A Teller Of Stories
- Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 May 2018 17:40
-by Francene Gillis
Seems with spring comes summer event planning, which is a sequa into all that requires, and the people and volunteers needed to make it happen. Thank you to all who volunteer.
In thinking of the many people who so graciously or nonchalantly give, I smile and remember the many men and women of my youth who were pioneers and founders, community leaders of old who contributed so very much to build their/our little village. I am sure names and faces come readily to mind. It is with pride, appreciation, and respect that the slideshow plays, and prestigious, self-sacrificing images flash forward. To all, I offer my thanks.
In keeping with prominent people who have passed, I want to mention Collie MacDonell – a local historian with a head so full of facts and stories, that they burst forth in any and every conversation. If someone had a question about who was whom, Collie was the turn to. His memory skated easily back decades and decades, and he knew how to season his stories with salt and pepper, and a spicy, secret ingredient or two, so that there was always a bit of suspense, humour, and intrigue keeping you on the edge of your seat.
A brilliant mind, Collie was most known for telling his stories at the local co-op where he worked as a respected assistant manager for four decades plus. When a young woman, I had the privilege of interviewing him for a feature story I was writing. What started as a quick visit, evolved into a series of feature stories, and Collie setting me up with senior citizens who had themselves led colourful lives, in an attempt to get what they had to say on paper. It was a hoot. Hilarious – Collie driving slow and gingerly to the boonies, and scared, little reserved me, pen in hand, shadowing him into the dark, ominous abodes, not knowing what to expect.
Collie knew how to get the elderly talking; he was a master of the craft, and my mentor. He loved sharing stories, and digging into the past. It was not uncommon to see Collie bent, huddled, football-like with another set of ears eager to listen, laugh, and sometimes roar at his foolish accounts. He was always hush-hush, head to head with someone.