Good­bye, Gord

Annapolis Valley Register - - NEWS -

Gord Downie stood on stage. A white T-shirt. Sil­ver pants. His trade­mark white hat. A coloured scarf around his neck. The crowd was loud and clam­our­ing for more. It was the fi­nal show of Trag­i­cally Hip’s Man Ma­chine Poem tour. Many ex­pected it would be the band’s last per­for­mance.

Downie raised the mike and launched into a sig­na­ture mono­logue.

But in­stead of lament­ing the Hip or dwelling on his own health, the singer used the plat­form — a farewell con­cert on na­tional television — to call out Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau and speak about Canada’s mis­treat­ment of in­dige­nous peo­ple. Downie said of Trudeau, who was in the crowd wear­ing a black Hip T-shirt: “He cares about the peo­ple way up North that we were trained our en­tire lives to ig­nore, trained our en­tire lives to hear not a word of what’s go­ing on up there. But what’s go­ing on up there ain’t good. It may be worse than it’s ever been, so it’s not on the im­prove.

“(But) we’re go­ing to get it fixed. And we’ve got the guy to do it, to start, to help.”

Gord Downie died last Tues­day night af­ter an in­cred­i­ble life.

In his 53 years, he penned a large part of Canada’s mod­ern song­book, re­flect­ing his unique lyri­cal ge­nius. He en­ter­tained mil­lions with his out­spo­ken­ness and quirk­i­ness, ad­vo­cat­ing for causes he be­lieved in.

Dur­ing his fi­nal 17 months af­ter an­nounc­ing he had glioblas­toma, an in­cur­able brain can­cer, Downie fronted the Hip for one of the most suc­cess­ful con­cert tours in Cana­dian his­tory.

He did so with stub­born­ness, de­ter­mi­na­tion and pas­sion.

But Downie wasn’t quite ready to exit the stage.

His amaz­ing en­core to that fi­nal con­cert was self­less — rais­ing money for brain can­cer re­search through Sun­ny­brook Hospi­tal in Toronto and con­tin­u­ing to ad­vo­cate for in­dige­nous rights through ini­tia­tives like last fall’s haunt­ing “Se­cret Path” project. Pack­aged as a solo al­bum by Downie and a graphic novel by Jeff Lemire, “Se­cret Path” told the tragic story of Chanie Wen­jack, a 12-year-old who died in 1966 af­ter run­ning away from a res­i­den­tial school. It re­ceived crit­i­cal ac­claim — in­clud­ing three Junos — and re­fo­cused the spot­light on Canada’s in­dige­nous peo­ple and the mis­treat­ment many suf­fered at res­i­den­tial schools.

In a work­ing life filled with song — songs wo­ven into the fab­ric of Canada — Downie may have saved his most im­por­tant mu­sic for last.

As fans lis­ten to songs like “Wheat Kings,” “Courage” and “Nau­ti­cal Dis­as­ter” in trib­ute to Downie in the com­ing days, it’s the con­ver­sa­tions they have about in­dige­nous peo­ple that will, hope­fully, con­trib­ute to a bet­ter Canada.

Many of those con­ver­sa­tions weren’t tak­ing place be­fore Downie spoke at that fi­nal con­cert or prior to the re­lease of “Se­cret Path.”

Gord Downie will be re­mem­bered as a great Cana­dian. He per­son­i­fied his own lyrics: “armed with will and de­ter­mi­na­tion, and grace, too.”

Good­bye, Gord. Thanks.

The crowd, per­haps louder than ever now, will for­ever long for more.

There were four ta­bles of 45s in play at the Re­bekah Lodge on Oct. 14. Prizewin­ners were first, Al Si­p­ley; se­cond, Leona Map­ple­beck; third, Kath­leen Haines; fourth, Shirley Rogers; 50/50, An­drea Hale and the door prize went to Janet Tup­per.

***

At the South Berwick Com­mu­nity Cen­tre, on Oct. 17, th­ese were the win­ners: first, Joan Bal­com; se­cond, Ge­orge Smith; third, Ger­tie Smith; 50/50, Mar­i­lyn Bap­tie and the door prize was won by Mar­jorie Mur­phy.

***

No­ble Gtand Zella Gaul opened the Re­bekah Lodge meet­ing on Oct. 18. Du­ties were as­signed and the char­ter was un­draped. It had been draped for Sis­ter Mar­jorie Hud­gins. No­ble Grand wel­comed ev­ery­one, es­pe­cially Mary Mclel­lan, who as been sick. Jeanette Craw­ford, of Mid­dle­ton, is on sick leave.

Mary Mclel­lan was in­stalled as sup­porter of the vice grand by Deputy District Pres­i­dent June King.

On Oct. 28 a tea will be held in the hall from 2 to 4 p.m. Ad­mis­sion is $7. This meet­ing is to dis­perse funds from the pres­i­dent’s project. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the SPCA and autism will be in at­ten­dance. The gen­eral public is wel­come to at­tend.

On Nov. 1 vol­un­teers are in­vited to at­tend a din­ner of ap­pre­ci­a­tion at the lodge start­ing at 11:30 a.m. The potluck is be­ing sup­plied by lodge mem­bers. This will be fol­lowed by a Re­mem­brance Day ser­vice. Af­ter an in­ter­mis­sion a reg­u­lar meet­ing will be held for lodge mem­bers.

On Nov. 18 a ticket auc­tion will be held at the lodge. View­ing runs from 11 a.m. un­til 3 p.m., at which time the draw will be held.

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