Home-grown Nine Lessons

14 Dec

Traditions are like rivers; they start as tiny gurgling brooks and grow ever stronger as they meander their way to the sea. One example is the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols that was first held in1918 in King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, England. This imaginative Christmas Eve mash-up combined bible readings with carols and was an immediate hit with gown and town alike. One hundred years later, the Festival from King’s College Chapel is broadcast to millions around the globe over BBC World Service. To this day, King’s Collegesets aside half the tickets to this unique service for members of the general public. But, the demand is so great, an annual lottery must be held to select the winning names.

While the odds of snagging a ticket to see the service in Cambridge are in the Lotto 6/49 range, you might be interested in a local Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols service. I’ve learned one is being held at St. Michael and all Angels Anglican Church in Maxville on Wednesday, December 21st at 7:00 pm. St. Michael and all Angels is a beautiful venue for this celebration of the Christmas message, especially if Mother Nature sees fit to contribute just a few fluffy flakes of falling snow.

The service will be an ecumenical one, with participants from a number of houses of worshipin the region… including Dunvegan’s Kenyon Presbyterian Church. In addition to reading one of the lessons, Rev. Jim will offer the closing prayer. As well, Rosemary Chatterson and her keyboard will accompany the audience for a number of the carols.

Here’s the final score…

Speaking of Rosemary Chatterson, as I was putting together this week’s column, I received an email from her thanking the cast and crew of Music & Mayhem 2022 and congratulatingthem for raising an amazing net total of $12,500 for the Beyond 21 Foundation.

Cast member Gerry (Elvis the Pelvis) Schmidt quickly wrote back, “I feel so fortunate that we have someone with your talents and dedication to plan, organize and make it all happen. Congratulations Rosemary.” And Gerry is right. Although I would say Glengarry is fortunate to have all these talented, community-minded individuals. As co-stage manager Wendy MacLeod put it, “I have had so many compliments on the show – from M&M veteran and newbie audience members alike… (And) the best is an awesome donation to an awesome cause at the perfect time of year.”

Remuddled to death

If you travel regularly along the eastern leg of Dunvegan Road – the one that meets up with County Road 34 – you may have noticed the sad little house that went on sale just west of usabout a week ago and sold within the space of a few days. I say “sad” because the small property is but a weak shadow of its former self.

From the 1940s through to the 1980s, Fred Metchette and his wife, Doris, used the little log house as their cottage. A former neighbour of theirs, Jim Fletcher, used to set his clock by them, so to speak. “As a small child, I would sort of await their arrival, as that indicated summer,” Jim told me in an email. “We always enjoyed having them (return to Dunvegan). They were tidy, respectful and neat people.” Like many young boys, Jim was fascinated with automobiles and loved the unusual one the Metchettes drove. He eventually found out that it was a two-tone (grey/brown) 1948 Nash Super 600 coupe. As some readers may recall, one quirky feature of the Nash line was that, from as early as the 1930s, the interior of some models converted to a double bed (with your feet in the trunk). As an aside, Jim eventually bought a Nash of his own… a new 1962 Rambler. Even though it had a bed, “It was the worst car I ever had,” Jim said.

You’ll note that Jim’s childhood impression of the Metchettes was they were “neat” and “tidy.” I would agree. They were the same way when we knew them in the early 1980s. They loved their tiny square log cottage and kept it, and the grounds around, neat as a pin. I was told that part of their affection for the property was because they had ridden out the Depression there. However, by 1982, the couple was finding the upkeep beyond them and they put the cute little house on the market. It wasn’t long before they found a buyer.

The Metchettes came out for one last weekend to say a final goodbye to their Dunvegan home away from home. As they were leaving on the Sunday, they put a match to the papers in the wood stove so as to leave it ready for its new owner. And that proved to be their, and the house’s, undoing. An hour or two after they hit the road for Montreal, neighbour Robb Cutts noticed smoke, drove over and then rushed home to call the fire department. The house wasn’t totally destroyed, but the damage was bad enough that the sale was cancelled.So the Metchettes had no choice but to have a real ‘fire sale’.

Over the next forty years, the once lovely property had a long succession of owners and underwent one remuddling after another… each one more ugly than the last. One of the more recent iterations even involved moving two huge rusting truck trailers on to the propertyas storage sheds.

My sincere hope is that the new owner, whomever he, she or ‘they’ may be, will channel the spirit of the Metchettes, rid the property of its scrapyard vibe and treat the wee house with the respect it deserves.