No Picture
Opinion

Ghosts of Turkeys Past

 

The Ghosts of Turkeys Past
 
You know who you are.
The people who create homemade dressing from homemade bread you have carefully aged and spices you have lovingly preserved. 
The people whose Christmas turkeys seem to leap from the oven golden brown, beautifully basted, tender and juicy.
The people who make dozens of scrumptious cookies, and do them all from scratch and two weeks in advance. 
The people whose homes are tastefully and brightly decorated inside and out with lights, mistletoe and holly. Whose Christmas trees don’t fall over. Whose cards are all sent, whose stockings are joyfully hung and whose presents are all bought or made and already wrapped. 
Bah. Humbug.
I wish to point out that the rest of us real people are currently shifting into Christmas panic mode with only 11 days to go.
We’re the ones trampling seniors and small children in the Walmart aisles in an effort to snag the last Holiday Barbie or Remote Control Flying Shark (really!?). We’re the ones who didn’t pick up the Michel Bublé Christmas CD until it was sold out, and are now wondering if Uncle Louis will actually enjoy Burl Ives Sings Kiddie Pops. We’re the ones whose last minute cookie purchases say “best before War of 1812.” 
We’re the ones whose on-the-run Christmas tree purchase falls off the car roof. Twice. Who discover on December 24 that all last year’s festive tree ornaments were accidentally inserted into the trash compactor along with last year’s festive tree. 
We are the ones currently haunted in our dreams by large, blackened turkeys exclaiming “Why did you put me in an oven at 550 degrees an hour before dinner?” (And dressing is something you do before you go out.) 
But, truth be told, I wouldn’t have it any other way. The real joy of the Christmas season lies in laughter,  and in adventures and misadventures shared. It lies in family and friends and in helping neighbours.
Perfection is way over rated.                        

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No Picture
Opinion

Roses in December

 

“God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December,” said James Matthew Barrie in 1922.

Think about that for a minute. What does that mean for you? When I first read Barrie’s words, I couldn’t help but think ‘Nan.’ 

So, if you were to ask me what my rose in December was, the answer would be easy – my grandmother, Jean Casselman. 

She’s the reason I get a little sad each December. I miss her. She made Christmas warm, safe, inviting, and fun. All the best Christmases I’ve ever had were spent at my Nan’s. And, I’m not alone.

We all have memories of loved ones who have made our lives better just for being in them. Holidays are a great time to remember those who have gone, but not in sadness or grief. They deserve to be remembered with glad and joyous hearts. They deserve to have their loved ones live life the way they would have, if they were still here.

And so, like Barrie’s ‘roses in December,’ I rely on my memories so that I might still have my grandmother with me, not just in December, but every day of the year.

I remember that she loved roses, the colour red, and Christmas in December. She loved gardening, children, and holidays.

I remember that Nan was the most giving and generous person I’ve ever known. She gave without expectation of receiving anything in return. She loved without condition. She listened and supported without judgement. She was my role model for what a strong, good woman should be.

Even more importantly, I remember the times we shared – good and bad. Like the time I turned 15. I had just gotten in the door from school and was leaning over to remove my shoes. Next thing I know I’m dripping wet and my Nan is laughing and smiling her mischievous smile. She said, “Happy Birthday! You thought I forgot, but I fooled you.”

Well, it’s my turn to remember, and Nan, “you may have thought I forgot, but I didn’t! I remember you each and every day.”

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No Picture
Opinion

Perspectives by Rev. Duncan Perry

 

Well, here we are again, the last day of November. Tomorrow is the first day of December, just 25 days until Christmas!

In the church this past Sunday, we celebrated the first Sunday of Advent. May I ask you a question, one that I don’t expect you to answer, except maybe for yourself, your own personal musing if you will?

What does Christmas mean to you?

Some of you will see it as a time for family and friends. Maybe a time for sharing gifts, or celebrating with family get-togethers. For some it may be so busy a time that you almost wish it never came. For others it is a boost for business. Christmas has all kinds of meanings for all kinds of people.

May I say Christmas is really about Jesus! It is a celebration of the time that God sent His one and only Son into the world to be the Savior of the world.

John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world, (that’s you and me), that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes on Him would not perish, (that is die separated from God) but would have everlasting life”.

I’m amazed today when I talk to people and listen to people talk, that it seems everyone believes he or she is going to heaven. But, the verse of scripture which I just quoted, which is God’s word by the way, tells us that to get to heaven one must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Well, what is it that we are supposed to believe?

