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Mike Lushington

I was in attendance at the banquet sponsored by the Town of Dalhousie to honour one hundred citizens, past and present, "who have made a difference" in the live of the town over its past one hundred years. As I sat listening to the commentary as each one was recognized and presented with tokens of appreciation, several thoughts kept running through my mind.

One of them was that people do do a great deal to enrich the life of the community in which they choose to live. Another was that I found it impossible to imagine such an event even taking place in a much larger community, certainly not in a way that would allow for recognition of "little people" who, indeed do so much to enrich the lives of those with whom they live and work, but who rarely make the headlines of newspapers.

That banquet was on June 4. On the following day I attended a classical music recital that had been organized by one of those same one hundred people who had been recognized the previous evening - Gail Carleton. Several prominent local musicians and three or four younger artists performed for a small but very appreciative audience. Funds from the concert will be directed toward the upkeep of the concert piano that is currently housed in the LER theatre in Dalhousie.

In recent years, Dalhousie ( the reader may substitute the name of any other community on the North Shore of New Brunswick in this comment) has fallen on hard times. The overriding note in many conversations that turn to the future of the community is one of resignation or despair. But, for this one weekend the people of Dalhousie turned to a recognition of the good things that make so many smaller communities such wonderful places in which to live. Perhaps, I thought, all small communities that are suffering like this one need to have a celebration of their past in order to recognize that many of the elements that made the community so worthwhile back then are still present. People still volunteer; they still become engaged in the life of the community - and in doing so, they proclaim their commitment to the present and to the future - actions that often belie the pessimistic words that we too often hear.

Back in 1968, I remember two kids, fresh out of university and the big city, finding their way up here - "for one year". That one year is much closer to forty now - and the decision to "try it out" has never looked any better. Yes, I think that all of the small communities of the North Shore need to take stock; perhaps they all need to have a reality check when it comes to planning for the future, but, if the events of that weekend in Dalhousie - and the concomitant feelings of pride and self-worth - illustrate anything at all, it is that we can still count on the resiliency and the resourcefulness of the people who continue to live here - and are proud to do so.

 

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