Our calico general

12 Sep

It no doubt escaped the notice of many at last Sunday’s glorious Harvest Festival at the Glengarry Pioneer Museum, but the day was being quietly overseen by a young woman clad in a period calico dress, a straw bonnet and clutching a little drawstring purse. For Lindsey Howes, chair of the museum’s fall festival committee, it was the culmination of many months of cajoling and planning. And thanks to the hard work of everyone on her dedicated team — and the cooperation of Mother Nature — the event unfolded without a hitch.

When Lindsey signed on as the event committee’s chair four years ago, it was with the understanding that she would fulfill the role for five years. Fall 2019 will be her fifth year. It will also be the Harvest Festival’s 20thanniversary, and my guess is that our little calico general will want to go out with a bang. Whoever replaces her will have big little shoes to fill. Thank you Lindsey.

Fallfest scorecard

Barb Newman’s Harvest Sale tent was just one in a string of successes racked up at Sunday’s autumnal celebration. When I dropped by the canvas big top after lunch and saw the 24-foot long, east-facing counter was piled high with baked goods, I was heartened to learn that this was the second time they had filled it up. And by the time things were wrapping up, all that was left were a few muffins and a lonely bunch of rhubarb. I’m told that Barb’s tent raised over $2,600 which, if not a record, is darn close.

In terms of attendance, the gatekeepers counted about 670 on the clickers. Accounting for some people who snuck in (yes we saw you), the artisans, horse parade people, agricultural demonstrators, entertainers and volunteers it’s estimated that around 950 souls put in an appearance. Not too shabby for a day that had raft of competing events going on.

Lindsey asked me to thank the many volunteers who made the day so successful, but I think she summed it up best. “An event like the Harvest Festival would not be possible without the generosity of so many wonderful people,” Lindsey e-mailed me. “It is truly mind-boggling and heart-warming to see the community come together to support the preservation of our history.”

Rocky suggestion

As I wandered about the museum grounds last Sunday, I stopped by for a peek at one of my favourite artifacts, the Jamieson Stoning Machine. Hidden in the north end of the Drive Shed, the horse-powered device was used to move boulders from fields to the stone fencerows. It was an elegant — albeit time-consuming — solution to a serious problem. Men would chisel small holes in the boulder to allow the unit’s large tongs to grasp the large stone. Then it would be winched out of the ground and a team of horses would pull the machine, and the boulder, out of the way. The process would probably take a crew the better part of a day to move just one stone.

Rocks have been the bane of farmers the world around, but especially those in Glengarry. Countless lads and lassies raised in this county had their hands bloodied picking stones from Glengarry’s fields. So, if the Committee is open to a suggestion, I’d like to see the Jamieson machine temporarily relocated to next year’s agricultural demonstration area. Of course, it’s too fragile to actually be used. However, a stone could be temporarily moved to the site and holes chiseled for the tongs to grasp. Better yet, to show the progress we’ve made in just over 100 years, I’d also like to contrast the Jamieson machine with a Bugnot Stone Crusher, the amazing tractor-mounted device that can pulverize 40 acres of stone-strewn fields in a single day. What a wonderful way to show visitors from away that, while today’s farmers venerate their forebears, it’s no longer a time of straw hats and chewing on a stalk of Timothy grass.

“Suicide is painless”

Korea, both south and north, has been in the news of late. So it’s totally appropriate that the Dunvegan Recreation Association has chosen a film set in this Asian land for Friday’s “Saturday Night at the Movies” event. That’s right, because of a scheduling mix-up, this month’s movie will be held on Friday, September 14that 7:00 PM… not on Saturday.

The movie will be M*A*S*H. a 1970 American satirical black comedy war film. Directed by Robert Altman, the film depicts a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) during the Korean War. Naturally, given the timing of when it was made, the subtext is about the Vietnam War. It stars Donald Sutherland, Tom Skerritt, and Elliott Gould, with Gary Burghoff as Radar. This was the movie that inspired the television series M*A*S*H, which ran from 1972 to 1983.

By the way, the song Suicide is Painlesswas written for a scene Altman nicknamed “The Last Supper,” in which Captain “Painless Pole” Waldowski decides to kill himself. Altman’s had two stipulations for the song: its rather strange title and it had to be “the stupidest song ever written.” Composer Johnny Mandel was commissioned to write it, but only managed to produce the music. For the lyrics, Altman turned to his 14-year-old son, Michael.

Event organizer, Laurie Maus asked me to remind you to bring your own refreshments and a cushion or comfy chair. The DRA will provide popcorn. There’s no entrance fee, but donations are always appreciated.

Meet & greets @ the hall

Vivian Franklin has alerted me that the DRA Hall has been booked for two municipal election-related events you might want to know about.

On Thursday, September 20that 7:30 PM, Dunveganite Louise Quenneville — a candidate for the position of North Glengarry’s Councilor at Large — will be hosting a Q&A session. The meeting will give local voters the opportunity to make her acquaintance and hear about her platform. She’s also looking forward to learning what changes voters in this region would like to see.

Then, on Sunday, September 23rdat 7:00 PM, Brian Caddell will hold an information event for his campaign. Brian is running for Deputy Mayor of North Glengarry. A retired teacher, some of Brian’s most recent volunteer activities include the Save Our Schools campaign and chairing the Save the Grotto committee. Everyone is welcome to attend and learn what Brian hopes to accomplish if elected.

Delicious dinner music

Everyone has to eat. So if you’re one of the lucky folks who have scored tickets for the Cassie & Maggie concert on Saturday, September 22 at 7:30 PM, I’d like to suggest you also book a seat for the DRA’s pre-concert Italian feast. Beginning at 6:00 PM, you’re invited to sit down for a hearty lasagna dinner (both meat & veggie options will be available) that includes Caesar salad, garlic bread, dessert and tea, coffee or cold drinks. For those so inclined, there will also be a cash bar with VQA wines and local microbrewery offerings from both Cassel Brewery and Beau’s. To reserve tickets for the dinner, please contact Ben Williams at 613-525-4006 or by email at wood_guy_ben@yahoo.ca. Tickets are only $10 per person. However, there are only 45 of them available, so don’t delay.

Regardless of whether you choose to dine with us or not, I do urge you purchase your tickets for the concert. As I mentioned last week, it will feature Cassie and Maggie MacDonald from Nova Scotia. Raised on traditional East Coast fiddle music, the two sistersperform in both English and Scottish Gaelic. And if you’re wondering if they’re worth the $25 price of admission, I’d suggest you go on-line and take a gander at the many videos available there. Terry and I did and we’re going.

As an added bonus, the opening act for the concert will be Gabrielle & Rachelle Campbell. A unique mother and daughter act, the duet hails from Alexandria. Gabrielle studied classical music in Montreal and jazz at St. Francis Xavier University, before returning home to enjoy a musical career as a vocalist, pianist and teacher. Her 16-year-old daughter, Rachel, often performs with the MacLeod Fiddlers and Torridon.

Now, you might be able to purchase tickets at the door on the night of the concert. However, the Cassie & Maggie concert at Union Hall in Mississippi Mills on Friday night is already sold out. So your best bet is to get them in advance by calling (613) 402-1425 or visiting the Festival’s web site at www.thefestivalofsmallhalls.com.