Where have all the members gone?

11 Jan

Fans on this side of the sod who listened to folk music in the 50s and 60s no doubt remember Pete Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone? It’s a classic composition made even more famous when later covered by The Kingston Trio and Peter Paul & May.

I confess a bastardized version of the title came to mind (“Where Have All the Members Gone?”) when I was proofreading an article from an upcoming Glengarry Pioneer Museum newsletter. In it, James Prevost, membership coordinator, reports that the GPM currently has67 ‘Lifetime’ members, 55 ‘Individual’ and 59 ‘Family’ memberships.

One hundred and eighty-one members is nothing to sneeze at. Nevertheless. Given that the tiny museum in Dunvegan is mandated to preserve the history and artifacts of the hardy Scottish pioneers who settled in Glengarry nearly two centuries ago — and considering the healthy number of descendants of these pioneers who still reside in Kenyon, Lochiel, Alexandria and Maxville — I was surprised that more hadn’t signed up to show support and claim the benefits membership. These include: discounts on ‘special event’ admission fees; advance notice of all museum activities and events; subscription to the museum’s Timelinesnewsletter; free admission on non-event days; a discount on the rental of the WilliamsPavilion: and a 10% discount on all non-sale items in the museum’s gift shop.

If I’ve successfully ‘guilted’ you into renewing your membership, or to seriously consider joining for the first time… great. For more information, email: membership@glengarrypioneermuseum.ca. Or phone them at 613-527-5230.

Take me out to the…

Marlie Tilker requested that this month’s DRA ‘Saturday Night at the Movies’ event feature A League of Their Own. And Dunvegan Recreation event coordinators Lauie Maus and Bob Garner were able to find a copy of the 30 year-old comedy/drama by director Penny Marshall. So that’s what’s on the playbill for January 21st at 7 pm.

Now, not every film from 1990s has aged well, but I suspect this one is an exception. Without revealing any plot secrets, the movie examines a fictional American Midwest baseball league during WWII that features all-female players. It stars Geena Davis and Tom Hanks with a raft of supporting actors, from Garry Marshall and Lori Petty to Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell.

Marlie and husband Jim aren’t alone in their love of this film. According to Wikipedia, ALeague of Their Own was a homerun hit with both the critics and moviegoers alike. It grossed nearly a quarter of a billion dollars worldwide (in 2022 dollars). As well, Marshall’s superb production was selected by the US National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

I know you can probably stream this movie at home. That said; it’s a whole different experience watching it on a bigger screen, in the company of others, with the heavenly aroma of fresh hot-buttered popcorn. True, the DRA Hall doesn’t have an inclined floor,surround sound, or padded seating. In fact, it’s strongly recommended you bring a comfy cushion or even your own chair. On the plus side, you don’t have to drive to Cornwall, Ottawa or Montreal. And the admission (plus the popcorn) is free. However, a $5 per head donationto help support the DRA’s good works is encouraged. Hope to see you on the 21st.

PS: Laurie and Bob ingeniously turned my ‘paper popcorn bag noise’ complaint into the Sounds of Silence. My ears thank them.

Toe-mato, Tah-matto

After living in Dunvegan for over forty years, you’d think I’d know how to pronounce the word ‘Gaelic.” Turns out I’ve had it all wrong… at least to Scottish ears. Until just recently, when pronouncing the English word for the language of Scotland, I would say: “GAY-lik.” Apparently, this is the Irish pronunciation. (So at least I was true to MY roots.) That said, one source claims the preferred English word for the language spoken in Ireland is “Irish” rather than “Gaelic.”

I’ve subsequently learned that Scots pronounce the word: “GAA-lik.” So from now on, I’ll do my best to go with “GAA” rather than “GAY.” When in Rome, as they say.

Sundog’ millionaires

In a recent first-footer email wishing me Happy Hogmanay, reader Ken McEwen asked me if, “on a fine sunny winter’s day,” sundogs were still a feature in the late afternoon. To be frank, I had to look up what a sundog is. However, once I saw a picture of them, I instantly knew what he was referring to. (Yes, I know that ended in a proposition.) I’ve seen sundogs countless times, but who knew they had a name? Ken, for one. He still recalls sundogs from his days on the family farm in the 1940s. “I’d spot them coming home from the bush with a load of wood, as the sun was setting.”

Sundogs… or coloured spots located to the left, right, or both sides of old sol… are due to the refraction of sunlight through ice crystals in the atmosphere. The same process is responsible for ‘sun pillars’ or even the spectacular haloes that can surround the entire orb.On the negative side of the ledger, when conditions are ripe for sundogs to slip the leash, the mercury has shrivelled up at the bottom of the thermometer. On the plus side, we can still enjoy them, if we so choose. Ken reports that, “(Sadly) a city environment doesn’t allow viewing these occurrences.”

As a postscript, Ken wanted to remind all who celebrate the Tartan Bard’s birthday… Robbie Burns Day on January 25th… to put wee haggis on order and set aside a dram or two of single malt. Or Diet Pepsi in a can, if you’re a tee-totalling heathen like myself.