Just a song before I go


by Peter Johnson

Greetings North Gremlins. My dearly-departed mother would often say, “If you can’t say something nice…go to your room!” With that in mind, I have some observations to share about a previous edition of The NG Times (Jan. 20,2021).

Firstly, I will start with Dr. Dave’s editorial. Not only am I pleased that he continues our shared habit of using popular song titles or lyrics for the headline of his pieces, but also, that each editorial is an example of how the English language should be used. Far be it for him to say, ‘Shop Local’, when he knows very well that ‘shop’ here is being used as a verb and to modify or describe that verb one should use an adverb… ‘local’ is not – it is an adjective. So, for grammarians and those with a rudimentary understanding of how their mother tongue should be constructed, the non-grating/correct term should be, ‘shop locally’. Perhaps the originator of the expression thought that it would be a more effective slogan if you deliberately perverted the language – then more people might take notice. But, of course, I digress. His opinion piece was very good… in my not-so-humble opinion. Debunking conspiracy theories at a time of a global pandemic is always an excellent idea. And, as always, his perspective as an historian always strengthens his arguments. (yes, I intended to use ‘an’)

The lead article, ‘A Piece of Polar History in North Grenville’ – again, informative and interesting; plus another example of journalism that was well written. (alliteration alert) Next, my favourite section of the paper – Letters to the Editor.

Nadia Gray began with “Random thoughts brought on by having time to muse during this pandemic.” She went on to make 10 very cogent points. She obviously had some very good language teachers …I am struggling to remember if I was one of them. She wrapped up with the point, “I cannot understand this placement of a prison on our doorstep.” Well said! When I read that, a recurring thought crossed my mind: “This is such a secure seat, the Conservatives will do whatever they wish, without concern for consequences.” Then my mind went on to: “Those same Ford Conservatives that reduced inspections in Long Term Care Facilities, but are not making mention of that now.” And then on to: “Will the lessons of Mike Harris, water inspections, and Walkerton not be learned from?” (Yikes …another dang preposition at the end of the sentence, at!)

Clair Smith’s letter regarding the pleasures of shopping at Jonsson’s Independent was another positive contribution. (I would also like to include a shout out to the B & H Grocery, another excellent community-supporting business.)

That letter was followed by Lorraine Rekmans’. Her topic sentence said it all: “It may be no surprise to Ontarians that our healthcare system is in dire need of more investment and improvement.” Her points were re-iterated on January 27, at noon, on the CBC, when Rita Celli, host of Ontario Today, interviewed Andrea Horvath, leader of the provincial NDP, the Official Opposition at Queen’s Park. (She was asked what sort of a relationship/dialogue there was between the Conservatives and the Official Opposition: “There is none”, was her response. The lesson: don’t criticize Doug Ford. He’ll double down like Trump). Her point, and Ms. Rekmans’, that there is a shortage of PSW workers in the province, is something we should all take note of (dang, another sentence ending in a preposition!). PSW workers are paid like EA’s in education, not just very poorly, but extremely so. Both provide essential services, both have to work at 2 or 3 jobs to scrape by just to make a very basic living wage; appropriately described as ‘the working poor.’ Who would want to go into that line of work?

I congratulate Ms. Rekmans. Can you imagine a more frustrating job than being the Green candidate in Leeds-Grenville? Talk about a voice in the wilderness. But year in and year out, she carries on, working for the promotion of the core values of her Party; tireless in her efforts to address environmental issues. She wraps up her letter with: “Our vision must be to create a better society, and not a vision driven by political favours to rich friends.” Hear! Hear! Now, for all those out there who would much rather be infested by the fleas of a thousand camels than even think of voting Green, go ahead: tell me what is wrong with what she said. But please, try to do it in clear, concise, correct English (2nd alliteration alert)

The final letter of that week’s edition was by Angela Wood. Ms. Wood’s letter on Roblox and cyber-bullying was another example of the literary superiority, typical of the contributors and letter-writers in The NG Times. Next, I noted the ‘Statement from Mayor Nancy Peckford’.

What an impressive job Her Worship and the Council are doing. I moved to The Upper Oxford Mills area on the eve of The Ice Storm. I have paid close attention to the councils in the past 23 years. Since all of the previous incumbents finished well behind those who are on Council now, it appears that the residents of North Grenville demonstrated their frustration, when last they had a chance to vote. They wanted a change. They wanted things done differently. And it has happened. Not with just her Worship, but with each and every one of the members of Council. We are very lucky to have these people representing us. In addition to their family responsibilities and other jobs, they have worked tirelessly to familiarize themselves with their new positions and to do them as well as they can. I congratulate and thank you all (especially for the 0% increase in my taxes for the upcoming year.) By the way, do you want proof that they are doing a good job? I believe it was John Barclay who mused that he wondered how long the ‘honeymoon’ would last until the Editor of The NG Times took them all to task. Well, to the best of my knowledge, they remain unscathed, so they must be doing most things right. Dr. Dave has not taken out the knives yet.

And so, that’s my ‘song’. Thanks to Crosby, Stills and Nash for such a beautiful tune. Thanks to those who make the effort each week to put together OUR local paper. One last point: if you are reading this in your local paper, are you, ‘Reading Local’ or ‘Reading Locally’?

Be safe, be well, let’s watch out for each other…we are all in this together.


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