Columns and Letters

A Teller Of Stories

-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.

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Response to health board survey

Dear Editor,

    I am a senior, living in a small fishing community in Victoria County.  I settled here 40 years ago.  In that time I saw one school consolidation and may yet see another.  The youth, with their energy and spirit, are a small group.  There is no work here.  Most of my neighbours are over 50 – we too are a shrinking number.
    Health services are carrying a heavy load that the aging population will make heavier. We’re in a crisis situation more or less, we all know that.
    Who is in charge?  We, the residents, would say, well the government.  The Department of Health holds all of us in its hands.  Once people living in these remote communities depended little on doctors and hospitals.  They dealt with minor issues on their own.  Even birthed their own children for a long time.  Laid their dead to rest.
    Over the years we have become used to being looked after – so many sophisticated services out there. Health care stopped being about us – it became about them, the experts, in far-away places, and us, the patients.  Government for the people, making policies and regulations on our behalf.  We’ve gotten used to letters, and then lately to email, to communicate with our government.  It is not very visible anymore.

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Oran Dan - The Inverness Oran -

The Inverness Oran
15767 Central Avenue. P.O. Box 100
Inverness, Nova Scotia. B0E 1N0
Tel.: 1 (902) 258-2253. Fax: 1 (902) 258-2632
Email: [email protected]