-by Bill Dunphy
Storytelling is an art form in Inverness County. I have lived in many places across Canada, but until coming to Inverness, I never realized how a good story, told by a good storyteller, can reveal so much about the history and the character of a community. If I had to give a reason why that is here and not so much elsewhere in this country, I would say it has to do with the hard-scrabble beginnings of most towns, the vibrant people, the nicknames that hint to the characters in the stories, and the unique situations the subject of stories find themselves in.
I love listening to stories; it’s what I do. I can write stories, but I’m a terrible storyteller. Like you, I’ve heard all kinds of stories: long and tall, short and sweet, good and bad; but I can never remember them well enough to tell them. I’m like that way with jokes, too. It takes a knack to be a good storyteller. And in my opinion, nobody in Inverness can tell a story like Andrew Macdonald. If you’ve ever been in his car, at his kitchen table, or in a social setting with him, then you have likely heard a good one. He knows everyone, past and present, and it’s obvious that he has paid attention to the history of the town and its people. He knows the intimate, darkest secrets of Inverness, yet his stories are told with respect towards the person or their family, unless the subject of the story is undeserving of that respect.
Andrew’s older brother, John Duart, could also tell a good story, though perhaps a little on the longer side. If you weren’t careful, you could be trapped for hours in a J.D. story, ranging from his days as a music promoter when Myles Goodwin was on his way to forming April Wine, to his adventures in The Big Smoke, where he found work in a variety of professions, including filmmaker.
John Duart Macdonald died two weeks ago on Canada Day. And while J.D. had stories to tell, he always wanted to film his brother Andrew telling some of his Inverness stories. But as these things go sometimes, he died too soon.
There will be a celebration of John’s life this Saturday, July 13, from 1-3 p.m. downstairs at the Royal Canadian Legion. It will be a fitting tribute, indeed, if the time is spent in telling stories – the ones that make us laugh, and cry, and that remind us of who we are.
Why does everything have to be so hard these days?
As mentioned in a column last year, the Fun Police have been hard at work, making it extremely difficult for a small community to hold a summer festival parade.
But rest assured, there will be a parade in Inverness on July 27. In fact, if parades are going to have a future in Inverness County, the hours of planning and contacting this government agency and that bureaucrat that the members of the Inverness Development Association are putting in will provide a template for those other community groups wanting to hold a parade in the future.
The new rules do require some changes in how things used to be done, and the IDA will spell them out for you in a future article once all the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed.
What I can tell you is that the biggest challenge being faced by the IDA and the various community groups and businesses is having enough volunteers to fulfill the government requirements. For example, additional people are needed at all intersections connecting with Central Avenue. As well, if you are entering a float that is being towed by a vehicle heavier than 4500 kg, you must have adult spotters at each axle group behind the front axle, on both sides, to keep spectators and participants away from the wheels. So, for large vehicles, that could mean a driver and four spotters. The spotters, by the way, can’t be performing parade participants or be involved in collecting or distributing items along the parade route.
The IDA has been discussing the new rules with members of the RCMP, the fire department, search and rescue, and EHS. The IDA also has a permit and has purchased insurance for the event, which would cover all volunteers in the event of an accident.
Volunteers will also be needed to help distribute the goodies to the children after the parade in the park. Throwing candy or any items from a float or vehicle is no longer allowed.
If you are able to help out in any way on Saturday, please contact Rose Mary Macdonald at 902-258-7172 (cell) or 902-258-2745 (home).
There were a couple of boo-boos in last week’s Oran that I have to lay claim to. For some reason Darlene Beaton, in the photo of the Ceilidh Trail CB Club members preparing to cut the Canada Day cake, was identified as Audrey Deagle. Sorry Darlene, I have no idea how these things happen.
As well, the date for the Inverness Gathering road race, walk, and children’s fun run was wrong in my column. This popular event is scheduled for Saturday, July 20, at Inverness Raceway. Really.
I’m not sure if he’s reconsidering his decision to retire or not, but it’s a little scary thinking about who might replace Rodger Cuzner as our Member of Parliament for Cape Breton-Canso.
Ideally, it would be great to see him in for one more term to help bring the Inverness airport to fruition. For anyone to think he is able to direct $18 million in infrastructure money to Inverness on a whim has forgotten that he has been nothing but smart and supportive of his riding for the past 19 years. He’s probably the best cabinet minister we never had, his time coming at the same time when gender equality in Justin Trudeau’s cabinet was a priority – not that the initiative worked out that well for the Liberal Party. So come on Lynn, do you really want him underfoot this soon? Give him a nudge and encourage him to run again!
I love it when the Westside Cookhouse places its sandwich board on the street between the two no parking signs. The dorks who either don’t see those signs or choose to ignore them don’t realize just how dangerous it becomes to turn onto Central Avenue from Forest Street.
And speaking of Forest Street, does Inverness County Public Works or the Nova Scotia Department of Infrastructure and Transportation not realize how impassable this busy street has become? I had a fellow from New Waterford stop me on Sunday at Inverness Raceway, wondering if anyone has complained about the condition of the street. Complained? I told him we have made a litany of complaints about the condition of the streets in Inverness but that they go in one ear and out the other, and that the county or the province can’t be shamed into even making simple repairs. And that’s the truth of the matter.