Again, God’s word makes it clear for us.

Romans 3:23 tells us, “For all have sinned and fall short of God’s purpose and plan for our lives.”

The bible also tells us that sin separates us from God. That is what is meant in John 3:16 when it talks about perishing. To perish is to die without having been reconciled unto God.

Romans 6:23 tells us, “For the wages of sin is death…” eternal separation from God when we die.

There’s another part to Romans 6:23 though, and it’s the good news. It says, “…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord.” That is why Jesus came, that is why we celebrate Christmas, because Christmas is all about Jesus.

Does that mean we shouldn’t give gifts? Not at all! By all means, bless someone who is near and dear to you this Christmas.

But, let’s not forget Jesus. 

I recently read a story about a group of people who wanted to honor a special friend. So they sent out invitations, rented a hall, decorated it beautifully, and hired a first class caterer.

On the appointed day, everyone showed up, everyone that is except the guest of honor. When those present investigated, they were embarrassed to find that they had forgotten to invite the special person that they all wanted to honor.

I think Jesus must feel like that at times. This year invite Him. He’d love to be with you, and it is His birthday after all.

From my heart to your home, “Have a Very Merry Christmas!”

 

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No Picture
Opinion

Watch your speed

I’ve been accused of being “heavy-footed” when it comes to the gas pedal in my trusty little car. 

After all, it’s so very easy to let that speedometer needle creep up, to come to that perfect rolling stop at a rural sign, to convince yourself that arriving at your destination 4.5 seconds sooner really justifies that extra 20 kph over the limit. 

I’ve never received a ticket; I may have deserved one.

If you are an habitual speeder, however, you’d be advised to rethink that habit next time you travel through Williamsburg on County Road 31. Apparently, according to OPP Constable Lalonde ( the Standard-Freeholder, Nov. 11, 2011) Williamsburg has one of the highest rates of speeding in SD&G. A recent traffic survey indicates that the “prevailing speed through Williamsburg is between 60-70 kph even though the (clearly posted) maximum speed is 50 kph.” 

This is dangerous and reckless driving in the heart of a small town and it has to stop.

That is the view of the County Roads Department, the OPP, the Township of South Dundas and a number of community members. It is also the view of the council for the United Counties of SD&G.       

The council has decided to establish its first Community Safety Zone on County Road 31. Under the Highway Traffic Act, this designation allows the OPP to double the fines for anyone, day or night, 365 days a year, who speeds through the community of Williamsburg.  It means that going 20 kph over the speed limit will result in a fine, not of $95, as it currently is, but rather of $180. The higher your speed, the more the fine doubles. 

The Safety Zone designation comes into effect the moment new signs indicating the change are put in place; within three weeks according to the council press release. 

The highway is very close to homes in Williamsburg; there are hard to see intersections cutting across the road (despite flashing lights); pedestrians are difficult to spot at all times.

So slow down. Speeding in Williamsburg won’t be cheap.

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No Picture
Opinion

Around the Township.

Oops! About 32 days left until Christmas. That’s scary, if, like me, you haven’t actually begun shopping. But I mean to get started. Any day now. Really. And speaking of shopping, be sure you check out all the gifts and gift ideas right here in South Dundas. Our local businesses have lots of wonderful products for under the Christmas tree.

All the fun and celebrations of the holiday season are definitely underway as we count down the days to Santa’s visit.

This Saturday, November 26, the Morrisburg & District and the Iroquois-Matilda Lions Clubs are co-hosting the 6th annual South Dundas Senior Christmas Concert at the Matilda Hall in Dixon’s Corners. Doors will open at 1:30 p.m. with a concert featuring Ron Whitteker and his band, Good Time Country, providing the entertainment. The event runs at the Hall from 2-4 p.m. and is absolutely free to area seniors. There will be plenty of great food and plenty of fun at the party, and rumours are that a certain Jolly Elf, himself quite a senior, is planning to drop in. For information, or to book free transportation to the Concert, call 613-652-2307 or 613-543-3292.

The Upper Canada Playhouse debuts its annual Christmas production this week as Dear Santa opens at the theatre. Written by popular Canadian playwright Norm Foster, Dear Santa is a show full of laughter, music and dance, just made for the whole family. With Doug Tangney in the role of Santa, (who has just discovered several major North Pole crises three days to Christmas!), this will be a real holiday treat. By the way, 30 local children are in the choir in the show. Don’t miss it.

