Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Few Old Scenes From Milan, Quebec

A Canadian rural way of life that has all but disappeared... subsistence farming on the family farm.

An early autumn scene of George MacDonald's home and barn as they appeared the late 1940's. The house was built on a stone foundation with a dirt floor cellar as a basement. In preparation for winter, a wooden crib was built around the foundation and then filled with dirt. This kept wind, frost and rodents out of the cellar. Following the spring melt and thaw, the cribbing and dirt would be removed.

Grandma's home was always open to expected and unexpected visitors... whether a few hours or a few days... always welcome... and summers brought many visitors.

A Sunday afternoon in summer 1967. Showing the same location as the previous image minus the winter cribbing. Back row, left to right: unknown, Olson daughter, Shirley Carney, Ted Morrison, George MacDonald, Lillian Olson of Bury, Quebec (also former Milan resident), Helen MacDonald, Olson daughter. Front row left to right: Olson grandson, Alan Morrison, Katherine Morrison, Olson granddaughter, Olson grandson.

Nothing to really brag about but, yes! Winters really were colder and had more snow that often hung around until May.

The St. Laurent home in winter 1958. Snow was very deep that winter, nearly as high as the second floor windows. The St. Laurent home was on the west side of George MacDonald's home. Both were on the south side of the road and fronted toward the Canadian Pacific Railway main line.

Having fun and playing 500 in the house the locals called the "George D. A." home.

Spring 1965 saw George and Helen MacDonald celebrating 45 years of marriage. George MacDonald is in the foreground, studying those cards in his hand and pondering his bid. Milan residents seated behind George left to right: Jean Ross, Lawrence Nicholson, Eleanor MacDonald, and (Unsure) David Nicholson. Except for that telephone on the wall, no electronic devices and distractions were ever in this room.

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away."
(Matthew 24:35)

The room shown above was the dining room where all meals were eaten; the kitchen was only for cooking and didn't even have a table. Every evening after dinner and before anyone left the table, all guests included, Grandma would read aloud a passage from the Bible, then pray aloud for everyone and conclude with the Lord's Prayer.

All the people shown in this last image have passed away, the house and barn later burned to the ground, but the words spoken by Jesus remain. 

In time I too shall pass away and then become forgotten, however the words spoken by Jesus shall surely remain.

Each life is a precious gift from God to be cherished and the journey through life to be remembered only with gratitude to God.

The Oddblock Station Agent

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Truth Lies Somewhere in the Middle

Does the truth really lie somewhere in the middle?

I’ve never sure, but when people have said, "The truth lies somewhere in the middle." I have often wondered, "In the middle of what?"

When sitting down to write and trying to recall events from many years ago, only now do I realize that my memory has faded; those unforgettable vivid details actually have become fuzzy and flawed.

Whether or not our perceptions are accurate or complete, they are unavoidably, even if unwittingly, prejudiced by our biases. What I think may once have been, may in fact not have been as I think it was.

Consider that indistinguishable might have been, or the fading wish it was; these subtle embellishments are the fine art of adding fiction with fact and ending up with something altered and possibly entirely different. Perhaps the end result is with thirty percent fact, thirty percent fiction and the remaining forty percent resting scattered somewhere in that gray area of in between. 

Hence, only do I realize later that the truth may actually lie somewhere in the middle, or might no longer be there at all.

Two or more half-truths never make the truth

"...For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice." Pilate said to him, "What is truth?"

The answer was given before Pilate's words were spoken.

The Oddblock Station Agent