Thursday, September 21, 2023
Chris Judd

Old friends don’t lie!

We have all sat and chatted with an old friend over a pot of coffee. After we had figured out the weather and talked about who had the best field of corn this year; sometimes we talked about where the money went a hundred years ago when most people didn’t have much of anything.
The children of First Nation Peoples were taken away to residential schools for supposedly better education and told that their traditional ways and beliefs were wrong. It was also well noted that the biggest, most majestic buildings in towns in Quebec were the churches. At the same time that beautiful church was constructed, many of the residents in the area lived in a very modest home, some with only a dirt floor.
My old friend came from a large family who lived on a farm that provided most of the family’s food. All the family, after they helped with the chores, worked off farm at a store, lumber mill, bush camp, or other job that paid some money to help the family out.
In the winter each family that couldn’t pay much money to the church, cut and supplied several loads of furnace wood to help heat the church and the “Father’s” house. Although sometimes a boy or girl would get a chance to become a priest or nun and receive good education, most of the family didn’t finish school, but got a job as soon as they could. Most of the boys in the family left to work in the city or a far-away mine. Local flour mills, lumber mills, textile mills, or some other large businesses that provided much needed take-home pay were built by Scotts, English, or someone who immigrated from the US.
I asked my old friend; “why didn’t your neighbours build more businesses in your town?” He told me, “very few were educated and most of the spare money was left on the collection plate.” Many of my friends had been raised in a French family background. This was one of my best friends. He once told me, “Language is like a car; some people drive a Chev, some drive a Ford, just don’t tell either one that he’s wrong. Some people speak French, some speak English. A car is just a mode of transportation, language is a mode of communication.”
My French-Canadian friends have a “joie de vivre” that cannot be duplicated. Some politicians have a way of manipulating people to vote for them without explaining the consequences. This beautiful county that we call home is an example of how many cultures, English, French, Irish, Chinese, Italian, Scottish, German, Australian, and a dozen others can live in harmony and celebrate each other’s differences.
Pope Francis once said “no one can declare one culture, religion, or language superior to another.”

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


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