Another must see holiday special coming on December 4, at 7 p.m., is a dramatic reading of Charles Dickens’ beloved classic, A Christmas Carol. Lakeshore Drive United Church Outreach Program in collaboration with Upper Canada Playhouse is staging the holiday classic at the Church. It will feature five performers in traditional Victorian costumes, as well as wonderful music and refreshments. The funds raised will go to purchase new cardiac monitors for Winchester District Memorial Hospital. Pick up tickets at area Scotiabanks.

Don’t forget, Santa is planning to make his annual visit to Morrisburg on December 3, and he’s bringing floats, bands, elves, candy and a whole lot of fun with him. The Santa Claus parade is just two weeks away. What better way to celebrate this delightful season of joy and giving.

Speaking of giving, the South Dundas Christmas Exchange is counting on friends and neighbours to make this the best Christmas ever for many families in our area. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone had a delicious dinner on Christmas Day? (If you are a South Dundas resident who needs a Christmas dinner basket this year, contact 613-543-2005 until November 26.) 

Please think about donating some money or some gifts or some time to one of the many good charities in need of help this holiday season.

And on a bit of a sour note, we have just learned that computer scammers have been bilking some local people.

If you receive a phone call from some one claiming that there’s a problem with your computer, it may be part of a scam to get your credit card number. Computers with either Microsoft or Windows programs are being targeted in this area. If this phone number comes up, 1-888-495-8501, on your phone display, when you receive a call, be warned. This is a scammer. Immediately contact info@phonebusters.com who are equipped to back trace the phoney company.  

There will be a full story on this scam in next week’s Leader.

Meanwhile, celebrate. Christmas is coming.

 

[…]

No Picture
Opinion

Perspectives by Rev. Sue McCullough

One Wednesday morning, not that long ago, I was sitting at my desk early in the morning. As I peered out my window, I noticed that it was a bit foggy outside – not a usual thing for mid November. 

While I was working away, I heard the distinct sound of fog horns. The timbre of the horns sent a wave of melancholy through me. I had a sense of aloneness but not loneliness, like I was the only person awake in the world at that point in time, yet God was hovering near. It felt like one of the “thin times” between me and God. The sound seemed to travel for miles and miles, almost like an echo. 

I am not certain how far along the Seaway the ship was before I couldn’t hear the sound of the fog horn any longer but it sure seemed like quite some time had passed.

Later on in the day, I was sitting in the kitchen having a cup of tea, and I heard the clear sound of a helicopter flying over. For some reason, that I have yet been able to figure out, I am fascinated by the sound and sight of helicopters. So I rushed outside to look for it. 

There I saw a very large chopper flying west. It wasn’t one of the recognizable orange helicopters that indicate someone being air-lifted to a hospital. It appeared to be a military helicopter that might well have been heading to CFB Trenton. 

As I looked up, I wondered about the people who were in that aircraft, marvelled at the fact that such an odd shaped machine could actually stay up in the air, prayed that they travelled safely to their destination and gave thanks that it wasn’t someone being flown to a hospital.

Sometime that afternoon, I was walking across the lawn returning home from the church when a small flock of geese flew overhead. There were only about eight or 10 birds flying and only one of them was honking as they flew. 

It wasn’t the noise of the call of that one lone bird that caught my attention so much as the sound of the air rushing through their wings. It sounded like a swoosh with every beat of their wings. The sound from such a few birds was quite loud so I can only imagine what it would sound like with some of the larger flocks that I see in the sky from time to time. Swoosh.

. . .that reminded me of how I thought Holy Spirit would sound when I was a little girl. The presence of God was evident to me once again that day.

As I think back on that day, I am reminded that we are blessed in so many ways. Being blessed with the ability to hear those sounds is something that I give thanks for because there are so many people in our world, our community, who cannot hear these things. 

Each time I was drawn away from my own thoughts to the world around me and I found myself entering into a time of prayer, drawing closer to God – marvelling at all of creation. The sounds of this November are not something that I will forget any time soon. Thanks be to God!

 

[…]

No Picture
Opinion

Perspectives by Rev. Sue McCullough

One Wednesday morning, not that long ago, I was sitting at my desk early in the morning. As I peered out my window, I noticed that it was a bit foggy outside – not a usual thing for mid November. 

