A long goodbye

2 May

Nearly three years ago, I wrote about the little white church just east of Tayside on the south side of Sandringham Road. In an area settled primarily by Catholics and Presbyterians, the Roxborough Church was unique. It was home to a Baptist congregation for over 150 years.

At the time, I thought the faith-based building would make a great addition to the Museum’s collection, since churches played such a key role in the everyday lives of pioneers. I also opined that it could offer the GPM a new source of revenue from renting the old church for vintage weddings.

When I asked the then Chair of the museum, Marlie Tilker, about the possibility of acquiring this unique building she replied, “…There’s a whole lot of ground to cover, but it costs nothing to dream. And sometimes dreams come true.”

Just not in this case.

When we fast forward to the spring of 2018, I’m saddened to report that the Roxborough Baptist Church is being dismantled… and not to be moved to Dunvegan. I received the following message from Tammy MacGregor of Maxville. Her family’s history has long been tied to this little church.

“I don’t know if you are aware of this, but the old church on Sandringham Road is currently being deconstructed. I had never thought of it as a log building, but it makes sense of course, considering its vintage. And as you can imagine, the old timbers are magnificent. The structure is still standing, but windows, pews, floorboards, and some of the wood siding has already been removed. I don’t know where it is destined to go, but imagine it will be put back together somewhere… (as) they seem to be doing a careful job of taking it apart. Dad and I stopped by today. Many memories for me, and I can only imagine what it brings to mind for him.”

And one more piece of architectural heritage is lost.

Ham ad erratum

While we’re in church-like frame of mind, I‘d like to set the record straight on the ham supper being hosted later in May at the stone kirk in Dunvegan. There were two errors the event’s listing in North Glengarry’s “Calendar of Events” ad in last week’s Glengarry News.

First of all, the church address is wrong. It’s actually 1630 County Road 30. More importantly, the price of the dinner for children between the ages of five and twelve is $6.00. Not $12, as incorrectly mentioned in the ad.

While the event is still over three weeks away, you may want to skimp on few calories now, so you can really splurge when you hit the buffet table. Just the thought of this hearty church meal — with ham, scalloped potatoes, vegetables, baked beans, jelly salads, homemade rolls, huge slices of pie and other desserts, tea and coffee — makes my mouth water. This year’s old-fashioned Ham Supper takes place on Saturday, May 26th, from 4:30 – 7:00 PM. Tickets are $15 for youths and adults, $6 for children ages 5 – 12 and kids under 5 are free.

The kids of summer

I apologize to the minor baseball volunteers, but their release arrived a bit late for last week’s column. Nevertheless, for families with children between the ages of four and twelve, it still may be of interest to you.

If you’re looking for an affordable team sport experience that your kids can enjoy for the rest of their lives, you might want to visit the Glengarry Minor Baseball League’s web site at: glengarryminorbaseball.sportngin.com. Fees range from $50 to $80, depending on the child’s age and this includes:  up to12 weeks of baseball, use of a team jersey, a hat for your child to keep, an 8×10 photo and, most importantly, a lifetime of memories.

The program offers four levels of play… Tee Ball, Coach Pitch, Minor League and Major League. To register, just click on the “Registration” button at the top of the Home page of the site I mentioned earlier.

What connection does a children’s baseball league based in Alexandria have to do with Dunvegan? First of all, it’s the “Glengarry” Minor Baseball League. Secondly, the league attracted kids, and even a coach, from the Dunvegan area last year.So why not in the future? Play ball.

Shine on crescent moon

You and I have gone down some strange roads together over the years. And the journey is far from over. Today, we’re going to look into a question I was asked (and unable to answer) this past weekend: why do outhouses depicted in popular culture have those crescent moon cutouts in their doors?

According to the “Outhouse Trivia & Links” page on the Legends of America web site, the practice dates back to Colonial Americawhen few people could read. According to this web authority on poop-in-a-box history, in the American colonies of the 1700s just as today, symbols or icons were used to differentiate between female and male facilities. The crescent moon cutout indicated that an outhouse was reserved for women, while star cutouts marked the ones that were for men.

Why was the moon shape chosen for women? Who knows. If I were to guess, I say it had something to do with lunar cycles. But what aspect of manhood does a star represent? Perhaps it has to do with boyhood dreams of wearing a sheriff’s tin star and facing down bad guys.

Why did the crescent moon shape, rather than the star, become the icon we associate with outhouse-hood today? Once again, I’m not sure. Could it be that women took better care of their facilities and more crescent-pierced doors survived the test of time?

All hail the future

While making a cash purchase a few weeks ago, the total came to $10.15. After handing the young cashier a $20 bill, it occurred to me that, if I threw an extra quarter into the pot, I could avoid getting back a pocket full of change. Big mistake. The cashier had already punched in my $20 as the tendered amount and couldn’t figure out how to make change for the new proffered sum… unless the cash register displayed it. In the end, the cashier had to consult with a colleague and together they used a calculator to figure it out.

Yes, I could have told the employee to just give me $10.10 in change and have been done with it. But there was no one else in line and I really wanted to see how well today’s young people are doing with the shiny new Discovery Math curriculum. No doubt they’re more self-actualized. But numerical literacy still seems to be a bit of a challenge for them.

Thoughts that it can’t get much worse were dashed when a friend told me a disturbing tale from not-so-Great Britain. A recent story that made the headlines there tells of teachers having to replace analog clocks with digital ones. Analog timepieces are the one with numbers around the circumference and two or three “hands.” Pupils taking exams complained that they were struggling to read the correct time on an analog clock. The April 24thstory in The Telegraphtells it like this:

“Mr. Trobe, a former headmaster, said that teachers want their students to feel as relaxed as possible during exams. Having a traditional clock in the room could be a cause of unnecessary stress, he added. He said that schools are trying to make everything as ‘as easy and straightforward as possible’ for pupils during their exams. ‘You don’t want them to put their hand up to ask how much time is left,’ he said. ‘Schools will inevitably be doing their best to make young children feel as relaxed as the can be.”

Good call. That’s exactly how things will work when these young lads and lasses get out in the real world.