The circle of life

17 May

This past Saturday, a family committal service was held in the Dunvegan church graveyard for Mary Evelyn MacQueen. However, as the number of cars in the parking lot suggested, the turnout was a bit more robust than one might have expected for a ‘private’ affair. Evelyn had made it clear she considered Kenyon Church her family. As such, members were welcome to attend, and attend they did.

Mother Nature provided the perfect setting, sunny skies with scudding clouds and enough of a breeze to discourage insects from alighting. Not too hot. Not too cold. While the occasion was tinged with sadness, it was also one of joy as Evelyn was finally reunited with Beverly, her husband of seventy-one years. While Rev. Jim Farrier presided, the actual committal was put in the hands of Evelyn’s four grandchildren. Morgan MacQueen handed out the roses, and Shannan Campolongo carried in the urn and placed it by the graveside. Then Evelyn’s two oldest grandchildren, Shawna Maxwell and Hughie MacQueen laid her ashes to rest.

I’m not sure of how many of those in attendance noticed the tall white wicker basket that stood as a silent sentinel behind the headstone. I later learned that it was a subtle reminder of the circle of life. The basket and its twin had stood beside the altar of St. Columbus church in Kirk Hill when they were married there in 1952.

Peek behind the scenes

It’s going to be a busy holiday weekend in Dunvegan. To begin with, it’s the start of the Glengarry Pioneer Museum’s 2023 season. As an added bonus, Sunday, May 21st coincides with Ontario’s “Doors Open” day. From 1:00 to 4:00 pm, you’re invited to peek behind the scenes at how this little gem of a museum operates. You’ll have the chance to learn about the artifact acquisition process and how they’re preserved. Other “behind the scenes “ stations will explain exhibition preparation, event planning, native plants and more. You also have a chance talk to the volunteers behind the events… try your hand at window restoration… watch local crafters at work… and enjoy musical entertainment and refreshments. And thanks to the province-wide “Doors Open” program, admission is totally free.

Code-breaking thriller

Saturday night, May 20th, is also movie night at the Dunvegan Recreation hall. This month’s cinematic offering is The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley. IMDB, the online database of information on films, television series and the like, sums it up as the real life story of legendary cryptanalyst Alan Turing and his brilliant team of World War II code-breakers at Bletchley Park as they race to decipher the Nazi’s secret Enigma Machine code. Even if you’ve seen the film, it’s well worth a second look.

Admission to this evening of entertainment is free, but a donation jar will be available. To complete your movie experience, event organizers Laurie Maus and Bob Garner provide complimentary buckets of freshly made hot-buttered popcorn. All you need to bring are liquid refreshments and a comfy chair or a cushion for one of the DRA’s folding seats. The movie starts at 7:00 pm sharp.

The art of fundraising

I wanted to remind all budding artists out there that the museum is hosting a fun-filled Paint Party on Thursday, May 25th at 6:00 pm at the DRA hall. For just $35 per person, an experienced artist will guide you every step of the way as you paint your version of the featured image. All art materials, snacks and refreshments are included. And no experience is necessary. However, you must register in advance. Tickets can be purchased through the museum’s website or you can call Mona Andre at 343-987 or email Carmella Ranellucci at cranellucci123@gmail.

Just plain neighbourly

I also wanted to give you a heads up that the Sunday after next — i.e., May 28th — the Dunvegan Recreation Association is bringing back their popular “Meet Your Neighbours” event. The first such get-together since the Covid lockdowns, it will be held in the Clark-MacIntosh Park from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. I’m not yet sure of what all is planned, apart from the fact that there will be live music. Steve ‘Spider’ Merritt, Dunvegan’s very own retired busker, told me that he will be there.

Real ‘hothouse’ spring

I can’t think of a time when there have been as many “For Sale” signs at the end of driveways up and down the roads of Dunvegan. Almost all are for homes in the mid to upper six-figure price range. So, without the ‘urban flight’ sales tsunami that arose during Covid, it will be interesting to see how quickly they turnover. What all these residences have in common is their target demographic. These homes are not intended for young singles or couples just getting into the market.

Jack Fraser and I were discussing this at the museum’s recent AGM. The catalyst was the quick sale of the Brenda Kennedy’s house in Baltics Corners. I expressed mild surprize it had gone so quickly, but Jack was not. “There are no ‘starter’ homes anymore,” he said. “Even the new builds are very upscale and priced accordingly.” And he’s right. A definite fixer-upperdown the road from us sold a few months ago in a matter of days.

The good news in all this is that Brenda — who was increasingly finding life in a big old country house a bit much to handle — was able to move on with her life. She already has a comfortable apartment in the New Edinburgh district of Ottawa, close to shopping and other services. Best of luck, Brenda. You will be missed.