moment’s notice. And the third is convenience. Assuming one has the password, it would be programmable from any computer, tablet or smartphone. No more frozen fingers.

Silent auction noise

I wanted to devote a few inches of this week’s column to the Glengarry Pioneer Museum’s “We Survived the Ice Storm” party at the Bonnie Glen Pavilion on February 9th. This mid-winter celebration will mark the 20th anniversary of the ice storm of 1998, and includes a hearty Italian buffet, story telling and a silent auction featuring memorabilia and things you may need if and when the ice returns.

Which leads me to the point I want to make. In addition to buying tickets to the event, I encourage you to support the Silent Auction… both by placing bids on the night of the party, but also by contributing items for the auction tables. For example, Terry and I have found one of the original “I Survived” T-shirts we tucked away that we’re giving to the cause, along with one of the four original blue and white “Dunvegan” road signs that were encased in ice at the height of the storm.

If you’re interested in donating items to be auctioned, you can email the museum at or call 613-527-5230 and leave a message for James Prevost. Chair of the museum, James is also in charge of the Silent Auction and checks for phone and email messages regularly.

Another good way to maximize the funds this important event will raise is to purchase your tickets at the Scotiabank in Maxville. They have generously offered to match ticket sales made at their branch… dollar for dollar. In other words, for every $40 ticket bought at the Maxville Scotiabank, the bank will contribute an additional $40. Can’t make it to Maxville? Tickets can also be purchased at the Quirky Carrot in Alexandria, The Review in Vankleek Hill or online at:

The Fencibles need YOU

Saturday, January 20th at the Dunvegan Recreation Association hall, the Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles is opening a “Recruiting Office” from 2:00 to 4:00 PM. The regiment of living history reenactors is looking for new recruits, just as it did in this County over 200 years ago.

If you’re a history buff or have ever wondered what it might have been like to live in the past, why not drop by? You’ll have an opportunity to meet reenactors from four Living History groups that portray the daily life of the militia, infantry, cavalry and civilians back in the early 1800s. They’re looking forward to sharing their stories with you and answering your questions about how to get involved in this fascinating hobby. As Jim Mullin, chair of the 1812 Reenactment at the museum told me, “Short of actually traveling back in time… there is no better way to learn about history than by living it first-hand as a reenactor.”

Don’t forget…

Friday, January 19th, the Dunvegan Recreation Association is holding its old-fashioned Potluck Supper and Annual Business Meeting to review the past season and discuss the year ahead. Everyone is welcome. All they ask is that you bring a main dish or dessert. The potluck will start at 6:00 PM and the business meeting will begin at 7:00. And don’t worry; everyone on the Executive Committee has agreed to serve for another two years. So there’s no danger of being roped into anything that you don’t want to.

Then, on January 20th at 7:00 PM, the DRA will be screening Arsenic and Old Lace starring Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane and Raymond Massey as a part of its “Saturday Night at the Movies” series.

There’s no formal admission, but donations towards the new playground equipment will be gratefully accepted. Remember, though, to bring your own refreshments and a comfy cushion or chair. The DRA will supply the hot-buttered popcorn.