Cakewalk Chronicles – Nothing wrong with having opinions

Esther Darlington MacDonald's monthly column of living life in BC's small interior towns.

Transit service – the good news and the bad new

The good news is, both Clinton and Ashcroft have decided to maintain the service. The bad news is that the bus will no longer be stopping in Cache Creek. CC Council decided not to fund the service. They’ve made that decision on the basis of not enough people in Cache Creek are  using the transit. But have they considered that some who did like to stop in Cache Creek to shop and dine, can no longer do so?  Transportation is a two way proposition. One user from the area was very disappointed at the decision.  He told me that he liked to visit Cache Creek once a week to shop for groceries and to dine in the various establishments. S’funny. Surely Cache Creek needs all the business it can get in these purse tightening times?

Opinions – Who doesn’t have them?

“You are opinionated.” As if having opinions is a medical condition. Like hives, or shingles. For those who feel that expressing opinions is a kind of affliction, I venture to suggest that, if all the people stopped expressing opinions, the sum of human communication would dry up and all that would be left is a gulley of dry stones. I guess I come by way of being “opinionated” honestly. I recall with pleasure those warm evenings on the veranda at 569 Corydon Avenue in Winnipeg’s Fort Rouge, when family members gathered. Opinions fired back and forth across the veranda. Opinions on religion, politics, personalities, appearances, – you name it. Those were the days when children were “seen and not heard”. So my sister and I would sit on the steps and listen. Some of those opinions stayed with me for years. Others were discarded as we grew up and began to think for ourselves. Opinions? My favorite section of any newspaper is the Opinion page. Hey! There’s one heck of a lot of people out there who are not afraid to express opinions on every conceivable subject.

IndigenEyes, Be Here and Now

Educator Meeka Morgan’s multi media production of student art, essays, and music held messages that gave insight into the concerns and hopes of the native people. It was very impressive. I attended the event March 7 at Ashcroft Secondary School, along with a very good turnout of educators, board members and the general public. What struck me was the plea by regional chiefs as far back as 1910 to visiting Prime Minister, Wilfred Laurier, outlining their deep concern for loss of land, fishing and hunting rights. Prepared for the chiefs by anthropologist and linguist, James Teit of Spences Bridge, the plea has turned out to be an unanswered prayer for justice. Yes, some changes have happened. But the essential issues remain unresolved. Governments move with glacial speed. Given the impact of global warming, I guess that analogy might not be so appropriate. The art work, individual and murals was sensitive, even dynamic. Kudos to Meeka for this fine work with its messages brought so keenly to our senses.

Good Citizens of the Year

The awards, sponsored by Rotary, were made in Ashcroft this year and the event was held in the River Inn March 14. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. It was another full house event as people gathered to honour those two women who have served our communities so faithfully and so fully in the past and in the present.

Lois Petty of Ashcroft, Deacon of St. Alban’s Church, and minister for the Royal Canadian Legion, has performed selflessly in every area of the community. Her special wisdom and kindly patience has been a God’s Send to many of us over the years. Likewise, Tanya Wong Woodburn has served in so many capacities of service, including fund raising, that it will take more than a paragraph to outline them all. Selfless service is a rare and beautiful quality. Communities who possess such persons are blessed beyond words.

Stompin’ Tom is Gone

Well, not really. Stompin’ Tom’s very particular gravel voiced style pounded its way into our hearts and senses for a good many years. In the early 1970s, Stompin’ Tom performed at 100 Mile House. We went up from Clinton to hear him. The building was packed to the door frame. We stood  to hear Stompin’ for a couple of hours. I’ll never forget the performance. hearing the songs that made the Ontarian a legend.

The Demise of Courtesy

I’ve been reading a few articles lately written by people who think civility and courtesy, since the digital tech stuff began to control, well, our digitals and not particularly our minds, that Canadians, who used to be considered some of the most courteous people on earth, have become a nation of boors.  Well, maybe that is a criticism that is a little harsh. But let’s face it, vocabulary, such as it is, has changed. The human voice has faded into the ether. The foreshortening of a once beautiful language has left us with minds of corresponding terseness. For example, if you don’t agree with me, us, or them, you’re wrong. Period. Attitudes and manners reflect this foreshortening of reasonable communication. We seem to be losing our ability to converse with our voices, hearts and minds in a civil, intelligent manner. A strange phenomenon.  Weird, in fact.

Memorial service for Marrion Baatz

It is going to be difficult to imagine a community without Marrion Baatz. She passed away earlier this month and the  memorial service to honor her life was held March 16 in the Ashcroft Community Hall.  The hall was filled to capacity. The warmth and welcoming smile that engaged us all was one we will never forget. An open mind and a generous heart is how the writer would characterize Marrion. The home was always welcoming. Soup’s On will never be the same without her. Marrion and Fritz were always an active couple who were present at most events. They loved the musical performances and cheered the entertainers on. She was one of my favorite persons. Marrion’s inner peace and outward joy was a fine manifestation of her faith in God and her love for Jesus.

Plein Aire rises again!

It isn’t just the swallows that rise up into our cliffs come May in Ashcroft. On May 21-23, artists will gather from distant points in the Province to paint our unique river landscapes and anything else in the area that inspires their brush. So you will find them everywhere in town, in the parks, in the back lanes, and on the streets and avenues.

Sidewalk Gallery in April

I’ve been invited to show some of my work in the Sidewalk Gallery windows on Railway Avenue in Ashcroft. There’s a self portrait titled, Old Woman in a Yellow Vest, and about a dozen riverscapes, a few which I call the Prehistory series, because the colour and movement springs from my imagining of the geological and cataclysmic forces that shaped our particular section of the Thompson River. This theme and the streetscapes of Ashcroft’s lanes and avenues remain something of an obsession for me.  Hope you find them interesting.

Esther Darlington MacDonald