Category Archives: Sacred Harp

Good News and GiST 230

Oh, there’s so much GOOD NEWS everywhere I turn!

1. The movie we saw last night, Invictus, was so inspiring. On a side note, it’s interesting and a bit unsettling to have reached an age where I remember events that happened when some of my close friends were not even born yet. I remember the day the Berlin Wall came down. I remember being a member of Amnesty International and writing letters in support of the release of Nelson Mandela. I remember singing Jerry Dammers’ song “Free Nelson Mandela.” I also remember thinking that the letters and telegrams my monthly Amnesty newsletter asked us members to write were just tiny drops in a bucket. The newsletters said that in the beginning, floods of letters from around the world had helped gain freedom for some political prisoners. But as the tactic became known to dictators, it became less effective. I really never dreamed Mandela would be set free, much less go on to be president of his country! I highly recommend the movie.

2. From the recent special year-end edition of Maclean’s, Good Samaritans section:

When a P.E.I. landlord dropped an unzipped bag of cash on a windy day, money began swirling through the air. Passersby pitched in, reaching under parked cars and chasing down fluttering bills. When it was all over, Ian Walker had every one of the 10,300 dollars he started with.

3. Michigan is poised to go smoke-free. I can’t tell you how happy it made me when the Municipality of Waterloo went smoke-free. After the by-law was passed, you couldn’t even smoke inside a BAR or BINGO HALL. At first the bar owners said the law would drive them right out of business, but of course that didn’t happen. People adapt, find ways to cope. Windsor also has strict non-smoking by-laws. I’ve become so wonderfully spoiled by these laws that I can no longer tolerate even the tiniest hint of second-hand smoke. I literally hold my breath until I’ve passed a smoker on the sidewalk, or I change to the other side of the street.

4. A beautiful old church in town is going to get a $250K grant for restoration. I’d so much rather see Windsor’s heritage buildings preserved than replaced by ugly strip malls.

5. Habitat for Humanity just finished building its 50th house in Windsor.

6. There has been a huge outpouring of support for families who recently lost everything in a fire that affected more than one unit of an apartment complex. Windsorites have pulled together to offer money, clothing, a place to stay, Christmas gifts, appliances, furniture.

7. Both hospitals in this town are reporting lower mortality rates.

Did the Star decide to run only feel-good stories for the holiday season? Or are media enterprises starting to catch on that good news sells? Whatever it is, I would love to open up the paper and see so many positive news items every day.


Today being the second Sunday of the month, it was Sacred Harp singing at The Ark in Ann Arbor. Sylvain finally screwed up the courage to GO WITH ME!!! Remember, this is the guy who DOES. NOT. SING. So I had to assure him several times over that yes, it would be okay just to sit and observe and no, nobody would be upset with him for just sitting and not singing. Nor angry. In other words, it would be FINE for him just to sit and not sing. Really. Truly.

Not only was the singing fun for me, but Sylvain said the three hours did not seem like three hours. Someone had made about five kinds of cookies using recipes from the 1800s. The gingerbread cookies were shaped like hands with heart-shaped holes in the middle. WOW.

Oh, and before arriving at the singing, we had our very first ever Trader Joe’s experience. I had heard so much about that privately owned chain from American bloggers, so I was just dying to get inside one.  I’m not sure how big most Trader Joe’s are, but this one was probably on the small side. But that was okay since we only had a little time to spare for shopping. The most amazing buys for me were Trader Joe’s Pound Plus 72% dark chocolate bar for $2.99 (yes, it weighs over a pound and could hurt someone if you hit them on the head with it) and a bottle of Charles Shaw merlot for the same price. You pretty much can’t buy a bottle of dry red wine in Canada for less than $8, so that just blew me away.

To top it all off, the weather was wet and lovely. I was able to peel off my winter coat and walk around in just my turtleneck and vest.

By the time we got back to Windsor, it was too late to play a game or do a puzzle together. We had about ten minutes before Sylvain had to head home. So…I walked over to the book case and pulled out my raggedy old copy of Rain Makes Applesauce–the dust cover long ago lost–to read to him. I sure did love my Dr. Seuss books, P.D. James, The Story of Ping and A Fly Went By. But nothing could ever compare with Rain Makes Applesauce. I’ve been carrying it around since I was three years old. Well, my mom took possession of it while I was traipsing across the globe. But yeah, it’s the only book I still have from my wee early days on earth. It felt really good to share with Sylvain something so dear to my heart.

What was your absolute favourite picture book when you were tiny?