While I was working away, I heard the distinct sound of fog horns. The timbre of the horns sent a wave of melancholy through me. I had a sense of aloneness but not loneliness, like I was the only person awake in the world at that point in time, yet God was hovering near. It felt like one of the “thin times” between me and God. The sound seemed to travel for miles and miles, almost like an echo. 

I am not certain how far along the Seaway the ship was before I couldn’t hear the sound of the fog horn any longer but it sure seemed like quite some time had passed.

Later on in the day, I was sitting in the kitchen having a cup of tea, and I heard the clear sound of a helicopter flying over. For some reason, that I have yet been able to figure out, I am fascinated by the sound and sight of helicopters. So I rushed outside to look for it. 

There I saw a very large chopper flying west. It wasn’t one of the recognizable orange helicopters that indicate someone being air-lifted to a hospital. It appeared to be a military helicopter that might well have been heading to CFB Trenton. 

As I looked up, I wondered about the people who were in that aircraft, marvelled at the fact that such an odd shaped machine could actually stay up in the air, prayed that they travelled safely to their destination and gave thanks that it wasn’t someone being flown to a hospital.

Sometime that afternoon, I was walking across the lawn returning home from the church when a small flock of geese flew overhead. There were only about eight or 10 birds flying and only one of them was honking as they flew. 

It wasn’t the noise of the call of that one lone bird that caught my attention so much as the sound of the air rushing through their wings. It sounded like a swoosh with every beat of their wings. The sound from such a few birds was quite loud so I can only imagine what it would sound like with some of the larger flocks that I see in the sky from time to time. Swoosh.

. . .that reminded me of how I thought Holy Spirit would sound when I was a little girl. The presence of God was evident to me once again that day.

As I think back on that day, I am reminded that we are blessed in so many ways. Being blessed with the ability to hear those sounds is something that I give thanks for because there are so many people in our world, our community, who cannot hear these things. 

Each time I was drawn away from my own thoughts to the world around me and I found myself entering into a time of prayer, drawing closer to God – marvelling at all of creation. The sounds of this November are not something that I will forget any time soon. Thanks be to God!

 

[…]

No Picture
Opinion

My Mission Trip to Africa

 

My wife and I have just returned from a Missions trip to Malawi and Kenya in Africa.

According to statistics that were given to us on the plane as we flew, we were some 9,000 miles away from home, approximately. We discovered just how significant that was when we arrived back home in Canada having to adjust to a seven hour time difference.

However, that adjustment was minor to our having to deal with what we experienced.

I want you to know, I’ve seen television programs that show the poverty and the hungry children, and for most of my life I’ve been exposed to missionaries who have been there. I’ve heard their stories and have seen their slide shows, but I was not prepared for the real thing.

I think what got me the most is how very little most of the people there have, and yet, how very pleasant they are. I ate some of the food that most of them depend on for their survival. Day after day, it’s the same bland diet.

I realize that I have far too many choices, but I am real thankful that I have a better choice than that.

In Kenya, I was privileged to attend a school in the slums where the children get one meal a day, a mixture of beans, corn and rice if it is available. However, because of cutbacks of support from Canada, that meal is now only served on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. As far as can be known, these children have little or nothing to eat on Thursdays, Friday, Saturdays and Sundays.

I have to tell you, I wept when I heard that.

These kids, by the way, are as smart as any of our children. They are getting a good education, and good Biblical foundation as well. These children are the hope for the future of their countries.

Out of the worst possible conditions, God is raising up young people whose lives are being changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In Malawi, I was privileged to work in a community that has been built, and funded still, by Canadians. There are 66 orphans being cared for there by women who have lost their husbands to death, one way or another.

James 1:27 says, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father, is this, to care for widows and orphans in their trouble.”

This is the model that the “Village of Hope” is built on.

I, along with four other men from Canada, and Stephen from Malawi, prepared another home to be occupied, in the near future, by more children and another widow. I can tell you, it was difficult to work in 39 and 40 degree heat, but it was one of the most rewarding things I have ever been involved in.

I want to finish this today with a heartfelt ‘Thank you’ to all who made it possible for us to go there, and for the financial support we received that enabled us to provide school supplies, paint and money to furnish this new house so that the orphans, who otherwise would have no hope, can now be cared for, loved and educated and, I believe, make a difference in Malawi.

