… un Got lakht

23 May

“Der mentsh trakht un Got lakht”is a Yiddish proverb pretty well sums up last Friday’s euchre luncheon. If your Yiddish is a bit rusty, the English equivalent is: “Man plans and God laughs.” In recent months, the euchre turnout has been steadily growing, so we based our food preparation on this trend. Unfortunately, fewer players showed up than we had anticipated. Regardless, everyone seemed to have a good time… and they sure ate well. Which is all that really matters.

Linda Burgess brought fresh salmon sandwiches on small multigrain croissants, which were the hit of the day. And Terry and I did sliced ham, lettuce and mayo on cloud-soft dinner rolls, plus a tray of traditional egg salad sandwiches seasoned with a dash of Aromat. For those unfamiliar with this unique flavour enhancer, it’s popular in Europe (especially Holland and Switzerland) and South Africa as a means of adding extra taste and depth to soups, sauces, meat and egg dishes.

Our 50/50 prizes went to: Isabel MacLennan, Margo MacRae and Donald Clark. May’s “Five Stars” prize went to Rolland Paquette. Isabel MacLennan took 1stprize, Johanna Van Loon earned 2ndprize and Helen Bellefeuille won 3rdprize. Helen also took home the Door Prize. Our next Euchre Luncheon is planned for June 21st. I sincerely hope that I’ll see both new and regular players cross our threshold. PS: I’d also like to take a few seconds to thank Robert Campbell… without whom hosting this event would be a whole lot harder. Each month, he sets out the card tables and chairs and them puts them away once the dust settles. And on Friday, he even gave one of the players a lift home. I appreciate his dedication and community spirit immensely.

Kirk supper: dine in or take out

This coming Saturday, May 26th, Terry and I plan on leaving the cooking in the capable hands of the Women’s Association of Dunvegan’s Kenyon Presbyterian Church. Their annual “Ham Supper” is a much-anticipated event, and deservedly so.

As always, the old-fashioned church meal will feature ham, scalloped potatoes, vegetables, baked beans, jelly salads, homemade rolls, assorted desserts (hopefully, this includes raisin pie), tea and coffee.

Dinner will be served at the Kenyon Presbyterian Church hall in Dunvegan, 1630 County Road 30, from 4:30 to 7:00 PM. Tickets are available at the door on a first come, first served basis for $15 per adult and $6 per child aged six to twelve. Little ones five and under are free. And if you want to share the goodness with someone stuck at home, just ask for the take-out version of this tasty repast. Meal-in-a-box service is available at no extra charge.

For those folks who attend the Ham Supper every year, I realize I’m preaching to the converted. However, I’d really like to get a few more newcomers to attend this year. Take it from someone who was in your shoes many decades ago… events like these are the perfect way to ease yourself into the life of this community. The food’s delicious, and the proceeds go to an excellent cause.

The Kenyon Women’s Association uses the funds they raise from this and their Summer Church Social (more about this in a future column) to help with the repair and upkeep church buildings and other church related activities. So pluck up your courage and attend this community-building event. Some of us may growl a bit, but we don’t bite.

Meet & Greetfest

To carry on in the ‘newcomer assimilation’ vein, I wanted to mention an upcoming event being held by the Dunvegan Recreation Association on Sunday, May 27th… their annual “Meet Your Neighbour” get-together. For a good number of years, this function has provided the perfect opportunity to shake off the dust of winter hibernation, greet old friends and, hopefully, meet new neighbours.

The DRA will supply refreshments including a scrumptious cake, if past gatherings are any indication. Volunteers will also be organizing games for the kids. And I’m told there will be some good news about a major facelift being planned for the little park. Hopefully, we’ll see you there from 10:30 AM to 12:00 noon at the Dunvegan Recreation Park on County Road 30, right across from the church hall. Once again this year, the “Meet Your Neighbour” get-together has been planned to coincide with the end of the Sunday service at the church. In place of their usual post-service coffee klatch, parishioners will join us in the park to join in this celebration of “community.”

Feeling disenfranchised?

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re sufficiently engaged to know that Ontario will go to the polls in a few weeks to elect a new provincial government. Never in recent history has an election been so important. And never have voters had so little real choice. As our province teeters on the edge of bankruptcy, the three main combatants — the Liberals, The Progressive Conservatives and the New Democratic Party — offer little more than a Hobson’s choice. That’s a term coined in the early 1600s when Thomas Hobson, a livery stable owner, introduced a strict rotation system, giving each customer the choice of taking the horse nearest the stable door or none at all. This rule became known as Hobson’s choice, and has come to mean “no choice at all.”

Each of the party leaders wants to buy our votes with our own money, promising us billions of dollars of shiny new goodies. That’s not to say free dental care and better long-term care for seniors aren’t admirable goals. But after seeing tens of billions of tax dollars wasted on bloated green energy contracts and a depressingly long list of other boondoggles brought to us by the red trillium gang, anyone with half a brain knows we can’t afford any of these lofty campaign promises. And to add insult to injury, the candidates assume we’re too dense to realize they’re putting us in hock for generations to come.

When the topic of the upcoming election arose at recent dinner party, our host mentioned that he had been trying, unsuccessfully, to contact one of the SD&G/Prescott-Russell candidates to ask why there seems to be so little attention focused on engaging with the voters of North Glengarry. For contrast, he directed us to the flurry of campaign activity in South Glengarry. I checked and think I know why he’s had no luck.

With a population of approximately 10,000 — around 6,500 of who are eligible to vote — North Glengarry only represents about 8% to 9% of the eligible voters in this riding. Historically, with voter turnout hovering around 50%, this translates into about 3,250 North Glengarrians who will actually cast a ballot. Based on past winning percentages for the riding of around 50% (Grant Crack won with 43.18% of the vote in 2011 and 49.74% in 2014), North Glengarry represents only 1,625 votes for the first place candidate. Hardly worth wasting the time and expense to put out signs, let alone answering phone calls or e-mails from concerned citizens. Let’s not kid ourselves. This is a Prescott-Russell election. North Glengarry is only in the mix to balance out the numbers. Makes one feel a mite disenfranchised.

Snowy owl irruption?

On a lighter note, I received an e-mail recently from Silvia Terho who lives on Stewart’s Glen Road. She reported that a snowy owl had set up camp there, instead of the species’ usual hunting grounds much further north. Concerned with the owl’s welfare, she contacted the Wild Bird Rescue folks. They suggested catching the bird and bringing it to Ottawa. That’s when Silvia reached out to me and I, in turn, put her in touch with our local naturalist, Peggi Calder.

She and Peggi took a drive along Stewart’s Glen to the owl’s usual hangout but, by the time they arrived, the ungrateful wretch had decided to pull up stakes and hit the skies. Peggi also got in touch with Jacques “Birdman” Bouvier who told her, “Snowy owls are unusual, but it happens during big irruption years. Some will be seen in June even.”

The Project Snow Storm web site reports that, “every once in a while, for reasons that are not fully understood, snowy owls come flooding down from the north in a phenomenon known as an irruption.”

Apparently, smaller irruptions occur every four or five years. However, every once and awhile a mega-irruption occurs. This is when snowy owls show up much farther south, and in much greater numbers. For example, during the winter of 2013-14, the largest irruption in almost 100 years occurred in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions, with snowy owls being reported as far south as Florida and Bermuda.