Sunday, 10 April 2011

A bit about Northern Gaijin

This is my first time blogging and my second post so I think that I’ll tell a bit about myself.  I have made forays into the public arena in the past but I’ve found there is little place for incisive wit and intellectual honesty. The following is a true story.
 I would like to share with you a vignette from my days living in the country in Bond Head, the hamlet where I lived in the Anglican (Episcopalian) rectory as a male clergy spouse.  Bond Head was founded in the 1840’s by Protestant Irish fleeing the Irish Potato Famine and flourished during the 1850’s providing grain to the British troops in the Crimean war.  Thus the town and the surrounding county, Tecumseth, became quite prosperous and considered themselves to be superior to its neighbouring county, West Quillimbury, with its town, Bradford.  Bradford is a market town whose main income derives from garden farming (lettuce, carrots, onions, etc.) in the adjacent Holland Marsh. Over time the BH declined in population and became the hamlet of about 500 residents when I lived in it; however, the sense of superiority remained. The president of the historical society to which I belonged referred to his county neighbours as “Marshians.”  A term heartily approved by the rest of the society who met in an Orange lodge under the ever watchful eye of Good King Billy.

    Thus it came as a shock in 1994 when the provincial government changed the county boundary lines and the hamlet of Bond Head was transferred to the clutches of the “Marshians” in West Quillimbury.  Meetings were organized and a deputation was sent to Queen’s Park (the seat of the provincial legislature) in order to save the hamlet but all was to no avail; however, a promise was made that any decision affecting the hamlet would be made with the full consultation of the residents.  It came as no surprise when, according to the BH rumour mill, two years later the despotic Bradford mayor and his Machiavellian minions in the town council used the ruse of the clause in the 911 emergency system that no two streets in any community could have the same name in order to remove confusion for responders to rename the street in Bond Head after a Bradford luminary without consultation.  Great hue and cry! About 200 of the BH residents stormed the next Bradford town council meeting to demand a plebiscite for the renaming of the street with a BH historical figure.  Since the street in question, Church Street, was my street and I was interested in the local history, I went to the meeting also.

  Someone had to act as a spokesperson and I actually lived in one of the two houses on Church Street so I strode down to the podium and made an impromptu speech.  Now impromptu speeches will always get you in trouble if you are articulate and passionate.  This was no exception.  Bradford’s mascot is a six-foot tall carrot called Quilly and I thought that this would make a great rhetorical starting point for my speech so I said that “I often wondered why Bradford had a six foot carrot as a mascot but now I understood.  We were all like Quilly – we live in the dark and have our roots pulled out!”  Unfortunately the editor of the Bradford Times, the local rag, was taking notes and couldn’t resist a classic sound bite.  The lead story in the paper on the next day was an account of the meeting with a quote of my comment!   It wasn’t exactly that I slandered the town mascot but it was pretty close.  I stayed out of Bradford for a while.  Eventually I did penance for my invective by sitting on the steering committee for a Holland Marsh Agricultural Museum (community service) which seemed to satiate the folks.
My nemesis
The Infamous Quilly

You can expect posts on unexpected subjects based on my life experiences and eclectic interests. I hope that you'll find this blog interesting, educational and worthwhile.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to blogging, my friend! It's great that you now have a blog because it's obvious that you have a lot to say. I will be following your posts with great interest.