Monday, September 25, 2017

Fleeing to our "liitle towns for moments of fellowship"

For such a time as this, Canadians surely did not ask or seek.

Let us please reject the poitics of fear and hate, as well as situations like the one that took place in Lethbridge, Alberta, involving a person from Cranbrook where I live.
 In 2014, I travelled  from Cranbrook to Toronto, (and back) where one of my oldest and dearest friends the late Harry "Butch" Pellow hosted a marvellous party attended by some folks I had not seen since high school days, more than 50 years ago. What a joyous occasion it was.
 As I flew across this vast and magnificent land, over the mountains, across the prairies to the forests of Ontario, into Toronto, which has been so much the central place in my life, I once again recalled the words of Bruce Hutchison in The Unknown Country.

Mr. Hutchison, who has Cranbrook roots, wrote in 1942, that "No one knows my country ...Who can know our loneliness on the immensity of prairie, in the dark forest and on the windy sea rock? A few lights, a faint glow in our largest city, the vast breast of the night and all around blackness and emptiness and silence. We flee to little towns for moments of fellowship."
2014 party attendees

In 2015, I made essentially the same trip across Canada but to Chapleau for the launch of 'The Chapleau Boys Go To War' which I co-authored with my cousin Michael McMullen.

Little did I think during my travels that I would be putting Mr. Hutchison's words into the context of 2018 in our country and beyond.
 He also posed the question: "Who but us can feel our fears and hopes and passions?"
 Indeed, who but us? And given our very troubled world, for a myriad of reasons, Canadians from coast to coast to coast vent their fears and hopes and passions as they try to understand, to make sense of it all.
 I won't pretend to have the answers, but I do know one thing for sure: Be not afraid.
 As Canadians, let us focus on the positive aspects of living in this still largely unknown country and strive to fulfill our hopes and passions.
 I often think of my mother's family who arrived in Canada in 1913 to make a new life for themselves. Not here long before my grandfather was badly burned in a fire but he survived. Then it was World War I, then the Great Depression, then World War II, and my father Flying Officer Jim Morris, was killed on active service in the RCAF in 1943.
 Through it all, my family and I know that yours faced its challenges too, and, never, ever let fear and hate rule their lives.
 Let me leave you with two quotes to think about:
 "Fear is the only true enemy, born of ignorance and the parent of anger and hate."  Edward Albert
 "The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear." Gandhi
 As difficult as it may be, let us focus on those things bringing us together rather than dividing us. Let us certainly not be intimidated, but lead the way to the "promised land" where our greatest hopes and passions will be fulfilled -- Canada!
 We are all children of the village in Canada and if need be, it is OK, even today to "flee" for a moment to the little towns for fellowship as Mr. Hutchison suggested in 1942.

I  did, even though the little town was a home in Toronto, and then Chapleau, the town where I was raised.  And as many readers know, my other safe place is Orlando, Florida My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Updated May 2018



 

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