EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Friday, June 27, 2014

Remembering "a duty to serve" on Canada Day

Mr Shoup on right July 1 Parade
Those were the days when I always made sure I was up to hear the sound of the cannon being fired at seven a.m to mark the beginning of the Dominion Day celebration, organized each year by Branch Number 5 (Ontario) of the Royal Canadian Legion in my home town of Chapleau, Ontario. The name was later changed to Canada Day.

In those growing up years, veterans from World War I and World War II, took responsibility for the celebration, and what a great day it was. The vets, all ordinary men and women, citizens of the Canadian village all, came home and made their communities a better place to live, work and play. Lest we ever forget!

Many readers know that my father Flying Officer Jim Morris did not return from World War II. He was killed on active service in the RCAF in July 1943, so yes, there is a special place in my heart for our veterans.

Such was Dominion Day for a child who had to get his costume ready and tricycle decorated for the annual July 1 parade that marked one of the highlights of the year for me in the years following World War II that I still recall the celebrations like they were only yesterday.
My Mom, and my grandparents would help me get ready for the parade and off I would go for a day packed with activities for our entire community. 
Leading the parade of course was a Legion Colour Party and the Chapleau Town Band that was in existence over 100 years . J. M. Shoup, a veteran of both World War I and II, principal of Chapleau Public School and township councillor would get us all organized for the parade and later the children's races at the beach. I was also proud to see my grandfather Harry Morris, a veteran of World War I, and one of the first group of members of Branch 5 formed in helping out at the activities. 
Near the end of the war, Dr G.E. Young, a local boy who had come home to practise medicine, using his own money, had created a truly wonderful beach area on the banks of the Kebsquasheshing River, and it was the scene of swimming and canoe races, as well as canoe tilting contests. 
Dr Young's beach was complete with change rooms, wading pools, a nicely grassed area and each year he had truckloads of beach sand brought to refresh it.  Dr Young practised medicine for 50 years in his home town. and I guess I took it for granted there would never be a family doctor shortage. Times do change. 

As an aside, Dr Young had a British Columbia connection. His mother was from Creston, and in 2004, he made his last trip west, and we went to the cemetery there to visit the graves of his grandparents.
In the afternoon of July 1, games of chance would be underway while the Town Band would give a concert in the bandstand at the beach area, while over at the ball field there was always an exciting ball tournament. My favourite team was always the Legion.
By the end of the day I would head home tired but happy looking forward to my summer vacation, cruising around Chapleau on my tricycle, and playing with my friends at the Big Rock, the beach and down the lake.
In those years, there was great pride associated with the Dominion Day celebration. Sadly, I don't see that much enthusiasm now for Canada Day. In many communities, including Cranbrook, there has been some difficulty in recent years finding a sponsor. This year, thanks to the good folks at Connect Church, there will be a celebration starting at five p.m. at Moir Park.
There aren't too many of those World War II vets left across our vast and magnificent land, and none from World War I. I remember all I knew very fondly, and I am sure you do too from wherever you were brought up. In war and peace, they made their communities and our country a better place for everyone. Why? As Mr Shoup once said, they had "a duty to serve". What about us?  Happy Canada Day!  My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Jody Terio clenches dollar bill rolled tightly in her hand heading to corner store in Chapleau

Jody Terio founded little red theatre in 1988 with the mandate of bringing professional level theatre productions and workshops to young people in both official languages, English and French.  
 Jody, the daughter of Joan and George Theriault formerly of Chapleau, remains as Artistic Director.  
She provided this description: "Little red theatre produces dramatic performances of great quality theatre using a wonderful eclectic mix of puppets, songs and original musical scores, dance and audio visual technology.  Productions are aimed at the Kindergarten through Grade 6 constituency and are presented at schools, libraries and special venues. Workshops take place in the community."
 The Theriault family lived in the Tom Godfrey house at the intersection of Birch and Lansdowne streets which later became the home of Centre Culturel Louis Hémon.
Jody is also  a great storyteller, and she shared this moment from 1964, about going to the corner store in Chapleau.
by Jody Terio
She sends me out to Desi’s to buy her Dumaurier cigarettes, I’m clenching the bill, rolled tightly in my hand as I put on my dirty runners, a hole is now popping up in one of  the toes but I like the pattern of the shoes, there are little pink and yellow flowers , faded and worn out from use.  I slip them on from the back without doing the laces and leave the house.  It is a warm day but the sky is grey, it is mid July the, sky is low and there is a little breeze and I am wearing a pair of grey green cotton peddle pushers.  I am eight years old.
I skip along, past the housekeeper Faby who is hanging clothes on the line.
 'Where are you going?' She snaps quickly.
‘My mom wants a pack of cigarettes’. 
 And down the cement stairs, skipping down the walk, past the manitoba maple, past the white picket fence.  There are chalk marks on the sidewalk that we made yesterday when we played hopscotch.   I look north to see if there are any cars coming on Lansdowne and then dart across the street.  There is a native man standing outside the taxi stand waiting for a cab.  
I walk down Birch street.  There is a new Stedmans across the street with a few summer toys in the window, a large bright yellow blow tube boat, a snorkle and a small hot pink tube.  The street is quiet. 
 I walk past the Bertrands, Joey is sitting out waiting to be petted so I give him the usual head pat.  Collins store is now on my left .  A tent is pitched in the window and a mannequin of a man and a boy are beside it.  The boy and man are wearing matching plaid jackets and hats.  They are very white fleshed and the man is looking kindly at the boy.  There are some tools on the ground in fake grass.  A hatchet and something that anchors the tent.  
The post office is on my right across the street and there are people coming out and going in.  I admire the tall windows made of beveled glass.  
I cross Lorne Street and enter Desi’s.  The first thing I see are the comic books all in a few racks before you get to the cash.  I quickly search through them to see if there are any new Archie  or Caspar the Friendly Ghost.  I also like Lotta and Richie Rich ones too.  But nothing new today so I move along.  
The candies are all laid out at the cash and I can spend five cents from the cigarette money.  The cashier, a teenage boy takes out a little paper bag and I pick three blackballs, two spearmint leaves, two strawberries, three small gums, and two caramels for a penny.  He takes a pack of large  Dumaurier from his shelf and hands them all to me.  I give him the dollar and he gives me back a quarter.  I put it into my pocket and on my way out I glance at the birthday cards, ‘Happy birthday son’ embossed in silver and  a sailboat on the front.   
I  head back home and on the way, pick up a chocolate bar wrapper that is in good shape to add to my chocolate bar wrapper collection.  I am watching my candies most of the way, saving the blackballs which take a long time to suck on, for the last.  I may give one to Janie if she is around.
George Theriault at Chapleau beach 1950s

