Sunday, July 14, 2024
Chris Judd

Everybody should help!

Every bit of communities in our country were built on people helping each other. Today, too many of us are dependent upon some other authority helping us out when we think that we are not as well looked after as someone else.
People who make over a hundred thousand dollars per year are on strike because someone they know lives in a bigger house, drives a nicer car or gets more time off than they do. At the same time there are those who depend on the food bank giving them enough food to keep their kids from starving.
From the days of kings and queens, who always took what they wanted before the peasants got their meager share, some people have been much better off than others. From when our ancestors first landed in Canada before Canada was born, many died on the little ships from sickness before they arrived, most were happy to set foot on this continent because in the country that they left, there was famine and or persecution because of their religion, skin color, or they could see no way to give their kids a better life.
When they arrived in this country, they were allotted a piece of land to call their own, as long as they met certain criteria; clear some land and plant enough to provide food for their family, build some kind of shelter to keep their family from freezing. Until they had a few animals to provide milk, meat, eggs, hides, and maybe one to sell, they had to fish and hunt for what did not grow from the soil. They quickly learned to work with and share with their neighbours, not only to clear some land and build a shack, but to help hunt, butcher, plant, harvest and even deliver their children.
Often, our First Nation neighbours helped provide the first primitive medicine to help keep them from dying. When you were low on food you couldn’t visit the food bank, but you could trade with your neighbour.
You couldn’t complain about the price of gas, but you could ask your neighbour to borrow his horse. Maybe in return, you could help your neighbour chop firewood with your good axe. When you and your neighbour butchered an animal, wild or domestic, the meat would spoil unless it was canned or kept cold with ice that you and the neighbours cut from a frozen lake the winter before.
Building a better house or a barn required a “bee-hive” of many neighbours. There were no expensive permits to buy or building inspectors to satisfy, only a neighbor who knew how to construct a strong safe building. Many of those old buildings that were constructed without engineers plans two hundred years ago are still standing straight and strong today.
As decades passed, roads were built. Sawmills and grist mills existed within horse and wagon distance from most pioneers.
Preachers of various denominations visited anywhere a few people were gathered together, usually in someone’s house, and traveled from community to community on horseback.
The earliest doctors were even less abundant than preachers and not only traveled by horse and buggy, but depended on local women to aid them in any complicated operations because there were no nurses. Often a local woman who had helped deliver babies, delivered more babies than a doctor did. Neighbours helped neighbours to plant, build and share knowledge that they often learned by doing something wrong first.
Fun also required neighbours to get together (often in someone’s kitchen), someone could play the spoons, mouth organ, piano, fiddle, a homemade dulcimer, call for a square dance, sing, tell stories or step dance. People would teach each other how to dance for free. Even “wallflowers” were pulled into a square dance and soon they were “wallflowers” no more.
Social assistance, sick leave, and strikes were non-existent. If someone broke a leg, got sick, or fell on hard times, communities came together and helped by working, supplying feed for the animals in a bad year, or with donations of everything from freshly baked bread to helping with chores, to taking the crop off, to an envelope stuffed under the door. The only compensation expected was to return the favor whenever another neighbour needed help. Whenever we rely on insurance or any organized assistance, the administration of the assistance does create jobs, but usually adds 30 to 50 per cent to the cost of this assistance.
We have recently noticed even basic necessary services like health care and education being interrupted by lack of workers.
In this county of Pontiac, we have always enjoyed co-operation with our neighbours on the other side of the river with access to education and various healthcare. Our own family have used heart, dental, eye, hearing and many other medical procedures and tests. When my grandson recently fell and fractured his skull, our family greatly appreciated his immediate access to the best children’s hospital in eastern Canada.
This week we have an 85 year old retired farmer who grew up in our county walking all over the county collecting support for CHEO, because it is adding extra rooms and facilities. If CHEO didn’t accept kids from Quebec, I’m sure they wouldn’t need that expansion. If you see some people walking with Russell Mackay (Papa) and an RV proceeding along from Portage, Bryson, Campbell’s Bay, Otter Lake, Ladysmith, Charteris, Quyon, Shawville, or at the Shawville Fair opening, stop and extend congratulations to Russell for his “walk for the kids!”
It’s time that we ALL helped a little more.

Chris Judd is a farmer in Clarendon on land that has been in his family for generations.


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