A day to get up & go

13 Sep

Yes, I’m aware that this will be my last Glengarry News column… and that the “dead tree” medium of community newspapers is… well, dead. Nevertheless, as a volunteer columnist, my remit is to report community news, even if from the half-submerged deck of a sinking ship. And that is what I will do, starting with last Sunday’s Harvest Fall festival at the Glengarry Pioneer Museum. The day started out, as cloud-cast days tend to, extremely slowly… with visitors trickling in at a rate I could count on my extremities, without even removing my footwear. But as one sage early-bird visitor commented, “this is exactly the type of day I do get up and go… the line-ups are few, the crowds smaller and the parking easier.”

Weather challenged days like Sunday morning also play havoc with the organizing committee’s carefully laid plans. Inevitably, some exhibitors and vendors call to cancel, or simply fail to show up, which can result in a suboptimal visitor experience. For example, a honey producer who had raved about last year’s sunny festival and had committed to return, never showed up last Sunday. This, of course, was their choice. Nevertheless, the disappointment I saw one young boy’s face was sad to behold as he searched in vain for their booth. He’d waited a year to buy more of their ‘honey straws’.

As the day progressed and the sky lightened, visitors seemed to appear as if by magic and the museum grounds took on a laid-back festive air. Visitors wandered about with huge grins on their faces, and while the numbers were up significantly from earlier in the day, there was still enough room for children to run and play and for old friends and neighbours to stand around and chat. Another highlight of the day was the new music venue: the Williams Pavilion. Oft times during the day, it was in standing-room-only mode.

There simply isn’t enough room here to thank the 220 Harvest Fall Festival volunteers. It’s amazing how so many folks give so generously of their time. Bless you all and may this tradition carry on for generations to come. By the way, at the end of the day, 620 visitors came through the gates.

Jelly Bean steals show

If you followed Sunday’s Cow Pie 50/50 raffle, you know that our bovine guest in the 12-noon draw suffered ‘projectile dysfunction’ and failed to leave her mark on the field. As a result, we had to resort to a random draw from the ticket stubs to chose the winning ticket. However, for the 2:00 draw, the requisite cow pie was dutifully deposited in record time on a square. We are now in the process of contacting the winners.

Before moving on to the next item, I wanted to single out the amazingly community-minded extended St. Denis family from the 6th of Kenyon. Once again, they brought up an entire platoon of bovine pooper troopers, including the hit of the show: the aptly named, one-month-old Jelly Bean. These guys are in my Agricultural Hall of Fame. Thanks are also due to the hard-working Cow Pie marketing crew: Claire Wallace, Zac Bowland, and Jean Lavergne. Well done, team.

Insider kirk report

You may recall that, in my previous column, I offered a brief second hand report on last Sunday’s Memorial Sunday service. I’d also hoped to include Rev. Jim Ferrier’s impressions of the day, but our schedules failed to sync. When we did touch base, he concurred that the day was a great success, with attendance that approached capacity. I’m told that Ashley MacLeod-McRae’s ‘Kenyon Youth Strings’ were well received, as were her two daughters performing a welcome song in Gaelic and Lynn MacGillivray with a rendition of Piper’s Lament. When I asked Rev. Jim for his take on the special service, he told me, “… The day was wonderful. My thanks to the many people behind the scenes.”

DRA Movie Night news

Event organizers Laurie Maus and Bob Garner are pleased to announce that, after a summer hiatus, the Dunvegan Recreation’s ‘Saturday Night at the Movies” event is back. However, this month, because the hall is booked on the Saturday for a wedding, this month’s movie night will be held on Friday, September 15th. Movie Night returns to the 3rd Saturday of the month, as of October. This week, the movie is Sully. Directed by Clint Eastwood, the film is based on a real event: an emergency airplane landing on the Hudson River. Admission is free and includes a complimentary bucket of hot-buttered popcorn. All you need to bring are liquid refreshments and a comfy chair or a cushion. The film starts at 7:00 pm sharp, and freewill donations are gratefully accepted.

Goodbye from a “pompous jerk”

Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but I note that my final column in this 131 year-old newspaper will be published on the 13th of the month. A string of bad luck has certainly hastened the paper’s demise. To start, there was the paper’s inept ownership. (At the time of this writing, the community columnists have not been officially informed of the paper’s closure and thanked for their volunteer contribution.) In addition, the publication suffered uninspired management and the flight of life-giving ad revenue to social media. And its fate wasn’t helped by the Covid tsunami and the influx of blow-ins to the region whose insistence on privacy and dogged rejection local engagement has dramatically hastened the erosion of over a century of community cohesion.

Yes, I know a few of these newcomers have grasped Glengarry life with both hands, but they are exceptions to the rule. For example, of the 50 or 60 homes within the immediate orbit of the Glengarry Pioneer Museum, I’d be surprised if more than one or two residents bothered to amble down the road to attend last Sunday’s event at the museum. However, I’ve heard that ‘Father Time’ (a.k.a., Allan J. MacDonald, county archivist) will address the sociological and historical impact of the closure of the News on the future of Glengarry, elsewhere in this last edition.

So I’ll confine myself to thanking every one of my readers. Well, perhaps everyone except the anonymous reader who, in 2013, wrote to say, “I have known you for some time and to this day you are still an ignorant and pompous jerk.”

Your kind words, experiences, recollections and reminisces — plus your extensive research support — have, more often than not, made crafting this column a real pleasure. I make no promises, but the column may continue, in one form or other, as a source of community news. In the meantime, you are invited to enjoy past columns, and future jottings, by visiting my “Dunvegan: now & then” website at: Dunvegan-Times.ca. As we said back in the 60s… Peace!