Save the dates

4 Apr

This week’s column will be relatively terse. By this, I refer to the original 18thcentury meaning of the word — concise and to the point — minus the negative connotation of ‘cold abruptness’ that the word carries with it today. I apologize, but the time I usually devote to researching obscure nonsense about our hamlet’s past, present and future was given over to volunteer commitments and Easter preparations.

As so often happens, activities tend to form a cluster, at least in Dunvegan. The third weekend of this new month is a perfect example. On April 20th, two back-to-back events will be held at the DRA hall: the Euchre Luncheon in the afternoon and the Glengarry Pioneer Museum’s Annual General Meeting in the evening. Then, on April 21st, the DRA will screen the final film in its winter 2018 Saturday Night at the Movies series. I’ll explore all three, in just the right amount of detail, in subsequent columns. For now, though, I’d like to focus on two more immediate events.

Affordable family fun

For more years than I care to remember (only because the number’s proof positive of my advancing age), the Dunvegan Recreation Association has ushered in spring with a Pizza, Crokinole & Taffy Party. And spring 2018 is no exception. This year’s festival of family fun will be held this coming Friday, April 6th. The original event was built on two foundational pillars: crokinole and taffy.

OntarianEckhardt Wettlauferis credited with inventingcrokinole in 1876. The game spread like wildfire through the Amish and Mennonite communities of Southern Ontario, possibly because it was considered less sinful than dancing or card playing. Pronounced “croak-i-knoll”, it is a miniaturized relative of shuffleboard and curling. Players take turns shooting wooden discs called “buttons” across the circular playing surface with a flick of their finger. The aim is to have your discs land within the higher scoring rings, while attempting to bump your opponent’s discs off the board. Never played crokinole? Worry not. It only takes a few minutes to learn.

The second foundational element is an old-fashioned maple taffy pour. When the fresh-boiled maple syrup hits the perfect taffy temperature (115 °C or 238 °F), all play comes to a grinding, albeit temporary, halt. Steaming jugs of gooey maple goodness are then whisked from the DRA kitchen and drizzled on pans of snow for young and old alike to sample. It’s a sweet and delicious way to celebrate the advent of spring.

A number of years ago, a third dimension joined the mix: a pre-party pizza supper. It was designed for those who wanted an affordable, all-in night out for the entire family. Pizza by the slice will go on sale at 6:00 PM. And the crokinole tournament gets under way at 7:00. Everyone is welcome and there’s no cost, apart from the pizza. I believe it sells for just a toonie per slice. If you’ve never been to Dunvegan, our Recreation Hall is located at 19053 County Road 24.

Stop the roller coaster!

Family caregivers who deal with mentally ill loved ones often admit that it’s like “living on a roller coaster.” This is exactly why the Cornwall & District Family Support Group offers family-to-family education courses… to provide “roller coaster” families with reliable, up-to-date information that can help them to better understand and support their mentally ill loved one. Over the years, the courses have helped hundreds of families in Cornwall and across SD&G.

Written from a Canadian perspective, using Canadian facts, figures and examples, the updated Strengthening Families Togethereducation program is a three-day course for family members and friends of individuals with schizophrenia, bipolar, depression, borderline personality disorder or other serious mental health issues. Some of the topics that are covered include: signs and symptoms of major mental illnesses; medications and other treatment options; coping with mental illness as a family; advocacy and support: and taking care of yourself.

The course also features a number of knowledgeable guest speakers who offer unique insights into their area of experience… from psychotropic medications and the mental health system to a person who lives with their illness every day.

This spring, the course will be held from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. on Saturday, April 28… Sunday, April 29… and Saturday, May 5. While the classes are free, participants are asked to contribute $25 each to help cover the cost of photocopying the handouts.

The course, which is limited to fifteen students, is held in Cornwall. Participants must register — before April 21 — by calling 613-932-5651. So, if you’re interested, I encourage you to sign up as soon as possible. Taking this life-changing course may not stop the roller coaster forever, but it could help make the ride a bit smoother.