A long marriage
By Janet Trull
Published July 4, 2017
Dysart et al and Canada go arm in arm into the sesquicentennial celebrations like an old couple strolling around the Rotary Carnival. For better and for worse they have managed to keep their relationship going for 150 years.
Back in 1867, this couple was young and foolish, with enough stamina to beat back the wilderness with nothing more than some optimism and the promise of a railway. Their shared vision was a true north, strong and free. Of course, like many couples, they did not always see eye to eye. Dysart, the more conservative partner, did not always appreciate Canada’s frequent liberal phases.
Dysart worked hard, farming and logging and building roads over the unforgiving highland terrain. But whenever the township made a little progress and put away some money for a rainy day, Canada came up with a way to spend it. Their arguments got downright acrimonious at times, but they never did talk of separation. They stuck it out for the sake of the kids.
And speaking of this young generation, their lives couldn’t be much easier! Heavens! Canada and Dysart shake their grey heads remembering all the hardships they endured. All the lives shortened by sawmill accidents and drownings and diseases. The tragic losses when Canada called Dysart’s young people to serve in the world wars. Yes, we remember the brave souls who walked down Highland Street before us. Along with soldiers, there were explorers and artists who saw the beauty of this land. Surveyors and contractors who constructed schools and hospitals and churches. Founders of social services who advocated for the voiceless.
Those who settled this township are among us still, in the many rural cemeteries that tell the stories of families that have been here for generations. Sometimes the old couple takes a ramble down memory lane to look at the mossy foundation where once there was a cabin. They remember the cold winters and the isolation and the hunger of the early days. They have a few regrets. If they had it to do over, they would preserve more old growth forest and shoreline habitat. Hindsight, as the old folks say, is 20-20 vision.
Still, you can hear the pride in their voices as they talk of 150 years together. They are proud of what they have accomplished. Proud that they built communities known for pulling together through fires, floods, tornadoes, depressions and recessions.
Look out your window. What do you see? You see everything that people imagine when they think of Canada. Blue lakes and rocky shores, cedars and hemlocks and white pines. Moose, bears, wolves, deer. And people who are quintessential Canadians. People who chop their own wood for heat, people who tap their own trees and make their own maple syrup, and people who don’t panic when the power goes out. Self-sufficient people with a healthy respect for nature.
As Canada’s birthday partner, Dysart et al is wild enough and tough enough to represent all that is admirable about this country. Congratulations to a couple who, after 150 years, can still sit side by side on a hard wooden bench in a cold arena. Hockey is the one thing they never argue about.