Preserving and Promoting local history for the former Rideau Township
Log Fence

Christmas Dinner 2014
Article and photos by Lucy Martin  

Ah, the holidays! For many, it's a busy, hectic time. Still, the season just feels better when friends can be together. This year's December gathering saw 48 members and guests meet at the Cornerstone Wesleyan Church in North Gower. Happily, the night lacked deep cold or troublesome snow.

The Rideau Township Historical Society lost at least three current members in 2014: Lynne Webb, Joan Bakker and Coral Lindsay. All will be missed, but Lindsay's death feels like the passing of an era. She helped found our society in 1974 and made immense contributions across many decades.

Knowing all that, outgoing Program Director Ruth Wright opened the evening by reciting a poem that reflected Coral's legacy:

(Author unknown)

Do not judge a song by its duration
Nor by the number of its notes
Judge it by the richness of its contents
Sometimes those unfinished are among
the most poignant…
Do not judge a song by its duration
Nor by the number of its notes
Judge it by the way it
touches and
lifts the soul
Sometimes those unfinished are among
the most beautiful…
And when something has enriched your life
And when its melody lingers
on in your heart
Is it unfinished?
Or is it endless?

Wright shared the text with me by email, saying her fellow teacher's versatility and dedication made Lindsay a “... true face of RTHS, and she certainly did enrich our lives and touch our souls.”

But back to the night itself. On behalf of Dickinson Square Heritage Management Inc. (DHSMI) Brian Earl presented RTHS a cheque for $200 in tribute to Coral Lindsay's tireless work for heritage preservation in her birth village of Manotick.

Then it was time for the serious business of eating. While some miss the special diversity of a pot luck supper, the ease of sitting down to a reasonably-priced, catered meal was a real relief for those frazzled by a busy season.

We chatted over crudites before dining on turkey and ham, with potatoes, hot vegetables and salads. Dessert was fresh fruit, tarts and layered cake - with coffee or tea. Our caterer was Becky Russell, from North Gower. She had help from her mother, Hazel, and an Aunt. (In the “small world” department, Russell attended North Gower/ Marlborough Elementary School and had Wright as a teacher.)

 The buffet line at the party

The buffet line. This is the first time we have had the Christmas party catered and it was excellent. Becky Russell and her helpers did a wonderful job.

Once all were good and full, it was time for the night's entertainment: a play and a carol sing-along. The play was written some time ago by Coral Lindsay. It is loosely based on real experiences from area settlers back in 1848. (Described in the first edition of Kars on the Rideau on page 61, as told by James McNiece of Kars.)

Master of Ceremonies, RTHS President Brian Sawyer, sported a traditional hat from far-away Kyrgyzstan. Sometimes called “the Switzerland of Asia” that mountainous, land-locked country is bordered by Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China. (Note: Sawyer's hat foreshadows January's meeting: the annual “bring and brag” night. It's not too early to start looking for your show and tell item.)

        Brian Sawyer with hat

Brian Sawyer, sported a traditional hat from far-away Kyrgyzstan

“Christmas on the Rideau” featured a large, enthusiastic cast. Unable to rehearse at length, scripts were on hand to keep the dialog moving. The basic plot concerned the plight of a family just arrived from Ireland, adjusting to a rough new land and the unexpected absence of their husband/ father, who had gone on a trip to New England, not expecting his wife and many children would arrive so swiftly.

“Christmas on the Rideau” featured a large, enthusiastic cast. Unable to rehearse at length, scripts were on hand to keep the dialog moving. The basic plot concerned the plight of a family just arrived from Ireland, adjusting to a rough new land and the unexpected absence of their husband/ father, who had gone on a trip to New England, not expecting his wife and many children would arrive so swiftly.

Happily, Noel Watterson did return to his family, safe and sound. They all settled near the future Watterson's Corners, so named after a post office was established there.

Rowena Pearl on the keyboard

After a quick change from her play's period costume, Rowena Pearl played her keyboard and lead the hall in a pleasant carol sing-along.