Back to the (random) future

For the first time in several months, I don’t have a single topic for my column, so I’ll hit on several things over the next 800 words.

Mind you, these seemingly-random thoughts all have one common thread – they’re all about looking to the future.

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I was nearly three-quarters of the way through my participation in the Port Hawkesbury Christmas Parade when I suddenly thought of McCali Cormier.

The four-year-old’s life came to a tragic end when she tripped and fell under a float during Yarmouth’s holiday parade on the final Saturday afternoon of November.

Since that time, municipalities around Nova Scotia, along with transportation minister (and Strait area MLA) Lloyd Hines, have been looking at ways to make parades safer. Everything from new rules about parade-route walkers, to tighter parking restrictions, to ending the practice of giving out candy and treats is now up for discussion.

Sitting on the back of the truck that was pulling the float for St. Joseph’s Catholic Parish as we rounded Queen Street and started heading up the hill via MacSween, I felt a twinge of guilt that I was enjoying myself so much while McCali’s family and the Town of Yarmouth were going through such sadness this December.

Then I remembered that, from what I’ve heard of McCali, she wouldn’t have wanted people to be consumed with sadness, at Christmas or any other time of the year. She would have wanted us to enjoy life and embrace all that was good.

And I started playing music again.

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This was my first time playing and singing on a parade float in over 13 years, and I’m amazed and relieved that it went so well.

I had a variety of Christmas songs prepared but, as we passed the Maritime Inn on Reeves Street, I took a crack at “Go Tell It On The Mountain.” Deacon Berkley Guthro, decked out in a shepherd’s robe as part of the nativity scene depicted on the St. Joseph’s float, hollered “Do it again!” I did, and it became our unofficial theme song for the rest of the trip. (Deacon Berkley busted out some pretty impressive dance moves whenever I rolled it out.)

This was the last round of seasonal singing I delivered on the first weekend of Advent. Cathy joined me for three of them – the St. George’s Channel Community Carol Sing on November 30, a performance at the Port Hawkesbury Shopping Centre on December 1, and Santa’s visit to the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre on December 2, just before the parade.

As much as I’ve enjoyed Christmas singing over the years, there’s something about delivering these songs with the love of my life that makes it extra-special and I look forward to many more years of that unique joy.

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Speaking of Christmas music: No, I have no specific opinion on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” other than the fact that I never really got into that song. But try me again next week.

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It’s by-election week in Port Hawkesbury, and while there are plenty of issues to consider in terms of who deserves town residents’ vote, Destination Reeves Street has taken up a lot of the conversation.

With all four candidates now firmly camped on the yea or nay side, I’ll only say this:

Support for this project may live or die on whether the people of Port Hawkesbury believe that any combination of their mayor, their town staff, their chamber of commerce, their provincial transportation minister and his key engineers and highway-design officials, independent traffic consultants, and officials from areas that have already tried the road-diet technique – such as Shediac, New Brunswick – are telling the truth.

Even if I believed that any one of these people are lying to me (which I don’t), I would have a hard time believing that all of them are lying to me.

Vote accordingly, folks. Most importantly: Vote, period.

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If you remember last week’s column about the surprising absence of the Stan Rogers Folk Festival from the recent Canso episode of CBC’s Still Standing, you might be intrigued by the response I received on Twitter from the show’s host, Jonny Harris:

“I hear you, Adam. By far the most frustrating thing about making Still Standing is trying to give a community, its people and their stories proper representation in 22 minutes of air time. Great things get dropped on the editing floor all the time. You’re right, StanFest shoulda got in.”

What incredible class and sincerity. Thanks, Jonny. Maybe you and your crew might consider returning to Canso – either “officially” or just to enjoy the music – on the last weekend of July 2019. Perhaps Percy Bond could even give you a new haircut for the occasion.

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As my former Reporter colleague Matt Draper used to say, I’m done now.