Thank you so much Jody for sharing this moment from your life in Chapleau. It sure brought back memories of my treks "up town" from our house on Grey Street when I was a child. For more information on Jody's Little Red Theatre, visit http://www.littleredtheatre.on.ca/home.html  My email is mj.morris@live.ca
 1, Jody (left), (back) Elizabeth Pasco(nee Theriault), centre , Joan Theriault (right) Jane Deans (nee Theriault) frpm Jody collection 
2. Leona McCrea (left), Marlene Sawyer, Joan Theriault (my mom) from Jody collection
3, George Theriault (my dad) background Chapleau beach (late 1950s) from Jody Collection

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Canadians pick Pierre Trudeau, Medicare as Number One in online consultation process approved by Harpercons

MJM by Michael Pelzer
Just imagine that you were the prime minister of Canada and had approved a poll, paid for by the taxpayers, to come up with a Top 10 list of our country's greatest heroes, and you and your political party were essentially shut out by the almost 12,000 Canadians who participated.
Well that's the news Stephen Harper and the Harpercon government received recently as the result of an online consultation process over several months, conducted as part of the preparations for Canada's 150th birthday in 2017.
The Canadian Press announcing the results said that "Canadians have handed the Harper government a Top 10 list of the country’s greatest heroes, featuring some of the Conservative party’s greatest adversaries, past and present."
It is unlikely that the results would ever have seen the light of day had the Canadian Press not obtained them under an Access to Information Act request, even though, we, the taxpayers paid for the project.
In answer to a question "Which Canadians have inspired you the most over the past 150 years?" leading the list was none other than Pierre Trudeau, a name which would most assuredly have sent the Harpercons into a fit of rage. The former Liberal prime minister not only made the Top 10, he was Number One.
The rest of the Top 10 list in order were: Marathon of Hope runner Terry Fox; former NDP leader and premier of Saskatchewan Tommy Douglas; former Liberal prime minister Lester B. Pearson; astronaut Chris Hadfield; environmental activist David Suzuki; former NDP leader Jack Layton; Canada's first prime minister, a Conservative, Sir John A. Macdonald; hockey legend Wayne Gretzky and outstanding soldier and recently retired Liberal senator Romeo Dallaire.
To me at least, it looks like a pretty Canadian list, and I was really delighted that Don Cherry did not make the cut. The only Tory was Sir John A. If he was still around, it is highly unlikely he would make it into a Harper cabinet, much less become prime minister leading the Conservative Party as it is constituted today -- Liberal maybe?
Canadian Press reported that the consultation also asked which of Canada’s accomplishments of the last 150 years “make you most proud to be a Canadian?”

The results showed  that medicare topped that list, followed by peacekeeping, then the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms at No. 3.   The  rest in order were: Canada's contribution to World War II; the Canadarm; multiculturalism; contribution to World War I; bilingualism; space exploration, and the Constitution Act of 1982.
Again, although one may switch the preference order of the Top 10, a pretty Canadian type list of what makes us proud to be Canadian, although not exactly the Harpercon view for Canada.

As the Canadian Press story notes for example, the present government has "recently been buffeted by a series of Charter-based losses at the Supreme Court of Canada,  (and) did not mark the 25th anniversary of the Charter in 2007, nor the 30th in 2012."
In 2015, Canadians will judge the Harpercons at the polls. Personally, I am proud to be a Canadian, and generally agree with the Top 10 list of those who inspire me and the accomplishments that make me proud. Thanks to the Canadian Press for obtaining the results of the consultation and making them public. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Michael J Morris

Michael J Morris
MJ with Buckwheat (1989-2009) Photo by Leo Ouimet


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Following the American Dream from Chapleau. CLICK ON IMAGE