Malawi is called “The Warm Heart of Africa” and without a doubt that is true. But they need Help. The kind of help many of you gave to me to take to them. I can tell you, God knows who you are and He will bless you.

 

[…]

No Picture
Opinion

Perspectives by Rev. Duncan Perry

 

My wife and I have just returned from a Missions trip to Malawi and Kenya in Africa.

According to statistics that were given to us on the plane as we flew, we were some 9,000 miles away from home, approximately. We discovered just how significant that was when we arrived back home in Canada having to adjust to a seven hour time difference.

However, that adjustment was minor to our having to deal with what we experienced.

I want you to know, I’ve seen television programs that show the poverty and the hungry children, and for most of my life I’ve been exposed to missionaries who have been there. I’ve heard their stories and have seen their slide shows, but I was not prepared for the real thing.

I think what got me the most is how very little most of the people there have, and yet, how very pleasant they are. I ate some of the food that most of them depend on for their survival. Day after day, it’s the same bland diet.

I realize that I have far too many choices, but I am real thankful that I have a better choice than that.

In Kenya, I was privileged to attend a school in the slums where the children get one meal a day, a mixture of beans, corn and rice if it is available. However, because of cutbacks of support from Canada, that meal is now only served on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. As far as can be known, these children have little or nothing to eat on Thursdays, Friday, Saturdays and Sundays.

I have to tell you, I wept when I heard that.

These kids, by the way, are as smart as any of our children. They are getting a good education, and good Biblical foundation as well. These children are the hope for the future of their countries.

Out of the worst possible conditions, God is raising up young people whose lives are being changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In Malawi, I was privileged to work in a community that has been built, and funded still, by Canadians. There are 66 orphans being cared for there by women who have lost their husbands to death, one way or another.

James 1:27 says, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father, is this, to care for widows and orphans in their trouble.”

This is the model that the “Village of Hope” is built on.

I, along with four other men from Canada, and Stephen from Malawi, prepared another home to be occupied, in the near future, by more children and another widow. I can tell you, it was difficult to work in 39 and 40 degree heat, but it was one of the most rewarding things I have ever been involved in.

I want to finish this today with a heartfelt ‘Thank you’ to all who made it possible for us to go there, and for the financial support we received that enabled us to provide school supplies, paint and money to furnish this new house so that the orphans, who otherwise would have no hope, can now be cared for, loved and educated and, I believe, make a difference in Malawi.

Malawi is called “The Warm Heart of Africa” and without a doubt that is true. But they need Help. The kind of help many of you gave to me to take to them. I can tell you, God knows who you are and He will bless you.

Rev. Duncan Perry, Morrisburg Pentecostal Tabernacle

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No Picture
Opinion

Remembrance Day

 

I was at the cenotaph for the Iroquois Legion’s Remembrance Day service on November 6. The day was absolutely beautiful, the setting sun stretching out shadows to the west, hardly a cloud in the sky, pleasantly, sweetly warm for late fall. 

There wasn’t a huge crowd gathered at the monument. Often there isn’t. Some veterans, members of the Legion, a few civic, service and business leaders, church representatives, scouts, and a handful of ordinary people waiting for the parade from the Legion. I talked to a couple of the women. One woman’s husband had been in the military for nearly two decades before he retired. The other was younger. Her husband has just signed up to serve in the Canadian forces. Each woman had her own private reason for being at the cenotaph this balmy November day.

You wonder sometimes, as you listen to the service, just what the guys whose names are engraved on the weathered grey monument would make of all this: the pipes, the wreaths, the quiet little crowd. 

No serene autumn days in the world where such young men gave up their lives! Hard to admire a sunset when the earth around you is erupting in mortar shells and machine gun bullets. Hard to recall blue skies when the sea around you is full of burning ships and floating corpses. Hard to remember a warm wind when you are shivering in a loaded bomber praying the ack-ack and the search lights miss you.

Perhaps these long-lost warriors of long ago wars, wherever they are, will be glad to know that people still come out on a sunny afternoon to think about them. That there are kids in this crowd who stood and saluted at their names. That the sound of the pipes in The Last Post could still bring tears to watching eyes. Maybe they’ll even feel that it had actually been worth it: forever giving up their own chances of quiet autumn days like this so that people in this town, this province, this country would never have to. 

It might be a comfort for them to know that we remember them still. And we honour them.

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